Saturday, June 17, 2017

rescheduling the location of my sunday, june 25 traveling poetry class to a douglassville section of the schuylkill river.

due to canal day happening in mont clare on the same day when we planned to do river poems there in my traveling poetry class on sunday, june 25 at 1 p.m., i've relocated our meeting spot to ganshahawny park in douglassville. this is right along the schuylkill river.

ganshahawny park does not have its own address, but the closest address nearby, on the opposite side of the road, is 334 old philadelphia pike, douglassville, pa 19518. coming from the newly redone river bridge road, you'd see the big concrete overpass of highway above, just after the park entrance on the right. and here is some photography of how to find the park.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

un•whole•y•ness-- a poem by maryann neblock-- about living with crohn's disease daily.

i have been very much been looking forward to sharing this poem. it is by my good friend maryann neblock who lives in chester county, pennsylvania. she's been dealing with a severe form of crohn's disease for years, and i've learned a lot about life through her experiences.

i always want things to be better for her, for more to be discovered which will help her in ways maybe nobody in the medical field necessarily expected based on current research and knowledge. i want her to have a better quality of life, which she deserves, especially for how much she puts her heart out there for others in this world. 

as much as i get upset about her circumstances, she incidentally teaches me to be a little less typically american and instead more grateful for how my life and health are, even though i am usually wrapped up in my own stress and worry. it gives some bigger picture perspective to see and know even just some of what maryann experiences.

in the past year or two, i've been encouraging maryann to dive into poetry to work through the beautiful and the difficult in life. in a matter of months, she became the bird haiku writer of my days, stirred from her affinity for watching winged ones through the windows of her home and making sure they always have enough to nibble on in her yard.

here is an eye-scene of a tank top which maryann gave to me from her husband don's bicycling efforts in raising funds to help the crohn's and colitis foundation of american. i love this tank top oddly more than i like most clothing and have worn it quite a bit lately.

and here is maryann's poem which has been continually shared, and sometimes even requested for more sharing, across the communities of medical professionals and patients who know these unique digestive and life difficulties best. 

in early june, she heard the news that the oley foundation based in albany, new york, is featuring this poem in its july & august or september & october issue of what is called the lifeline letter newsletter. it is sent out to 15,000 recipients. i love that its value in helping others know they are not alone keeps growing across different sets of people.


By MaryAnn Neblock

I lie awake in bed at night
Hoping to fall asleep
To be whole
The soft whir of the pump
ka-chunk    ka-chunk
Moving liquid nutrients into my heart
And eventually into what’s left of my gut

How did I become this creature?
This artificial being in body
While still real and whole in mind and soul

How can the body fail so as to betray
the spirit that drives me?
And how do I go on from here
To fulfill my purpose with such distraction?

Tomorrow is another day
To push through the daily rituals
Until the whir of the pump once again
Lulls me to sleep..and I become whole


from what i have learned, feeling understood and knowing you are not alone is everything in life, sometimes, and this certainly fits probably at a very deep body and heart-level for those who know maryann's same struggles.

she recently received a letter about this poem making rounds across different sets of eyes within her medical community connections through penn medicine. it expresses gratitude for her poem's impact. here is a copy of the letter.

and here is a photograph of maryann and don in arizona during crohn's & colitis awareness week. it spanned from december 1 through 7, 2016, last year. the paper maryann is holding shows how many years she's been working through this condition in everyday life. because of her health situation, traveling is absolutely no simple or easy feat for maryann, so it'd be easy to take for granted a trip like this for anyone who doesn't know a life like hers and those who have similar medical and bodily circumstances.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

river haiku by arline christ.

in may, with weather finally warming up more kindly, at least by a pinch or two in terms of degree-thinking, my traveling poetry class ventured to the schuylkill river for the first time in 2017. and we were very ecstatic to be there, especially given how we were stuck inside all winter.

we enjoyed our beloved hideaway spot, the usual, in pottstown near the west campus of montgomery county community college.

arline christ, who over the past decade has painted several animals on the carousel at pottstown which debuted this winter, stringed some river haiku, which i'm letting extend across the page a bit broadly here so they can be best appreciated in extended form, joining together, although written separately, and moving like water downstream.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

traveling poetry classes in june 2017 @ hive cafe in kutztown & the schuylkill river in mont claire.

for june, we'll be venturing up north to kutztown to visit the newly opened HIVE (cafe), which is supplied with healthy eats of all kinds, including plenty of ingredients from local farms. and we'll be returning to the schuylkill river but in the *mont clare section in montgomery county very close to phoenixville, chester county.

