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North Laurel/Savage: Things are taking off for poet Michael Ratcliffe

I want to tell you about North Laurel's Michael Ratcliffe — he is someone I could write a couple of columns about with the many things he is involved with in our community.

I could also tell you about his work as the assistant division chief for geocartographic products and criteria for the Bureau of the Census, which has him traveling around lecturing. However, there is a very different side of him I wanted to tell you about — he has had 26 poems published to date.

Ratcliffe has enjoyed creative writing for a long time, but he got serious about it around the year 2000 and got his first poem, "Jessup," published in You Are Here: the Journal of Creative Geography, in 2006. Then in 2010, his next poem to be published was "I Killed a Centipede Today," which was published in the Little Patuxent Review Spirituality issue.

By 2011, things started taking off and he got 19 of his poems published in journals and blogs such as The Copperfield Review, The Beatnik and Three Line Poetry. Michael has already gotten several printed this year. He loves to write about things that he knows and has a series of poems about the Route One Corridor. He also wrote several about his family history and like most poets, he has written about love.

Ratcliffe likes to vary his style of poetry using free verse, haiku and tanka as well as the Skimino Cycle, which he named based on the part of York, Pa., where his family had lived since the 1700s. He said his favorite poem is called "Paddington Bench," which he wrote for his wife, Kathy. To see Michael's poetry go to his poetry page at skiminocycle.blogspot.com or at Michael Ratcliffe's Poetry on Facebook.

Let us all congratulate Katy Wnuk-Fink on placing seventh out of 62 contestants in the Howard County Spelling Bee March 9. Katy did a great job so if you see her make sure you congratulate her for her effort.

As spring finally hits, do not forget all the great things happening this week.

Hammond High School's production of Dramastics Improvisational Group will be Friday, March 23 and April 27 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5. On Saturday, March 24, Hammond will be holding its annual Dancing with the Teachers at 7 p.m.

Atholton High's production of "Beauty and the Beast" bows Friday, March 23 at 7 p.m., Saturday. March 24 at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 25 at 3 p.m.

The United Methodist Church of Savage will hold Breakfast with the Easter Bunny Saturday, March 24 from 8 to 11 a.m. Cost is $3 per person for the breakfast.

Atholton High's National Art Society will host Empty Bowls Wednesday, March 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. a fundraiser for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. $10 will get a bowl of homemade soup, bread and a handmade bowl crafted by students. For information call 410-313-7065. The school is at 6520 Freetown Road, in Columbia.

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