If you are a buff of the PW Public Library, you may perhaps have heard of the Taproot group, a collection of over-50 men and women who meet on Tuesday mornings at the PWPL to discuss writing - their own, others, famous authors and poets. This group is led by Maxwell C. Wheat, a nature writer and enthusiast, very active in local circles.

Max (and other poets) turned up at a meeting to name the Poet Laureate of Nassau County, Max, apparently, was pretty much a shoo-in - but that's not how it worked out! A "voice from the crowd" - a Republican member of the County Legislature strongly criticized Max' poetry.

Max had presented a number of musical, thoughtful poems relating to Long Island plains, shores and waters and some poems from another book relating to bringing an end to the dreadfully ruinous war in Iraq. He talked about our own forces being trained to attack civilians, sadly.

The lady legislator brought forth a storm of protests regarding these newly written poems. She indicated that the latter book of poetry had little to do with Nassau County - she felt his job was to describe our lovely land, trees and bays, etc.!

For your readers, Max is not only an extremely humane man, but a deeply religious one, backed by some serious personal study of one of the important faiths. His humanity extends to despair of needless world conflicts and the deaths of all the soldiers concerned, as well as the pain, suffering and deaths of thousands of civilians. Poetry has many functions just as it has many forms - it isn't all about the flowers, the kittens, sun and shadow.

To dismiss this recent peace-seeking book is to admire your neighbor's new carpet, while not noticing the inhabitants of the home and whether they are kindly or condemned to despair.

I urge the wonderful Port Washington family to see around what appears to be a put-down until they see the closed-mind attitude that caused the ruckus.

Fran Lauda

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