Stockton Springs poet and educator Jay S. White Sr. reads from “Poems of a Gentle Soul” at the Rotary Club of Ellsworth. ROTARY CLUB OF ELLSWORTH PHOTO

Go gently into this life: New poetry collection speaks to all ages

STOCKTON SPRINGS — Jay S. White Sr. has self-published his debut book, “Poems of a Gentle Soul,” which is illustrated by Otis artist Zakiry Guin. The Stockton Springs author composed the collection of rhyming and free-verse poetry over the course of several years. The first chapter highlights poems about kindness that are geared toward the children that he works with as an ed tech III in the Ellsworth Public Schools. The second chapter explores friendship and camaraderie within the school system. The third and final chapter emphasizes bravery and delves into White’s experience as a soldier, veteran and active American citizen.

“You kind of do your part because it is such a crazy environment we are living in, and children are so impressionable,” the poet recently said about his motivation to write the collection inspired by his work in classrooms.

Each of the 39 poems has its own corresponding, and colorful illustration by Guin, who met White while working as a substitute teacher. The two became quick friends. “He looked like the type of man that gives good advice” the illustrator said of his friend and colleague.

Quin renders his illustrations by hand before editing them digitally. In the book’s introduction, he writes, “Collaboration is a matter of give and take. Working together, with kindness, we present our best efforts.”

White grew up in Maryland. He studied marketing at the University of Baltimore and earned his teaching certification from Towson University. He went on to serve in the United States Coast Guard as a hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War. White has been a fourth-grade teacher, a sales and marketing executive and owned his own marketing research company. After retiring to his summer home in Sandy Point, he was drawn back to education first as a substitute teacher and then as a full-time ed tech III.

Experiences as a father, grandfather and educator have, as he writes on the back cover, “brought his gentle soul full circle in the publication of this book.”

White thanks his wife, children, grandchildren and his local American Legion post for all of their support.

“Poems of a Gentle Soul” is a reminder to be gentle in life. The collection is a great resource for teachers and available for purchase on


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