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?”

–-­‐from the story “The History of Aladdin”, The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, by Antoine Galland

“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.

Read the poem here.

“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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