Wish You Were Here: Postcards from the Past

In celebration of National Poetry Month, the library is hosting part of the Wish You Were Here: Postcards From the Past project led by Calliope Poetry for Community. This project is funded, in part, from a grant by the Falmouth Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. Read on for descriptions of the kickoff event which will include a poetry reading and a presentation of postcards from Falmouth Public Library Historical Postcard Collection, plus two poetry writing workshops, one for adults and one for teens.

A Postcard Presentation & Poetry Reading with Alice Kociemba & Jennifer Rose

Saturday, April 1, 2023, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Hermann Foundation Room, Falmouth Public Library Register

Alice Kociemba, the founding director of Calliope Poetry for Community, will present a slide show of a curated selection from the historical postcard collection of the Falmouth Public Library and describe the goals of the project: Wish You Were Here: Postcards from the Past. She will issue an invitation to Falmouth residents to use these postcards to interpret the story of Falmouth’s past and present by creating new literary and visual art that respond to the postcard collection.

Jennifer Rose will read a selection of her postcard poems from Hometown for an Hour, and will describe the process of crafting postcard poems that create through their brevity an immediate connection to a specific place. A discussion with the audience will follow her reading.  “Rich in imagery, deftly crafted, and imbued with a lightness of voice, these poems are also postmarked from poetry’s more familiar provinces of love, nature, and loss.” (Hometown for an Hour).

In the Q & A with the audience, Alice and Jennifer will describe ways to use these postcards as inspiration for writing a new prose or narrative poems of 100 words or fewer. In addition to using the postcards as writing prompts, these postcards are an invitation to capture through photographing the “now” of how Falmouth has changed, as well as what remains essential to the unique character of Falmouth. 

Alice Kociemba is a co-editor of From the Farther Shore: Discovering Cape Cod and the Islands Through Poetry (Bass River Press, 2021). She is the author of the poetry collection, Bourne Bridge (Turning Point, 2016). For eleven years, Alice facilitated a monthly poetry discussion group at the Falmouth Public Library and she was guest editor of Common Threads, the poetry discussion project of Mass Poetry (2015 & 2016). Alice lives in North Falmouth, with her husband, Rich Youmans. 

Jennifer Rose is the author of two poetry collections, The Old Direction of Heaven (Truman State University Press, 2000) and Hometown for an Hour (Ohio University Press, 2006)A Chicago-area native, Jennifer first visited the Outer Cape in 1970, at age 11. Its landscape— especially the bay—has inspired her ever since. She lives in Waltham, Massachusetts. 


Bringing the Past to Life: A Poetry Writing Workshop with Robin Smith-Johnson

Thursday, April 13, 2023, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Bay Room, Falmouth Public Library Register

Robin Smith-Johnson will lead a poetry workshop on elements of writing brief poems (100 words or fewer) that respond to a selection of the  Falmouth Public Library’s historical postcard collection. In addition to presenting aspects of crafting ekphrastic poems, i.e., poems that respond to another art form, Robin will also describe how to bring history to life through poetry.

Robin Smith-Johnson is a co-editor of From the Farther Shore: Discovering Cape Cod and the Islands Through Poetry (Bass River Press, 2021) and has published two collections of poetry: Dream of the Antique Dealer’s Daughter (Word Poetry, 2013) and Gale Warnings (Finishing Line Press, 2015). Robin is also the author of two books on Cape Cod history: Cape Cod Curiosities (The History Press, 2019) and Legends and Lore of Cape Cod (The History Press, 2016). She is a co-founder of the Steeple Street Poets of Cape Cod and  currently teaches writing at Cape Cod Community College. 


Through Our Own Eyes: A Poetry Writing Workshop for Teens, with David R. Surette

Thursday, April 20, 2023, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m., Teen Room, Falmouth Public Library Register

Poet David Surette, a high school English teacher and educator for more than 30 years, will lead a workshop on how to write brief, descriptive narrative poems that capture a specific sense of place and time in a writer’s life. Many of David’s own poems are set in his hometown and distill the poignancy of growing up in a tight-knit community. Using prompts and providing examples of successful poems that capture a young person’s perspective, David knows how to make the writing of poetry an enjoyable experience.  All teens interested in expressing what they uniquely understand about Falmouth would benefit from this workshop.

David R. Surettea recently retired public-school teacher and hockey couch, is the author of seven collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Tonic (forthcoming from Moon Pie Press, Spring 2023). His previous books include Malden (Moon Pie Press, 2018) and Stable (Moon Pie Press, 2015), the latter of which was named an Honor Book at the 2015 Massachusetts Book Awards. He lives on Cape Cod. 


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