Monday, December 18, 2017

the fragmented yet lesson-worthy soup & salad of alice notley's poems.

in my mid-december traveling poetry class, we simmered through the sometimes broken apart and detached-seeming stanzas of alice notley. upon diving into notley's poems more, though, it's possible to find hints of the accessible in them, and piecing the feeling-response of those together as the reader, here and there, makes giving time and attention to her writings all the more worth it. plus, we all need a good challenge sometimes and can't expect everything to be simple and clear in front of us. we wouldn't be able to handle the rest of life suitably if that were the case. so it stretches our abilities better to jump into the not as comfortable, the less understood. and when we can relate to any hint of it then, it's a universal hug to our insides via the page.

ellen miller-mack of booklut.com convey's notley's talents reaching down into our bones and blood well in her review of culture of one which shares stories of a homeless woman in arizona. we read other poems by notley during class but also flipped through this book's language tossings.






in loud spaces, we tried to listen to a recording of notley 
reading a poem in a youtube video on a tablet. tried, we did.

traveling poetry classes in january 2018 at mario's pizza in boyertown & *the new* dunkin' donuts in phoenixville: focusing on robert frost & anne michaels' poems.

january's traveling poetry classes will focus on the works and styles of the famed robert frost and canadian scribe anne michaels. most know the name of frost (sharing his stanzas until he passed away in 1963), and part of one of his poems was used in a voiceover for a sports car commercial not long ago. i stumbled across the poetry of anne michaels after discovering it quoted in a book on CD i was listening to in 2014 called sweetwater creek by anne rivers siddons. and here is a welcome recording of a teenager who created a video by reading several of her poems and discussing them for the audience of the interwebs.

we'll practice reading their poems out loud and will discuss their styles, themes, curious phrasings, and anything else which stands out to us in their poetry. and testing out poems inspired by theirs to bring to class to share is welcome.

during the first class of the month, we'll meet at mario's pizza in boyertown, just like last month. the second class will be at the *new* dunkin' donuts in phoenixville (NOT the 218 nut road location where we met at on the 17th of december). dress plenty warmly in case it's chilly or drafty. ya just never know with temperature nuances.


next classes–

when: sunday, january 7 @ 1 p.m. & sunday, january 21 at 1 p.m.

where: for january 7, mario's pizza is at 159 south reading avenue, boyertown, pa 19512; for january 21, dunkin' donuts is at 390 schuylkill road, phoenixville, pa 19460

optional themes of focus:
  • sunday, january 7–robert frost-inspired poems
  • sunday, january 21–anne michaels-inspired poems

cost: $20 per student, per class (we usually meet for 2 hours or more)

at either class, any other subject is always welcome for the sharing, including other variations of creative writing, too. we pick out the poetry in whatever we read and hear. bringing a few copies of your writings to share is helpful so everyone can read them or share. but just having your original copy to read from is okay, too.

if we ever have oddly inconvenient weather around the time of classes, i will update those who RSVPed to classes in advance to let them know if we are canceling, rescheduling, or relocating.

if you have any questions, feel free to reach out via poetrywithjenniferhetrick at yahoo dot com.

and if you know anyone who may be interested in our class, feel free to share this blog content onward.

also, if there is anyone who may want to join our class but lives in another area across berks, chester, and montgomery counties, we sometimes travel to a good variety of different places, so let us know, and we can see about planning classes closer to you.

Monday, December 11, 2017

richard blanco poems over a really big hoagie & pizza.

in early december, my traveling poetry class enjoyed a sunday afternoon at mario's pizza in boyertown. we went over richard blanco poems and ones inspired by his writings. to recap, blanco wrote and read the presidential inauguration poem for our country in 2013 and did so from a very unique background for getting up to share his words in front of the entire u.s. here is a link to this poetry performance.

and of course, there's eating involved as we nibble our way through poetry in voices more new to us.

a medium-sized hoagie spanning 3 paper plates. really, though.



a beautiful poem called "burning in the rain" by blanco.


and student poems begin here.



notice the light shining across particles of air.


santa ordering pizza with his grandson, perhaps.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

traveling poetry classes in december 2017 at mario's pizza in boyertown & dunkin' donuts in phoenixville: focusing on richard blanco & alice notley's poems.

december's traveling poetry classes will focus on the works and styles of richard blanco and alice notley. blanco wrote and read the presidential inauguration poem for our country in 2013 and did so from a very unique background for getting up to share his words in front of the entire u.s. here is a link to this poetry performance. notley is a poet i recall from years ago because my mentor told me years ago that my poetry sometimes shaped a bit like hers as well as that of frank o'hara. but frank o'hara's poetry may be a focus for a future class.

we'll practice reading their poems out loud and will discuss their styles, themes, curious phrasings, and anything else which stands out to us in their poetry. and testing out poems inspired by theirs to bring to class to share is welcome.

during the first class of the month, we'll meet at mario's pizza in boyertown. the second class will be at the dunkin' donuts in phoenixville. dress plenty warmly in case it's chilly or drafty. ya just never know with temperature nuances.


next classes–

when: sunday, december 3 @ 1 p.m. & sunday, december 17 at 1 p.m.

where: for december 3, mario's pizza is at 159 south reading avenue, boyertown, pa 19512; for december 17, dunkin' donuts is at 218 nutt road, phoenixville, pa 19460

optional themes of focus:


  •     sunday, december 3–richard blanco-inspired poems
  •     sunday, december 17–alice notley-inspired poems

cost: $20 per student, per class (we usually meet for 2 hours or more)

at either class, any other subject is always welcome for the sharing, including other variations of creative writing, too. we pick out the poetry in whatever we read and hear. bringing a few copies of your writings to share is helpful so everyone can read them or share. but just having your original copy to read from is okay, too.

if we ever have oddly inconvenient weather around the time of classes, i will update those who RSVPed to classes in advance to let them know if we are canceling, rescheduling, or relocating.

if you have any questions, feel free to reach out via poetrywithjenniferhetrick at yahoo dot com.

and if you know anyone who may be interested in our class, feel free to share this blog content onward.

also, if there is anyone who may want to join our class but lives in another area across berks, chester, and montgomery counties, we sometimes travel to a good variety of different places, so let us know, and we can see about planning classes closer to you.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

rita dove poems over pizza.

the writings of former u.s. poet laureate rita dove were a welcome focus in my traveling poetry class this past weekend at argento's pizza & family restaurant in boyertown. one student's poem involved a style adaptation and memory of the state (nebraska) of our previous class' focus, former. u.s. poet laureate ted kooser, too.

we don't limit ourselves to just poetry necessarily (other angles of approach in creative writing and experimentation on the page are quite allowed, to be more all-encompassing) or in the style of the writers' whose works we carve our thoughts through, but it has been that way lately, which is easily fine, too. and some of us don't necessarily write for each class. we just share reflections and offer perspectives to ponder across stanzas. so it's a nice balance, based on whatever we all want to and feel inspired to write or say or just hear.








Wednesday, November 1, 2017

ted kooser poems at dunkin' donuts. what a pairing.

we swam our way through the words of former u.s. poet laureate ted kooser in my traveling poetry class this past sunday at the dunkin' donuts in limerick. and because we hadn't met since earlier in the month,  we especially enjoyed it.

we even passed around one of his books to pick out random poems to share reading-wise for the ears. his documentation of the most natural and basic of things around us, done so vividly and like a short film for our minds, is so easy to love.




i also record the poetry-ish lines which come out of my students but are 
not written down by them. somebody has to write good lines down, damn it. 

  



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

traveling poetry classes in november 2017 at argento's pizza in boyertown & dairy queen in limerick: focusing on rita dove and jim harrison's poems.

november's traveling poetry classes will focus on the works and styles of former u.s. poet laureate rita dove and jim harrison who wasn't a u.s. poet laureate but wasn't far from inching toward being one. harrison passed away last year. he co-wrote braided creek with good friend u.s. former poet laureate ted kooser, and he is also the author of legends of the fall and the farmer's daughter.

we'll practice reading their poems out loud and will discuss their styles, themes, curious phrasings, and anything else which stands out to us in their poetry. and testing out poems inspired by theirs to bring to class to share is welcome.

during the first class of the month, we'll meet at argento's pizza & family restaurant. the second class will be at dairy queen in gilbertsville. dress plenty warmly in case it's chilly or drafty. ya just never know with temperature nuances.


 next classes–

when: sunday, november 12 @ 1 p.m. & sunday, november 26 at 1 p.m.

where: for november 12, argento's pizza & family restaurant is at 833 east philadelphia avenue, boyertown, pa 19512; for november 26, dairy queen is at 1050 east philadelphia avenue, gilbertsville, pa 19464

optional themes of focus:

  • sunday, november 12–rita dove-inspired poems
  • sunday, november 26–jim harrison-inspired poems

cost: $20 per student, per class (we usually meet for 2 hours or more)

at either class, any other subject is always welcome for the sharing, including other variations of creative writing, too. we pick out the poetry in whatever we read and hear. bringing a few copies of your writings to share is helpful so everyone can read them or share. but just having your original copy to read from is okay, too.

if we ever have oddly inconvenient weather around the time of classes, i will update those who RSVPed to classes in advance to let them know if we are canceling, rescheduling, or relocating.

if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at poetrywithjenniferhetrick at yahoo dot com.

and if you know anyone who may be interested in our class, feel free to share this blog content onward.

also, if there is anyone who may want to join our class but lives in another area across berks, chester, and montgomery counties, we sometimes travel to a good variety of different places, so let us know, and we can see about planning classes closer to you.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

a bat poem.

as a postcard-writing type, i send a few postcards out per week and have quite a collection (literary quotes, artist portraits, animal art, food art, american girl dolls (found at a stand at zern's), vintage french instructional charts, and i forget what else. jane austen character zombie postcards and naughty little naked people were my favorites, but alas, i've needed to cut back on my postcard-buying for perhaps obvious reasons. ha. so i'm using what i have until it's gone, aside from when i visit historical places and scoop up their tourist kinds.

below are scenes by a friend's son; he goes to college in philadelphia and kindly replied to a poetry prompt, which i don't send to everybody, but i had a feeling he would.

 



sidebar: according to the united states department of agriculture's forest service, more than 300 species of fruits depend on bats for pollinating to happen in the way that's needed for them to grow. plus, eating bugs so they don't overtake us is pretty cool.

my favorite lines in the poem are–

  • key difference; they bite you, i don't
  • (i also recycle)
  • if you could only see our bones, we're exactly the same 

and talk of the bat's pal billy. good stuff.

Monday, October 2, 2017

poetry on rocks and in the water at st. peter's villlage in chester county.

something brief but eye-telling. here are some scenes from our traveling poetry class at st. peter's village in chester county after a palate-memorable lunch at st. peter's bakery (french hoagie with brie and finely sliced tomatoes, i loved you so).

and some brief rock-hopping served as its own reprieve on an autumn-trailing sunday afternoon. 



Sunday, September 24, 2017

traveling poetry classes in october 2017 at the rocks at st. peter's villlage & the dunkin' donuts in limerick.

october's traveling poetry classes will bring in some of the natural world before warmer weather ends and then some coffee shop arena space to start a dive into appreciating the works of u.s. poet laureates.

during the first class of the month, we'll visit the rocks at st. peter's village in chester county. if the weather isn't ideal, we will go into st. peter's bakery which is also a bit like a café. we'll meet at the big parking lot across the street from the bakery, which is in front of the rocks.


(planking on the rocks at st. peter's village in chester county | photograph by jillian belli)
 
during the second class of the month, we'll read poems by former u.s. poet laureate ted kooser who served in his position from 2004 to 2006.


we're back to sunday afternoons twice a month.

next classes–

when: sunday, october 1 @ 1 p.m. & sunday, october 29 at 1 p.m.

where: for october 1, the rocks at st. peter's village, closest to st. peter's village bakery at 3441 st. peters road, elverson, pa 19520 or st. peter's, pa 19470, depending on the maps site you use or your GPS unit; for october 29, the dunkin' donuts in limerick at 6 kugler road, limerick, pa 19468

optional themes of focus:

  • sunday, october 1– rock-hopping or creek poems
  • sunday, october 29– ted kooser-inspired poems

cost: $20 per student, per class (we usually meet for 2 hours or more)

at either class, any other subject is always welcome for the sharing, including other variations of creative writing, too. we pick out the poetry in whatever we read and hear. bringing a few copies of your writings to share is helpful so everyone can read them or share. but just having your original copy to read from is okay, too.

if we ever have oddly inconvenient weather before or during set outdoor classes, i will update those who RSVPed to classes in advance to let them know if we are canceling, rescheduling, or relocating.

if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at poetrywithjenniferhetrick at yahoo dot com.

and if you know anyone who may be interested in our class, feel free to share this blog content onward.

also, if there is anyone who may want to join our class but lives in another area across berks, chester, and montgomery counties, we sometimes travel to a good variety of different places, so let us know, and we can see about planning classes closer to you.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

mall poems and other kinds in early september.

our time at the coventry mall in pottstown, chester county, in our last traveling poetry class led to some interesting conversations and observations. the mall and shopping cultures have really taken on some shifts and revivals in recent years.

although we ended up going over some non-mall poetry after a first poem, and that's quite okay and a welcome thing sometimes during class. 

it was curious to see how the mall has changed in recent decades, especially since i don't go shopping often. so many shops have changed out, but not all of them. a salad place is there, but the same long-lived penn steak & fries and corrado's pizza are still mainstays. since we camped out in the food court, that's where our focus played.

after the first poem below, pulled from the interwebs, the rest are scoops of eye-scenes by my student janice meindl from her time in a creative writing class she took at RACC in recent years, and the instructor had told her she ought to dive into poetry. this is what led her to hunt for a class like what i teach, and we're very grateful for the spirit of janice's words and demeanor as another voice in our get-togethers.




  


Saturday, September 2, 2017

traveling poetry classes in september 2017 at the coventry mall & the boyertown area community library.

september's traveling poetry classes will involve people-watching at the coventry mall and then library moments thanks to study rooms now available at the boyertown community library since it relocated to a larger and more historic building last month.


and we'll be meeting during evenings in case that is more helpful for some people than our usual sunday afternoon get-togethers. it's also just to try something new.

next classes–

when: wednesday, september 6 @ 6.30 p.m. & monday, september 18 at 6.30 p.m.

where:
for september 6, the coventry mall's food court, at 351 west schuylkill road, pottstown, pa 19465; for september 18, the new location of the boyertown community library at 24 north reading avenue, boyertown, pa 19512

optional themes of focus:


  • wednesday, september 6– mall poems
  • monday, september 18– library poems

 
at either class, any other subject is always welcome for the sharing, including other variations of creative writing, too. we pick out the poetry in whatever we read and hear. bringing a few copies of your writings to share is helpful so everyone can read them or share. but just having your original copy to read from is okay, too.

(not relevant here but good to know for future classes
if we ever have oddly inconvenient weather before or during set outdoor classes, i will update those who RSVPed to classes in advance to let them know if we are canceling, rescheduling, or relocating to some place indoors.)

cost: $20 per student, per class (we usually meet for 2 hours or more)

if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at poetrywithjenniferhetrick at yahoo dot com.

and if you know anyone who may be interested in our class, feel free to share this blog content onward.

also, if there is anyone who may want to join our class but lives in another area across berks, chester, and montgomery counties, we sometimes travel to a good variety of different places, so let us know, and we can see about planning classes closer to you.

petunia poems and muddy kinds in late august.

in my traveling poetry class at the end of august, we met where we often do throughout warmer seasons, along a semi-hidden bank along the schuylkill river in pottstown. and semi-hidden in this case means from the schuylkill river trail, not the water itself.




i wrote a poem for a scene not captured by camera, something which happened at the end of class as we were making our way back to the parking lot. its proverbial gist and skeleton in words are below.

*

i write you in case the others don’t

it is a poem as sam slides one
boot down mud giving way
to barbara's crocs, her hip

meeting the wet of what rain
left behind, hands locked
across the three of us as

we link to even footing
after leaving the river.
we travel for poetry, but

we keep moving, parting
to get away from the tiny hill
pulling the natural world's

prank on us, or not joking
but just documenting that
we're meant to fall down

once in a while, to make
sure we are more humble
than not, as the walking

poems we are, stanzas
hugging homes behind
our bones—lines, lines.