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Remembering, reading, careful listening, close looking, and individual expression are at the heart of several projects funded by New Hampshire Humanities for events this spring and summer. In Dublin, the historical society will hold a potluck and local story collection event to prepare for the town’s centennial. In Rindge, the Cathedral of the Pines has teamed up with Ingalls Memorial Library for a two-part series based on the words and practices of beloved American poet Mary Oliver. At the first session, participants will practice the art of civic reflection, reading and discussion her poems as a group. At the second, they will make the kind of pocket-sizes notebooks the poet used and write poems of their own. Later this spring, the Barrington Library Foundation will present a talk by Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book is Overdue, on the evolving role of the public library. Readers are also invited to facilitator-led discussions of Johnson’s book and E. Klinenberg’s Palaces for the People.
At the Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College, a dance performance by acclaimed choreographer Reggie Wilson’s Fist and Heel Performance is at the center of a public engagement program that explores the significance of black Shaker worship in the lineage of spiritual practices of the African diaspora. While tickets are required for the performance, New Hampshire Humanities grant supports a free, public lecture/demonstration and workshop with Wilson and Williams College dance scholar Sandra Burton and a lecture on African American metaphysical religions by Dr. Vaughn A. Booker, Dartmouth scholar of religion and African and African American Studies. Meanwhile, in Manchester, Saint Anselm College invites the public - especially those who work in health care - to a talk by Alexa Miller, whose work on interacting with visual art strengthens critical thinking and the ability to be more mindful and effective in the face of uncertainty.
“We Hear You Calling. . .”
In response to New Hampshire Humanities call for proposals about the right to vote, two projects illustrate the meaning and import of civic engagement. In a project celebrating the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote, a cadre of New Hampshire women poets from the Poetry Society of New Hampshire have created poems reflecting the experiences of NH and other American suffragists. Accompanied by an improvisational musician, they will read their poems and discuss issues of power, equality, and responsibility at events in Rochester, Dover, Moultonborough, Manchester and Portsmouth. The Historical Society of Cheshire County has planned a series of summer activities in Keene on the theme of empowerment and rights – including a guided walking tour of the newly installed downtown murals - inspired by the lives of local activists from Jennie Powers to Jonathan Daniels. In addition, following a shared public reading of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s speech at the Woman’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls in 1848, KSC’s Dr. Patricia Pedroza Gonzalez will facilitate a discussion about the ideas and impact of “The Declaration of Sentiments.” Concluding the series, Dr. Beth Salerno, Saint Anselm College historian, will speak about many 19th Century American women’s first taste of political activism, in small-town societies advocating temperance and other moral causes.
Photo of Mary Oliver © 2005 Rachel Giese Brown
New Hampshire Humanities programs are made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this these programs do not necessarily represent those of the NEH or New Hampshire Humanities.