"Life is poetry. I didn't know that until I stepped into this class." G.O., a writer of Being Heard
Being Heard is a poetry writing program that honors the voices and imaginations of central Pennsylvania’s low-income older adults. Participants write collaboratively, share stories, study poetry together, and put their minds to everything from farmhouses, chickadees, city streets, and the night sky to questions about heaven and death, immigration and American identity, disability and deity, art and love.
Each program culminates with a poetry chapbook, colorful poetry posters, and with a public reading and celebration. Being Heard was selected as one of four “Best of the Best” projects in the commonwealth from among the 1,175 projects funded by the PA Council on the Arts between 2013-2016.
By The Being Heard Writer’s Group at Salem Hill Haven
Spring Mills, PA 2017
In the afternoon I watched
six or eight wild turkeys. They were
very perceptive—they watched, they sensed
that they’re hunted. They were the color
of dreary weather. They had their own language—
gobble, gobble, gobble—a world
of their own. The males had long feather beards.
Strutting, they hopped along.
They nest in the trees at night. When they get scared,
they scatter. To get together again,
the male calls them—perk, perk, perk.
When they flew away, it was like a light thunder.
By the Being Heard Writer's Group at Centre Crest
Bellefonte, PA 2016
delicate purple and white
Smooth, with a jagged
top, the shell is hollow, brown,
with shades of purple.
leg bone, teeth
marks, lying in the field.
End of May, irises, I’m
sitting in a wheelchair. Had
an explosion in my brain.
purple and white irises
delicately blowing in the breeze
By Jim McKinley, Steve Fink, & Keith Dowdy
The Being Heard Writer's Group at Centre Crest
Bellefonte, PA 2017
Is the title of one of Edward Hopper’s
paintings. Hopper could have called it,
“Edward Hopper’s First Painting,” for it’s full
of mistakes, like an old western
with an airplane flying by. Or maybe
he was just trying to Twilight Zone us
with the unlined bricks which are too red
and the green road, with the light
that’s coming from every direction.
If you don’t see the people, it looks like a fireplace
with a fire going out. There should be
no black like that—you should either be able
to see a reflection or see
Three men wearing hats, one
in a soda jerk’s uniform
fixing coffee. One read-headed
woman in a pink dress who looks
like a floozy. Why are they out
so late? When I close my eyes, I see her going home
with one of them. I see
the soda jerk cleaning up. I see him turning
off the lights. I feel the cool
late night autumn air, and then
the slow sun, turning the street orange.
Being Heard is supported in part by the PA Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.