Greenburgh Arts And Culture

         "We celebrate the creative arts!"

Sarah Bracey White, Executive Director. Advisory Board: Kevin Morgan, Town Board Liaison;  Gwen Cort, Carolyn McNair, and Barbara Mohr

   

Poetry Caravan honored by New York State Therapeutic Association

The Poetry Caravan was designated “Organization of the Year” by the New York State Therapeutic Recreation Association, Ruth D. Handel (Scarsdale), Poetry Caravan managr, announced today. The award, presented April 26 at the NYSTRA annual meeting in Saratoga Springs, recognizes the Poetry Caravan’s mission to bring “poetry and the many benefits it affords” to persons who may not have access to the
written word. Poetry Caravan members, Joanne Auerbach (Hartsdale) and Bill Resnick (Scarsdale) were on hand to accept the award. In prepared remarks, Handel noted fruitful collaboration over the years between members of the two organizations in the joint goal of fostering creativity and appreciation of the written word.

The NYSTRA recognition is the third award received by the Poetry Caravan, which received the Town of Greenburgh Supporters of the Arts Award and the New York-Presbyterian Hospital Special Recognition for Service Award both in 2006. 


National Poetry Month reading at the Scarsdale Library

About the Poetry Caravan


In 2003, Greenburgh resident, poet Usha Akella approached the Arts and Culture Committee with the idea of initiating a Poetry Caravan, whose goal is to locate and address an audience for whom poetry is not ordinarily available.  With Ms. Akella at the helm, the project was launched in October, 2003, with a trial run in three venues. The project became an instant success and continued to grow after Ms. Akella relocated to a new state. Today, members of the Caravan make the volunteer organization a resounding success. The Poetry Caravan now sends its mobile band of 31 poets into eight sites where there is a chance to make connections through poetry.

 

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, in an introduction to (en)Compass, an anthology by Poetry Caravan  poets, says, “the poets who support and foster the work of the Poetry Caravan are doing literary missionary work. They personally deliver poetry to its listeners — a kind of Words on Wheels.”  Poetry Caravan venues include (or have included) nursing homes, senior living facilities, women’s shelters, the Greenburgh Alcohol Treatment Center, NY Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Westchester and Burke Rehabilitation Center. Once a month, two- three poets visit each of our eight venues and read their original poetry and recognized classics. In addition to reading poems, Caravan poets talk about the creation of their poems, interact with residents, and conduct a Q & A after each reading.

 

"This was so uplifting and inspirational," said an assisted living  resident after a reading. When Poetry Caravan poets go out into the community, their poems relay human emotions to a roomful of people of different races and ethnicities. “It’s all about connecting and belonging to the human race,” says Linda Simone, a Caravan poet. At a nursing home, the face of an elderly woman sitting in the circle of listeners lit up, when a poet read a poem about her own grandmother Mamie.  "That's my name!" the woman said. At the end, the audience  questioned the poets, fascinated by how they created  their art.  While Caravan visits may be entertaining, they also provide therapeutic value (see “Venue Blurbs in attachments). On one occasion, two poets conducted a pre-advertised Dog Centered Poetry Reading, with a certified “therapy dog, at an assisted living facility. When they arrived, thirty excited residents awaited them. They read original and established poems about dogs; then, the “therapy dog” performed tricks and mingled with residents. That day’s program evaluations were laudatory. The sole criticism: it was too short! Residents begged for repeat performances. Caravan poets/teachers also conduct formal poetry writing workshops at venues. (Audience members frequently bring and share poems they’ve written, even if not involved in a formal workshop.)  The hour-long workshops are conducted once a week, over a four week period at each of two venues.

 

For information about joining the Poetry Caravan, contact Ruth Handel, Project Director, via email at:  Ruthhandel@Verizon.net.

 


Caravan Member Publications and Activities

September 2017 – June 2018

Joanne Auerbach: 

The Poetry Caravan of Columbia County now has 13 members, 10 of whom are active. Several members are highly committed and dependable.

We read on a monthly basis at our original venue where we have been going for three years.  We also go to an assisted living facility approximately quarterly.  At Camphill the average attendance is about 12.  At Whittier Assisted Living attendance varies from 2 to 6. We do a reading for the Canaan Historical Society and Canaan Seniors annually.

The most exciting development is a cooperative effort with the Chatham Library.  Every second Saturday there is a poetry event of some kind.  It is a library event (which we often assist in planning) supported by the Caravan--and through which the Caravan has gained several new members. 

