Moses Gunn Play Company Presents “John Brown: Trumpet of Freedom”

“One cannot really understand American history without understanding the role played by John Brown,” says actor and writer Norman Thomas Marshall. He will perform a one-man play, “John Brown: Trumpet of Freedom,” based on the 19th-century abolitionist’s life, on Saturday, February 29, at 2 p.m. at the Guilford Free Library, 67 Park St., Guilford.

Marshall plays more than 30 characters in the play, including such diverse personalities as Harriet Tubman and the notorious slaveowner J.E.B. Stuart. Marshall co-authored the work with George Wolf Reily, who also directed this performance. They have been developing and fine-tuning the play over the past 20 years as it has toured the country.

One critic wrote, “Norman Marshall single-handedly brings John Brown and a swarming host of his contemporaries to vivid, full-blooded life in this powerful, passionate and richly rewarding work.”

Marshall won the prestigious Gold Medal for Drama for his portrayal of John Brown in the 2019 National Veterans Creative Arts Competition, sponsored by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

The Friends of the Library is sponsoring this event, admission is free, and refreshments will be provided.

Featured Poet: Juliana Harris

Juliana Harris remembers writing her first poem as a freshman in high school. The poem went on to win a prize in a statewide contest and she has been writing poems and essays ever since. Her work has appeared in publications across the country, and she has published two novels, a chapbook of her poems (Portraits) and is currently at work on her first mystery. An award-winning professional actress, Julie is also a singer/songwriter with two CDs to her credit. She and guitarist, Stephen Roane, tour the state as The Harris/Roane Duo. She currently serves as president of the Guilford Poets Guild, and was a member of the committee that produced the Guild’s third anthology, Our Changing Environment.


Lillian Hellman, Eat Your Heart Out

Mother chose the perfect hat
for her appearance
in front of the HUAC—

a snappy straw boater
trimmed in black
with just a wisp of a veil.

I can see her now,
amid the chaos
of pounding gavels and popping flashbulbs,

demure and brave in black crepe—
the hat adding just the right note
of insouciance.

What a pity
the committee
never summoned her.


On the Train to Manhattan

I have a panoramic view
of the incoming passengers.
A soldier boards at Stratford,
dressed in sage and khaki camouflage,
combat boots the color of desert sand.
He turns and takes a seat
revealing the face of an El Greco saint,
stares straight ahead through sunken eyes
until disembarking at Grand Central
where he is swallowed in the throng.

I pray his tour of duty has come to an end.


Past Glory

Autumn lingers

on this winding lane.

A naked maple,

once splendid,

basks in the radiant carpet

of its fallen leaves.


My Sister Is Afraid

she is losing her mind.
which is not surprising,
considering the strain of madness
which pervades our family
like a dark stream
snaking its way
through an underground cavern.

Our grandmother
began her descent into despair
with blinding migraines
progressing into a darkness
which kept her immobilized.
When I asked her how she could endure shock therapy
she answered, If you felt as I do,
you would do anything to make it stop.

Our aunt,
gifted by vengeful gods
with beauty and talent,
fought the same demon
in a different way.
Her symptoms manifest
in maladies
which literally crippled her,
leaving her helpless on her own bed of pain.

And now the cup has passed
to my sister,
who echoes words
I remember from other lips.
…..I can’t cope.
…..I’ m afraid.
And I wonder
why I have been spared.

It’s a Celebration!

In 2019, the Guilford Poets Guild marked its 20th Anniversary, both in spirit and with the publication of its third anthology of poems, Our Changing Environment.

This remarkable group of local writers includes award-winning, published shoreline poets, two poets laureate, septuagenarians, octogenarians, and a few newly-minted nonagenarians — many of whom gathered on the eve of the New Year to celebrate.

Pictured above are poets Gordy Whiteman, Juliana Harris, Jane Muir, and Norman Thomas Marshall.

Copies of the 20th Anniversary maybe purchased at GPG events, from Breakwater Books in Guilford, and by clicking on the BUY NOW button below.

Guilford Poets Guild’s 20th Anniversary Anthology
Our Changing Environment
8 x 8 paperback, 128 pages
ISBN: 978-0-578-55715-1
$20.00 (plus $2.75 shipping per book)

Hanukkah Fun!

On Monday, December 23 from 4pm – 5pm, Eric Kimmel’s book Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins will be read by GPG member Julie Harris, an accomplished actor/storyteller and singer, and Hesch Sommer D. Min, Rabbi Emeritus (retired) of Temple Beth Tikvah. Holiday music with movement afterwards, led by Stacey Battat of PJ Library. The event will be held at the Guilford Free Library, 67 Park Street, Guilford. Ages 5 & up. Registration is required. Registration begins on Tuesday, November 12th, at 9 a.m. in person, by phone at 203-453-8282, or online at http://www.guilfordfreelibrary.org

Norman Thomas Marshall Wins Prestigious Department of Veteran Affairs Awards

On Thursday, November 7, Guilford Poets Guild member Norman Thomas Marshall was awarded the 2019 National Veterans Gold Medal for Drama from the Department of Veteran Affairs for his dramatic portrayal of abolitionist John Brown. He also won the local Connecticut award for Humorous Poetry.

These prestigious awards are presented annually for achievements by veterans in visual arts, dance, drama, music, poetry and writing. The event was held at VA Connecticut Healthcare System’s West Haven campus.

Marhsall is pictured here with Linda Accordino, Associate Director for Patient Care Services at Connecticut VA Healthcare System.