We had a perfect afternoon for "The Poetry of Home." As I mentioned in my last post, my poetry workshop gave a reading of their work in celebration of the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater Lowell's 100th anniversary.
The first floor of the Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center has been transformed into an amazing exhibition of the VNA's important work over the last century. Before the reading, I snapped a few photos of some of the memorabilia and photographs from the collection:
I love this photo above--the enthusiasm and vibrance of these young women is inspiring.
All the folks from the VNA, Nancy Pettinelli, Elaine Crandall, and my friend Irene Egan, were simply amazing this afternoon. They thought of everything: lush flowers, lovely linens, balloons. Irene even presented each poet with a leather-bound journal for their writing.
One of the nicest aspects of this collaboration is how much we've been able to involve area students. The pastries for the reception were made by students from the vocational school--and they were delicious.
Two UMass Lowell music students helped make guests feel welcome.
UMass Lowell art student Sherwin Piedad designed the cover of our anthology.
Here's my wonderful class, along with poet Paul Marion. They gave a fantastic performance of their own poems based on the theme of home. We had a full house, spirits were high, and I could not be prouder of their hard work.
Below is one part of the gorgeous quilt the VNA had made by local textile artists as part of their centennial celebration. Some of the funding for the quilt project, as well as for our poetry project, came from the Lowell Cultural Council.
The exhibition includes quotes from patients, such as this one:
This has been one of the most rewarding collaborations I've done in a long time. What a pleasure to watch young writers work hard to write, revise, workshop, and revise again (two more times), then push themselves to do something as difficult as reading in front of a packed house, and then, at last, to succeed at it all fabulously.