LEWISTON — The USM Lewiston Auburn Senior College students had their first poetry book, “Wit, Wisdom and Whimsy,” published recently. Another book will soon be on the bookshelves. The senior college authors are Diane Clay, Linda DeSantis, Bill Frayer, Darlene Glover, Nancy Orr, Anita F. Poulin, Kathryn Tracy and Brigitte Whiting.

The group gathered at USM Lewiston-Auburn Campus Library to present a copy of “Wit, Wisdom and Whimsy” to Librarian Evelyn Greenlaw, with Brian Toy, interim dean, attending. The anthology is an example of a creative project inspired by a poetry workshop class on the curriculum of USM’s Lewiston Auburn Senior College. It happened a few years ago when this poetry class was taught by Bill Frayer, a longtime instructor and published poet.

The students learned to write their original poems and read the poems to their fellow students for critiquing. They revised their poems and returned for a second critique. New poems were written each week and critiqued by their peers. During the process, the group improved with the language, the description and the feeling of the poems. More importantly, they bonded as poets. The final class had a poetry reading, with invitations sent to family and friends. The poetry session was well attended where the audience heard a poem each student had selected to read.

The response was so favorable that out of this poetry class came the seven women who decided to gather Mondays at the Auburn Public Library and critique each other’s poems. They invited Frayer to join them. Unknown to them at the time, a seed had been planted for an anthology of their poems in the future.

The Monday Morning Poets, as they called themselves, soon had a collection of poems and started thinking about having an anthology of their poems self-published. The thought of self-publishing was daunting.

Brigitte Whiting took on the task of research on self-publishing. She completed the preparation of formatting, editing and proofing the book.

Whiting said, “When I received the final versions of each poet’s poems, I formatted them for the book, based on each poet’s vision of their poems, and included Anita Poulin’s artwork for the book cover, and sent it to Amazon.”

Poulin described how she designed the book’s front cover. ” I took pictures of each poet’s hand in a writing position and then created a circle of hands writing.” The back cover features a picture of the Monday Morning Poets by GreenWood Gallery.

The Monday Morning Poets present a copy of their anthology to USM’s Lewiston-Auburn Campus Library. From left are Patricia Vampatella, past chairwoman, board of directors, Diane Clay, Bill Frayer, Nancy Orr, Interim Dean Brian Toy, Librarian Evelyn Greenlaw, Brigitte Whiting, Anita Poulin and Lucy Bisson, chairwoman, board of directors. Absent from the photo are Linda DeSantis, Darlene Glover and Kathryn Tracy.

This collection of poems includes a variety of themes on Maine and Mexican villages, the beauty and mysteries of the natural world and reflections on life’s various experiences.

The book is divided alphabetically with the name of each poet followed by the poems of that author. A brief biographical sketch introduces each author and a listing of poems published elsewhere.

Copies of the book have also been donated to Auburn Public Library, Lewiston Public Library, Gardiner Public Library, Mann Memorial Library at West Paris, Paris Public Library and Norway Public Library.

Anyone interested in purchasing a copy, may access https://www.amazon.com/dp/1729375820.

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