Monday, February 24, 2014

Abbreviated Term Concludes with Ancient Text

In our final session February 20 we began with poems by Martha, Ellen, Seena and Lee, taking us on winter walks, to Yankee Stadium and back to Sebec Lake in Maine. Following the spring term, we will again post our online Shepherd's Center Poetry Anthology.

We found in Gary Whitehead's poem "Lot's Wife" the interesting interface between scholarship and poetry. We saw in the person of Lot's wife, unnamed in Genesis, a metaphor more far-reaching than  is sometimes interpreted, a figure of longing, the girl whose finger brushes ours at the market register.

I hope that you will be able to attend our luncheon/make-up session on Friday, March 7, at 10:30 a.m., in the Terrace Dining Room at the Twin Lakes Retirement Community in Burlington. We will look at Kathleen Graber's "The Drunkenness of Noah" and "The Clerk's Tale" by Spencer Reece.

Again, I have enjoyed our time together, albeit cut short by the weather.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Beyond the Imagery of Sports

After a week's hiatus we returned to Christ UMC on February 7 to consider poems by Robert Pinsky and Jessica Greenbaum that contained central images of baseball and basketball.

Pinsky's multifaceted piece hinged on the relationship of three elements: the contrast between the Village and the City, a metaphoric baseball game used to encourage boys in learning Hebrew verses, and the fate of the "foolish, stupid boy" in that group, who may have learned more than the others.

In "Next Door" we were intrigued by "the space between the reader and the page" and what we inferred about the three people in the poem, especially Robbie Gross and the narrator. Our discussion of what may have befallen Robbie ("..his last June..") underscores the point about the reader's right to interpret: if Jessica Greenbaum had wanted there to be no ambiguity about that issue, she would have worded that line differently--and that would have made it less of a poem.

This Thursday, February 13, weather permitting, we will conclude last week's agenda with poems by Ellen and Martha, and one other. This may leave us time for only one of the two poems for Session #4. "Lot's Wife" contains some of the motifs of Pinsky's poem; Kathleen Graber's "The Drunkenness of Noah" seems to me the more complex of the two.