Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center to host poetry and harp event

PHOTO PROVIDED Cheryl Hein Walters (left) will play the harp and Lilace Mellin Guignard will read her original poems from her chapbook “Young at the Time of Letting Go,” at a poetry and harp event at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center, 134 Main St., Wellsboro.

WELLSBORO — Lilace Mellin Guignard, of Wellsboro, and Cheryl Hein Walters, of Mansfield, will present a poetry and harp event, “Young at the Time of Letting Go,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center, 134 Main St.

The program is free and open to the public. It includes a frank discussion about parents dying and may not be appropriate for all children.

To give listeners an opportunity to reflect on Guignard’s poems, Walters will play the harp and occasionally sing in a sequence of poetry and music she and Guignard developed together. The music will range from sacred to classical to contemporary.

On March 1, Guignard was named a co-winner of the 2015 Helen Kay Chapbook Poetry Prize for “Young at the Time of Letting Go,” her 27-page chapbook of poetry, given by The Evening Street Press in Sacramento, California.

When she was 29, Guignard’s parents both died in December 1997. Her 68-year-old father, who had been taking care of her mother, died unexpectedly of a partial blockage in his heart. Three weeks later, her 67-year-old mother died of cancer.

Guignard wrote some of the poems in her chapbook before her parents died, but most were written several years afterwards. They focus on her journey with her mother under the cloud of cancer and its impact on her feelings about herself and the natural world around her. Her father was a Presbyterian minister so she also shares insights about growing up as a “pastor’s kid.”

Guignard’s poems have been published in literary journals including “Calyx,” “poemmemoirstory,” “Louisiana Literature” and “Paterson Literary Review,” and “Ecotone” and “Poetry” magazines.

Walters gives private harp, voice and piano lessons. She plays and sings for weddings, funerals and special occasions. Before moving to the area with her husband, Walters taught elementary music in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

For more information, email gmeinerartscen