October 3, 2014: East African Voices
Please note that this month's poetry group will go on a "field trip" to the Loft Literary Center. We will attend the free performance--Poetry Out Loud: East African Voices. The event will feature Minnesota State Poetry Out Loud champion Faiza Abubakar and special guest Keith Ellison who will read from his book. Several other poets will perform as well. For further details, go to the Loft event webpage.
The program begins at 7pm in the Performance Hall on second floor, but we will meet in the lobby of Open Book/Loft Literary Center at 6:45pm and find seats together. After the event, for those interested, we will re-convene at a near-by coffee shop or bar to discuss the program.
September 5, 2014: Belief
Our topic for group this month is “belief.” Interpret the word how you wish, but for such a loaded concept, here are some helpful definitions for your consideration. Belief represents confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof; trust or confidence in someone or something; a core value that guides one’s daily life. Beliefs are subjective in that they represent what an individual thinks. They may or may not be based on facts. Just like poetry.
So look for a poem that expresses a “belief”—or explores the concept in some way—and bring it along to read and discuss. (Be sure to bring copies to distribute). Or, just come to listen and respond to what others have found.
BTW--There is an intriguing organization called “This I Believe” in which people have written and broadcast essays to share with others. You’ll find some wonderful stuff on their website. The initiative is based on a popular 1950s radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow.
August 1, 2014: Gardens
Here during the height of summer, let’s contemplate gardens and the avocation of gardening. Just as humans design the natural environment for beauty and purpose, so too do we structure words creatively in the art of poetry. And go on to be inspired by both—often in combination.
As you work in your own garden or enjoy those created by others, delve into the poetry of gardens and share what you find at our upcoming session. If you bring a poem to share, make 10-12 copies for distribution. Or, if you don’t find anything that suits you, just come to participate in the discussion with others.
June and July -- no meeting
May 2, 2014: Spring
I certainly hope the weather is absolutely delightful by the time we gather for our next poetry session. But with “spring” as our theme this month, whatever the conditions are outside, inside we will at the very least experience the season vicariously through the power of the spoken word. Poetry does more than describe the world; it can delight, challenge and even transform us. If you have a favorite spring poem, bring it to share along with 10-12 copies for the group. Or just come to participate in the discussion with others.
April 4, 2014: Money
Money has been an essential medium of exchange for modern life to evolve. But in a market economy it has taken on a life of its own. Once again, for a literary evening of philosophical reflection and moral reasoning, our group will look to the poets for insight and perspective—on money. How does it affect our lives? No doubt, we will touch on the good, the bad and the ugly.
So if you find a poem on the topic of money, bring it along to share (make about 10 copies for the group). But with or without poetry in hand, all are welcome to come participate in another engaging discussion.
March 7, 2014: Respect
Nothing says “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” quite like Aretha Franklin’s version of that great R&B anthem by Otis Redding back in 1967. Some of us can still remember those days. For inspiration, check out that classic hit, then spend some time searching your favorite poets for their take on the theme of “respect.” If you find a poem on the topic for our next literary discussion, make about a dozen copies and bring it along to share.
Each session, we explore a facet of human experience through sharing poetry and expounding on our own ideas in the process. This month’s topic is respect. Do join us, with or without poetry in hand to participate in the discussion.
February 7, 2014: Necessity
Our poetry theme this month is “necessity.” A curious prompt indeed for exploring human experience, but it is sure to elicit some interesting finds. Approach the theme as you wish in selecting a poem to share with the group. Consider that which is necessary in your life—or anyone’s—for that matter. How contrived are the parameters of necessity? When is it useful to use this construct as a lens for understanding life?
Attendees are invited to bring a poem to share, if desired, along with some copies to distribute for ease of reading. Find a poem (or write a poem) on the designated topic, or just come to participate in the discussion with others.
January 3, 2014: Beginnings
It’s a new year, and if nothing else, we need to update our calendars. But does your life still seem “same-old, same-old” with the turn of the new year? What are beginnings supposed to feel or look like? Can we induce them by fiat of turning the page to a contrived yearly starting point? Or do beginnings only truly come by way of change of circumstance? As always, let’s search out the poets for varied perspectives on beginnings and ruminate together on the possibilities, the value and meaning of a fresh start.
At this monthly poetry discussion group, participants are invited to bring a favorite poem on the designated topic, if desired, along with some copies to distribute for ease of reading. Or just come to participate in the discussion with others.
December 6, 2013: Chance
Any chance you’ll be at poetry group this month? That depends, of course, on a lot of different factors, doesn’t it? Some of them within your control and others beyond your control. Such is the nature of our lives.
