Summer of Poetry

Ruth Handel

Since retiring in June ‘02, I’ve been immersed in poetry, an old love. My first poetry book, Reading the White Spaces, was published by Finishing Line Press this spring. Although I’ve had poems in literary journals, it’s a thrill to see a collection of poems between two covers. The book’s available from the publisher and Amazon.

I also do readings, conduct poetry writing workshops, and manage a volunteer organization called the Poetry Caravan. It’s a group of 35 poets who bring poetry to the community, especially to venues such as hospitals, shelters, and senior residences where people might have difficulty accessing the written word on their own. We read our own work and that of many other poets always with a view toward evoking participation and creativity from the audience. For several years, as part of the Poetry Caravan, I have been leading writing workshops for psychiatric patients, a challenging and gratifying experience for me seeing poetry helping people express and understand their feelings. Read one of my poems below.

Ruth D. Handel, Literacy and Educational Media


      September 2001

Family, neighbors, parents of small children lost

and all that fall my students came
- or did not come - in grief
to the college on a high ridge facing east.

Across the river grey smoke smeared the sky.

I lectured on linguistic structure while

from the frozen corner of our eyes
we watched for weeks
lessons we tried
to stammer into speech.

from Reading the White Spaces
©2009 Ruth D. Handel