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franklin county times

Artist Spotlight
Pauline Busbee links the past with present

By Staff
MERIDIAN POET Pauline Busbee published "Heart Pine," a collection of poems, in 1993 at the age of 76. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Elizabeth Hall / special to The Star
Dec. 22, 2002
In 1993, Pauline Busbee published her first book of poetry a slim, beautifully-illustrated volume called "Heart Pine." She was 76.
Now, nearly ten years later, the flurry of media interest and scheduled readings has mellowed some. But the book's simple, easy grace has stood the test of time.
The poems included in "Heart Pine" span some 60 years, from the time Busbee was a teen-ager until just before the book was published.
Busbee began writing poetry in high school, looking to the old English poets Shelley, Wordsworth, Keats for inspiration.
After graduation, she attended Whitworth, a girls' college in Brookhaven, as an aspiring journalist.
Everything changed, however, when she fell "head-over-heels" for a young schoolteacher.
Marriage followed, and Busbee was soon the mother of nine children.
Busbee's strong family ties provide the framework for many of her poems. Even the name "Heart Pine" is a reference to the wood commonly used to build houses in earlier times.
In other cases, Busbee draws inspiration from seemingly ordinary experiences.
A poem called "The Man Who Smelled His Wife's Wrists," for instance, came from her observations of a couple in the mall.
Another, "State of the Union," was spurred by a newspaper article.
Busbee's style is as varied as her subject matter.
But, regardless of the form, Busbee said she gravitates toward optimism and beauty.

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