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Forget the Turkey: Poems of Thanksgiving

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture

An image of the children's book "Giving Thanks."

Forget the turkey. Do you think of the Thanksgiving table as a place for jokes, speeches, storytelling, banter, quiet rumination…or…poetry? Take a gander at the Cranberry Cantos, a sampler of Thanksgiving-related poems chosen by the editors at the Poetry Foundation. Selections include Richard Blanco’s poem “América,” from his book “City of a Hundred Fires,” which you can find at PPL (Blanco’s new memoir, “The Prince of Los Cocuyos,” is also well worth a read). Or find other poets at PPL who are mentioned in the sampler: Maxine Kumin, Joy Harjo, Eamon Grennan, CK Williams, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, and Sharon Olds.

If you read just one of the poems, be sure to check out Dunbar’s very wonderful “Signs of the Times,” which wins my vote for poem I’d most love to hear read aloud at the Thanksgiving table.

Speaking of recitations…here’s a link to a recording of poet Kevin Young reading aloud Sharon Olds’ selection, “First Thanksgiving,” (a poem of a daughter coming back from college for the first time since she’s left home). PPL also has Kevin Young’s own new collection, “Book of Hours.”

A picture of Kevin Young.

Kevin Young.

Other possibilities for your Thanksgiving poetry reading:

If all this isn’t enough poetry for you, please join us in December for PPL’s Poetry Aloud Winter Poem Spectacular. What’s Poetry Aloud all about? Bring a poem you love by a published author to read aloud to your fellow poetry-lovers in the Rines Auditorium on the night of Monday, December 22. Since our readings have gone so quickly in the past, feel free to bring two “short or medium sized” poems or one longer poem to read. Doors open at 5:45; the reading will take place from 6-7 sharp on the eve of December 22. We’ll have wonderful treats as usual. And we don’t usually focus on specific themes, but this time around, feel free to share one of your favorite wintry, festive, or holiday poems!


Online Learning and Technology Offerings at PPL

posted: , by Samantha Soucy
tags: Online Services | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Science & Technology

Did you know that the Library has resources for learning online?

Lynda.com is an online learning site that helps people to learn a variety of skills, from software development to business marketing. It has a library of over 1,000 courses, appropriate for all levels of experience. The site contains video instruction on topics like SEO, flash photography, cloud computing, accounting, business intelligence, and DSLR video. The courses cover technical skills, creative techniques, business strategies, and more. Users are granted a 2 week pass to the website to follow as many courses as desired within that time frame, and you can renew your subscription to complete a course by signing up for another pass. To gain access, please fill out this form on the Maine State Library website.

Another option for users is the resources on the Learning Express Library. This resource has information on basic computer and Internet skills, as well as more college prep courses—SAT, ACT, PSAT, and admissions essay assistance. There is an adult learning center to help improve math, reading, and grammatical skills; a career center for occupational exam preparation and job skill assessment; a college center for math, reading, science and writing; information in Spanish, and much more.

In addition to these online tools, the Public Computing department has resumed Friday tutoring hours, for individual assistance with computer issues. You can call to make a half hour appointment, 207-871-1700, extension 708. Basic computing, and intermediate computer skills classes will return in January 2015.

 


The Worth of Conversation

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

What is the worth of informal, but focused, conversation? What do we gain from talking to each other across our differences, about something we hold in common?

Research indicates that loneliness is a very common social problem and puts individuals at risk for health problems.  Loneliness & Mortality Risks (read this review article in the New Republic)

In contrast, the following video from the Greater Good Science Center suggests that developing “cross-group relationships” is great for our health and well-being!

 

One of the best ways to develop more relationships and relationships with people different from us is by participating in public conversations… and we have some great invitations for you! All programs are free and open to the public.

1) On November 6th we continue a series offered in collaboration with the  Maine Humanities Council on “Creating the Communities We Wish For.”  These small group, neighborhood conversations feature a great facilitator (Dr. Anna Bartel), a great poem, and fabulous conversation.   REGISTER HERE

·         November 6th at the YMCA in Portland, 11:30am – 1:00pm
·         November 20th here at the Main Branch, 11:30am – 1:00pm
·         December 18th at Riverton, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

2) On November 6th we also begin our film series, in collaboration with Maine Humanities Council, entitled “Muslim Journeys.”   This series is part of a national project and will include discussion facilitated by Reza Jalali.  The series includes films on November 13th and 20th – all begin at 6:30pm.

3)  On November 25th we offer the second of our Portland Public Conversations, in collaboration with Lift360 (formerly the Institute for Civic Leadership) – this one will focus on “Participating in Portland” and will include a resource fair – if you have a project that engages volunteers or civic participation and you’d like to share information about it, please be in touch with me simmons@portland.lib.me.us .  All are encouraged to come reflect on the value of engagement and the challenges associated with participating in our communities – November 25th 7:30am coffee/ 8:00am program start.   Our final date in the series is December 9th and will focus on “Picturing Portland” – a visioning session for 2015 and beyond!

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