Prince William County author Katherine Gotthardt will hold a reading and book signing of her newly released collection Poems from the Battlefield on Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at Manassas Museum, 9101 Prince William Street, Manassas, VA.
A portion of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to support local and national parks as well as historic preservation efforts.
Poems from the Battlefield captures unique aspects of the Civil War in Manassas and Prince William County, Virginia. Using persona, metaphor, photos and quotes, Gotthardt brings readers from contemporary park experiences back to the days of the Civil War, offering multiple perspectives and insight. Alongside historic themes, the poems touch upon anti-war sentiments, feminism, diversity and humanitarianism.
“Most of my context comes from hikes and photos I took at Manassas Museum, Bristoe Station, Manassas National Battlefield Park and Brentsville Courthouse Historic Center,” Gotthardt said. “But there are some personal metaphors built into the poetry as well, which makes the book especially meaningful for me. And, of course, there are certainly global themes that need to be re-examined.”
In the book’s afterword, Gotthardt writes, “In some poems, you might recognize relationships between past and present historic struggles with our current domestic climate of fear that prevents us from being our very best selves.”
Gotthardt said she believes that especially with the upcoming 150th anniversary of the Civil War (2011-2015), it is crucial that we recall what that war meant in terms of national legacy and how we should examine the Civil War period when analyzing our contemporary society. “We see the same patterns over and over again throughout history,” she said. “It’s too true–learn from history or repeat it.”
Gotthardt does not seek to relay details of history or battles. Rather, she says, she offers a collection of impressions, images, and emotion, as well as obvious bewilderment at how easily we invite our own destruction.
“War is tragic,” she said. “I want people to recognize that.”
She also said, “I wanted these poems to be powerful, relevant, accessible and interesting even to those who wouldn’t normally look at poetry. And I wanted to deepen the experience by offering words and pictures of the people who lived at that time, because these people are part of our history, and they matter. In remembering them, we remind ourselves that they still matter and that what we do matters.”
A wife and mother, Gotthardt is a poetry and prose writer residing in Western Prince William County where she enjoys exploring history, art, culture and nature. An advocate for preservation, conservation and civic engagement, Gotthardt volunteers for several non-profit organizations. She is a freelance, community writer for News & Messenger newspaper and has authored a children’s book soon to be released. Gotthardt also teaches college English composition online and assists with assessing adult ESOL students’ language skills.
For more information and a list of other events, visit www.poemsfromthebattlefield.com
I have already received my copy. It is a delightful little book with very interesting, yet haunting illustrations.