Introducing our newest Alpena News columnists

It is with great pleasure The Alpena News announces brother/sister team Anne Bastow Heraghty and Joe Bastow as our newest columnists. They will provide their unique take on the art of communication every other Thursday on the Lifestyles page. Today marks their first column, Willing to Talk, Willing to Listen, written jointly.

Both Anne and Joe were born and raised in Alpena, the children of parents who were teachers.

It was Anne’s freshman English teacher who recognized in her an affinity for writing and poetry; she encouraged her to keep working at it so she kept journals throughout school. After graduation from AHS, Anne attended Central Michigan University. In 1986 she moved to Tucson, Ariz., to continue her college education and ended up staying for 13 years.

After some travel on the west coast, graduating with a BA in English Literature from the University of Arizona and getting married, she returned to Michigan in 1999. She spent two years in East Lansing as a stay-at-home mom with her oldest son, Patrick.

The town was great, but to her experiencing Michigan meant being close to lakes and rivers. In 2001, a job opportunity for her husband, Patrick Heraghty, brought them to Alpena and the water she was craving. She delivered her second son, Liam, at ARMC and has lived here since.

Anne went back to work four years ago as a writer/editor for online magazine Alpena Fifty-Two. It was a great way to dive back into writing and reconnecting with her hometown. She is now a freelance writer and editor. Many of her articles have appeared in trade publications across Michigan and on the web, a few have appeared previously in The Alpena News.

She has consistently spent time writing poetry and published pieces in The Battered Suitcase, the anthology Love Notes, The Crooked Steeple and Dunes Review.

Growing up in Island View subdivision, Joe became intimately acquainted with the Thunder Bay River. He began writing as a way to log his activities on a wall calendar that hung in his room. He aspired to be a journalist after working on the Wildcat and ACC Lumberjack as a reporter but grew more into lyricism as a drummer with several bands in Kalamazoo, Chicago, Grand Rapids and Lansing.

Joe received his undergraduate degree from North Central College near Chicago and worked in journalism and education in “the city of big shoulders” for a year and a half. He moved to Grand Rapids in 1993 and graduated with a master’s in education from Aquinas College in 1997.

Shortly after his marriage to Julie Helms in 1997, he moved to El Salvador and taught English at a college-preparatory school for two years. Returning to Michigan, he taught high school English at Stockbridge Community Schools. After a stint as a career preparation coordinator for Clinton County RESA, he returned to teaching at Lansing Community College.

After the birth of his first son, Silas, he and his wife moved back to Alpena in 2008. His second son, Samuel, was born in Alpena where Joe taught English at ACC and Northwood University. He currently teaches at Alpena High School.

As an artist, Joe has worked as a recording artist, painter, playwright, poet and music critic. Some of his work has appeared in Image Magazine, The Real M, Curbside Review, Crooked Steeple, Whispers from the Unseen, Impact radio, and he has performed music in Chicago, Grand Rapids, East Lansing, Lansing and Mount Pleasant.

Anne and Joe have published two books together: Splitting the Equator, Essays and Poems (2013), and WIND PICKS UP WHERE SUN LEFT OFF, Poems (2014). Both are available at Blue Phoenix Books.

The two also co-founded Susan Lane Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to bring literary opportunities to the area through readings, workshops and community outreach. Their foundation has hosted several events in the past year: two north45east poetry readings, Poetry Prize, a poetry contest for area youth, and Michigan through Poetry, a celebration of poems by and about Michigan read by local writers.