According to Jacques “Jack” T. Baker, Jr., who wrote the book, “Gilbert Byron: A Life Worth Examining,” local author and poet Gilbert Byron had much in common with the writer Henry Thoreau. Known as “The Chesapeake Thoreau,” not only did Byron live in a house on a wooded cove, delighting in the simple life, but he also shared a birthday with the acclaimed writer – the two were born on July 12. This year, the annual birthday celebration in Gilbert Byron’s honor will be held on July 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton. Friends will gather 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 will provide 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. Jack Baker comments, “Gilbert always said that if he didn’t think it was worthwhile, he wouldn’t have done it. That includes taking Thoreau’s philosophy to heart and living a simple minimalist life.”
There will be a formal poetry reading with guest readers including: Jim Dawson of Unicorn Bookshop; Nancy Andrew of Habitat for Humanity; Dave Harper, Associate Professor of English, at Chesapeake College; and Kelley Malone, retired Easton Town Council member, poet and friend of Gilbert Byron. There will be a showing of a DVD about Byron’s life and a period for questions and answers. Refreshments will be served.
This coming fall, the Gilbert Byron Society will also sponsor the First 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 to children as a visiting poet in many Maryland public schools. Further information will be forthcoming.
Photo: Local author and poet Gilbert and his wife Edna Byron are pictured here with the original one room cabin at Old House Cove near St. Michaels in August 1942. This year, the annual birthday celebration in Gilbert Byron’s honor will be held on July 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton where the cabin is now located. Friends will gather to do readings and share stories about Byron, who lived from 1903 to 1991.