Category Archives: Articles

Amesbury Poet Laureate

Lainie Senechal Named Amesbury Poet Laureate

See a video interview with Senechal and Meryl Goldsmith here. The Poet Laureate will be inaugurated at the Whittier Home on the 17th day of January, 2016 – 3:00 to 5:00pm.

(Article by Skye Wentworth)

The Amesbury Cultural Council has announced that they have 11-9-15_1302_croppedselected Amesbury writer Lainie Senechal to be Poet Laureate for the city. She will be the first Poet Laureate to be appointed to this position.

“This is a great honor for me,” Senechal said in the announcement. “The honor, however, comes with a deep commitment to the goals of this position.” As the first Poet Laureate chosen for Amesbury, Senechal says she will work to establish a standard for future appointees to the position and acknowledges that as Poet Laureate she will be continuing a great poetry legacy set by John Greenleaf Whittier, the most nationally popular poet of his time.

11-9-15_1312“In this sense, Amesbury is already a poetry centered city,” says Senechal, “I commend the Council for the work it has done to establish the appointment of an Amesbury Poet Laureate.” As the new Poet Laureate she plans to help the citizens of Amesbury to feel a part of its great legacy, have pride in Amesbury’s poetic history and inspire a desire to continue the experience of poetry in the community into the future.

“I’m going to invite students, teachers and the community to write, enhance programs already in place and create new poetry events throughout the year. I’ll also reach out to the business community to set up events that will promote their endeavors,” she says.

ToV all-stars 2015_3086_25
2015 Tapestry of Voices readers, with Lainie Senechal at the far right.

An Amesbury native, Senechal has spent just about her whole life living in the city. She’s worked throughout Massachusetts as a teacher and a poet and has been prolific in authoring poetry books, anthologies and journal articles. She’s the co-founder, with Michael Brown, of The Culture of Peace, an art and poetry exhibit of international artists/poets to celebrate the United Nations mandate for a Decade of Peace. Senechal is also the co-founder, with Harris Gardner, of Tapestry of Voices, a Greater Boston organization whose mission is to “weave poetry into the social fabric”. In fact, the Tapestry of Voices has collaborated with the Whittier Home Association to hold annual readings of Whittier’s poetry at the Whittier Home in Amesbury. “This past summer was our 17th annual reading and we’re pleased that it continues to be well-received in the community,” says Senechal.

In addition to Lainie Senechal’s post, the nominating committee, David Andrews, Joanne Sullivan, Peter Fulton, Elizabeth Stockwell, Gary Reese and Chris Bryant, has agreed that John Greenleaf 11-9-15_1307Whittier will be named Poet Laureate Emeritus of Amesbury.  The installation ceremony will be held at the Whittier Home on January 17th, 2016.

You can meet Amesbury’s first Poet Laureate, Lainie Senechal, at the Whittier Home’s Holiday Open House, 86 Friend Street, Amesbury, MA on December 6th from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.  She and Gus Reusch, curator of the Whittier Birthplace Museum in Haverhill, will be reading excerpts from Snowbound by John Greenleaf Whittier at 2:00 and 4:00 pm.




Member Meetings

Member meeting October 15, 5:00 PM. Dinner and Program at the Whittier Home.

William Hallett and Paul Jancewicz present “Newburyport and Amesbury: the Civil War Years.”


Holidy Open House December 6, 2-4 PM. Whittier Home.

Welcome the holidays with carols, sweets buffet, hot cider, raffle, Giving tree, and friendship!


2015 Annual Meeting

Please join us for the Whittier Home Association Annual Meeting Thursday, April 9, at 5 PM. The meeting will be at the Hollow Café on Patten’s Pond in Amesbury.

There will be a served dinner with choices of chicken or fish.  We will also have a raffle with some delightful prizes to tempt you!  And music to soothe the soul.

A donation of $16 per person is requested to cover the costs, payable at the door by cash or check. We will send out a flyer soon with all the details.

