Body and Soul is dedicated to an endearing friend, mentor, and excellent poet, Pat Parnell. Pat became an active member of the poetry community soon after she moved to New Hampshire in 1983. I met Pat when I was just wading into poetry and prose in the early nineties. We met with other seacoast poets at her house in Stratham as part of the Seacoast Poetry Group. We would also meet at Harvey Shepard’s house in Exeter and workshop poems. She was nothing less than a role model, a champion for the spoken word. She always used a critical eye in terms of meter, imagery and poetic craft. She looked over this collection twice in the course of two years, and I remain humbled by her attention and encouragement.
Pat’s son Larry recently told me a story that speaks to her worldly view of art. When she was teaching a writing class in Virginia, Larry said his mom would borrow a record from his record collection and then take it into the writing class and say, “Now class, this is poetry.” Art has many connections and music and poetry are closely linked. The identification of a bridge between these two art forms comes from a reliable source, Pat Parnell.
Other Ladders (Beech River Books, 2017) concerns the place and time of life Demaree refers to as Golden Pines. In these poems, he also takes us back to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, whose mythic woods and meadows informed Fathers and Teachers. In the experiences of everyday living, he finds a poetry that is ironic, bittersweet, and always accessible, but which (as John-Michael Albert, editor of the 2008 and 2010 editions of the Poets' Guide to New Hampshire notes) "demands further consideration."
Robert Demaree was born in Pennsylvania and retired in 2001 after forty-two years as a teacher and administrator in schools in Georgia, Virginia, Louisiana and North Carolina. He has spent parts of virtually every summer since 1947 in New Hampshire, and so he has always been interested in what Donald Hall calls "a pleasure of place." Bob and Martha, his wife of more than forty years, reside in Burlington, North Carolina, and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. They have two children and five grandchildren.