Elizabeth Casey has enjoyed writing poetry since she was a child, but never considered sharing her work until tragedy struck and she wanted a creative way to convey her feelings.
Seven years ago, Casey’s 15-year-old daughter died and she used poetry as a therapy.
“I didn’t share my poetry and after my youngest daughter died I started to share because it was a way of talking and getting my feelings to people,” Casey said. “I started occasionally sending an email out with a poem just because it was sort of a way to step back from being quite so direct and it was very healing for me to do that. I kind of broke the ice that way.”
A year ago, the the Mount Sinai acupuncturist decided to finally let her voice be heard by the masses.
In April, Casey, 63, and her longtime friend Doris Diamond self-published their book “At Spring Again,” a collaborative effort of Casey’s poems and Diamond’s photographs.
Diamond, 65, of East Setauket, said she started taking her art more seriously after enrolling in a photography class at Stony Brook University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
“I started learning about what makes a good photograph,” said Diamond, a retired elementary school teacher. “I always took pictures but I used the pictures as mementos and I really hadn’t thought of them as art.”
Casey and Diamond, who have been friends for 35 years, agreed to use their talents to fundraise for Long Island Food Not Bombs, a nonprofit that provides fresh food for those in need.
“I went to a meeting of theirs at the Cinema Arts Center and was totally impressed by their grassroots organization,” Diamond said.
So far, the book has raised about $950 that the two plan to donate to Long Island Food Not Bombs.
“We’ve been using donation money to buy school supplies for kids of all ages,” said Charlotte Koons, a volunteer for Long Island Food Not Bombs. The organization has food shares in Hempstead, Coram, Huntington, Farmingville and Wyandach, and Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy section.
On Sunday, Casey and Diamond hosted a book launch at their friend Paula Klein’s home in Northport.
“They’re both incredibly talented and the fact that they are doing this for charity is wonderful,” said friend Janet Schlageter, of Islip.
Each week, the two women got together at each other’s homes and organize their photos and poems into a cohesive project. The theme of the book is nature and each chapter is dedicated to representing a different season.
“I’m mostly inspired by nature and how it teaches us and nurtures us,” said Casey.
Klein, who helped edit the book, said she was inspired by the authors.
“A lot of people say ‘I would like to do this or that one day,’ and their ‘one day’ has happened.”