Biography of Laurence Overmire
LAURENCE OVERMIRE, said to be a descendant of an uncle of the iconic Scottish poet Robert Burns, is a " true sennachie, a genealogist as well as a bard, " according to Scottish historian Ted Cowan (University of Glasgow) .
Known to many for his work as Poet-In-Residence on The Jeff Farias Show, Overmire has had a multi-faceted career, not only as a poet and genealogist but also as an actor, director and educator. His award-winning poetry, eclectic in form, style, and subject matter, has been widely published in the U.S. and abroad in hundreds of magazines, journals, and anthologies.
In his most recent book of poetry, " The Ghost of Rabbie Burns: An American Poet's Journey Through Scotland, " Overmire traces his genealogical roots back into the old country. Part journal, part diary, part poetry, history and genealogy, the book captures the mood and spirit of Old Caledonia. The Duke of Argyll (Chief of Clan Campbell) calls it " a wonderful book... and a great asset if you are making a trip to Scotland."
Overmire is also known as the author of " The One Idea That Saves The World: A Call to Conscience and A Call to Action" which has been receiving widespread popular acclaim for its inspiring message of hope despite the dire issues that now threaten humankind. Written in prose with a few poems interspersed, this book is speaking to people from all walks of life from all over the world by appealing to the common humanity that we all share.
Overmire graduated summa cum laude as valedictorian of Muskingum University, Ohio, with a B.A. in theatre and a B.S. in psychology, and was awarded a Bush Fellowship to attend the University of Minnesota, where he earned his M.F.A.
He won a second Bush Fellowship to become a professional actor with the world-renowned Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis where he worked with such prominent directors as Alan Schneider, Richard Foreman, Garland Wright and Liviu Ciulei. He then went on to a successful career on stage, film and television in New York, Hollywood and points-in-between including the Broadway production of Amadeus directed by Sir Peter Hall, the network television soap operas All My Children, As the World Turns, One Life to Live, and Loving, Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, Charles Busch's zany Off-Broadway hits Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Psycho Beach Party, Equity Library Theatre, Roy Brocksmith's California Cottage Theater, Alaska Repertory Theatre, Buffalo's Studio Arena Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, Totem Pole Playhouse, and Yale Repertory Theatre. He also served as Executive Producer of the Writer’s Lab, a non-profit organization in Hollywood to promote quality writing in the entertainment industry, and has been involved in teaching in the arts for over 25 years, designing programs for Lincoln Center Institute of New York City, Manhattan Theatre Club, Meadow Brook Theatre, and Oregon Children's Theatre among others.
Mr. Overmire began writing poetry as a way to document and reflect upon his experience, compiling what he refers to as a “diary in art.” Overmire's background in the arts, rather than in academia, gives him a decidedly different perspective on the writing of poetry, one that emphasizes a right-brain as opposed to a left-brain approach and advocates complete freedom within the art form, simplicity of language, and focus on the importance of what is being expressed. Like an actor taking on different roles, his poems take on many voices and run the gamut from beat to lyric to classical in style and tone. His work is at once accessible, yet multi-layered and quite complex upon further examination. As a result, he has gained quite a following among those who appreciate his down-to-earth musings on what he sees going on in our world today.
Overmire is also the author of four epic genealogies. He is a descendant of Gov. William Bradford, William Brewster, and seven other Mayflower passengers, three Native American ancestral lines, England's King Edward III and Scotland's Robert the Bruce. He is a distant cousin of poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, e. e. cummings and T. S. Eliot, as well as playwrights Thornton Wilder and Tennessee Williams. Mr. Overmire is quick to point out, however, that such relationships are not at all unusual. The truth is that ALL of us are descended from famous historical figures and ALL of us can count numerous famous people among our relatives. In fact, much of his poetry is focused on this central theme, that we are all related, all part of the same human family, and intimately dependent on one another for our collective wellbeing.
Overmire has also published several genealogical studies online, most notably “The Ancestry of Overmire, Tifft, Richardson, Bradford, Reed, ” which includes the family trees of many U. S. Presidents and European monarchs, and a host of famous statesmen, soldiers, artists, actors, writers, poets, musicians, scientists, inventors, and social reformers. His work has helped tens of thousands of people discover their family roots and find their intimate connections to the people and events that have shaped world history.
Laurence Overmire's Works:
Laurence is the author of 9 books:
1) The Ghost of Rabbie Burns: An American Poet's Journey Through Scotland (2016)
2) A Revolutionary American Family: The McDonalds of Somerset County, New Jersey (2015)
3) William R. McDonald and Abigail Fowler of Herkimer County, New York, and Their Descendants (2015)
4) The McDonalds of Lansingburgh, Rensselaer County, New York: The Pioneering Family of Richard and Catharine (Lansing) McDonald and Their Descendants (2015)
5) The One Idea That Saves The World: A Call to Conscience and A Call to Action (2012)
6) Gone Hollywood (2011)
7) One Immigrant's Legacy: The Overmyer Family in America 1751-2009 (2009)
8) Report From X-Star 10 (2009)
9) Honor and Remembrance: A Poetic Journey through American History (2007)
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Laurence Overmire Poems
To Gov. William Bradford (Of Plymouth Pl...
I think of you now My 10th great grandfather I think of you now when I should have thought of you
Sitting Bull's Dream
Sitting Bull saw it in a dream White men falling from the sky And for a time We believed
The Life Of A Cat
Sleep. Eat. Sleep.
The Wolf (Haiku)
The wolf in darkness moonlight on her hungry pups bullet cold as night
I lie on my back Look up through the grate Light streams in bars across the planks The black and white reflection of an angry god
A Good Poem
is like a bullet that goes straight to the heart life and death on the line
I weave the gold with clandestine fingers In silken thread of head and heart A skein of treasure lying on the floor
To be a serious poet Is to continually face The battering hand of rejection No value placed on
And God Made A Poet
There need to be people toiling on this Earth for whom money is not the Bottom Line
Above The Clouds
Have you ever flown in a plane and climbed above the clouds?
Xenia, Ohio (Tornado, Apr.4,1974)
Heard it on the news, several hours distance The tornado touched down. Blew away the pond in the park.
The Whistle Blower
Took the sins of the Corporation Upon her shoulders The indignity of her firing
Taking a bottle of work to work In the desk, the file, the flask Tucked inside the third piece of
A Prayer For The Dying
Every day admit me
Into the portal of the
Allow me to feel
The sublime majesty of life
The sanctity of relationship