Ready to Kiss Winter Goodbye, But Don’t Toss These Poems

This winter, here in Minnesota, we’ve been reminded that March, even with climate change,  can still be full-on winter.

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All that snow was pretty and now I am so ready to be done with winter—snow shovels, gloves, boots, hats.

But as I pack away my winter poems, I’m reluctant to let go a few favorites, ones that always seem to spark winter conversations and memories with older adults I work with, especially when combined with a few photos of winter scenes—historic blizzards in particular stir up a lot of conversation and memories.

In particular this pair of  poems—-featuring heating and how we used to heat our houses— and who did the work to keep that heat coming—are often fruitful for stirring up memories and stories:

Marge Percy, “The Air Smelled Dirty”

Robert Hayden, “Those Winter Sundays”

Lots of folks remember the coal chute, but the stories range widely, a few gems:

parents’ taking a break from shoveling to show a child how to make a snowball (and start a snowball fight, and —more importantly—enjoy life),

cutting peat for heating fuel,

trying to jimmy coins out of a British bedsit gas meter.

The Hayden poem also often leads to interesting conversations about how little of our parents’ own lives we sometimes understood when we were children…

So I won’t miss the end of winter, but I will miss the winter stories these poems kick up.

PS—

Here are some resources for finding your own favorite winter poems:

Interesting Literature

Poetry Foundation

American Academy of Poets

Let me know your favorites and what connects you to them…

PPS–

And if you find too many gloomy winter poems, for a lighter mood check out:

Robert Frost, “Dust of Snow”

Snowy tree limbs

 

 

Poetry Poster: “If Only” by Juliann Breting Rohn

People feel strongly about grapefruit. But love it or hate it, I hope you love this poem by Juliann Rohn as much as I do.

It reminds me to let go of regrets and embrace the possibilities of my mistakes and missed chances….

“If Only” by Juliann Breting Rohn. (Click on link below to download)

IFONLY, JULIAN BRETTING ROHN

Juliann came to Known by Heart workshops at multiple sites. She encouraged other people to participate. Every time she’s in the room, she brings a wonderful energy and spirit to her own  creative work as well as fostering creative community.

Congratulations and big thanks to Juliann for this poem and for all the creative spark you bring to our community.

Thanks

Thanks to Juliann and to Meleah Maynard and Mike Hoium of Slow Dog Studios for all the heart and talent they brought to this.  Thanks also to all Known by Heart’s funders, partners, volunteers and most of all the workshop participants for what you brought to this work.

And while we’re talking thanks —-Big thanks  to the fabulous folks at Broadsided for the idea of freely downloadable poetry broadsides.

Stay tuned for one more poster…

Known by Heart Poetry Posters, 2017 Credits:

Design: Slow Dog Studios.
Text: © Juliann Breting Rohn
Made possible by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation, Trillium Family Foundation and Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.
Distribute freely, but please give credit. 

Funders:

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation

Trillium Family Foundation

Partners:

Creative Enterprise Zone

Episcopal Homes

Hamline Midway Elders

FilmNorth formerly Independent Filmmaker Project of Minnesota

Keystone Community Services Senior Services Program

St. Anthony Park Area Seniors

St. Paul Public Library

 

Known by Heart Poetry Poster: “Reinventing the Wheel” by Dick Wenkel

Today’s poster is “Reinventing the Wheel” by Dick Wenkel:

WENKEL_ReinventingTheWheel

Reinventing the Wheel (Click on link to download)

WENKEL_ReinventingTheWheel

I love how this poem  starts in a moment of observation—a young woman’s arthritic-looking hands— and imagines its way into the future.

Dick was a faithful participant at Known by Heart writing workshops hosted by St. Antony Park Area Seniors…a lot of his writing shows his connection to the past and to the land, writing about his garden, working on a farm. But don’t think he is not a student of technology…ask him about the tools and technology of the farm, particularly the tractor.

I love how this poem stops me in my tracks, makes me pause, notice, look up…

Congratulations Dick and big thanks for this poem and for all the ways you’ve brought life to the Known by Heart project…

~~~~~

Over the coming weeks, Known by Heart will be making the rest of the 2017 posters available for free download from this website.

Thanks

Thanks to Dick and to Meleah Maynard and Mike Hoium of Slow Dog Studios for all the heart and talent they brought to this.  Thanks also to all Known by Heart’s funders, partners, volunteers and most of all the workshop participants for what you brought to this work.

And while we’re talking thanks —-Big thanks  to the fabulous folks at Broadsided for the idea of freely downloadable poetry broadsides.

Stay tuned for the other posters…

Known by Heart Poetry Posters, 2017 Credits:

Design: Slow Dog Studios.
Text: © Dick Wenkel
Made possible by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation, Trillium Family Foundation and Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.
Distribute freely, but please give credit. 

Funders:

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library

Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation

Trillium Family Foundation

Partners:

Creative Enterprise Zone

Episcopal Homes

Hamline Midway Elders

FilmNorth formerly Independent Filmmaker Project of Minnesota

Keystone Community Services Senior Services Program

St. Anthony Park Area Seniors

St. Paul Public Library