Write Across the Threshold of Transformation

This course is designed to be a catalyst for writing as we express the confusion,  elation, dislocation, loss, and sense of anonymity present during change. Readings include the wisdom of Esther de Waal’s book, To Pause at the Threshold: Reflections of Living on the Border, and the final essay from Jane Hirshfield’s Nine Gates, Entering the Mind of Poetry: Writing and the Threshold of Life. Writing assignments will be issued each week, and members will be encouraged to read their offerings in class.

A Workshop Approach to Writing

Participants will explore various elements of imaginative writing—imagery, voice, character, setting, and narration—on the path toward writing in the genre(s) of their choice. We’ll examine the value and methods of keeping a writer’s journal. Half of each session will be a writer’s workshop, developing constructive, critical responses toward each other’s writing and devising strategies for revision. Recommended text: Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft by Janet Burroway. ISBN: 978-0-205-750354. Cost: $38.66

Visions of Brooklyn: Strangers in a Strange Land

We’ll explore how individuals from three different cultures (Caribbean, Irish, and Russian) adapt to life in Brooklyn during the 1940s, 1950s, and the present, depicted in Paule Marshall’s Brown Girl, Brownstones, Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn, and Haley Tanner’s Vaclav and Lena. We will discuss works not only as a matter of social and literary history, but also as a source of pleasure and self-knowledge.

T.S. Eliot: The Four Quartets

Arguably the twentieth century’s greatest long poem, T.S.Eliot’s The Four Quartets is worth continued study. In four sessions we will look at each quartet, tracing patterns, images, and structures in this profoundly modern, yet deeply traditional work. There will be something for everyone in this multi-layered poem, which will be the impetus for class participation and discussion. Required text: T.S. Eliot: The Four Quartets. ISBN: 9780156332255. Cost: $9.00.

Reading Shakespeare Aloud: Richard II

One of the best ways to learn how to read a Shakespeare play happily is to read the text aloud. Richard II, entirely in verse, provides a complex range of characters and of levels of poetic expression, from the poet / wastrel Richard to the sober and staid Bolingbroke. Acting ability or experience is not necessary; everyone will have the chance to read aloud, as much as desired. Recommended text: Any good text of Shakespeare.

Beginning French Section I

This beginning level course is tailored for adults who wish to initiate the study of French or refresh their skills. The six sessions focus on communication through practice of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Pronunciation exercises will help learners to understand and mimic the sound system. Formal and informal cultural topics will be integrated through readings, songs, and film clips. A textbook will be provided. Participants may wish to buy the accompanying workbook.

Sports History Stories From A Master Documentary Maker

In 1998, the Peabody Awards recognized HBO Sports for its “ongoing and consistently superb series of sports documentaries."  We will watch one HBO Sports documentary, originally aired between 2001 and 2010, in each class and then discuss it. Topics include Major League Baseball, the Olympics, professional football, soccer, and college basketball. Stories range from the 1930s to the early twenty-first century, and include both men and women athletes.

The Signing Fathers

In 1776, fifty-six patriots risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honors by signing a document that began a new nation. This declaration, which was finally signed on August 21—not July 4 as we now celebrate—is arguably the most important political statement in American history. Yet today most of us can name only a few of the signers. This course will briefly review the history of the Declaration of Independence and describe the signers—who they were and what happened to them after the signing.