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Whose Port This Is, I Think I Know: PPL & Local Poetry in October

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Programs & Events | Recommended Reads | Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture
A picture of Megan Grumbling reading one of her poems aloud at the library.

Portland poet Megan Grumbling at the Port City Poems reading.

Last Tuesday, October 7, a group of local poets drew a crowd of 91 to the Rines Auditorium. Anita Clearfield, Wil Gibson, Megan Grumbling, Claire Hersom, Annaliese Jakimides, Michele Leavitt, John McVeigh, Edward J. Rielly, Betsy Sholl, David Stankiewicz, Sally Woolf-Wade, and Anna Bat-Chai Wrobel read from their poetry. They were introduced by Marcia F. Brown, Portland Poet Laureate and editor of the anthology Port City Poems. It was an evening full of thoughtfulness and humor, celebrating Portland but also touching on other themes.

For those of you who couldn’t be there, I took notes.

Ed Rielly read his poem, “The Sea Dogs Come Out of the Corn.” The poet muses at a baseball game. “ ‘Is this heaven?’  I ask my wife, joking…‘No, it’s Portland, Maine.’ ” One of Wil Gibson’s poems was written as a love letter to Portland. “I miss your freckles,” Wil Gibson read aloud (addressing spurned Illinois, a former home) “but Portland, she is different. She is the most amazing, attentive lover…I have the scratches on my back to prove it.”

An image of Sally Woolf-Wade reading a poem out loud in front of an audience.

Sally Woolf-Wade read poetry on island life.

Other images of Portland rose, as sweetly and sharply, out of the readings. Megan Grumbling’s poem, “Landing,” evoked the golden light caught in the curved windows of a staircase at the Portland Museum of Art, a place to return to in deep winter. One of Claire Hersom’s poems spoke to a favorite wharf-haunt: J’s Oyster Bar. John McVeigh paid homage to the horses that pulled the old engines (“The spokes of the wheel are a blur”) of the Portland Fire Department in 1912. Later, David Stankiewicz’s Saint Augustine-inspired poetry moved the audience from Bailey Island’s Cribstone Bridge to travels on the Downeaster: “If I sit very still, might the conductor overlook my transgression?”

Annaliese Jakimides reads her poetry in front of a seated crowd.

Annaliese Jakimides before the crowd.

The poetry that resonated could be both beautiful and stark, as in Michele Leavitt’s excerpt from a cycle of poems on Hepatitis C. Or the poems imparted unapologetic knowledge: what comes to us may come as a surprise. “Because,” Anita Clearfield noted, “what happiness have we ever had that we asked for?”

And there was laughter, as the poets touched on religion, on menopause imagined or real, on the Old Port…“At last I’m old and wrinkled, celibate and wise,” read Michele Leavitt, tongue-in-cheekily. “I keep trying to write these spiritual poems that won’t be obnoxious,” quipped Betsy Sholl. The evening ended more seriously, with Anna Bat-Chai Wrobel’s poem on Alexander Hamilton. “I am afraid to do as Alexander Hamilton did: predict the future.” Nonetheless, Wrobel noted: “I think I know which duel to fight.”

I walked home that night through the city, thinking of Wil Gibson’s words: “Portland: she is the family I always wanted.”

More poetry coming up in Portland and at PPL:

Port City Poems reader Megan Grumbling’s verse-in-spoken-opera “Persephone in the Late Anthropocene” will be performed (along with 2 other poetry-performance teams) live at Congress Square Park on Wednesday, October 15 at 6 p.m. Readers Wil Gibson and John McVeigh are both involved with Port Veritas, which organizes educational outreach and weekly poetry slams in Portland.  Wes McNair will speak on his new book of poetry, “The Lost Child,” at the Main Library on Friday, October 17.

You can also check out some of the library’s recent poetry additions!

We recommend: Eliza Griswold’s “I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan,” Patricia Lockwood’s “Motherland, Fatherland, Homelandsexuals,” a 2014 collection from James Baldwin , or the unstoppable Mary Oliver’s latest, “Blue Horses.” And just for fun? Try Poems That Make Grown Men Cry.


Inequality for All: Watch & Discuss Oct 29th 6:00 PM!

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Business | Government | News

That there is significant income and wealth inequality in the United States is largely undisputed. The Census Bureau reports on the federal data  and the Portland Press Herald reported earlier this month on poverty rates in Maine. Yet, much about why we have growing inequality, what it really means, and what to do about it are extremely contested issues in our communities and policy debates. Earlier this year, economist Thomas Piketty opened up conversations about the distribution of wealth and made specific recommendations for redistribution. The Choose Civility Initiative and City of Reader’s Team held a community discussion on his book, as it was an unusually “hot” non-fiction title. The Rines auditorium filled– and from that evening came a request to screen and discuss Rober Reich’s film Inequality for All.

On October 29th, in partnership with the League of Women Voters, Portland, the Maine Center for Economic Policy and the USM Economics Department, we will watch and discuss this movie — we hope all will feel welcome to join us for respectful and challenging discourse about this complex topic that shapes all our lives.

See the booklist that emerged from recommendations given at the Piketty Panel and a booklist focused on economic inequality.

What income do you think qualifies as “poverty”? How well do our poverty guidelines capture the edge between poverty and financial security? What role does the Government play in providing a safety net or incentives for higher wages? What other questions do you ask about income and wealth inequality in our Country? Submit them through comments!

