Poetic Contours

Margaret Ryan
Cath Mason
Evelyn Ann Romano

In ancient and medieval Japanese society chanted, sung or spoken language sprang from roots found in the Chinese art called kanshi or shi. Over several hundred years the foreign impact blended into Japanese language traditions and evolved into a diverse selection of poetic forms, some of which are known to modern connoisseurs of Japanese literature and culture. Today’s blog focuses on tanka (a short form similiar to haiku) and a prose-like narrative form called haibun. — Editors.

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LOL Poetry

Victoria Dym has two gifts for you in this Poetry Month Special Edition of OLLI Connects: a new poem and an opportunity for an enjoyable night out.

We all know that poetry can be emotionally powerful, eliciting feelings of love, loss, despair, and wonder. We often forget that it can also be a hoot. Just ask normally-Mr.-Serious A.E. Housman.

Let’s talk about her opportunity to have some fun with poetry first.

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Subtle Observances

Kathy Winarski
Evelyn Ann Romano
Beth C. Bosserman


“Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.”

—  Lawrence Ferlinghetti



“April showers bring May flowers.” Here at OLLI Connects April is the month we celebrate poetry in all its forms. Today we feature four poems by three member poets. You will be treated to wit, reflection, and poignant reminiscence. So, grab your herbal tea, morning coffee or espresso and find a quiet place to savor the beautiful expression of these thoughts. Editors

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National Poetry Month 2024

National Poetry Month

Every April OLLI Connects celebrates National Poetry month by informing you of poetry related events locally and nationally (more on that below) and by sharing with you poetry written or read by OLLI members.

Last year we gave you the opportunity to write and share haiku with us, and we received poems ranging from the sublime: 

Like giant sails of ships
The plump rain-filled clouds approach
Frogs waiting to sing.
-— Morrey Grymes

to the silly:

Faces float before me.
Vague. Dim. Difficult to see.
Damn! A Zoom meeting!
-— Roger Burr

This year we’ll offer you two ways to share your creative spirit with your fellow readers. 

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The Road to Athabasca — the Final Chapter

Doug Guido

Today we arrive at the final installment of Doug Guido’s 1990 adventure in Alaska. If you missed the first two episodes, simply enter the term Athabasca in the search box on the OLLI Connects home page or follow the link instructions provided at the end of today’s story. Enjoy! — Editor


A week or so after meeting Earl, I stopped for the night at an RV park just north of Haines, Alaska. I was to rendezvous the next morning with Bob, a fishing guide who owned a fish camp on an island on Chilkat Lake. I’d called him from Fairbanks and reserved a half day Sockeye salmon fishing with him.

The plan was that I would call him on the CB at 7:00 the next morning. As I drove up to the spot he’d picked for us to meet, a couple came walking up the riverbank rather quickly and told me that there were two grizzly bears down there fishing and to be careful! I tentatively walked down to the water’s edge, warily watching for bears.

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My Transylvanian Family

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol

In 1989 the fall of the Berlin Wall signaled the end of a 40-year Cold War to the jubilation of millions around the world. But how many of us have a personal story of the struggle, heartbreak, despondency, and alienation endured by individuals caught between two opposing political ideologies during that period? Little did I know what I would learn about this subject when I first moved to Europe in 1982 to begin my performing career at a German opera house.

Early on I met a tall, impressive bass, an ethnic Hungarian from Transylvania (formerly a part of Hungary ceded to Romania after WWII) with an unusual last name and charismatic demeanor…

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Uzbek Surprise

Diane Henrikson Russell

Never in a million years did I imagine that I would visit Uzbekistan, a Soviet republic in Central Asia!

In August of 1979, I accompanied my graduate-student spouse on the 1979-80 USSR academic exchange sponsored by IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board). We participants began the exchange by taking a crash course in Russian while living in the Moscow State University dormitory. We met two exchangees who were heading to Toshkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, in September, while we planned to study in Tbilisi, the capital of Soviet Georgia. We became such good friends that we vowed to visit each other at our exotic locations.

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Beryl’s Byways Continued

Beryl B. Byles

Even though our mission is “Sharing Stories. Building Community”, Beryl’s recent “live in” visit to New York City produced more great memoir material than even OLLI Connects can share with you.  So, we’ve chosen to highlight only a few of her adventures.  This issue focuses on museums and combines material from at least two of Beryl’s Byways. — Editors

Sharing my experience of New York became a unique family opportunity with a visit from my daughter, Victoria, and granddaughter, Tina! I loved it!

Going to the show, “The Cottage”, was high on our list early on. We were especially delighted to recognize Eric McCormack (Will on “Will and Grace”) and Alex Moffat from “Saturday Night Live” as two of the main characters. It was an especially fun experience to hear their 

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Is the American Experiment Doomed?

Peter Neame

I preface this brief article (by a biochemist and Brit and thus an Alien!), who has bucked the normal trend of being a leftist while young and right-wing when old to become the exact opposite while absolutely not embracing a true leftist philosophy by saying that it is a very personal viewpoint.

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana, 1905.

The writers of the constitution, ratified in 1787 and amended twenty-seven times, created a wonderful document. Based heavily on the Magna Carta of the UK (1215) and heavily tweaked by a consideration of the history of ancient Rome and the city states of Ancient Greece, it was succeeded by the constitution of the French Republic (1793). The writers of the U.S. constitution created a government framework with a number of checks and balances to avoid a despotic government arising, notably the legislative, executive and judicial branches.

So far, so good. Yet the majority of governments in the history of the world have been autocratic in one form or another.

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Beryl’s Byways

Beryl B. Byles

It began like this for a few of us….

Welcome to the first issue of “Beryl’s Byways”, my travel journal in this “Year of Adventure”. As you can see, it is a pdf attachment to an email, which is the format I will use going forward. Divided into four chapters, the first chapter has been a unique experience of housesitting near Safety Harbor, across the bay from Tampa. The second chapter begins at the end of next week and is distinguished as a bucket list item, specifically “autumn in New York”! I’ll be living on the Upper East Side, volunteering at the Metropolitan Opera (hopefully!) and looking forward to being both daunted and delighted by the “city that never sleeps”. As you can see from the masthead, I plan on commenting on experiences that happen by choice and/or those that happen by chance!

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