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INSPIRED BY HISTORY: Sandra Ervin Adams signs copies of her new book of poems, ‘Through a Weymouth Window.’ Courtesy photo.

To say North Carolina has a deep, rich writing history is a real understatement. And this opulent literary heritage is exemplified where else but in the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. The hall is housed in the Boyd Room at the Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities in Southern Pines, NC, inside the former study of James Boyd, a steel and railroad mogul from Pennsylvania whom later wrote “Drums,” published in 1925. It displays plaques, pictures, books and other mementos and collectables of inductees, such as Charles W. Chesnutt, Paul Green, Bernice Kelly Harris, George Moses Horton, Randall Jarrell, Gerald Johnson, Guy Owen and Thad Stem Jr. Once the meeting place for writers, Jonathan Daniels declared it “launched the Southern Literary Renaissance” in the 1920s and 30s. The NC Literary Hall of Fame appreciates the soul and the dream of those whom over eras have garlanded North Carolina with valuable and influential literature.

Today its history grows stronger with each passing moment as The Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities is thriving as a full-fledged cultural center with a reputable Chamber Music Series, Ragan Writers Series and Arts and Humanities Lecture Series. Most graciously, the center’s Writers-in-Residence Program offers writers a stay of up to two weeks per year in the Boyd home to pursue their work. It is a home where many famed writers have said their most artistic and inventive days transpired. It is here that Jacksonville local author, columnist and poet Sandra Ervin Adams gathered inspiration for her latest work, “Through A Weymouth Window.”

Crafted from Adams’ many residencies at the center, “Through A Weymouth Window” demonstrates how she felt while writing there and gives those unfamiliar with The Weymouth Center a true mini-tour of the grounds through the vibrant and effervescent eye of a poet’s perspective. Consider it a way for those (like myself) who have not yet had the honor to stay at the Boyd home to become inspired and enriched.

“I’d take my pen and paper, handheld recorder and all, and I’d go through the house and walk through and look at the gardens,” Adams remembers. “Oh, Tiffanie, they have so many beautiful gardens! And I sat out and wrote and wrote. Weymouth Center is a wellspring for all of those who love to write and who love literature. Being there is just like being in a little world for a little while, and who doesn’t need that? I hope every writer, at some point in their life, gets a chance to visit and to become a part of it.”

Born by the old brick hospital that’s now part of the health department in Jacksonville, Adams is a graduate from Jacksonville High School and also a former military wife who spent two years in Germany before returning to her roots in 1972. Within her work, “Through A Weymouth Window,” avid poetry readers will find gems, such as “Ghosts,” “Writer’s Bedroom” and odes to Katherine and James Boyd that exemplify not just Adams’ appreciation, but the appreciation all writers should have for the trailblazers that paved the way—especially those at The Weymouth Center.

A true detailed and dedicated writer, Adams sleeps with a pile of notebooks and folders by her bed to ensure she doesn’t miss a single moment that may strike her or inspire others. “[Writing at Weymouth Center] has been my dream, and I wanted it recorded,” she shares. “Weymouth Center and my poems tie in with history, because I talk about the people who lived there and about what they did that continues to speak to us all. It’s like you become a part of the house.”

She notes that while Wilmington is steeped in culture, history and education, The Weymouth Center is another place in which those themes run rampant. “In my mind, Jacksonville and Onslow County would benefit from more poetry and more people looking at our history through the eyes of a poet.”

“Through a Weymouth Window” is available at The Jacksonville Council for the Arts (826 New Bridge Street) in downtown Jacksonville or at Two Sisters Bookery (318 Nutt Street) in Wilmington.

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