Ellie O’Leary’s poems are profound

Many of Ellie O’Leary’s poems in her book, Breathe Here, are profound. They take you from childhood to old age, and many are about family. I just could not stop reading.

Published by North Country Press, this book of poems is very very special, and so very real, from tragedy to endurance and survival. Ellie grew up in Freedom, Maine, where her mom died when Ellie was a child. And she missed her mom for the rest of her life. These poems are all about Ellie’s life.

But please don’t think all the poems are about life’s losses and challenges, including a divorce and breast cancer. Because there’s plenty of beauty, grace, and gratitude in her poems.

This is a very special book, and one which I shall treasure and pull down off the shelf often to read some of Ellie’s poems.

As Gary Lawless writes on the back of the book: I can hear Ellie telling her truth, but now “living now, in grace and gratitude.” We should be grateful to have these stories, well told, in truth and grace.

That’s so true, Gary, so true.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.