So what do the poets say about chance? About luck, fate, determinism or randomness? Join us for an evening of thoughtful discussion exploring the many nuances of chance in the human experience. If you find a good poem or two on this theme of “chance,” please bring 8-10 copies to share. All are welcome to come and participate with or without a poem in hand.
November 1, 2013: Memory
This time of year conjures up memories of loved ones gone and ancestors long past. Since ancient times people have participated in rituals festive--or somber--to remember those who have gone before us. Think All Hallows Eve and Day of the Dead. At this month’s poetry session, we will explore the theme of memory—whether it be of people we have known—or past events and/or scenes--that have a hold on our minds. As usual, we will look to poets who can capture that sentiment of memory in our lives as the basis for our discussion.
Those who find a good poem or two on the theme of “memory,” please bring 8-10 copies to share. All are welcome to come and participate in a rich discussion of “memory” with or without a poem in hand. Roya and Mike will be facilitating this month’s poetry soiree.
October 4, 2013: Autumn
Known to some as the sublime season, "autumn" will be the focus of our poetry group this month. It is a season of mixed emotions: a time of exhilarating beauty, grateful harvest and/or remembered loss. Find a poet who expresses your feelings about the season or describes the vicissitudes of autumn with poignant clarity. Join us for an engaging exchange of ideas about this favorite season for so many.
If you find an autumn poem or two to share, bring along some copies to distribute for ease of reading (8-10 should do). Or just come to participate in the discussion with others. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
August 30, 2013: Doubt
We’ve all come across people like this: the confident, the self-assured, the “know-it-alls.” But most of us recognize that smug persona for what it is, a façade. Life is filled with doubt, and this month, we will scour the works of poets to find apt expressions of our cognitive and/or emotional dissonances. Whether it be the personal doubt of one’s abilities or choices that weighs us down, or the existential doubt that arises from religious, moral, ideological or cultural beliefs, let’s explore the contours and implications of this inescapable human condition.
Bring your own poet of choice to the conversation on doubt; if you find a poem or two to share, make copies (8-10 should do) to distribute for ease of reading. Or just come to participate in the discussion with others. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
July 26, 2013: Security
Is “security” an objective or subjective characteristic of being? Surely both. But as security issues have pervaded our society in the past decade, seldom do we contemplate a deeper understanding of what provides us with a true sense of security. This month we will try to do just that by looking to the poets for expressions of and desires for security. For those with the inclination, go explore your favorite poetry sources this month to look for a poem or two that speaks to our need and longing for security.
If you find a poem or two to share, bring along some copies to distribute for ease of reading (8-10 should do). Or just come to participate in the discussion with others. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
As usual, bring enough copies to share with the group (8-10 copies should do)—or just come to participate in the discussion with others. Light refreshments will be served. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
Water. We can’t live without it. Too much of it can be devastating. A material substance, elemental, the fountain of life. The hydrological chameleon that changes form throughout the seasons and affects our moods.
We’ll explore our relationship to water in this evening’s poetry session. Look for a poem that captures your sentiment toward water—especially at this time of year. Bring enough copies to share with the group (8-10 copies should do)—or just come to participate in the discussion with others. Light refreshments will be served.
Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
Spring is in the air--one says hopefully. We've had a rough go of it this winter here in Minnesota. We are all eagerly looking forward to milder days ahead to foster sunnier dispositions. Are there some poets who might also help cheer us with springtime sentiments? What reflection and adulation does the season inspire in you--or that of a much loved poet?
Join us for another evening of poetry reading and discussion. Whatever gem you find on this month's topic of "spring," bring enough copies for all (8-10 should do). Or just come to participate in the discussion.
Light refreshments will be served. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for Humanists of MN.
This month we will delve into the ancient and multi-faceted concept of “sacrifice.” The very meaning and scope of the notion is broad and deep in human culture. Is it a virtue of which to aspire, a discipline to practice, or a scourge of the human condition to avoid? We will consider what the poets have to say in the matter. As usual, we will discuss the various selections brought by participants.
I invite you to join us for another evening of poetry reading and discussion. Whatever gem you find on the topic, bring enough copies for all (8-10 should do). Or just come to participate in the discussion. Light refreshments will be served. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for Humanists of MN.
By the time our poetry group meets this month, Valentines’ Day may well be out of mind. However, our lives need more than a day for sensuality and pleasure—the senses of love. As you rummage through your poetry collections, websites or library books, steer your focus toward the sensuous and pleasurable stimuli in life. Where to find these; how to describe? In relationship or alone, within the natural world or fantasy, amidst the mundane or the extraordinary, what poems and poets capture these senses?
