L/A Arts hosts Holocaust remembrance programs

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LEWISTON — A courageous woman’s testament to love, “Etty’s Song,” will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday, April 27, as the first of L/A Arts’ Holocaust remembrance programs.

The program, featuring Off the Page, an ensemble of two poets and a musician, will take place at The Gallery, 221 Lisbon St.

“Etty’s Song” is the newest version of a critically acclaimed celebration in words and music of Etty Hillesum, whose diaries and letters are a song of life, light and love through the Holocaust years 1941-1943. Etty’s writings evolve from a chronicle of romantic life, with its joys and uncertainties, to a story of profound altruistic love. This love is discovered and endures in unexpected ways and in unexpected places as Etty lives through a time of historic oppression. 

Off the Page, comprising poets Martin Steingesser and Judy Tierney, and musician Rudy Gabrielson, performs at universities and writers’ conferences and for the Maine Humanities Council. 

Steingesser, Portland’s first Poet Laureate 2007-’09, is author of several books of poetry, his most recent being “Yellow Horses.”

Tierney is a poet and performer, toured here and abroad with Steingesser with the earlier version of “Etty’s Song,” and was a finalist in last year’s Belfast Poetry Festival Competition.

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Gabrielson is music director for the Royal River Community Players, resident musician at the annual Ferry Beach Circle of Music Camp in Saco and can be heard Saturday evenings on piano at the Muddy Rudder Restaurant in Yarmouth.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome. A $10 donation is suggested. Light refreshments before the show; conversation after. 

On Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m. the gallery will host historian and poet Anna Wrobel and poets Jay Franzel and Steingesser reading and reflecting on the Shoah, those who perished, those who survived.

The program is titled The Drowned, & The Saved. 

Wrobel is a historian, teacher, poet, Holocaust studies educator and essayist.  Her Shoah-related poems are used by teachers of history and English in several U.S. states, Poland, Germany and the Mideast.

Franzel has published two chapbooks along with poems in various journals and anthologies, and has received poetry grants from the Maine Arts Commission and St. Botolph’s Foundation. He has worked with at-risk youth for over 30 years and is teaching in Winthrop.

Steingesser has taught poetry workshops in Maine artist-in-residence programs for 35 years.

Refreshments will be served. There is a suggested donation of $4 for the program

Martin Steingesser

Jay Franzel

Anna Wrobel

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