Music
Garth Baxter is noted as a modern traditionalist composer. This is a style that combines the traditions of form and clear melodic writing with the use of contemporary approaches to harmonies and other elements. He has composed works for various performance mediums, ranging from intimate solo and small group settings to larger ensembles such as orchestra and concert band. His compositions have been performed around the world.

Poets and Lyricists

Lisa VanAuken

LD VanAuken holds an MFA in Fiction from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she held a fellowship as the assistant editor of The Literary Review; An International Journal of Contemporary Writing. Her short prose was nominated for inclusion in The Pushcart Prize. Lisa’s work has been published in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Many Mountains Moving, Fugue, Limestone, The MacGuffin, Sou’wester, The Literary Review (TLRweb), Flyway, Southeast Review, Baltimore’s Citypaper, and many other venues. She has also written for Hachette, Penguin, and Random House. Prior to earning her MFA, she worked briefly at an NYC literary agency.


Sara Teasdale

(1884 - 1933)

Sara Teasdale was an American lyric poet known for years as a sentimental poet. Her most famous poems were either about nature or about lost love. They were the keepsakes of every disappointed lover. But Ms. Teasdale was more complex than many of her fans realized. She gives us a glimpse into her inner turmoil with some of her lesser known poems, the topics of which include

  • coming to grips with our own inadequacies,
  • questioning God and His works, and
  • words of wisdom to a young girl.

Sara Teasdale was sympathetic to the anti-war faction during the First World War and wrote several poems addressing her feelings on the war. She was, indeed, very complex. I find myself constantly coming back to her works, both for inspiration and for insight.


Thomas Hardy

(1840 - 1928)

Thomas Hardy was a well known English novelist and poet of the naturalist movement. His novels The Return of the Native, Far from the Madding Crowd, Tess of the D'Urbervills, and The Mayor of Casterbridge are recognized as some of the greatest novels of the late 19th Century. But after harsh criticism over his views of sexual attraction in his novel Jude the Obscure, Hardy turned his back on novels and devoted himself to writing poetry.


Hardy's poems are sometimes lyrical and sometimes visionary. His poems of love are always quite touching, and his poems of war are very moving. Hardy has a way of reaching right into the soul. His poems dealing with the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War contain visions of war and its horrors that are as riveting as the short stories of Ambrose Bierce. These poems tell the story of war from many angles: they portray the soldiers in battle, the lovers left home, and the innocents touched by war. I used his poem A Christmas Ghost Story in my piece, Coda, which is the last movement of The Battle Cry. In this poem Hardy questions the morality of war.


Willa Cather

(1873 - 1947)

Willa Cather was one of America's foremost novelists. Her books convey vivid pictures of the American landscape and the people molded by its harshness and its beauty. Her novels Death Comes to the Archbishop, My Antonia, and O! Pioneers are perhaps the best known of her works. Willa Cather also wrote many short stories and poems from her college years at the University of Nebraska through her years as editor of McClure's Magazine. These poems are often regarded as the less-developed work of adolescence, but they are the window into the struggles Willa Cather faced with her own identity and her inability to conform. I found her poem Spanish Johnny to fit closely into the mold of her novels, telling a picture of the Wild West.


Susan Laura Lugo

(1953 - )

Susan Laura Lugo is an American lyric poet who now makes her home in the Virgin Islands. Raised in Los Angeles, California, she was a prolific poet in her early adult years. Many of her poems are uplifting in their strength and vision of hope. The poems in Two Remembrances offer a more reflective side to her poetry.


Linda Pastan

Linda Pastan is a former poet laureate of Maryland. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and has won many awards, including the Dylan Thomas Award, the Bess Hokin Prize of Poetry Magazine, and the Maurice English Award. The San Francisco Review of Books has written that Ms. Pastan's works "give fuel to our thinking, show us our world in new ways, and gets us to feel more intensely." I agree. Her books of poetry are published by W.W. Norton & Company.