HAVERHILL — Poet and writer Daniel Speers is May's Artist of the Month.
Speers is a former journalist, columnist and author of computer program and application textbooks and novels. His novel, "Boxes Lie Waiting," was recently named a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest this year. He recently published a new novel, "Master Spies Die Laughing."
He is also known for his poetry and won the 2005 Tom Howard/John J. Reid Poetry Contest in 2005. His first book-length collection of poetry is scheduled for publication later this month.
Speers has donated a framed copy of his poem "A Hot Summer Night in Haverhill" to the city. It is on display in the mayor's office.
"This is the first time we have chosen a writer as the artist of the month, but I recognize that creative gifts express themselves not only in the visual arts but also in the literary arts," Mayor James Fiorentini said.
HAVERHILL — Visitors will have a chance to meet their favorite local authors face to face at the Local Authors Gathering this weekend at the Haverhill Public Library.
Coordinated by Coralie Hughes Jensen and Chris Obert of Pear Tree Publishing of Bradford, the event will feature writers and their works in genres ranging from poetry to science fiction, and novels to memoirs.
"The gathering is a great place for authors to get to know the public and for them to get to know each other," Obert said.
The goal of the event is to allow the public to meet or become better acquainted with the local writing talent in their community. The authors will also be signing and selling their books to the public.
A similar event was held in December of 2006, Obert said, and the authors had such a great experience they wanted to do it again.
More than 30 authors are scheduled to attend, including Chris Obert, Nancy Obert, Coralie Hughes Jensen, Peter Clenott, John Katsaros, Dan Speers, Mary Marshall, Lucinda Marcoux, William Bond, Marylin Lytle Barr, Nikki Andrews, Michaeline Della Fera, Robert C. Reichert, Julie MacShane, Charles W. Turner, Dan Gagnon, Dave Shaw, Ed Marshall, Patricia Grasso, Anna Soria, Jacqui DeLorenzo, Lenny Cavallaro, Jeanine Malarsky, Elena Dorothy Bowman, Annette Blair, Stephan Anstery, Justin Locke, Lyn Brakeman, Janet Ruth Young, Anne Ipsen, Paul Stone, Hannah Howell, Scott Goudsward, Tracy Carbone, Dave Simms, Judy Seidl, Pat Blodgett, Anita Morales-Swiderski and Julie Gacioch.
River boardwalk opening delayed Artists discuss exhibits on walkway
By Mike LaBella
HAVERHILL — City officials planned to have the new downtown river boardwalk open in time for Sunday's Italian Festival. However, a delay in the arrival of railings resulted in having to postpone yesterday's planned opening of the walkway behind The Tap.
Andrew Herlihy, Mayor James Fiorentini's chief of staff, said the good news is that the municipal parking lot next to the new 300-foot-long wooden walkway is now open and offers 76 spaces. The bocce ball court in that will be available for the festival's tournament on Sunday as well.
"They are installing the railings now, along with some other punch list items. Then we can open the boardwalk by mid-October," Herlihy said. "Highway Department workers and crews from the Sheriff's Department repainted the two gazebos and cleaned the area. You won't be able to walk on the boardwalk, but parking is allowed."
While workers put the finishing touches on the boardwalk, members of the Haverhill Cultural Council said residents with ideas for using the boardwalk as a venue for art and music events can apply for a grant to help put their plans into motion.
Last year, the cultural council awarded 17 grants to local artists, organizations, and individuals with ideas for enhancing Haverhill's creative economy.
Those grants included $3,000 in seed money for the Soles of Haverhill Shoe-la-Bration, $567 for a Tuesday night outdoor summer movie series in Columbus Park, $750 for last Sunday's Tattersall Farm Day, and $3,000 for Winnekenni Castle's music series.
"You could apply for a buskers festival, an outdoor play on the boardwalk or to create an outdoor sculpture for the boardwalk, where an artist like Dale Rogers would work with students at a school to create the sculpture," cultural council member Leota Sarrette said of Rogers, the local sculptor who is known for his metal sculptures of large dogs.
Cultural council member Dan Speers has even more lofty visions for drawing residents and tourists to the boardwalk.
"In Prague, there is a bridge that crosses the Danube (River) that is blocked off to traffic for several days to hold an arts festival," Speers said. "Artists paint portraits, poets recite poetry and there is music and crafts and theater. My idea for the boardwalk is to have music in the evenings, and a barge that would spray water and have laser lights timed to the music. This is just one of the things we can do on the boardwalk."
The boardwalk is one of several parts of Fiorentini's plans for using the river to revitalize downtown. The long-term plan is to create a walkway along the entire downtown side that would be connected to each bridge and to a walking/biking trail on the Bradford side of the river.