Category: Books Theatre Writing

library and book club posts, writing workshops, theatre events and information

Poetry to reflect on resilience and resistance

The women’s meditative poetry group felt that the close of Indigenous People’s month and the start of a new month–with ongoing issues–would be a good time to select a woman poet who writes from an indigenous perspective.
At 9am Pacific on Saturday and Sunday, we’ll continue to meet over zoom at ucv.im/cuuwa
The featured poet is Rita Bouvier.  https://www.thistledownpress.com/html/search/Authors/Rita_Bouvier/index.cfm
Her poetry collections are at vpl.ca.  As well, several poems are available on line.
There are several places on youtube we can hear her read her own poems.

How do we hold silence

Deeper than bone

(audio only)

Here’s a short interview with video:

Women’s Meditative Poetry Circle

Do you need more poetry in your life?

UPDATE 

In June we’ll read local poet Natalie Lim on Saturdays and Nicole Brossard on Sundays.

Here’s what some of our regulars say about these short “poetry breaks”:

I’ve found our weekend meditative poetry readings a lovely way to start my day.  Hearing a poem read three times enriches my understanding of it more than I expected.  And, because we are generally finished in 15 minutes, it’s a commitment that is not at all burdensome.  I’ve rarely read poetry since I graduated from college and I’m grateful for the chance to get reacquainted with it.

  • Kathy Sayers
Our poetry group has introduced me to modern female Canadian poets most of whom, other than Margaret Atwood, I had no familiarity with.  It has been an enriching experience. 
I have expanded our weekly zoom visits with our son, two daughters and families to include poetry.   Our seven year old great granddaughter reads to us every week and so I decided it was my turn to read, yes a poem to her and her family.  So now each family hears the work of a Canadian poet each week.  I am just about to add Rupi Kaur for the four grand daughters in their mid twenties.
  • Barb Bowmar

I’ve tried various ways (often after making new year’s resolutions) to “get into” poetry – reading aloud; memorizing one a month, etc. This approach has turned me into a poetry-enthusiast. Some of what’s different is reading poems by contemporary women: accessible themes; and having a nice, small group of more contemporary women to share (not discuss or debate) with.

  • Mary Bennett

New Approach for May

We’d like to add a few more people. It’s OK to drop-in, but we also think more people might enjoy having this as a regular practice as some of us have had for about 6 months now..

For May we’ll focus on particular poets. If it turns out to be well received, the group may vote on the next month’s poet at the end of May.

Saturday group will be Margaret Atwood poems including from her recent collection Dearly.

Sunday group will be Naomi Shihab Nye, already a favorite of our group. If you haven’t already discovered her, we think you’ll enjoy. She also writes children’s books.

Background and Times

UCV women in collaboration with the Canadian U*U Women’s Association offer women’s meditative poetry gatherings on zoom.

  • Saturdays and Sundays at 9 am Pacific/12 noon Eastern
Click the following link to join the gathering:
https://ucv.im/cuuwa
Mary Bennett started this following Rev. Lara’s “Lectio Divina” series in October, 2020. Mary’s objective was to make her mornings go better and read more poetry. Both are almost lifelong goals worth revisiting regularly and it’s working.
You are invited if you identify as a woman or non-binary, gender queer or gender fluid. I/we invite suggestions how to ensure this is a welcoming space for you.
The facilitator will:
  • Read a poem written by a (usually) Canadian (almost always) woman three times with a one-minute pause and brief sharing between.
  • Participants listen during the first reading for words or phrases that strike them.
  • Second reading, listen for feelings or memories that are stirred.
  • Third reading, listen for a message or personal meaning.
  • We usually have about a minute’s of silence after each reading and then, as we’re usually a small group of 3 or 4, everyone shares briefly. We’re always finished within half an hour, usually 15 minutes.

We have an email group. If you want to e-meet the other group members and receive occasional reminders or links to poetry, please join by sending an email to womens-meditative-poetry+subscribe@googlegroups.com  If you need assistance joining contact Mary at ucvconnect@gmail.com

See the CUUWA page here: https://cuuwa.org/meditative-poetry-circle/

 

Gender and Theatre – Join an Interactive Panel Discussion

Watch Mairy Beam’s provocative and enlightening play What Difference Does it Make?  available now on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQU6WT6Igs8  and join us for a Play Discussion moderated by our own Rev Lara Cowtan on Saturday June 12 at 7:00 pm. ucv.im/gsa

What Difference Does It Make?  Minutes before Carmelle’s best friend arrives for a visit from Toronto, Lucy comes out as non-binary. A day later they’re all trapped together isolating from Covid 19. In this hotbed of needs and limitations the characters play out their destinies against the backdrop of a city in virtual lockdown. A sensitive and illuminating portrayal of a person in transition, a partner struggling to adjust and a broken-hearted houseguest inadvertently making things worse.

From the audience: 

  • “Up until I saw this play I didn’t get how significant and important and fundamental the journey to non-binary is.”
  • “captivating, touching, challenging, humorous, sad and informative”
  • “this play is a gem”
  • “true and raw”
  • “I have some thinking to do  . . . “

What Difference Does It Make? was originally produced by Toronto’s Haven Theatre, in February 2021.