I invite you to join us for another evening of poetry reading and discussion. Whatever gem you find on the topic, bring enough copies for all (8-10 should do). Or just come to participate in the discussion.
Please join us for another evening of poetry reading and discussion. This month we will look to poets to speak about the human need for purpose in our lives. Inspirational or probing, whimsical or analytical, the poetry of purpose will be our focus. Whatever gem you find on the topic, bring enough copies for all (8-10 should do). Or just come to participate in the discussion.
What effect does winter have on the human psyche? Whether you love it or hate it, we have to deal with it. Join us for an evening of literary exploration of this harshest season as metaphor, setting, plot or protagonist. Bring a poem that captures the essence of winter for you, or enjoy the poetry selections of others.
As usual, we will read and discuss poetry from each other's collections. Bring some copies to share. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for Humanists of MN.
Please join us for another evening of poetry reading and discussion. This month we will consider how poets elicit compassion and empathy through their words. Are these essentially emotional responses or do poets help us think critically about our connections to our fellow beings? Photographs have been especially effective at eliciting compassion. Can poetry do the same?
We will read and discuss specially selected poetry. All participants are welcome to bring their own favorite find on the topic, although it is not required. If you do bring a poem (or two), please make copies to share with the group. Light refreshments will be served. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom.
Please join us for another evening of poetry reading and discussion. This month we will focus on poetry for children with its typically creative use of language, rhyme and meter. We’ll consider both the serious and the playful. If you have one, bring a family favorite to share or a fond gem from your youth--along with a few copies to foster discussion. We'll discuss the value of poetry for children (and adults) and enjoy the creativity of poets. Light refreshments will be served. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom.
Autumn has arrived. With it, many changes. This month our group will focus on poetry that deals with change--whether it be in the natural world, in society, or in one’s personal life. So scour your poetry collections for a poem that speaks to you about change, and if you find one to share, bring along a few copies to aid in the discussion and appreciation of the poem. As usual, I will bring some poems from my collection and some light refreshments. Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
Anger peppers our society and our homes. Some of it is misplaced or out-of-control; some of it not. One frequently overlooked way of dealing with anger is through poetry. Many poets are particularly adept at capturing this ubiquitous human emotion in creative and often useful ways. Let’s explore how poetry can unleash and direct our anger to good ends.
This month our session will begin with a participatory reading of June Jordan’s angry poem “Kissing God Goodbye.” Written in the face of Operation Rescue, the poem lashes out at religion and patriarchy. Of course we will follow up the group reading with discussion, and then give time to other poetry that participants bring. So if you find a poem that fits this “anger-management” category, bring it along (with some copies) to share.
As always, I’ll have refreshments. And again this month, we’ll be in the air-conditioned room at the end of the long hallway on the right. Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
Summertime….and the livin’ is easy—or not. Summer heat, summer fun; we will consider all things summer at our next poetry gathering. Look through your collections—or someone else’s—to find a poem that speaks to you authentically about summer; bring multiple copies to share to aid discussion. Or, just come and enjoy the poems that I and your fellow poetry lovers bring.
I’ll also bring some light refreshments—or let me know if you’ve got a yummy something to share. This month we will be at the end of the long hallway of classrooms on the right where there will be an air-conditioner. Just in case we need it. :-) Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
May 25th, 2012: The Poetry of Place
A place can define us, destroy us, sustain us, change us. We treasure places as traveling destinations, to make a home in, to retreat to. Poets have that unique ability to capture the power of place in our lives through language. This month, join us for the poetry of place, personal connections to specific geographic locations. As always, I will bring a few poems on this topic from my collection. If you find a meaningful poem that speaks to the power of place, bring some copies to share for discussion. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
This month we will explore our relationship to the natural world through poetry about spring. How has the season been reflected in poetry? As a time of regeneration, of growth, of hope, of new beginnings? Can a good poet help us appreciate or better take stock of the season? Of our lives? I will bring a few poems for us to consider. If you have a favorite spring poem, bring some copies to share for discussion.
We meet from 7-9pm in the FUS library. As usual, light refreshments will be served. Facilitated by Audrey Kingstrom, Community Coordinator for the Humanists of MN.
March 30th, 2012: Resilience
This month we will read and discuss poetry that speaks to the human trait of “resilience.” Have you come across a good poem that conveys strength of character, determination or courage? What other qualities or experiences foster resilience? Nowadays social psychologists and neuroscientists can provide valuable insights on such a subject, but for inspiration and hope, many of us still look to the poets.
As usual, I’ll bring some poems from my collection to read and discuss together. And, if you can, peruse your own collections or browse library or on-line resources for reflections on resilience and bring 6-8 copies to pass out (for better discussion).