SCARBOROUGH (Sep 1, 2005): Scarborough poet Nathan Laxague is just starting his junior year at Cheverus, but has already begun selling a book of his poetry for the benefit of several non-profit agencies.
Laxague, now 16, was inspired in seventh grade to write poetry to bring laughter to a friend of his who had cancer. During the school year, he wrote several poems for class assignments, and his teacher told him he should try to get them published.
That summer, he wrote several and has spent the years since trying to get the book published. It came out recently, as “Preposterous Poetry to Tickle Your Funny Bone,” with cover and inside art also by Laxague.
“It’s kind of silly stuff to cheer people up,” Laxague said. “It all rhymes because I’ve always had this thing against non-rhyming poetry.”
What began as an effort to help a friend has now become a larger cause. Seventy-five percent of the proceeds will be split among several non-profits, some local and others nationwide.
The Cancer Community Center in South Portland, which helps cancer patients and their families, will get 20 percent of the profits, as will the Tomorrow’s Children’s Fund in New Jersey, which also helps children with cancer and blood disorders.
Ten percent will go to saving the rain forest and endangered animals, and 10 percent will go to the Environmental Health Management Institute to buy educational materials for schools around the country.
The remaining 15 percent will go to a group Laxague is just starting up, called Kids Against Toxins, dedicated to advocating for a cleaner environment.
“People need to realize the toxins in the environment and the effects they have on people’s lives” and health, Laxague said.
The group has several ambitious goals: to create a fund to help people who need medical care but can’t get support from their insurance companies, to encourage hazardous-waste collection days in towns, to expand recycling and environmental programs in schools, and to encourage alternative-health practitioners to present at cancer support centers.
“We’re just getting it started,” Laxague said.
The book is on sale at Borders Books and Music in South Portland, Books Etc. and Emerson Booksellers in Portland. It's also on sale at Lonfellow Books in Portland, where Laxague will hold a book-signing on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m.
The Kids Against Toxins group is also holding an event to raise money on Monday, Oct. 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the O’Naturals restaurant on Exchange Street in Portland, at which kids can sign up, free of charge, to be members of the group.
It is also seeking donations for an art auction at Local 188 in Portland in April, to benefit the Cancer Community Center and children with cancer at Maine Medical Center.For more information, contact Laxague at KidsAgainstToxins@hotmail.com.