SLC students to study poetry and memory loss with Wisconsin Poet Laureate Karla Huston

Posted On March 17, 2017

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MANITOWOC, Wis. — Silver Lake College students will be able to explore the relationship between poetry and memory loss when 2017-18 Wisconsin Poet Laureate Karla Huston comes to Manitowoc later this month.

Huston will be in town for Poetry & Memory, a community celebration of poetry at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 30 hosted by Laurel Grove, 1235 South 24th St. It is free and open to the public.

On the morning of the event, Silver Lake College’s Career Resources Office will host Huston for a continental breakfast and conversation at the college with SLC students who write or enjoy poetry. Later in the morning, the students and faculty will join Huston and residents of Laurel Grove Assisted Living for a poetry-writing event. 

“This is an exceptional opportunity for our students,” said Emilie Lindemann, associate professor of English at Silver Lake College.  “I admire Karla Huston’s work for its musical qualities and the insightful way in which she explores gender roles, aging and the human experience. Conversation with Karla will provide inspiration while also helping students recognize how poets and others can synthesize the creative process, critical thinking skills and compassion to empower community members with memory challenges."

As director of experiential learning, career resources and internships, Jan Algozine provides Silver Lake College students with learning opportunities designed to help them prepare for careers after graduation. 

“Working with Huston, the students will learn how she uses poetry to spark creativity and memory in individuals,” Algozine said. “This will allow students to discover how they can apply their love of poetry and their classroom learning to the fast-growing field of memory care.  This experience will open up a whole new world of career possibilities to them.”

Huston, whose focus during her tenure as Wisconsin’s poet will be memory, memory loss and the pleasure of poetry. In her presentations, she creates poems, reads poetry and engages her audiences in the process. Most important is her desire to nurture the growth of poetry reading and writing as part of various statewide Memory Café projects; this ground-breaking program brings together people who suffer from mild memory loss and dementia, along with their caregivers, to celebrate and collaborate in creativity and storytelling. 

The power of the arts in healing and general well-being is growing as research shows that they play an important role in preserving memory and in engaging people with memory loss of all kinds.

“As we research innovative ways to engage our residents, we are finding art, poetry, storytelling, music, dance and drama emerge as important components,” said Rachel Pelnar, activities coordinator for Laurel Grove Assisted Living. “These are important activities whether or not someone is in memory care, we are finding more and more arts activities to apply.”

Karla Huston lives in Appleton. She is the author of eight chapbooks of poems, the latest, “Grief Bone” (Five Oaks Press), and a full collection, which has garnered many awards including a Pushcart Prize for the poem, “Theory of Lipstick.” She received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association for her collection of the same title. Her writing has earned residencies at Ragdale Foundation, as well as the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Silver Lake College is a four-year, private liberal arts college in Manitowoc sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, who founded it in 1935.

Shady Lane is Manitowoc’s only private not-for-profit, citizen-directed care center. In addition to Laurel Grove Assisted Living, the facility includes two other distinct services, Rehab at Shady Lane and Shady Lane Nursing Care Center, an all-private-room nursing care facility.

PHOTO: Karla Huston/Photo by  Mike Roemer