By Mary Boyle
Gary Beaumier always liked words and language, and even majored in English in college; yet, while he worked as a teacher, bookseller, and even taught a poetry class in a women's prison, it wasn't until the past ten years that he really began to write his own poetry in earnest, most of which, the poet says, never saw the light of day. His first collection, From My Family To Yours, was published in 2019, followed in 2020 by an expanded collection entitled Dented Brown Fedora, which Beaumier will read from, and sign copies of, at the Grafton Public Library on Wednesday, December 8th at 6 p.m.
Response to Beaumier's writing has been gratifying. A finalist and semi finalist for the Luminaire Award for several of his poems, Beaumier has also been a finalist for the Joy Bale Boone award and was nominated for Best of the Net Award for his poem "Rio Grande." He was awarded first place in Streetlight Magazine for his poem "Night Train to Paris," and his work has appeared in numerous other publications. The poetry is largely an exploration of relationships, particularly between Beaumier and his father, who is the owner of the hat for which both the book and poem is named.
"It's kind of a harvest of memory. With fathers and sons, it's a complicated relationship, in general," Beaumier mused. "I think men are more reticent; that's something I reflected on."
Beaumier's words pull on the heartstrings; though the memories explored are his own, they resonate with anyone who has been in a relationship of any kind, which is to say, everyone. Melancholy, passionate, brooding, sentimental; in short, a perfect winter read and a lovely gift for those who are interested in poetry or local authors.
"You know Sally Field at the Oscars? 'You like me, you really like me!' That's what keeps me writing," Beaumier shared. "Knowing that I've made an impression on or a connection with somebody else is very gratifying. It's a thrill every time."
A member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, Beaumier is absolutely passionate about poetry and would love to find a group of local poets to convene with. He is often found walking around Oz, particularly anywhere near or on the lake, especially just before the sun comes up. Sailing on Lake Michigan and working on wooden boats has a poetry of its own for this writer. "Poetry," he says, "is songs without music."
Join Gary Beaumier for a reading of Dented Brown Fedora at the USS Liberty Memorial Library on Wednesday, December 8th at 6 p.m. The event is free and no registration is required. Signed copies of his book will be available for purchase, or go to therawartreview.com/books-for-sale.