Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meet Anne Whitehouse

On 22 April 2010 St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights (NY - 4pm to 6pm), will host in its Maroney Theater (7th floor) readings by some of the contributors to Pain and Memory (currently discounted on Amazon). Anne Whitehouse, a gifted poet and novelist, is one of those contributors. Come to the reading and meet Anne - read about her here, in her own words. Over the course of approximately the next two weeks, we will roll out short blog-bios. of our other four remarkable writers who will be reading at St. Francis College.

Poet, fiction writer, journalist, and critic Anne Whitehouse’s books include poetry collections The Surveyor’s Hand, Blessings and Curses, Bear in Mind (forthcoming) and Fall Love (novel). Her second novel, Rosalind’s Ring, is set in her native Birmingham. Visit Anne's homepage: http://www.annewhitehouse.com/

EARLY LITERARY INFLUENCES
My grandmothers were early literary influences. My mother’s mother Dora Landau Roth was a strong personality and natural storyteller who mesmerized my sisters and me with her tales about her cat and dog when she was growing up. Princie and L.C. (for Landau’s cat) were delightfully mischievous creatures invariably up to no good, who cleverly outsmarted their owners to achieve their ends. How we loved Grandma’s stories! She was a dramatic, thrilling narrator; while I have forgotten many of the details, I vividly remember the effective use of repetition and skillful pacing that combined expectation and surprise.

My father’s mother Rachel Spivak Cherner was the opposite—a shy immigrant who never learned how to speak English without an accent. Yet, when I was not more than three years old, she and I would escape the rest of the family, and she would read aloud the fairy tales I selected for her. As soon as I could read, she encouraged my desire to learn with weekly gifts of The Books of Knowledge, a series for children that I adored, which she bought at the grocery store.

My father’s mother died when I was only nine, leaving the memory of her love as a comfort. As my interest in writing developed, my other grandmother put herself at my service. An expert typist, she typed my class play in the sixth grade. When I began to compose poetry, she was my first family reader. That she accepted this role so willingly boosted my confidence and helped to inspire me. She died when I was 25 years old and engaged to be married. Folded in her wallet was a copy of the poem I had written about her brother, Reply to My Uncle Joseph, that she carried with her everywhere.

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