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February 14, 2011

Love Springs Eternal: A Reading of Poetry and prose: Senior Citizens Share Stories of Love for Valentine's Day

On Valentine’s Day, St. Francis College hosted its second annual reading of poetry and prose, Love Springs Eternal, by the senior citizens in the College’s For Seniors Writing Class, taught by Professor Mitch Levenberg, Director of the College’s Academic Enhancement Center. The event took place in a crowded Maroney Forum for Arts, Culture and Education with guests including City Councilman Stephen Levin, whose support along with Council Speaker Christine Quinn, makes the For Seniors program possible. (Watch the entire event)

Some of the readers who took the microphone were Ellen Press-Scott, Florence Yukon, and Francois Snapping Turtle. Press-Scott shared her poem, ‘A Lasting Regret’ which was funny, whimsical, and a little sad. The poem is about a prima ballerina who was adored in her prime, but reflects on a long-lost love, “The great violinist. My love… my love, my lover who could not see for his blindness.” She redirects that energy of love through the eloquence of music, food, and champagne and explains that the pain in her poem is a good feeling.

Florence Yukon’s poem, ‘The Cracked Bowl’ takes a sincere and personal look at the enjoyment she feels every morning as she eats her breakfast cereal. She describes a message on the outside of her bowl that may have been hand painted in Japanese and the story of, “ancient people who selected seeds from wild grasses and who tended and selected until they produced grains that feed humankind.” Florence concludes by honoring her forbearers and thanking them for the bowl that gives her happiness.

Francois Snapping Turtle, originally from Nantucket Island, read a trio of poems, beginning with ‘The Shining’ a mysterious and mystical love poem, followed by ‘Beloved’ a heartfelt exploration to his true love. Francois shows a range of emotions and feelings that are well expressed through his heart, mind and soul. “Earth is a flame of love, my heart trembles in the flurries of confetti,” he said. Snapping Turtle closed with a final expression of his heart, the poem, ‘To Deep Water.’

Councilman Levin, in addressing the audience, offered his own take on Love, “I believe that love doesn’t change, but maybe we perceive it differently. Or as time goes on, circumstances change, but the impulse stays the same.”

In his introduction to the event, Professor Levenberg, who is also an adjunct lecturer at St. Francis College, said he felt privileged to teach the class and present their work. He said that while he is the teacher in the class, he is the one who leaves each time inspired to write more of his work. He said that teaching this class of experienced writers has made him grow wiser and feel younger." Levenberg’s short stories have been published in FICTION magazine, The New Delta Review, The Cream City Review, and Fine Madness. He recently published a selection of short fiction, “Principles of Uncertainty and Other Constants.”

St. Francis College thanks the New York City Council and New York State Legislature for their support of the For Seniors program, which is funded under contract with the New York City Department for the Aging. For more information about events including free movie screening, swimming and Tai-Chi, please go to the St. Francis College Events Page and click on Events for Senior Citizens or call (718) 489-5272.

By Richard Loutfi

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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