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Interview with Judy Merritt, Northwoods Press News

Posted by margaretpeterson - June 29th, 2012

Judy Merritt, Margaret Peterson, Father Pribyl


Poet at Our Lady of the Pines, Nevis, MN


Margaret Peterson, has been vacationing at  Royal Star Resort on 6th Crow Wing Lake and attending Mass at Our Lady of the Pines Catholic Church with her family for twenty some years now. She has also been writing poetry for the same length of time.  This year her annual vacation started with a book signing of her first published book of poetry, “The Pearl of Great Price,” after Mass last weekend.


The publication of the book was a family affair that involved her daughters Jeanne Theberath and Kathy Tyler and their husbands Peter and John.  “She has written over 500 poems,” she said. “It seemed a shame to keep them in a file where no one else could read them.”  Peterson said she was both frightened and excited to be signing books of her poetry. “It doesn’t seem real to me,” she said.


The book was named after Peterson’s favorite poem and is set up with poems printed on colored pages on the right hand side paired with photographs that “flow” with the theme of the poem on the opposite page. The color of the poem pages is coordinated with the colors in the photographs.  Tyler and her husband, John are gardeners with a yard filled with beautiful flowers.  Many photographs of their flowers accompany the poems in the book.


Theberath learned the “Photoshop” program, so she could process the photos Tyler sent to her each day. And Peterson just kept writing.  It is hard to tell which is more beautiful, the language of the poems or the photographs that accompany them.  “There’s a lot of beauty in one book,” Peterson said. “It has a wonderful flow.”  The flow can be attributed to a solid year and a half of work on the part of the people involved as Peterson kept writing and revising poems while Tyler and John were tending to the flowers and emailing photographs to Theberath as she “agonized” over every detail.  Theberath credited her husband, Peter for being her sounding board as he listened to her talk things out and together they would work through the details.


Peterson said they had always been a close family, but working on the book together offered another “dimension” to their relationships.  “It was wonderful how we all worked together,” Theberath said.  “And we all had so much fun.” The style of the poetry and look of the book is reminiscent of the old “Ideals Magazine.” The poems are grounded in the beauty of nature with God as its Creator. Many of the poems read like prayers or modern day Psalms. Some are tiny jewels of wisdom that can be read again and again.  All the poems and their accompanying photographs offer a quiet reflection of the natural world and its relationship to a spiritual world.


“A Pearl of Great Price” is a gentle and beautiful reminder to the reader on how important it is to take time for that reflection.


For more information on the book, visit the website


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