Poetry Poster: “Buzz” by Maureen Hirsch

Today’s poster is “Buzz” by Maureen Hirsch.

“Buzz” by Maureen Hirsch. (Click on link below to download)

HIRSCH-Buzz

I love Maureen’s heartfelt description of a cat who was a long-time resident of the cat shelter she is involved with. I love how Mike Hoium of Slow Dog Studios came up with art that so captured the spirit of a cat he’d never met.

It turned out to be such a good likeness that a reader of the Known by Heart newsletter, when we featured an image of “Buzz” last fall contacted me to say “I knew that cat!”

More recently I was contacted by Feline Rescue, where “Buzz” had lived to ask for a copy of the poster for the person who had adopted Buzz. Yes, Buzz found a permanent home, is still purring and, by now, thanks to Marie at Feline Rescue, he and his human companion have a copy of his poster.

Big thanks to Maureen for starting that chain with her poem.

Maureen’s a person of many talents…in addition to the time she gives to Feline Rescue, she also is a a ringleader of Keystone’s amazing craft group, a community of incredibly kind and creative people.

Maureen’s kindness and thoughtfulness made the workshops feel like home to many participants who might not otherwise have ventured into a poetry class.

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

Note:

This is the sixth and final poster from the Knight Arts Challenge Writing Home project. But many different folks have shared how much these posters have meant to them…so we’ll be on the lookout for ways to bring you more posters in future.

Thanks

Thanks to Maureen 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.

Known by Heart Poetry Posters, 2017 Credits:

Design: Slow Dog Studios.
Text: © Maureen Hirsch
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

 

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

Known by Heart Poetry Poster: Overhead by Rose Hendrickson

Today’s poster is the lovely Overhead by Rose Hendrickson. I loved this poem when it appeared in my inbox last spring as four couplets and I love what Slow Dog’s Mike Hoium did with it to make it a visual poem:

Congratulations Rose and thanks for this poem. It reminds me to look up…

~~~~~

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

Thanks

Thanks to Rose 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: © Rose Hendrickson
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: Ice Plant

Our next gorgeous poetry poster is Ice Plant by Marla Gladen.

I loved this poem when Marla wrote it in a Keystone Community Services class back in 2016. It captures some of Marla’s precise memories of the California landscape she grew up in. Today the poem has an eerie resonance in the face of the current fires on California’s coastal landscapes…

Congratulations Marla and thanks for this haunting poem.

~~~~~

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

Thanks

Thanks to Cori 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: © Marla Gladen
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

The Known by Heart Writing Home Poetry Posters are Done!

And here’s the first of six:

Birth Right by Cori E. Gershon (Click on image to download:)

 

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

Congratulations Cori…you will always be an inspiration.

Thanks

Thanks to Cori 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: © Cori E. Gershon
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

Learning by Going #9: A Volunteer Perspective

keystone becky crop P1050268 copy

Becky Hampton, Known by Heart volunteer and author of today’s guest post, second from left at a poetry session earlier this year.

One of my big learnings— or at least reminders— from Known by Heart is how big-hearted people can be. I’m thinking in particular about a handful of volunteers who have helped enrich poetry sessions and help elders get their words onto paper.

Today Known by Heart offers this guest post from , one of a handful of wonderful volunteers who has helped in numerous and unexpected ways with Known by Heart.  Big thanks to Becky for this piece and for her volunteer help behind the scenes.

Here are Becky’s observations about her experience visiting a poetry session this past winter. Big Thanks:

After pulling into the parking lot of the Merriam Park Community Center, I hesitated a moment before opening my car door. It was February and five degrees above zero, not counting the wind chill which, by my amateur estimation, was something like twenty below. The walk from my car to the building was short but the cold seems to stretch the seconds, so I steeled myself and walk-jogged to the entrance, teeth chattering, my gratitude for warmth heightened.

I was here during my lunch break, to visit one of Naomi’s Known By Heart poetry classes for seniors.  As a behind-the-scenes volunteer who creates electronic documents of poetry written by some of Naomi’s students, I wanted to experience what one of a class might be like and meet some of its participants.  Being there on a cold day in February seemed to underline the importance of a class like this. The winter can feel lonely for anyone, as we huddle inside, away from the common spaces outdoors in which we would need to hide, anyway, behind our layers of coats and scarves and hats.  It can feel even more lonely for seniors or people with disabilities, as mobility during the winter is made more difficult.  My own grandmother and I are very close, and I know how difficult winters can be for because of her limited mobility.

Naomi’s class was a warm fire that invited people in. Into conversation, into community. Though my visit was short, I could tell the class provided a connection point for each participant. The connection they made was not only with each other (the class began with each person taking a turn to share a word and corresponding movement they associated with the month, followed by the rest of the group echoing the word and movement), but with themselves.  The class provided time for each participant to write in response to a prompt, to share something they had written, or to hear aloud the writing of poets outside of the classroom.  Participants seemed open and glad to be there, freely sharing or responding to each other.  These components, and Naomi’s facilitation, which modeled respect and interest in each voice, made the classroom a “warm space” of community, in which each member was valued and seen.

Becky Hampton is a writer who works in the nonprofit sector.

 

Learning by Going #8 –It Really Does Matter What We Carry in Our Hearts

I’m learning I never get over the impact of a person sharing a poem from memory…

I’ve had my own practice of committing poetry to memory for years. And forgetful as I am, I believe it has a real value. But merely asserting this is one thing. It is something altogether more powerful to witness.  A poem drawn from within a body, from a person’s secret store of memory.

Each poem that comes from the heart is different.

Each person and the reasons each of us holds a particular poem in our heart is different.

Often the poem is surprising. Often, in my classes,  it is nestled in the memory of someone with significant memory loss. But there is this mystery that they still remember this poem in a way they can share.

Often memory loss is not the only challenge the poem-holder copes with. Often it is the person who seems most cut off—Struggling with memory. Struggling with hearing. Struggling with eyesight—even the 24 point font eluding capture and interpretation. Struggling even to speak…So often lungs are no longer strong enough to push air past the vocal cords as well as they once did.

So often the poem comes out in a small voice.

Like the other day…I was leading a small group and had just shared Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the thing with feathers”

hope is the thing mockingbird crop 1 P1040412 copy

Hope is the thing with feathers….

We were focusing on birds, both real and figurative. Bird poems always seem to get people going. The the conversation was swooping and fluttering.

And then, a few wisps of voice from a woman who’d been sitting, seeming shut down and withdrawn. But as if from a great distance we hear these words:

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Emily Dickinson’s lines are rising from her throat.

Barely a whisper, but no less powerful for that.

The other voices and sounds fall away.

She says a few lines. And stops.

But we have stopped talking about birds and imagination and reality. We wait to hear more.

She starts again

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

and slow but sure recites the whole short poem.

I swear she glows when she is done.