Over 30 people attended the recent annual birthday celebration in honor of local author and poet Gilbert Byron at Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton. Friends and community leaders gathered to do readings and share stories about Byron, who lived from 1903 to 1991.
In addition to tours of the Gilbert Byron House, Jack Baker of the Gilbert Byron Society provided a brief talk on the significance of Gilbert’s life, particularly in how he has preserved the culture of the Eastern Shore’s native waterman culture in his writing. Poetry readings by guest readers included Jim Dawson of Unicorn Bookshop; Nancy Andrew of Habitat for Humanity; Dave Harper, Associate Professor of English, at Chesapeake College; Margaret Gary, friend of Gilbert Byron; Kelley Malone, retired Easton Town Council member, poet and friend of Gilbert Byron; and Megan D’Arcy, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. Also sharing his memories of Byron was Dennis Forney, publisher of the Lewes, DE Cape Gazette.
Kelley Malone commented, “Gilbert’s poetry and fiction honor the greatness of this quiet land and preserve important aspects of the culture that has shaped Eastern Shore living in a way no other writer has—it was a joyful day celebrating and introducing to others Gilbert’s work with those who have never heard of Byron’s poetry and fiction.”
The Gilbert Byron Society has begun planning to sponsor an Annual Gilbert Byron Poetry Contest for middle school students from Talbot County. The contest’s purpose is to keep alive Gilbert’s passion for teaching poetry that, as a Maryland Arts Council ”Poet-in-Residence,” he shared with 4th and 5th graders in Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot public schools for nine years. For further information, visit gilbertbyron.org or email Jack Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gilbert Byron Society is a nonprofit organization working through the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. Individuals interested in making a donation to the Society or contributing to the cash prizes for the upcoming Poetry Contest can visit mscf.org or call 410-820-8175. Donations may also be sent to The Gilbert Byron Society, c/o The Mid-Shore Community Foundation, 102 East Dover Street, Easton, MD 21601.
#1: Pictured is Jack Baker of the Gilbert Byron Society who provided tours of the Gilbert Byron House at Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton during the annual Gilbert Byron birthday celebration.
#2: Pictured left to right are Jack Baker, Gilbert Byron Society, presenting Mark Scallion, Pickering Creek Audubon Center Director, a painting of the Gilbert Byron House by Robert Horvath, the recently retired director of the Talbot County Free Library, in appreciation of his support in preserving Byron’s memory as “The Chesapeake Thorea