Gloucester Poems: Nugents of Rockport

Charles Giuliano Reading at Gloucester Writers Center

By: - Aug 03, 2017

Gloucester Poems: Nugents of Rockport
By Charles Giuliano
Introduction  by Pippy Giuliano
375 pages, illustrated
Published by Amazon, August 1, 2017

Today we announce the publication of my fourth book Gloucester Poems: Nugents of Rockport.

On Wednesday, August 23, there will be a reading and book launch at the Gloucester Writer’s Center, 123 East Main Street, at 7 PM. The event will be shared with poet Geoffrey Movius. We grew up together in Annisquam. That experience and inspiration will be a part of the event.

Geoffrey Movius lives in Cambridge and Gloucester, Massachusetts.  In an earlier life, he was author of The Early Prose of William Carlos Williams (Garland Press), scholarly articles on Williams and Ezra Pound, and published interviews with Jerzy Kosinski and Susan Sontag. He then worked for 30 years as a development officer for Harvard University in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Geoffrey’s poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies in the US and in England since the 1960s.  His selected poems 1960-2010, TRANSIT, was published in 2012 by Pressed Wafer.

My new book includes chapters of Gloucester and Nugent family poems. Several were composed last summer when Astrid Hiemer and I were in residence at GWC. At that time there was a reading and launch of my third book Ultra Cosmic Gozology.

The project started in the 1980s when, during an annual commute from Palm Beach to Mom’s home in Gloucester, I put a tape recorder on the seat.

Initially, she was cautious and suspicious wanting to know my intentions.

Sketching out a plan I said “Tell me about your life starting with when you spent summers on Beaver Dam Farm in Rockport with your grandmother.”

After lunch she wanted to hear what we had discussed. As I played it back, with a pillow on her lap, twirling her thumbs in a reflective and reflexive manner she listened and interjected with further comments.

Those annual migrations were more like adventures as each year I created an itinerary as we visited southern cities and historical sites. That entailed fine dining and when possible upscale hotels like the resort The Cloisters in the Sea Islands of Georgia.

Over several days there were four tapes and six hours of dialogue. I made copies for my sisters Pip and Josephine.

This past winter I dug them out and hunkered down for the hours and days of endless transcribing and editing. It took from January to now August to finally have a finished book. The first book, Shards of a Life, was launched at The Mount, in Lenox, during June 2014. It was followed by Total Gonzo Poems and Ultra Cosmic Gonzology.

What emerged is the remarkable narrative of my mother, Dr. Josephine Flynn, her Nugent/ Flynn clan and an engaging tale of the Irish in America.

The eldest of four siblings she graduated from Middlesex College of Medicine and Surgery in 1932. The school and Waltham campus later became Brandeis University from which I graduated in 1963.

Women doctors were rare in her generation and she spent a frustrating summer trying to find a hospital in which to intern. For two years she rode the ambulance and did rounds at Harbor Hospital on Coney Island. There she met and married my father, the surgeon, Dr. Charles Giuliano.

Mom had the Irish gift of gab and many of her stories are hilarious. As a young woman she had her share of blood and guts including Mafia executions. Asked how she knew it was the Mafia she answered because the victims “Always vomited spaghetti.” That is the title of one of several absorbing chapters on a woman, and later matriarch, who on every level was ahead of her time.

My sister Pip shared many memories and insights as the project developed. She has written a warmly personal and insightful introduction to our mother and family. My wife Astrid Hiemer has been a first reader and editor.

The  book broadened to  include the heritage of the Nugent clan. Pig and dairy farmer George Nugent initially owned all of Good Harbor Beach. His former property is now the condo village Old Nugent Farms. The back road next to Beaver Dam Farm, now a museum, is known to locals as Nugent Stretch.

Another tape emerged that I made that summer during a family dinner in Annisquam. Its primary focus entailed the war years and marriage of my uncle Judge Arthur Flynn and aunt Rita P. Donahue.

That led to interviews with his sons Kevin and Bud. The other siblings are Charlie and now deceased Josephine.

In the dead of winter the project widened into a poetic and prose weaving of the family.

For this a daily source was a 1970 annotated genealogy compiled over several years by the Atlantic City contractor Frank Nugent and his daughter Janet Nugent Novey. In working on this book there were so many questions I would have had for him. Without their work my book would not have been possible.

The Irish immigrants, Patrick and Mary Nugent, had 13 children of which three died in 1913. Today descendants are found all over the U.S., Canada, Hawaii, and Bermuda. A number of them still live on Cape Ann.

The genealogy was invaluable in attempts to identify and caption the numerous archival images in the book. Many from the early decades of the 20th century were of poor quality and required endless hours of Photoshop cleaning up and enhancement.

The research continued through interviews with Leslie, Robin and Charlene, the daughters of Brother and Carol Flynn. For my aunt Mary and uncle Jimmy Sullivan I interviewed Susan (Sullivan) Gould and son-in-law Mark Peterson the widower of Ellen Sullivan. Carol Harris provided an overview of the Atlantic City clan and Brian Nugent tracked the descendants of James P. Nugent.

The book is available through Amazon for $20 plus shipping. Copies may be ordered directly from the author at 243 Union Street, Unit 208, North Adams, Mass. 01247 at $20 each. They will be signed and shipped with free postage. Books will be available during the reading at Gloucester Writers Center on August 23.