When Madeleine Crouse was young she received a copy of a Robert Louis Stevenson book and was fascinated by the whimsical images it conjured in her mind. Now she has had her own book of poetry published and this weekend she will be selling copies of it to benefit the Highland County Historical Society.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, May 13, Crouse will give a reading from her book “The Edge of the Sky” at the Highland House Museum in Hillsboro. She will also be selling copies of the book and autographing them with the proceeds from sales that day benefitting the historical society.
Also on hand giving a musical presentation will be Hillsboro High School seniors Christopher Ford and Daniel Jacky, both of whom plan to continue their music studies in college.
“It’s really a poetry and music program combined,” Crouse said.
Her book is a collection of about 25 free verse poems, most them based on her knowledge of rural life.
“Having lived on a farm for many years I have a great appreciation for the natural world, including the creatures we share our world with,” Crouse said. “The book is based mostly on our experiences during the years we have lived on a farm. It’s mostly rural based.”
While all her grandparents had farming bacgrounds, Crouse grew up in Hillsboro and graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1954. She met her husband, former local attorney and Highland County Probate Court Judge John Crouse, while she was attending college at Ohio State University. They returned to Hillsboro in 1962 and lived in the area until 2001 when they purchased a farm in the Cincinnati area.
In the 1990s, when she working as a freelance paralegal and her children were grown, she decided to pursue that love of writing she felt as a youngster and started attending workshops around the country, working with some of the nation’s more well-known poets.
“I think I gained a lot of knowledge about the craft of writing by going to those workshops,” she said.
Over the years Crouse wrote several works of poetry and had some sent out and published individually, then over the past five years or so she started working to put a manuscript together. “The Edge of the Sky” was published by Finishing Line Press in November of last year.
“My poetry is written in free verse, which means it is not in a formal style that rhymes at the end of lines or has so many beats in a sentence,” Crouse said.
Ford started singing at 8 years old at church, desired more vocal instruction and joined the Cincinnati Boychoir. As a member for nine years, he toured across the United States, Great Britain and Australia. He soloed at the Kennedy Center, the Cincinnati Western and Southern Tennis Open, and for former England Prime Minister Tony Blair. In 2015, Ford joined the May Festival Youth Chorus, making appearances with the Cincinnati Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops and the May Festival. He plans to attend Northern Kentucky University in the fall and pursue a career in music.
Jacky is a pianist and organist. He serves as organist at the First Presbyterian Church in Hillsboro and is a baritone and accompanist of the HHS Symphonic Choir and Highland County Chorus. He has received multiple superior ratings in Ohio Music Educators Association adjudicated events in composition and has been invited to perform compositions at OMEA conventions. He studies under David White and plans to attend Oberlin College this fall to further his musical study.
Saturday’s program is free of charge and coincides with the annual seasonal opening of the historical society’s Highland House Museum. Starting this weekend the museum is open most Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. through Dec. 23. Admission is free.
“They have been so good to me to promote and offer my book for sale that this is something I want to do for them,” Crouse said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.