From The Provincetown Banner
PRESS LAUNCHED ON POND ROAD
By Kaimi Rose Lum
Mary Ann Larkin, a poet and part-time resident of Truro, has founded with her husband, Patric Pepper, a small literary press named for a place that she thinks is a poem in and of itself. The Pond Road Press, operated out of the couple’s spare, marsh-side summer home in North Truro, recently published its first two books of poetry and aspires to become a platform for “excellent writers who have received little recognition.”
Larkin said in a recent interview that the press was a way of “taking charge of your own art” in a world that offers few publishing options for poets. “There’s not as many pieces of the pie in poetry,” she said, quoting the director of a well-known arts foundation. “There’s so few poetry publishers that it’s like winning the lottery to get a book of poetry published.” Through Pond Road Press, Larkin and Pepper, also a poet, intend to print a modest number of poetry chapbooks in the next few years. The writers they select will be “people we think are very good” but who are relatively obscure, “either because they haven’t bothered to try to get published or because they haven’t been able to.” Books will be available in local bookstores.
They have chosen for their inaugural editions work that is very close to home. The two books published this summer include Shubad’s Crown, by Cleveland poet Meredith Holmes, a longtime friend of Larkin’s, and The DNA of the Heart, a collection of poems written by Larkin and Pepper over the last 13 years. The couple will read from their book at 7 p.m. next Tuesday, Sept. 2, at the Truro Library. (Music for the reading will be provided by Tim Dickey.)
Larkin and Pepper met three decades ago in Washington, D.C., where they still spend half of the year. Both had joined the Capitol Hill Poetry Group, a group of writers who met once a week to critique each other’s poetry. Larkin said she began writing poems in earnest in the early 70’s, just when the women’s liberation movement was beginning to unleash a tide of new female writers. She belonged to an organization called “The Big Mama Poetry Troupe,” which traveled from New York to Chicago performing poetry readings, and she eventually got a position teaching writing at Howard University.
Pepper earned his livelihood as a process engineer and wrote poems in his spare time. Larkin said they were friends for 10 years before they became romantically involved. Now that they are married, they have in-house resources to draw on.
Larkin first came to the Cape on a camping trip in the 1960s and bought her house in Truro in 1977. She has been in love with the place from the beginning. “There’s no reason to live anywhere else on this earth. It’s my spiritual center, in a way.”
And Pond Road itself, a winding, scenic route in the historic Pond Village district, appears to be the natural launching point for the couple’s publishing venture. It has all the elements of a poem, Larkin said. “It’s musical. It’s odd, both in the human and the natural world. It’s full of imagery. It’s full of surprises and secrets. It’s lush but it’s also spare, and it’s got beautiful form.”