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Award-winning Oak Crest poet publishes new book

Oak Tree Palace fulfills lifelong dream for Robert Annen

Created date

April 18th, 2018
Oak Crest resident Robert Annen won first place in the poetry division of the 2nd Annual Silver Pen Creative Writing Contest, sponsored by the Baltimore County Department of Aging. The poem is now part of a collection in his newly published book of poetry

Oak Crest's Robert Annen won 1st place in the poetry division of the 2nd Annual Silver Pen Creative Writing Contest, sponsored by Baltimore County Dept of Aging. The poem is part of a collection in his new book Oak Tree Palace.

This Mother’s Day, as millions of moms receive flowers and gifts, Robert “Bob” Annen honors his late mother Bertha with a poem he wrote and dedicated to her a few months after she passed away in 2015.

The award-winning piece titled “96” won first place in the poetry division of the 2nd Annual Silver Pen Creative Writing Contest, sponsored by the Baltimore County Department of Aging, and is now part of a collection in Bob’s newly published book of poetry, Oak Tree Palace.

“I was so proud of my mother. She worked hard, and writing these lines not only helped me to honor her but also was part of the grieving process,” says Bob, who has had a lifetime fascination with words and recalls writing detective stories as a boy.

Bob says his mother always encouraged him in his writing and read his poems. In her later years, when her vision declined, Bob would often read them to her.

“I think she would be proud of the poem I wrote about her,” he says. “She would have especially enjoyed my winning the contest and the prize ceremony at the Senior Expo in Timonium.”

Go with the flow

Bob’s writing doesn’t follow any specific style or format. Most of his poems are short, just 12 lines or fewer. His only hard and fast rule: let your imagination lead the way.

“I try to mix it up and write about a variety of different subjects. I guess you could say I have a strong, vivid imagination. I’m a lifelong dreamer,” says Bob.

The words in his poems can reveal themselves during a car drive or a leisurely stroll around the lake at Oak Crest, the Erickson Living community Bob and his wife Beverly have called home since 2016. In fact, one of his most recent poems titled “The Oak Crest Poem” gives a glimpse of what life is like at the Parkville community.

He keeps pen and paper handy to capture his fleeting ideas no matter when the inspiration manifests.

“Sometimes, I’ll pen a few words at a time, others just a line or two,” says Bob. “Eventually, they come together as a poem. I take a notebook and a pen with me wherever I go because you never know when inspiration will hit, and I will come up with a line or two. When the words come, I have to be ready and get as many ideas down as I can before I lose them,” says Bob.

Although Bob retired in 1998 from his job with Giant Food, he shortly thereafter found a part-time job as a courier for Baltimore Medical Systems. But even with his busy schedule, he always finds time for poetry.

“I enjoy staying busy, but poetry has always meant a great deal to me. Creating something out of a few thoughts, just like a painter with a blank canvas, is inspirational,” he says.

Compiling his life’s work into one book has been a long-time dream of Bob’s that, with Beverly’s help, finally came to fruition.

“Bob always said to me, ‘I wish I could do a book one day,’” says Beverly. “So, I decided for Christmas I would figure out how we could make it a reality. I did some research and found this online self-publishing company called CreateSpace. It was simple to use. We sent the poems to them and they edited, formatted, and published the book. It’s been a really fun and interesting experience doing something like this for the first time.”

The Oak Crest Poem

By Robert Annen


The view from the hill,

Walks around the lake,

With gardens to till

And classes to take.


Birth of new friendships

Tried and true,

Planning for those trips,

Looking forward to something new.


Just cruising the loop

Or hiking the trail,

Meeting with a group,

Or getting your mail.


Security and sales,

Maintenance and cooks,

A staff that never fails,

And a library filled with books.


Outstanding food that’s here to stay;

The landscaping is lush.

Live the Oak Crest way,

And avoid the rush.

96 (For Mom)

By Robert Annen


Tea and cake-

In the evening-


The long climb-


To bed.

You withstood-

The test of time-

For better-

Or worse-

An existence-


In the tremor-

Of heavy waves.


By a sturdy lifeline-

And a burning desire-

To go on living.