next classes

when: sunday, june 11 @ 1 p.m. & sunday, june 25 @ 1 p.m.

where: 236 west sacony alley, kutztown, pa 19530 for june 11; *recently relocated to ganshahawny park in douglassville due to mont clare celebrating a likely very busy and canal day when we scheduled our class there; the closest address is 334 old philadelphia pike, douglassville, pa 19518, on the opposite side of the road (see this post for more info and pictures of nearby scenery to find the parking lot easily)

optional themes of focus:

  • sunday, june 11  cafe & local farm food poems
  • sunday, june 25 river poems

since HIVE has limited seating, the owners are asking for definite RSVPs so they can be sure to have a dedicated area for us. so definitely let me know if you can attend.

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 or rescheduling.  

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.

eye-scene above: courtesy of robyn jasko of HIVE

Saturday, May 13, 2017

candy shop poems in my traveling poetry class in early may 2017.

in early may, we had a smaller traveling poetry class than usual but still enjoyed our afternoon plenty because, well, it involved a candy shop. we sat in the red-painted chairs at the front of the peppermint stick candy store in boyertown. my niece, lillee grace hetrick, joined us and tested out reading some poems which we had with us. she also tested out salted black licorice from holland. you can see her squirming-faced reaction to it below. it is not necessarily palatable to everyone, many of us know. but there are people out there who love it, i'm sure, or at least like it a bit, including one of my students who purchased some to take home.

lillee grace also assisted with a good amount of the photography, as i am one to use savoring-heart moments to encourage my youngest nieces to see their own abilities with what a good camera can do when a slyly curious mind is behind its lens.

and we did read a non-candy shop poem, one by marilyn klimcho of berks bards, for my community poetry feature. it just seemed very worth sharing, and thankfully, she gave us permission to let everyone have a copy to read in the summer talk of flower-thinking.

Monday, May 8, 2017

celebrating national poetry month at brookeside montessori in bechtelsville, berks county.

in april, i visited several classrooms at brookeside montessori in bechtelsville, berks county, to teach animal poems for national poetry month. 

working from my animal poems to help students remember their own stories worth shaping into original poems, some creatures in the kids' writings were foxes, birds, dogs, butterflies, and even water-loving whales.

you can eye-peruse photography of me with the students on the school's website here.

below is a collaborative preschool poem about worms. all of the preschoolers signed it. i wish the colored pencil pressings had scanned a bit better. but this multi-author poem became one of the most fun pieces of of writing of the morning. 

and then there are some more scenes of other freshly crafted poems by students. their enthusiasm to share stories from their minds kept plenty of zeal moving in celebrating what we know and combining it with poetry and matching drawings, too.

hair haiku.

( hair haiku in early may, mid-earthing )

pennies in strand-form
sprawl across cut-edged green blades,
take in sun and sky


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

horse haiku.

this morning, i interviewed a woman named betty seifrit about her job at boyertown auto body works for my poetry project on manufacturing history of berks county. her eventual poem will be a in my third and final book in my volumes which are funded in part by grants from the pennsylvania council on the arts and berks arts council. betty built left-hand side doors of army trucks and later did electrical work with wires and bulbs for trolleys, mail trucks, and other kinds of vehicles.

while interviewing betty, i noticed she had horses in the backyard. she said we could go visit them, and of course, i brought my camera along for that. she has a newly born colt. its momma is eight-years-old. i wrote a haiku for them, grateful for their beautiful contribution in my day. you might smile and let out a light laugh when you find out the baby horse's name.


john wayne the colt stands
with his momma, his bones new
to red corner road

Thursday, April 27, 2017

children's poetry day at studio b during national poetry month in 2017.

we celebrated national poetry month at studio b in boyertown this past sunday with good laughs and plenty of smiles during children's poetry day featuring local elementary school-aged kids.

''ode to cream-dried beef" took shape as an early poem, and others involved amusement parks, foxes, shoes, fish, snowballs, squirrels, barking at the stars, and more.

below are video clips of poems read in the moments of the afternoon, and then some stills.


this free event was kindly sponsored in part by—
marian wolbers editorial in leesport
firefly bookstore in kutztown
pure wild tea in bernville

and these boyertown businesses—
taylor backes, a hand-blown fine art gallery
the peppermint stick candy store
zuber realty


and then here is a video of talks during children's poetry day about community poetry one picture at a time, with submissions welcome for may 2017. children's poetry as submissions is very welcome, as is people of any age.