TINTON FALLS – Every Friday morning, two dozen or so residents get together at Seabrook’s Continuing Care Community, known as “The Gardens,” on their senior living 98-acre campus to hear the writings of authors such as Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. They then listen to their own writings as well.
These writers, who are part of a group known as Poets From The Gardens, are now published as well, staking a claim in the world of literature with Voices In Bloom – An Anthology of Poems and Stories.
In February, 40 residents from the writing group began working on the anthology, which they wanted to share with their loved ones, and the public.
Here is an excerpt from the book entitled Each Day, written by Seabrook Continuing Care resident Jim Buckley:
At 92, each day
Is its own commander. . .
From the merging colors of the sunrise
And the mixed forms of the clouds
Through the changing person of myself.
Buckley is only one of 137 passionate pieces authored by these writers.
The book, which lists for $4.75 on the website Lulu.com, was edited by Shelley Benaroya, director of the Writing Center for Creative Aging of NJ. Benaroya, a teaching artist and professional writer, facilitates the Poets From The Gardens group each week, helping attendees lend their voice in the creative process.
The residents who are part of Voices In Bloom have a strong connection to their work and a strong connection to their fellow poet authors who are involved in this project.
“Together our residents created a synthesis of sheer sweetness, beauty, history and passion,” said Art Sparks, Seabrook executive director. “Each piece tells a story not just about its own subject matter, but about the author as well, who may have come from any different walk of life that defines who they are.”
Jennifer Courlas, director of continuing care at Seabrook said, “There are so many creative residents here at Seabrook in both the independent and continuing care communities. They write, paint, sing, dance and even act. This group of writers has taken their passion to a whole other level- they produced something for those outside of Seabrook to see—giving others a chance to see the gifts created within our very own community.”
“It’s a thrill watching someone who never cared much for poetry, or who lost touch with it, or felt intimated by it over the years, become inspired to share—through the alchemy of their own words and imagery—something of what they’ve learned along the way,” Benaroya said. “It goes to show how joyful adding a little poetry to your life can be. How that creative spark lives inside us all.”