My friends Maxine, Etta and I were open to adventure: a five-day hike on the Appalachian Trail (the AT). It’s 1988, we’re all in our 40’s, elated to take on this challenge. Maxine is a serious hiker, she has helped blaze the Florida Trail, she’s sinewy, brave, and fun-loving. Etta is a racewalker, many miles on her sturdy legs, and my best friend. I feel fairly fit, ready for something different, wanting to prove myself physically adept. “Mens sana in corpora sano”, as my high school motto had it, “a sound mind in a sound body”.
Maxine took me under her wing, and we spent several enjoyable weekends on Florida hikes. I learned to read trail blazes, hammer in tent stakes, tie food way up high in a tree to keep it safe from raccoons and bears. Various incidents are blazed in my memory: trudging cautiously across an endless field dug up and horribly disfigured by wild boar, the uneven trenches ready to turn an ankle without a moment’s notice. Then there was the brownie incident.
Last October Cath Mason and Bob Strozier taught an OLLI course on “New Yorker Poetry,” and this year they’re back with a sequel, “Here We Come! More Poems from the New Yorker,” on Thursday, October 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Compton Park Azalea Room. (Call 813-974-5848 to enroll.)
Bob wrote the following introduction to last year’s course, and we offer it here as both a stand-alone love letter to the magazine and as an enticement to enroll in the upcoming course. — Editors
Growing up, I don’t remember reading much poetry in the The New Yorker unless it was by Ogden Nash, high priest of light verse. Remembered, among other things, for: “Candy is dandy/But liquor is quicker.”
And “The Cow.” “The cow is of the bovine ilk/One end is moo, the other, milk.”
Speaking of farm animals, in March of 1976 I happened across a New Yorker poem about a pig that caught me completely off-guard and left me in tears. It was “St. Francis and the Sow,” by Pulitzer Prize winner, Galway Kinnell, which turned out to be one of his greatest poems. I still get teary when I read it.
What would a summer reading list be without poetry? Surely no other season is better served by the weightlessness and sophistication of poetic expression. Today’s blog features three exquisite verses bathed in summer’s golden tones, contributed by one of our OLLI-USF award-winning poets. Kick up your feet, sip your coffee, tea or chai and let your senses revel in the refined beauty of language. — Editors
Our theme for this year’s celebration of poetry is haiku, a poetic form that originated in Japan and usually appears in English as three lines, each with a distinct syllable count: five, seven and five. Rhyme and meter are irrelevant. And the syllable count is a guideline, not a rule. A good haiku vividly captures a moment, and not all moments fit into a tidy seventeen syllables.
Evelyn Romano, Tom Mueller Cath Mason, Kathy Winarski
OLLI Connects kicks off April Poetry Month with featured performances from the Victoria Dym & Friends Poetry Open Mic event that was held on Friday January 27, 2023. Experiencing poems read in a public setting evokes the unique personal connection between writer and material. In this week’s Poetry Open Mic Night you will encounter poetry performed by OLLI-USF poets, Evelyn Romano, Tom Mueller, Cath Mason and Kathy Winarski through captioned videos with a full text of each poem highlighted underneath. And stay tuned later in the month for the second part of the Open Mic Event where OLLI Connects will feature poems by event host, Victoria Dym. — Editors
For more free poetry resources visit Poets.org/npm Follow this link for more information on Poetry Events in Tampa Bay
We like to end each year with an issue in which we look back at the stories, poems, articles, memoirs, and–well, whatever–that we’ve published during the past 51 weeks. And we have a staggering variety this time around.
We’ll share them with you in a moment. We want to stress that these are not necessarily “the best” articles in their category–just the ones that stood out for us personally, sometimes for very subjective reasons. We hope that you have a list of your own favorites.
Poetry has the unique capacity to capture our deepest thoughts, whether they be the experience of mounting grief, tender remembrance or even a flight of fancy. With economy, rhythm and the taste of language on the palate, our three contributors present an array of emotions in Three Odes to Women. –Editors
We all know about Thor, the Norse God of Thunder. Big guy. Very strong. Ruggedly handsome. More than a little vain. Not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. But good hearted. We also know that he wields a powerful hammer called Mjollnir. But few know how he acquired Mjollnir nor what Loki, God of Mischief, had to do with its coming into his hands.
I thought the story deserved telling, but it needed its own voice. Fortunately, I found Bragi Varrenson, skald for a short time to Harald Hardrada, High King of Norway. So, fill your horn with mead, grab a steaming chunk of beef from the firepit, sit back on your bench, and let Bragi tell you how Loki’s mischief brought Thor his hammer. Read more
Not everyone dresses up to read poetry aloud, but we have to say that we admire the touch of elegance it adds.
Last week we let Nick Graves and Gianna Russo share both their poetry and their writing process with you. This week we have two more poets to share: Victoria Dym and Joyce Carpenter. We’d tell you more here, but we’d just be cribbing from their own self introductions. Click the button to get right to the good stuff!
OLLI Connects continues its annual celebration of National Poetry Month with a selection of poems by four different writers. Thematically linked through images of flight and trees, this edition is entitled “The Aviator, The Fledgling and The Crow.” Please click on the button below to enjoy the poems of Pindie Stephen, Linda Dunk, Morrey Grymes and M.A. Sinnhuber.