Literary Notes: N.C. Poetry Society Meets Saturday
The winter meeting of the N.C. Poetry Society will be held Saturday, Jan. 13, at Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities, in Southern Pines.
"During our January meeting, we'll reprise the 80th anniversary readings with guests Betty Adcock, Tony Abbott, Peter Makuck and Shelby Stephenson," says a spokesman. "They'll share work from the span of their careers and tell us a bit about the readings they hosted on Dec. 1.
In the afternoon, featured guest Alan Michael Parker will read from and discuss his latest book, "Long Division."
To find out more about the program, including information about Alan Michael Parker and his talk, visit http://www.nc poetrysociety.org/events.
The Airborne & Special Operations Museum will host a book signing with author Major Gen. John Borling, USAF, Ret., on Sunday, Jan. 6, at 1 p.m.
Borling will sign copies of his book, "Taps on the Wall: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton."
On June 1, 1966, Borling's life changed forever. During his 97th fighter mission over the heart of North Vietnam, he was shot down by ground fire. Seriously injured during ejection, he was captured trying to evade. Twenty-four hours later he was dragged into the Hanoi Hilton. He would be a POW for more than six years and eight months. His wife, Myrna, would not know for years if he was alive or dead.
"For many years, the POWs were held alone or in semi-isolation," says Borling. "The enemy wanted us weak, despondent and totally cut off. Our challenge was to carry on, keep faith with the nation and each other. For that, we had to communicate."
So they tapped on the walls, using a special, but forbidden, prison tap code. Much to the dismay and anger of the North Vietnamese, they maintained a chain of command. They shared names to ensure others knew they were alive, messages of hope (or despair), family, jokes, prayers, and more, including poetry. Borling composed and memorized original creations using poetry as a way to 'fight back' against the forces of cruelty and time.
The book is divided into four sections. The first expresses a passion for the sky and the freedom that flying provides. The second section speaks to the dark, hard days, when awful loneliness, punishment and pain were routine.
The third section deals with "The Holidays" and the need to remember, and be grateful but offset by the enormity of prolonged and uncertain incarceration. Finally, the fourth, SEA Story (South East Asia Story), is an epic poem that took many years to compose and, as Borling notes, "offers commentary on just about everything."
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of American POWs held at the infamous Hoa Lo Prison, otherwise known as the Hanoi Hilton.
Borling will give a brief presentation beginning at 1 p.m. in the museum's theater, followed by a book signing until 3 p.m. Books are available in the museum's gift shop.
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