Facilitated by Magdalena Montagne

Central Coast of California

We are heartily pleased that through WisdomVerse, Magdalena Montagne is bringing a poetry curriculum for seniors and those with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and other cognitive and physical impairments. We are finding once again that this expressive art heals and enriches lives! More specifically, Magdalena has found that people who live with memory challenges are able to participate and experience connection and meaning. We recognize Magdalena's brilliant presence that transcends the poetry, is a presence whose quality may best be identified as love.

IPM is committed to bringing poetry and poem-making to elders. We recognize that there is a creative spark in everyone, and we intend to include in this poetic outreach older adults who span the range of cognitive capacities.


Living In the WisdomVerse World

by Magdalena Montagne

WisdomVerse began in 2012 based on the premise that poetry should not be the province of a few, but rather everyone should enjoy poems and poem-making as often as possible. I was particularly concerned for elderly folks who I felt might be denied the benefits of poetry based on stereotypes - of what poetry is and what older adults are capable of. Over the last several years my journey as "poetry advocate" has led me to assisted living facilities throughout the central coast of California, bringing poetry to those with Alzheimer's and other cognitive and physical impairments. Using published poems from the literary canon as a starting point, these collaborative workshops demonstrate how poetry elevates people on so many levels: how heart connections are made and memories are re-experienced, shared and recorded.

We see how poetry sparks and ignites worlds within worlds; those universes of creativity and imagination that are never lost, regardless of status or age. Thank you John and the Institute for Poetic Medicine for your work in sharing the healing qualities of poetry and allowing me to be a catalyst in as many venues as I can in this most important work.

In my experience poetry definitely stimulates mind, heart and soul. No shortage of laughter and smiles on "poetry day." No shortage of goodwill as I return to my home office with a new poem to type up and my own sweet memories of what it feels like to be in an egalitarian and loving community.

Perhaps the most exciting development in this past year as a poetry partner is that I have been approached by several writers who are interested in facilitating workshops themselves. Several have come to observe, including a former poet laureate of Santa Cruz County who has had intimate experience with Alzheimer's - his wife recently passed away after living with the disease for many years.

These experiences hearten and fill me with wonder and awe at how poetry elevates and inspires all those who are fortunate enough to read and/or create with words…just words that mean so much…

IPM is pleased to be funding and supporting this wonderful poetry partner program.
If you'd like to support this effort, please consider donating!

Magdalena Montagne

Magdalena Montagne has been leading poetry writing workshops for almost 20 years, most recently in conjunction with libraries in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties. Magdalena has been facilitating poetry writing workshops for seniors in assisted living facilities in Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara Counties through her WisdomVerse program since 2012. In 2018, she became a Poetry Partner with the Institute for Poetic Medicine to help continue and expand this work. Quarterly, she hosts the Poets' Circle Poetry Reading Series at the Watsonville Public Library. Magdalena's poetry has been published in several local literary journals. She lives in Corralitos with her husband and daughter and their Siamese cat, Snowshoe.

Magdalena Montagne
If you'd like to collaborate on bringing poetry and mindfulness into your community, please reach out to Magdalena.
You may purchase Magdalena's book of poetry, "Earth, My Witness":
Earth, My Witness
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Poetry of Nature Letters
Facilitated by NanLeah, Geoff Oelsner Monthly Letters delivered through November
This Poetic Medicine journey of monthly letters (with access to past issues) is for all kinds of Nature Lovers: for those wishing to create or deepen their Nature practice and poetry writing; for those that are concerned about Earth’s chang- ing climate, and their place in it; for those who have the felt sense that things can be different; and for those who are ready to turn their hearts and minds to a new story.
Through stories, poems, writing prompts, and reflections on the theme of choice, we’ll weave a tangible, living record of our journey together.
Morning Branches
by Geoff Oelsner
If there’s an award for Most Eclectic Local Album of the Year and Possibly Even the Decade, it will surely go to Geoff Oelsner for his new release, “Morning Branches.”
There is the unadorned informality of Geoff Oelsner, LCSW’s Dream and the theatrical pandemonium of Mad Tom’s Song. And there are some genuine folk songs delivered in Geoff ’s engaging resonant baritone and liberally sprinkled with tasty acoustic instruments and harmony. Two of these songs, My Shady and Borderguards, I would put right up there with the best of Joan Baez or Peter, Paul & Mary.
More than those of most singer-songwriters, Geoff Oelsner’s lyrics read as poetry on the printed page…Oelsner, who once told me that he considers himself “a happy hand-puppet of the artistic process,” often gets song ideas, and even entire songs, from his dreams… Geoff Oelsner is especially attuned to this phenomenon and tries to honor it and be faithful to it when it occurs.
Emily Kaitz, Fayetteville Free Weekly
Ordinary Mystery
by Geoff Oelsner
Geoff Oelsner doesn’t spend too much time thinking about writing songs. Inspiration, he says, just hits him. He calls them “givens,” and he knows that a gift like that is to be used.
On the recording (Ordinary Mystery), he was backed by Kelly Mulhollan, Robin Rues, Andrew Sieff, and also his family, including his wife and two grown children who now make their careers as musicians.
Oelsner chatted with the us recently about the gifts of songs, the importance of recording with his family and his love of Native American cultures. Four songs on the album are dedicated to the country’s different native peoples, and proceeds from the recording will be donated to Native American charities.
Kevin Kinder, Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Finding What You Didn’t Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity through Poem-Making
by John Fox
Transcending the traditional academic approach to poetry writing, Finding What You Didn’t Lose deals with craft but, more importantly, guides readers to explore their deepest feelings and express their own unique insights through the incomparable language of poetry.
Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making
by John Fox
Poetic Medicine is designed for readers wanting to tap their creative energy in order to make a difference in the world, including educators, therapists, parents and their children, writers, couples, and the infirm. As John Fox demonstrates, we all possess the ability to write. This gift enables us to access unlimited spiritual resources that restore our genuine voices and meaning in our lives, while healing and creatively satisfying us.
We Are the Future: Poems with a Voice for Peace
Edited by Merna Ann Hecht
This unique anthology brings readers into the personal, lived experiences of young people whose lives are challenged by leaving a homeland behind and negotiating relocation. At a time of uncertainty with a global pandemic and the very real threat to our planet from climate change, We Are the Future reminds us to stand strong with refugee and immigrant youth in their hopes, dreams and determination for a more humane, just, and peaceful world.
Geography of Loss
by Judith Prest
Geography of Loss explores grief and loss, whether through death or other experiences. It is a collection of poems detailing family history, lessons from loss and the resilience that come from surviving loss.
Write a Poem, Save Your Life
by Meredith Heller
With writing prompts, tools, encouragement, and moving student examples, Meredith Heller gently guides us in the art of using poetry to figure out who we are and what matters to us and to heal the deeper issues many of us face, such as depression, addiction, health and body image issues, low self-esteem, trauma, gender and sexual identity issues, and home and family problems. Along the way, we learn that writing poems helps us believe in ourselves, make positive life choices, and find direction, purpose, and meaning.