Mary Brady: 

"Withdrawal" appeared in One Sentence Poems Oct 2017

"Choose" was featured in No Extra Words Podcast, 1/19/18 - Women Writers on Choice    

https://noextrawords.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/episode-99-women-writers-on-choice/

"Tar Beach" won the Poetry Society of South Carolina's Peter Pan Prize and will be published in their 2018 Yearbook 

Liz Burk:

Last June, I put together an Ekphrastic reading in a museum gallery in Lafayette, the Acadiana Center for the Arts - Six poets wrote poems about photographs from my husband's photography exhibit there. Poems were read side by side with the photographs.  I read "Catalonia, 1973" and "Line Dance."  Over 100 people showed up - standing room only. 

"Sinking" NELLE journal, Fall, 2018.  Also spotlighted as a featured writer.

"At the Wake of My Ex-Husband's Third Wife." Passager, Fall 2018. (awarded an honorable mention}

"Line Dance," "Matamoros," Silver," and "Silk Paisley and Pearls" Valley Voices, Spring 2018 i

"Flavius Fubar," (about Donald Trump!) and "At the Boucherie in Grand Coteau, Louisiana."  to be published in First Literary Review East, Fall 2018 online.

Duet- Photographer and Poet, Yellow Flag Press, summer 2018. An ekphrastic collection, poems by Liz and photographs by her husband, Leo Touchet.

Doretta Cornell:

"Perhaps" Serving House, Fall 2017, #17

"The Bus from Cleveland" Evening Street Review Autumn 2017 
"To Each His Own" and "Emerging" Third Wednesday Fall 2017 Vol.X No.4  

Gillian Cummings: 

The Owl Was a Baker’s Daughter selected as the winner of the 2018 Colorado Prize from the Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University. The book is to be published November, 2018.  John Yau was the judge.

Four poems published in Tupelo Quarterly in 2018. 

Sandy Hauss:

Readings at the Hastings Library and Greenburgh Library for National Poetry Month and with Columbia County Poetry Caravan, 

Summer 2018.  Poet of the Month May 2018, Poetry Caravan website,Greenburgh Town Hall. 

Tony Howarth:

Book length manuscript, "Thrownaway," a semi-finalist in two national competitions

Presented, with poet Wayne Miller on the drum beside me, in readings at the Hudson Valley Writers Center; the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill; the Bowery Poetry Club, New York City; and the Jewish Community Center, Tarrytown.

Linda Levitz: 

Eating Sardines at Midnight published by Fithian Press, March, 2018.  

Deborah Maier: 

Participated in an evening of multi-media performances by faculty and students at the SVA Theater, W 23 St., in March.   Read two poems from the long story The Rug Tree with sand-animated visuals and jazz accompanist. 

Marjorie Mir:

Eclectica, July-August 2017: "Disorder Enters Grade 4B"

"Morningside Heights," "Monet's Giverney Pallet as Seen Through a Kaleidoscope"

Eclectica, Jan-Feb, 2018: "Burr Tillstrom, Master Puppeteer."

April-May 2018: "A Common Ancestry."

Spring Newsletter, E.F. Benson Society, "Isabelle/Lucia."

Readings:

Reformed Church of Bronxville, 1/21/18, Selections from my collection,

Shelter.  5/6/18, Poetry of Childhood and Spring. 

Fran Sisco:

Poetry Readings:

Performed 4 original poems ("Point of No Return," "Thrown Stones," "Become the Woman You Want to Be" and "Respite Sought - One Bite, Mine, for One Bite - Its") as part of the "Po-jazz Events" (hosted at The Starving Artist Café, City Island, the Bronx, 2/16/18 and  4/6/18

Recited "The Layers" by Stanley Kunitz to students in an acting class, HB Studio, NYC, 11/7/17.

Read aloud the comforting poem "Death is Nothing at All" by Henry Scott-Holland at 3 funerals, wakes and one church memorial service to over 100 people.

Other literature-related activities:

Wrote and read my essay "In Broad Daylight" at the historic Stonewall Inn, NYC as part of the "Freak Out" project, 7/19/17. 

Wrote and performed a scene called "His Sister's Message" at the Ossie Davis Theatre, as part of the "Unfake" event, 3/4/18 sponsored by the New Rochelle Council on the Arts.  

Wrote (or co-wrote) original songs posted on the internet, and performed several, including pop song "Happy Trans Girl Like Me" at Stonewall Inn, NYC, 9/23/17;  Trevi Lounge, Fairfield, CT, 9/16/17; and Circle of Friends, Pleasantville, 9/9/17.

Wrote stand-up comedy material posted on the internet and performed, at various venues and charity events throughout the metro NY area including The Stonewall Inn, Caroline's On Broadway, The Stand, Dangerfield's Comedy Club, Ice Palace on Fire Island, LGBTQ Hackensack Charity Event, Yonkers Comedy Club,  CJ Cullens, OTB in Hauppauge, Trevi Lounge, Fairfield, CT, and on WVOX radio’s "Crisis Help Radio Show."