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Margaret Havill Reid, Poet and Political Activist
By John Howard Reid   

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There were many sides to Margaret Havill Reid. There was the artist who spent a lifetime experimenting with techniques to add a three-dimensional quality to two-dimensional work. There was the President of the Sculptors' Society constantly engaged in promoting the various artistic endeavors of the members. There was the teacher who imparted her love of literature to both adults and children. And there was the political activist with women's rights and an anti-war stance firmly on her agenda.

 

Margaret’s political agenda was very much anti-war. Three of her father’s brothers were killed in WW1 and a fourth was gassed, yet managed to survive in constant, crippling pain for 56 hideous years.

Back in the days when the nation’s two political parties had opposing agendas, Margaret and her father passionately embraced the Democrats. They spoke, they marched, they manned polling booths, they bombarded the neighborhood with leaflets, they debated their political opponents and wrote letters to the newspapers.

Margaret also wrote poetry. Such a great deal of poetry that obviously any anthology of her work that excluded political statements would seriously misrepresent her achievements.

In fact, socially conscious Margaret intended to title this second anthology, "Face of the City". Other political poems she intended to include in this anthology (and which are in fact included) are "War Is War, Lady", "Raging Planet", "Challenged Learners", "Myopia", "The Cost of Lost Women", "City Dreaming" and "We, Too, Mishima!"

Eight poems out of 96 is surely not a great many to represent this side of her activities. Any criticisms that "Love & City Dreaming" is too political are surely misplaced.

If anything (and Margaret would be the first to agree), the present collection is not political enough. But I felt obliged to present the whole of Margaret Havill Reid. Thus I also needed to find room for her romantic poems, her religious verse, her humorous limericks and other comic verses, her reflective and descriptive poetry, and even a fine example of her enchanting verse books for children.

All in all, "Love & City Dreaming" is the sum of many passions.



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