Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Weekend planner: Talk

Born in Goshen in 1869, Clarence Hawkes became physically disabled at a young age: part of one leg was amputated when he was 9 and a gun accident four years later left him blind. While he might have succumbed to a passive existence, Hawkes became a prolific best-selling author instead. Settling in Hadley, he turned out over 50 novels, poetry collections, essays and nature studies, and found readers not only throughout the United States but (via translation) among the French, Germans, Finns, Chinese and Japanese. Calvin Coolidge kept Hawkes’ picture on his desk; United Press Services alerted its member newspapers on his birthday. When he died in 1954, The New York Times referred to him as “the blind poet of Hadley.”

This evening at 7 Hawkes biographer and UMass English professor Jim Freeman will speak about the writer’s phenomenal popularity and why he has subsequently slipped from public view. Titled “Clarence Hawkes, the Most Widely Read Author from the Pioneer Valley,” the talk will take place in the Ramsdell Room of the Community Center of Pelham at 2 South Valley Road in Pelham. Barbara Jenkins, 253-2929, for more information.

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