|A portrait of Ruth Lepson by Celia Gilbert. The two poets met as MFA students at Boston University.|
Drawing on the past
For all the years that Randy Susan Meyers counseled male batterers, there was one question that stuck with her. “What about the children?’’ she wondered. “They were sleeping’’ during the violence was the batterers’ frequent refrain. Yet Meyers knew that violence in the home reverberates beyond the dark of night.
A resident of Jamaica Plain, Meyers has some experience with domestic violence. Her memory is hazy because she was only 4 when her father tried to kill her mother. Her older sister brought up the harrowing incident one time when Meyers was talking about her job and ruing the lack of services for the children of batterers. Her sister said, “Why don’t you write about us?’’ What if their mother had been murdered that awful day? What would have happened to them?
Meyers started writing, drawing on her familiarity with the world of batterers to produce a story that could have been ripped from the day’s headlines. Her debut novel “The Murderer’s Daughters’’ (St. Martin’s) is a gripping tale of sisters Merry and Lulu struggling for 30 years to find their way in the world, one devoted to their imprisoned father, the other enraged at him.
On Thursday, fellow writers will toast Meyers at a book launch party, as will Joan Wallace-Benjamin, chief executive of The Home for Little Wanderers. Meyers will donate proceeds from book sales that night to the social service organization for its Harrington House, a residential program that serves children like Merry and Lulu. The event will take place at Bella Luna Restaurant in Jamaica Plain from 7 to 9 p.m.
A mother’s compact, morning glories, Kathmandu, and the tyranny of aging are among Gilbert’s subjects in “Something to Exchange’’ (BlazeVOX). As poet-in-residence at the New England Conservatory of Music, Lepson teaches poetry classes to students schooled in the art of rhythmic effects, harmony, and dissonance. Overheard conversations, random thoughts, and the delicate nature of relationships find a place in Lepson’s “I Went Looking for You.’’
■ “Wolves of the Beyond: Lone Wolf,’’ by Kathryn Lasky (Scholastic)
■ “When God Took Sides: Religion and Identity in Ireland - Unfinished History,’’ by Marianne Elliott (Oxford University)
Jan Gardner can be reached at JanLGardner@yahoo.com.