|"Between the Lines" members|
The program was started by Patti Russo, a certified poetry therapist from Carlisle, MA, a MetLife Foundation/Generations United 2015 Best Intergenerational Communities award winner.
“Generations United opened my eyes to the field of intergenerational work and the many ways I can use poetry to bring generations together," said Russo, whose program works with Easter Seals, Pre-K and High Schools.
In 2006, I was hired by Easter Seals to work on a grant they received from Generations United to explore how expressive therapies might bridge the intergenerational gap.
I had previously used poetry with the bookend generations individually, but it had never occurred to me to work with them at the same time.
About ten minutes into the first session I realized the power of this intergenerational work and instantly wanted to do more of it.
|Patti (right) created a "Poetry Booth" at Old Home Day 2012 |
in Carlisle, MA to promote poetry in the community.
In addition to the benefits of poetry both generations experienced, the older adults profited from the kids' enthusiasm and energy and the children basked in the one-on-one attention they received from the adults.
After that initial intergenerational experience funded by Generations United, I started offering intergenerational poetry groups at local preschools and high schools in the Carlisle area.
It continues to be my most meaningful work as a poetry therapist.The exquisite corpse poem, "Six-word Memoirs," that high school students did with older adults.
(See poems from Between the Lines preschool and older adult members.)
CCHS Intergenerational Poetry Group
Bold = written by high school sophomore
Sharing life experience
Living as one. (Tom D.)
Poetry, seniors, sophomores
So much fun (Lillian D.)
We’re all having fun. (Hung V.)
You are young then grow older (Katie A.)
2 sophomores, I senior; It all works! (Dee S.)
Seniors, Sophomore synchrony
so, so satisfying. (Gwen C.)
It’s through poetry
I find you. (Tom D.)
It’s better than normal English class. (Ben C.)
Punishment or play?
Escape with ancients! (Joan P.)
Groups aren’t so bad after all. (Joyce B.)
Time Never Stops
Until Clocks Break (Julien D.)
“100 Years,” No
“Turning Ten,” Yes (Gwen C.)
“I’m hungry. Anyone have a snack?” (Trevor H.)
Just begun—Now done—Never forgotten (Helen Y.)
I like to play sports daily! (Davante B.)
Stars, planets, galaxies
The whole universe. (Allison R.)
Getting to know, then let go. (Marje S.)
Time is wasting, make days count. (Marje S.)
Big game today; hope we win! (Allie C.)
Started off and now wanting more (Gabe A.)
I’m done practicing. Start the game. (Irwin G.)
I was glad to see Charlotte. (Bea S.)
Six word memoirs are very funny. (Charlotte C.)
Exchange of thoughts
A new awareness (Joan S.)
The twinkling star, then shining moon. (Juilia V.)