Poetic License: A Memoir


Product Details

$16.95  $15.59
She Writes Press
Publish Date
August 04, 2020
5.4 X 8.4 X 1.0 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Gretchen Eberhart Cherington grew up in a household that--thanks to her Pulitzer Prize-winning father, the poet Richard Eberhart--was populated by many of the most revered poets and writers of the twentieth century, from Robert Frost to James Dickey. She's spent her adult life advising top executives in changing their companies and themselves. Her essays have been published in Crack The Spine, Bloodroot Literary Magazine, and Yankee Magazine, among other journals and newspapers, and her essay "Maine Roustabout" was nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize. Cherington is a leader in her community and has served on twenty boards. Passionate about her family and friends, she most enjoys spending time with them at home or in wild places around the world. Gretchen splits her time between Plainfield, New Hampshire, and Brooksville, Maine.


"Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Eberhart was a close friend of many years, a beloved colleague. I loved his genial personality and admired his unique poetic gift. He was a generous man but, as his daughter shows, a difficult and complex person as well. This is a vivid memoir, flaws and all, and Gretchen Eberhart Cherington has crafted a narrative worth reading closely."
--Jay Parini poet, novelist, critic, and author of The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Last Year

"Poetic License is a great achievement that will move powerfully into the world. This is a riveting portrait, in elegant prose, of a once adoring daughter able to reflect as a mature woman, how she searched for her own truth, and freed herself from her father's dominating presence."
--Elizabeth Garber, poet and memoirist, author of Implosion: A Memoir of an Architect's Daughter

"Gretchen Cherington has written a courageous and enlightened memoir of the lifelong impact of sexual molestation. Cherington dives deep into the murky legacy of her father's life to understand what love between a father and daughter should be, how that ideal could be spoiled, and what she had lost. This well-articulated journey gives us the tools we need to take command of our own lives and move into the person we want to become."
--Laura Waterman, author of Losing the Garden: The Story of a Marriage

"At its core, this powerful memoir covers Cherington's decades-long search for truth and the shaping of her authentic self. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always clear, empathetic, and entertaining, Cherington writes about coming to terms with trauma brought on by a celebrity father with deep flaws. All of this comes with intimate glimpses into the psyches of celebrated poets, including T.S. Eliot, Allen Ginsberg, Dylan Thomas, Donald Hall, Robert Lowell, and Anne Sexton. A great read! I was enraptured."
--Ernest Hebert, author of thirteen books including the seven novels of the Darby Chronicles and the award-winning historical novel, The Old American

"Poetic License is a beautifully written, even-handed account of a woman's struggle to balance genuine family love, troubling family secrets, and a devastating personal betrayal. Gretchen Cherington's story is shocking and powerful, yet she has the rare gift of entertaining the reader even as she reveals her troubled childhood and comes to understand the complexity of personal experience as it resonates for a lifetime."
--Reeve Lindbergh, author of Two Lives and Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age-And Other Unexpected Adventures

"I feel personally grateful to Gretchen Cherington for her compelling and courageous account of growing up as the daughter of a charismatic celebrity. She describes in her father the kind of narcissistic self-preoccupation and work-obsession that are hallmarks of genius in every field of endeavor. Her story offers a much needed correction of the popular belief that a public image is an accurate reflection of what a person is like in his or her most intimate relationships. The account of her personal survival will touch all who read it."
--Sue Erikson Bloland, psychotherapist, author of In The Shadow of Fame: A Memoir by the Daughter of Erik H. Erikson

"Poetic License is in a class of its own--both a literary memoir and a call to action for women claiming their truth. Cherington boldly asks what every leader should ask: "how did the world shape me?" and "how will I shape the world?" From her childhood among literary greats to advising top executives on changing themselves and their companies, we see that to empower women, we can't silence their voices."
--Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times #1 bestselling author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won't Get You There; two-time Thinkers 50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the world "Written in lush and vivid prose, Poetic License is both a literary history and a compelling memoir of family betrayal and personal healing. Growing up among a who's who of literary lions, Gretchen Cherington finds her own triumphant voice with her memoir, drawing readers in as she solves a riveting personal mystery."
--Andrea Jarrell, author of I'm the One Who Got Away: A Memoir