Non Fiction

Newport A Writer's Beginnings

Michael Hogan


Product Description

Editorial Reviews

This colorful memoir of growing up in the Fifties and early Sixties in Newport, RI by award-winning poet and historian, Michael Hogan, provides a rich and multi-layered description of the city in the days before the building of the Newport Bridge. Then the island was still isolated from the mainland and only accessible from Jamestown by ferry. Downtown Thames Street had its seamy side with sailors and marines fighting in honky-tonk bars as Destroyer Fleet Atlantic brought troops back from Korea. Still, it was the summer home of the Vanderbilts, the Astors and Goelets, and the aspiring young author greeted both Eisenhower and Kennedy at the Summer White House and made a car trip to Amherst to meet Robert Frost. PUBLISHER’S REVIEW “Before the Jazz Festivals, the condominiums, the gentrification of Thames Street, the Bed and Breakfasts, and the Bridge that let the tourists and New York investors turn my hometown into a theme park, there was another Newport. Shrouded by fog, slowed by cobblestone streets, full of abandoned mysterious mansions, turreted and dark, it was a town that held history as mysteriously as the true wine in some misplaced Medieval grail. Like all really interesting towns, Newport had its seamy side as well. Although nowadays it is largely upscale, in 1955 there was still the Gas House Gang, the Irish toughs of the Fifth Ward, the sailors and the Marines in the rough bars along Thames (pronounced then in the English way, “Tems”) Street, the “Colored” neighborhood, the rough and tumble docks, Long Wharf, the cinder lots and broken pavement near the railroad depot, the vacant lots and haunted houses, Tim the Ragpicker, and the Crazy Lady on Carroll Street. There was also the Newport of the Ocean Drive and the Cliff Walk where one could see the magnificent homes of the last of the robber barons of the 1890s: the Duponts, the Rockefellers, the Pierponts, the Morgans and the Vanderbilts. It was the vacation spot of presidents and the locus of the summer White House for Dwight D. Eisenhower and later for John F. Kennedy. The early mists rising from the trees, the sounds of flickers and wrens, occasionally a song bird, were part of every morning. The bleat of sheep from a hill off in the distance, the fog horns of destroyers out in Narragansett Bay, the thin scrape of a garden rake were my summer music. Had my parents wished me to become a poet, they could not have planned it better. Always on these summer mornings there was the sense of the world being born again.”

Paperback: 196 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace (January 14, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 146990327X

ISBN-13: 978-1469903279

Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches

Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces