The Writing Center for Creative Aging:
Featured Work & Writers
Illustration by Max Liebert from Ludwig Fulda’s Aladin und die Wunderlampe
“Who will change old lamps for new? . . .
New lamps for old?”
“Something opened up in me. It’s like an Aladdin’s lamp and Shelley rubbed it the right way. I was 95 when I started writing poetry, and I can’t stop.”– Estelle Kraemer
Here we celebrate the work of individuals who have been writing poems and stories long before they met me, and the work of many who never thought themselves poets or storytellers but—in changing their view of reading and writing—have been surprised to find a genie lives inside them.
How is it that the word of a 19th century recluse from Amherst, or the son of a glove-‐maker in Elizabethan England, or the family doctor making house calls in Paterson, New Jersey, can touch the life of someone who never cared for poetry, and transform him or her into a poet, a storyteller?
And how, in turn, a girl growing up in the small farming village of Belleville during the Jazz Age, the dressmaker from Glasgow who came to America in 1948 in search of a better life, the retired mayor and councilman from a sleepy river town along the Jersey shore, and the schoolgirl fleeing the Third Reich in 1938 can inspire others by sharing—through the alchemy of words and imagery—something of what they’ve learned along the way?
Each poet, each writer, each storyteller featured on this page has inspired me to take a deeper look inside myself. Maybe there’s still a little magic to be worked. May you find a poem or story here that fills your head with possibilities.
Lady in Black Evening Dress with Green Scarf by Lesser Ury, 1908
How the Weaving of a Poem Can Create Community: The Story of “The Green Scarf”
Early on in my poetry residency at Seabrook Village, I passed around a silk scarf and invited each resident to tell us what it reminded him or her of: what time of day, what season, a place they’ve been, a possession, a scent, a sound, a memory.
We gathered a line here and there from everyone in the room and—together—created a scarf of words, a poem far more beautiful than the real thing.
“New Frontiers” & Other Poems:
Trailblazing with Estelle Kraemer
Estelle Kraemer never dreamed of stepping on her older siblings’ literary toes. Her sister Berdie, in her day, had been a successful women’s magazine writer and local poet laureate. Her brother Morrie worked his way up from cub…
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