Chestertown, MD, May 3, 2005 — Meredith Davies Hadaway, vice president of college relations at Washington College, has released her first collection of verse, Fishing Secrets of the Dead. A finalist in the Word Press First Book competition, Hadaway's collection embodies precise lyricism while delving into a watery world of birds and fishermen, hearkening to the litany of voices, memories, calls and noises that haunt the Eastern Shore landscape.
Hadaway, who lives on the Chester River, returned to school to earn her MFA in Poetry at Vermont College after the death of her husband. In September 2000, she began assembling the manuscript as part of her thesis requirement.
“My work is inseparable from the landscape and the river,” Hadaway says. “The poems say as much about nature as they do about love and loss. Each encompasses the other in a connection that is seamless.”
Interspersed among the poems are drawings by her late husband, Cawood Hadaway, a wildlife artist, avid fisherman and teacher at Queen Anne's County High School and later at the Gunston Day School. His work captures the images of the heron, ducks and kingfishers that inhabit the Chester's banks, marshes and coves.
“I thought of the river outside my window as a structural element in the book,” Hadaway says. “The poems move forward and backward through experience and memory, through grief and consolation with a motion that feels tidal.”
Critics have praised Hadaway's poems, which have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Absinthe Literary Review, Ellipsis, Isotope, Lilliput Review, MARGIE, Currents, the Delmarva Quarterly, and the Milestone.
“These poems are so clean and spare and poignant that they contain what can only be called truth and like truth they provide solace but not comfort,” said Michael Collier, poet and director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.
Dave Smith, Elliot Coleman professor of Poetry at Johns Hopkins University, observes: “Sometimes as terse as Emily Dickinson, Hadaway is certainly the voice of Maryland's Eastern Shore in these poems that are as sweet and true as a cleaned shell shining in the hand.”
A resident of Chestertown whose full-time job is directing Washington College's Office of College Relations, Hadaway is also an accomplished harpist who has performed in the United States and Ireland.