We asked poet and writer Marie Louise St. Onge to share her story and thoughts about where she’s going with her writing. She sent us a summary of her experience to date and added her view of the challenge in front of every artist in the nation, even the world.—PM
Writer Marie Louise St. Onge: “I’m all in”
I grew up in a two-family house in Lowell that was more of a one-family with a door and a set of stairs. When my most favorite aunt, Tante Marguerite, died in the bed upstairs, I was in the room. I was eight years old. It was a Sunday and sunny.
A short while after her dying, her room became my room. Unlike my parents, she had a bookcase with books in it. There discovered poetry with tears in my eyes for her. A short while after that, I published my first poem in the Letters to the Editor section of the Lowell Sun. I’ve been writing since.
I’ve been fortunate to have had several lifetimes and I’m engaged with another now. Throughout, writing has been my benefactor, my solace, and at times my interpreter of the outside world. Writing has offered me a way in. Writing escorts me through the life I have.
Over the years, my work has included political activism, a brief corporate stint, a remarkable and fulfilling rural life, and a long vocation in land conservation. Each provided me with challenges, and most offered meaningful reward. Now, closer to the sea and away from the forest, I am again shaping something new for myself.
Publishing remains a conundrum to me. The industry has changed markedly over my lifetime, which deepens the puzzle. With that said, I’ve published poems in literary magazines across the country, contributed to various anthologies, served as editor of a lit mag, and I’ve produced an anthology.
Now it’s 2020 and to be human is to have grave concerns about the “state” we’re in at this time – geopolitically and environmentally. I believe that poetry informs and coaxes and supports, it enrages and empowers and comforts. Poets, and all artists, have an ongoing duty to their own sufferance and to healing in this world. I’m all in.