Saturday, August 13, 2011

Remembering Laurie O'Brien

Cleaning out my files earlier this week, I came across a folder of my poems dating back to 1995 when I was studying English literature and creative writing at the University of West Florida. On one of them, my poetry mentor, former Poet Laureate of Northwest Florida Laurie O'Brien had written "Please send this one somewhere!" And I did. To a glossy stylish magazine that promptly rejected it. Afterwards, I filed it away and forgot about it, although I have continued to write poetry, largely because of Laurie's lasting influence. In the classroom, she didn't suffer fools gladly, but she created a supportive environment for fostering creativity and introduced me to my poet self, for which I will always be grateful. Her own poetry is elegant and honest with the kind of attention to detail that transforms a poem into a tiny word painting, which is how I remember her describing what poetry should be. Sadly, Laurie passed away in 2004, but her work lives on, both through her poems and through the many lives she touched.


Ted Henkle said...

Please accept my belated condolences for the passing of your mentor.

deb said...

Thank you Ted!