Gail Peck, author and Sharon Towers resident
A poet lives among us at Sharon Towers, one who has spent more than half her life telling stories of the human experience. For her poetry and passion, Gail Peck was awarded the Irene Blair Honeycutt Lifetime Achievement Award from Central Piedmont Community College. The honor, presented April 12, is named for the former CPCC English instructor who started the first literary festival at the college.

Whether she is recounting her mother’s passing or revisiting the Dust Bowl, Gail Peck writes not to wow us with fanciful language but to help us see ourselves in another’s journey. “I want people to relate to the poem,” she says. “To hear it, read it, understand it.”

Gail Peck’s Writing Journey

As a child, Gail wrote poems for her mother, Marie. “Little ditties,” she called them. It wasn’t until she was a young mother (she and Jim have two children) living near New Orleans that Gail got serious about poetry. Among her influences was traditional country music and the likes of Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves. She cites George Jones’ classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and the landmark verse, “He stopped loving her today, they placed a wreath upon his door.” If that’s not poetry, what is?

Gail has published nine books of poetry and been featured in many journals and anthologies. Her range of themes is striking. In “Terezin,” her poems are inspired by artwork done by children in the Nazi concentration camp in the Czech Republic.

In “Within Two Rooms,” she writes about her mother’s death. This excerpt is from the poem, “Shoutin’ Shoes:”:

Soon it will be spring, Mom’s 82nd birthday.
She says she’s getting her nails done,
and being spray-tanned, and surely
her shoes will shout Another year,
Dear Lord, another year.

Gail Peck

Excerpt from "Within Two Rooms"

Her latest book, “An Instant Out of Time,” offers poems inspired by the ironic Dust Bowl photographs of Dorothea Lange from the 1930s. Former N.C. Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti writes that Gail’s poems in this book – “their precision and sensibility, gorgeous imagery, and taut, chiseled language” – echo long after the final syllable.

This excerpt is from “An Instant Out of Time,” a poem about the epic Dust Bowl migration west. It is entitled “Tractored Out, Childress County, Texas:”

The straight, flat road ahead.
Signs to count the miles.
Stories for the children
to ward off hunger.
The mother saying, Soon.

Gail Peck

Excerpt from "An Instant Out Of Time"

Learn More & Connect

Gail’s books are available through Amazon. She is also happy to hear from those interested in purchasing or learning more about her work. Learn more about Gail and her poetry at www.gailpeck.org.

The child who crafted little ditties for her mother still writes regularly. Writing, Gail says, feeds her as surely as food.

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