Advertisement
 
Friday, May 06, 2016
Amsterdam, NY ,

 

Advertisement

Poems & photos - Former teachers publish their first book

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 - Updated: 10:22 AM

By ALISSA SCOTT

alissa.scott@recordernews.com

Only Jane Riley's closest friend was able to motivate her through the simultaneous loss of a spouse and breast cancer diagnosis by encouraging the completion of their first published book.

"I very easily could have rolled up in a ball," Riley said Monday, sitting next to her friend Maureen Hand. "She said, 'No, no. We have to finish.' Otherwise I couldn't have."

The two local women, both retired Amsterdam High School teachers, have published their first book of poems and photographs entitled "Lemon Meringue Pie at Midnight."

Hand, who wrote the poems, and Riley, who took the photos, have been friends for 35 years, but only last year caught up with each other's artistic side.

"We got together last year and it had been a very long time since I had seen anything she wrote and it had been a very long time since she'd seen my photography," Riley said. "We both went, 'Oh, wow. You got good.' We were impressed with the direction we both had taken."

Working with The Troy Book Makers, the pair published a small book of poems and corresponding photos in December, though they both admit it was a long, rocky road.

"If she had called me in October, November of this year and said, 'I can't do this,' I would have said, 'Good. I hate it. I don't want to do it,'" Riley said. "But then, when it was all over, we both said, 'That wasn't bad.'"

Hand laughed and added, "Yeah, let's do another one."

The interest, the pair said, is there and it's likely they will publish another set of photos and poems, but nothing is set in stone.

"It's fun," Hand said. "And it motivates us."

"We have fun," Riley added. "We always have crazy fun together."

They said the book is a potpourri of very "readable and relatable" poems.

"They're short," Riley said, "but they're full of emotion and impact. They're not difficult to read."

Hand, who was an English teacher at Amsterdam High School, said she knows how poems can be overanalyzed in the school system, but these aren't the kind of poems readers have to pick apart.

"I never liked, when I was young, poetry that you had to have a guide book to see what it means," Hand said. "I'm afraid maybe I did some of that to my students. That's how I was taught. What does a poem mean? I've learned that it means whatever you think it means."

The photographs, which Riley said she's transformed "from snapshots to fine art images," are a mixture of pieces she's had in her collection and shots she and Hand designed and produced specifically for a poem -- such as the cover image of a still-life table setting with a meringue pie and glasses of wine.

Riley hopes to hold workshops on how to accomplish that transition in May.

Saturday, the two will participate in their first book signing at the Amsterdam Free Library beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Hand will read her poems and explain briefly where the ideas came from. Riley will present her photographs on a screen to accompany the reading.

Their book will be on sale and they will answer questions from the audience.

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
Subscribe to The Recorder

 

The Recorder Sports Schedule

Most Popular

    Area high school sports calendar
    Friday, May 06, 2016

    The men behind Grant's memoirs
    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    Tribes Hill Heritage Center project moving to new site
    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    State economy in upswing DiNapoli: Local economies still struggle to grow
    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    F-MCC eyes renovations with new $2M donation
    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    Aldona Lillian Baltch-Gravrogkas
    Wednesday, May 04, 2016

    From The Recorder Archives
    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    GASD board finds successor for Perillo
    Thursday, May 05, 2016

    Council approves website redesign, city logo change
    Wednesday, May 04, 2016

    Authorities still looking for school threat suspect
    Monday, May 02, 2016

Advertisement

Copyright © McClary Media, Inc.

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook