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.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

let's rant: pet peeves—a call for submissions from studio b in boyertown, berks county & a berks bards' first thursday writing theme.


initial information here is shared from studio b in boyertown, berks county.

any questions about this call for submissions can be sent to jane e. stahl who serves as this gallery's director of community relations. see below.

*

the writer's challenge for 2018:

let's rant: pet peeves



(think of what drives you absolutely batty, and run with it in word-form.)

 
*

yup, it’s time for a little venting. we all have pet peeves—persons, places, or things that drive us crazy.

opening and book release: the opening for studio b’s 5th annual exhibit and book release combining visual and literary art is scheduled for march 16, 2018. we hope you will submit several pieces of your work. copies of the books will be available for purchase in addition to artwork.

theme: this year’s challenge is to respond to people, occasions, things, or ideas that “drive you crazy.” perhaps your response will include a piece of advice or insight for those who will follow you. now that you are older and wiser, consider what you might advise your “younger self.”

feel free to let loose with swashbuckling passion…offer a comic’s sharp satiric edge…or consider offering your “bitters” in a softer, gentler tone—the sugar that lets the medicine go down.

writer
s—submission details: send 1 or 2 your pieces of writing—poetry or prose—to jane e. stahl at janeEstahl@comcast.net as a microsoft word document or inside an email message by friday, december 1, 2017. no PDFs, please. again, the deadline is friday, december 1, 2017. also, be sure to include a short biography about yourself in 3 to 5 sentences. 
*


and as a way to promote this call for submissions as well as this theme for an even wider reach of writings, berks bards, also in berks county, will have a theme of pet peeve poems for its first thursday event at goggleworks in the city of reading on thursday, february 1, 2018 at 6 p.m. berks bards sometimes has featured poets before these community open mics, but the february event will be all about pet peeves in poem-form from the local community. those who are from farther away are welcome, too. so if you are interested in studio b's call for submissions, you can submit by the december deadline and bring your work to share with berks bards in the likely chilly weather of early february. any questions about the community open mic in february can be sent to berksbards@gmail.com.

Monday, August 14, 2017

dog park poems.

yesterday, my traveling poetry class practiced dog park poems in birdsboro at the the danielle ruiz-murphy center for animal welfare and dog park

some notable moments not captured on camera involved one dog humping another dog's face (strangely tolerated by the muscular, semi-large dog taking that hit) and lots of mud water-drinking despite fresh bowls of recently poured clean water sitting a few feet away. oofh.

here is one poem from the day, along with a winter-reminding eye-scene.


Mellow-Drama
By Sam Traten

Chipped, spayed and neutered, we’re at the dog park
today. Parts added, parts taken away. Notably missing is
Forgiveness. Hold on, partner, don’t take that the wrong
way. Here’s the thing:

Our relationship, eons old, dog and person, has discovered
how to bypass the whole you wronged me, I forgive you
you humans, among yourselves, play roughhouse. I, your dog, even
left alone, waiting for you to come home, pour kibble, take a bathroom-break

walk, stroke fur, nuzzle face and ears, romp and fetch –
never bothered to learn forgive and forget. No need, it’s
built in. Today, now and forever, I am happy
to see you. I care for you, you are my sunshine,

my beginning and my end. I’ll leap and spin at your
arrival, crouch the downward dog, look lovingly
in your eyes, doggy-smile at your attention, your approval.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

noticing a good line-- hugging poems before they're born.

one night while i prepped dinner in the kitchen, my niece, lillee grace hetrick, busily worked at her art (i love how much she is always creating art in her life) on a nearby counter. she noticed an older sampling of her own art on my fridge, held up by a magnet, and commented about remembering it. 


i interjected, telling her that what she voiced about the weathered art flowed as a good line. usually, i simply say, that's a good line ! since she's newly into learning how to play the electric guitar (and thus test out lyric-writing), she grabbed a clean sheet of paper and wrote down a lightly revamped version. at first, she said something like, i remember i made these alien frogs holding balloons. 

soon, i explained that unique phrasings, very specific and visual, are often poetic. and sometimes dissimilar words just sound good together, in a fresh approach. they can be unexpectedly, oddly, and whimsically beautiful. and especially when detailed imagery is involved.

i also gave an example of poetry-teaching through asking her what she thought sounded better, to say she made a piece of art or that she drew it, since she did technically draw these creatures and their sky-reaching reminders of glee. since drew is so much more specific, it is not only better and more accurate writing but also more poetic. so her revised line is below, in her then eight-year-old handwriting.



we talked about how sometimes you just hear a good line, and it's something hopeful for the future, good to write down, capturing it to save to stand on its own or to use in a more lengthy patch of poem or song later.

my traveling poetry class students are used to hearing me say, that's a good line. write it down. and sometimes they don't act, so i say, i mean it ! i think a lot of us have the self-bias of not realizing our own value sometimes, and that can certainly happen with a good line. but if you train yourself into listening for good lines from within you and from those around you, like anything else, with practice, you pick up on stirring quality more and more easily.

and the prospect of just writing a single line here or there, to save for later or just let carry itself on the page, is something i highly recommend. it also teaches you to plant more poetry in the world by giving it the vibrancy of simply letting it be noticed versus anything less.

so let yourself just be a spy for good lines sometimes. it is a benefit for the heart and for the page. and in our world today, it seems poetry will have continually more value in difficult times when we need beauty, hope, and the chance to believe the blurry complexities of our culture can get and be better-- across more people standing up for the greater good and supporting each other through newfound compassion through our evolving bumps upward in consciousness. awareness is everything, and that plays into poetry very directly. onward with poems.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

traveling poetry classes in august 2017 at the dog park in birdsboro & the schuylkill river in pottstown.

EDIT: this post was updated on the 14th of august.

we're possibly switching to one evening class each month, and we're in the process of considering a date/time/location for that likely starting in september.

early august is a focus on dog parks and fur kids of the canine variety. anyone is welcome to bring their dogs, but some of us will just be gladly observing what we see in the park, sans our own fur kids during this trip.




although as usual, students are welcome to join us with poems or other creative writing on non-dog-related topics or with no writing to share at all, if just discussing writing (or listening, if you're in a more quiet mood) is easier for certain brains. and that's true of us all, sometimes.

next classes–

when: sunday, august 13 @ 1 p.m. & sunday, august 27 @ 1 p.m.

where: for august 13, the danielle ruiz-murphy center for animal welfare and dog park–the address of its location is 503 center road, birdsboro, pa 19508, and it is also technically route 345 south just off of route 422 west; for august 27, the schuylkill river in pottstown, with a meeting place as the parking lot at riverfront park at 140 college drive, pottstown, pa 19464

optional themes of focus:


  • sunday, august 13– dog park poems; dog poems
  • sunday, august 27– river poems (but any other subject is always welcome)


if we have oddly inconvenient weather before or during set 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.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

river poems and a plenty full river in mont clare at lock 60 in late july.

our traveling poetry class in late july by the river in mont clare, montgomery county, right next to phoenixville, chester county, stood to be the most busy we've seen in terms of noticing others out appreciating the water and its nearby canal. but as much as we like having the banks to ourselves, we were so happy to see people out in the water in kayaks and fishing, not just glued eye-wise to televisions, computers, tablets, and cell phones in these modern days of a technology-everything world. it is wonderful to glimpse people literally soaking up the goodness of the natural environment.

and i'd never seen people literally in the canal before, at least not that i can recall. so there are some scenes of that below.

we also ate some of my heirloom sungold tomatoes and enjoyed a blend of people and cultures to observe in their outings. and that includes some music not native to this country. there's also a bag of wishes below, little seedpods from thistle to blow on for what we hope for in the world. very childhood memory-stirring, at least for me.