Our program will focus primarily on the water damage that was done to the Whittier Home in January this year, outlining our plans for repair and restoration.  More importantly, the meeting will focus on what you, as members, can do to support us in making the Home whole again.

We will have another change to the bylaws again this year related to streamlining our committees to make us more effective and efficient.

Since seating is limited we would ask that you make reservations by calling the Whittier Home at 978-388-1337. Please state how many there will be in your reservation, and your dinner preference of chicken or fish.

Local author Edith Maxwell to speak at June 6 garden meeting

MaxwellEdith Maxwell, author and organic farmer, lives in an antique Amesbury home, holds a PhD in linguistics, and is a long-time member of the Amesbury Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends.

She is the featured author/speaker at the J. G. Whittier annual garden meeting on Thursday, June 6 at 2 p.m.

A former technical writer and mother of two adult sons, Edith once owned and operated the Five Start Organic Farm in West Newbury, which was the smallest certified-organic farm in Essex County at the time, although she never found any bodies in her greenhouse, as in her recently published locally sourced murder, “A Tine to Live, A Tine To Die.,” (Kensington Publishing, May 2013) Edith has also published short crime fiction, most recently in the Fish Nets anthology (Wildside Press, 2013) and in Thin Ice (Level Best Books, 2010). Continue reading Local author Edith Maxwell to speak at June 6 garden meeting

Celebrate National Poetry Month with our new Whittier curriculum

Whittier_Curriculum_CoverNational Poetry Month arrives on April 1, and the Whittier Home Association in Amesbury, Massachusetts will celebrate by proudly introducing a special curriculum which honors the life and legacy of poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier.

Several years in the making, the curriculum was funded by a grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services, and was created to facilitate and promote a connection between the Whittier Home and schools and the local community through engaging, historically relevant, and fun educational programming. Continue reading Celebrate National Poetry Month with our new Whittier curriculum

Garrison biographer to speak in Amesbury on Feb. 23

William Lloyd Garrison, a Newburyport native and editor of the abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator.

William Lloyd Garrison biographer Horace Seldon will present “One And One Make A Thousand: William Lloyd Garrison, one young Abolitionist, from Newburyport, and John Greenleaf Whittier, one young Abolitionist, from Amesbury make Thousands of Abolitionists, from the Whole Nation” at the Friends Meetinghouse at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23.

Presented by The Whittier Home Association, historian, Horace Seldon is a recently retired National Park Ranger from the Boston African American National Historic Site. Continue reading Garrison biographer to speak in Amesbury on Feb. 23

Whittier’s cane headed to Pennsylvania for exhibit

WhittierCaneBy Dave Rogers – Staff Writer – The Daily News of Newburyport

AMESBURY — A wooden walking cane with ties to Amesbury’s rich abolitionist history and the historic Pennsylvania Hall is visiting the City of Brotherly Love this week and will become part of an exhibit featured at Temple University.

The walking cane, said to have been one of Quaker poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier’s favorites, is being loaned to the urban university for a monthlong exhibit highlighting the 175th anniversary of the burning of Pennsylvania Hall at the Temple Contemporary, Temple University’s art gallery. Continue reading Whittier’s cane headed to Pennsylvania for exhibit

Whittier author, local publisher shares thoughts about 13th amendment

Celebrating WhittierIn a blog posted today by Pamela Fenner, the author, Whittier Home board member, and owner of the independent publishing house Michaelmas Press shares her thoughts about Whittier’s reaction to news about the passage of the 13th amendment.

“Whittier was not an orator, like Wm. Lloyd Garrison or Frederick Douglass, but rather used the power of the pen as an editor and as a poet against slavery,” Fenner writes. “African-Americans of the 19th century called him “The Poet Laureate of Freedom.” I was confident that Whittier must have marked such a momentous day in the nation’s history with a poem. I wasn’t disappointed—Whittier penned “The Proclamation” in January, 1863…” Read more

Fenner has written and edited several books about Whittier, all of which are available on the Michaelmas site.