Taking Life by the Throat

April is National Poetry Month, and we’re celebrating it (again) with another group of poems by OLLI members.  That fellow in the picture is, of course, Robert Frost, one of America’s best known and best loved poets.  He was Poet Laureate of Vermont, though never Poet Laureate of the United States.  He once described poetry as “a way of taking life by the throat”.

We think he would have enjoyed the poetry we have for you today.  And at the end of the post we’ll share some other ways you can enjoy poetry this month.  (More…)

Words That Burn

April is National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate the awesome things poets can do with just 26 letters and some white spaces.   We asked some famous writers how they’d define poetry.  Here are a few of their responses.

“Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn”. –Thomas Gray.  “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance”. –Carl Sandburg.  “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful”. –Rita Dove.  “Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat”. –Robert Frost.

And Carol Ann Duffy said “You can find poetry in your everyday life, your memory, in what people say on the bus, in the news, or just what’s in your heart”.  Which is exactly what some of our own OLLI members have done for us here.  (More…)

All About Beer: Craft Brew, Microbrew, You Brew

Peter Terzian

OLLI usually doesn’t go in for tests or grades.  But we do like to spring a pop quiz on you every once in a while.  Like now!  Read this post’s headline and—without help from Google—tell me in one word what Peter Terzian’s upcoming class will be about.

Time’s up!  Who has an answer? Now, let’s not always see the same hands. Yes! The correct answer is “Beer.” Those of you who got it right can congratulate yourselves!  Those of you who got it wrong will just have to study harder.  In fact, you may want to take Peter’s class.  In the spirit of pop quizzes, we asked him some questions about it.  (More…)

Haiku! Gesundheit!

Cindy Knox

Reading for Pleasure — Haikus as Book Reviews

Some of us have begun an OLLI-USF class that requires close, critical reading. The morning and afternoon Winter Great Books classes, facilitated by Kevin Chittim and Patrick DeMarco, are just two examples. The selected texts, none of which could be described as easy, are read and then they are discussed in the group using the “shared inquiry” method.

I am in the afternoon Great Books class and, reviewing what I just wrote, I notice a tendency to yawn.  Why, oh why, did I sign up for this class, I wonder? The answers are that I am a long-time fan of Patrick, I know many of the people in the group, and I also need to exercise my brain after two years of absence from OLLI. These group discussions are stimulating, and I come away afterwards feeling exhilarated and also virtuous. However, there comes a time for each of us OLLI members… (More…)

Political Discussion at OLLI

Unlike Congress and much of the media, OLLI members can discuss politics without losing their tempers.  Classes on contemporary politics as well as P-SIG, our Politics Shared Interest Group (SIG) offer us lots of opportunities to listen, to think, to learn, to discuss, and to enlarge our political views.

Let’s drop in for a few moments on a P-SIG meeting and discussion that took place just before the 2018 congressional elections.  (More…)

“A Course is Born” and “A Community of Writers”

Liesse Chable

When I first learned about the OLLI program at USF Tampa, I was amazed at the quantity and quality of courses for older adults. I hear that the 2019 Winter-Spring catalog offers nearly 180 courses and lectures. I think that’s a record.

I was even more amazed when I realized that the majority of classes were taught by my peers, adults like myself over 50, who volunteer for free their time, experience, and passion for teaching. When I was a child in school, I loved the opportunity to participate in peer-to-peer teaching, all the camaraderie and equality of it. Now I have a whole catalog of peer teaching to look over.  I read it each semester with excitement and enthusiasm for what my generation has to offer.        (More…)

A Day at the Races

Shelly Belzer

When the OLLI Shutterbugs SIG gathered for a photo outing at Tampa Bay Downs on a bright December day, we dug into our memories for what this reminded us of.

Rich Edwards talked about growing up within sound of Roosevelt Raceway, the former harness racing track in Westbury, Long Island. He would fall asleep to the voice of the announcer calling the races. The track, he related, began as Roosevelt Field, famous for  Charles Lindbergh’s takeoff on his nonstop flight to Paris in 1927. In the end it became Westbury Plaza, a shopping mall. (More…)

Tree Frog

Sara Zimmerman

A frog jumps on my head and becomes slightly tangled in my hair this morning at 3:30 a.m. while I am sleeping. When I first feel it in my hair, I think I am dreaming of my Burmese cat, Spike, who was in my life for 16 years and woke me up when he had some kind of emergency during the night, or when he thought I should know something important that he knew and I didn’t.

But when the frog leaps from my head to the floor and the soft but distinct thud wakes me up, I turn on the light, see what is huddled there on the floor next to the bed, and try to decide what to do.  Should I ignore it and go back to sleep?  What if it jumps on my head again?  I wonder – that’s cat behavior, but isn’t that unusual behavior for a frog?  What was it trying to tell me?  (More…)

But My Favorite Class was . . .

We’d love to have you contribute an article to OLLI Connects.  But maybe the idea of writing a whole article takes you out of your comfort zone.  Or just isn’t your idea of a good time.

But if you’ve taken more than a handful of OLLI classes, you probably have a favorite.  One that was more than just fun, more than just interesting.  One that had a real impact on you.  Maybe it was the subject.  Maybe it was the instructor.  Maybe you were just ready for an intellectual “growth spurt” at the time.   We’d like you to     (More…)

Gallery Updated

North Carolina Arboretum

We’ve added some stunning new photographs to our Gallery page, and we invite you to come in and enjoy them.

Like the articles you read here in OLLI Connects, the photographs come from OLLI members, just like you, and we urge you to submit your images for publication.  (More…)