2014 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Federally facilitated marketplaces will use the 2014 guidelines to determine eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP (this is effective February 10, 2014).

Household Siz

100%

133%

150%

200%

250%

300%

400%

1

$11,670

$15,521

$17,505

$23,340

$29,175

$35,010

$46,680

2

15,730

20,921

23,595

31,460

39,325

47,190

62,920

3

19,790

26,321

29,685

39,580

49,475

59,370

79,160

4

23,850

31,721

35,775

47,700

59,625

71,550

95,400

5

27,910

37,120

41,865

55,820

69,775

83,730

111,640

6

31,970

42,520

47,955

63,940

79,925

95,910

127,880

7

36,030

47,920

54,045

72,060

90,075

108,090

144,120

8

40,090

53,320

60,135

80,180

100,225

120,270

160,360

- See more at: http://familiesusa.org/product/federal-poverty-guidelines#sthash.rUyD1z6p.dpuf

 


Choose Civility and Constitution Week!

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Business | Government | Portland History

The topic of civil discourse has emerged as a central concern in Maine and the Nation, during the past several years.  MPBN recently held its annual “Civility in Politics” call-in show, Colby College held a summit on the topic “Civil : The Way Politics Should Be”  (listen to the rebroadcast on MPBN) and the Maine Council of Churches has called for candidates to sign a “covenant of civil discourse.”  Much of this emphasis is on civility as respect and integrity in conversation.  Sometimes, calls for civility are used to discourage challenging conversation, but the best civic discourse allows a pathway for the most difficult conversations to occur productively,

Another way to think about civil discourse is that it is conversation meant to  promote a stronger Democracy.  In that way, civility is about giving people the information, tools and skills they need to understand community issues. Civics involves claiming the rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship (defined broadly).  Civil discourse involves understanding how public issues and policy decisions effect people differently and understanding the various arguments or ideas surrounding an issue.  Libraries hold a unique role in promoting civility, in that access to good information is essential to a free society.

At Portland Public Library, the “Choose Civility” initiative is not a mandate — that’s not how library’s roll – but instead an invitation to join in a community-wide reflection on what civility means in different contexts, what conditions promote civic engagement, what obstacles prevent us from participating in our communities as fully as we might like. We have great books and films, a lot of programming, and a lot of gratitude –  to the Lerner Foundation for their support of this work, and to all those who are attending public conversation programs, sharing your stories and listening with respect and curiosity to others.

This fall, we are hoping that you will join us for an even deeper look at what it means to be a community and what we can all do to promote civility in our everyday lives and in our organizations.

Portland Public Conversations

Coffee & Networking 7:30am

Program 8:00am – 10:00am

September 3oth: Portland’s People, Who Lives Among Us?

Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us?
Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us? (Main Library 8am, doors open at 7:30) – In 2004, Journalist Bill Bishop coined the phrase “The Big Sort” to describe growing segregation, both physical and intellectual, in the USA.  10 years later, political scientists agree that this phenomena is growing.  How are we sorted in Greater Portland and what can we learn from crossing divides?  This program will include an opportunity to reflect on the most current Census Data about our demographics and to engage in an exploration of stories and perceptions about each other with director of the Office of Minority Health Lisa Sockabasin.  Ample time will be allowed for facilitated table conversation.  Click here for our flyer: Choose Civility Portland Conversations – See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/choose-civility/#sthash.3uuejQEg.dpuf

November 25th: Participating Portland, Opportunities to Get Involved!

December 9th: Picturing Portland, Visioning Our Shared Future

September 30th :  Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us? (Main Library 8am, doors open at 7:30) – In 2004, Journalist Bill Bishop coined the phrase “The Big Sort” to describe growing segregation, both physical and intellectual, in the USA.  10 years later, political scientists agree that this phenomena is growing.  How are we sorted in Greater Portland and what can we learn from crossing divides?  This program will include an opportunity to reflect on the most current Census Data about our demographics and to engage in an exploration of stories and perceptions about each other with director of the Office of Minority Health Lisa Sockabasin.  Ample time will be allowed for facilitated table conversation.  Click here for our flyer: Choose Civility Portland Conversations

Save the following dates for more in our series: 
November 25th:  Participating Portland: Practical Opportunities to Get Involved
December 9th : Picturing Portland: Visioning Our Shared Future

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/choose-civility/#sthash.3uuejQEg.dpuf

September 30th :  Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us? (Main Library 8am, doors open at 7:30) – In 2004, Journalist Bill Bishop coined the phrase “The Big Sort” to describe growing segregation, both physical and intellectual, in the USA.  10 years later, political scientists agree that this phenomena is growing.  How are we sorted in Greater Portland and what can we learn from crossing divides?  This program will include an opportunity to reflect on the most current Census Data about our demographics and to engage in an exploration of stories and perceptions about each other with director of the Office of Minority Health Lisa Sockabasin.  Ample time will be allowed for facilitated table conversation.  Click here for our flyer: Choose Civility Portland Conversations

Save the following dates for more in our series: 
November 25th:  Participating Portland: Practical Opportunities to Get Involved
December 9th : Picturing Portland: Visioning Our Shared Future

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/choose-civility/#sthash.3uuejQEg.dpuf

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