This event is coordinated by UCV’s Genders and Sexualities Alliance as part of UCV’s recertification as a Welcoming Congregation.

Registration appreciated but not required:

https://ucv-gender-theatre.eventbrite.ca

Search the website for “gsa” for other information and events.

Our GSA meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm.

All genders and sexualities welcome, even cis-straight.  Email gsa@vancouverunitarians.ca for the zoom link and agenda.

 

Women’s Memoir Writing Series

Note: This series is now at capacity.

If you registered by sending an email to Mary prior to Saturday, March 27, and haven’t received a confirmation email, please send another email to the address below.

Our Lives as Stories

Maybe you would like to commit to paper (or your laptop) a few of the stories knocking around inside you. Maybe you’re seeking a new way to deepen your understanding of yourself and your connection with others. Or maybe you’ve been longing to write your memoir. Whichever is the case, this series of workshops could get you started.

Session 1: Finding Stories. (Gathering the Sensory and Emotive Details)

Session 2: The Craft and Building Blocks of Stories.  (Writing the Scene(s))

Session 3: From Draft to Polished. (Giving and Receiving Feedback)

⦁ The three two-hour workshops will be spaced a month apart providing lots of time in between for other activities.
⦁ For the first two sessions, the whole group (up to twenty participants) will meet for instruction and guided exercises. Sharing time will involve breakout rooms of five or six, and everyone will be invited to share a portion of their work with Maggie by email if they wish.
⦁ The third workshop will happen in 3 sessions, with up to six gathering each time, to share their work and give and receive guided feedback.

FREE to UCV members
$100 registration fee for non-members

Bio

Maggie de Vries is the author of eleven books including the Governor General Literary Award nominated Missing Sarah: A Memoir of Loss and teen novel, Rabbit Ears, winner of the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. Maggie’s TEDxSFU talk The Red Umbrella: Sex Work, Stigma and the Law has been viewed more than forty-thousand times. Hooker Monologues, a collaborative production Maggie co-produced, co-wrote and performed in, staged six sold-out shows at Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre in 2016.

Maggie was children’s book editor at Orca Book Publishers for seven years and a substitute teacher in Surrey for five. In 2005 and 2012, she was the inaugural writer in residence at VPL and UNBC respectively. For some years now, she has been a Lecturer in UBC’s Creative Writing Program, and a Martha-Beck-certified Life Coach who mentors writers, runs workshops, leads writing retreats and offers creative writing courses in her Ladysmith, Vancouver Island community and beyond.

She is in the process of reconnecting with UCV, where she was married in 1995 and attended more and more regularly from 1999 until she moved away from the city in 2017.

www.maggiedevries.com

Dates: May 8, May 29 (2 – 4 pm)
and

June 19/20 The last class is meant to be divided into three groups for workshopping, with Maggie present for each one. People will sign up for one of these slots: Saturday: 9:30 to 11:30, 12:30 to 2:30 or 3 to 5 or Sunday: 12:30 to 2:30 or 3 to 5.

Registration required: contact Mary Bennett ucvconnect@gmail.com

Zoom link will be sent to registered participants before the first session.
Minimum: 10; Maximum: 20 participants

Supported by the Vancouver Unitarian Women’s Retreat Fund.

Registration fees and donations will be used to replenish the fund for future events.

Testimonials

Insightful, hardworking, thoughtful and encouraging, Maggie provided the literary expertise to solve the structural and editorial issues that plagued early drafts of my memoir.  Coincidently, she identified areas where I struggled to probe and encouraged me to explore, improve and flourish.  She helped me to dig deeper and write better. Maggie is terrific!

Renée Hetherington, MBA, PhD
Writer, Scientist and Businesswoman
British Columbia, Canada
February, 2021

Maggie de Vries runs a humdinger of a writing retreat. In an island setting, I was so deeply comforted by the schedule she set for us—one I could decide not to partake of at any moment should the writing bug o’er take me or should I simply need a walk in the woods—that I was inspired to fully involve myself in the opportunities. I was encouraged to share my writing, something I’m truly not used to doing, and I found it thrilling; that shell remains open, well after the retreat, and I’m delighted to feel the change.
Maggie took care of each of us by combining inviting reflection and prompt-driven writing sessions, literary focus, and guided workshops with lots of individually spent time too: free writing in our separate (stunningly beautiful) spots and one-to-one sessions with Maggie.  These check-ins allowed us to look wide to see the larger project and then to perceive the minute detail of scene writing and character perspective.
All that Maggie engaged us in over the 3-day retreat stays with me, weeks later, because I heard myself articulate a deep desire to do this. I said it in a safe and supportive environment; that baby step feels giant to me now. And Maggie helped us envision each of our books in the mess of journals and papers, in the engagement and the intention of the writer. I see these things now. I am showing up for this part of myself.
Thanks, Maggie, for knowing the world of writing so thoroughly and letting us in on its mysteries and delights.

Jane Slemon
Retreat Participant
UCV Member
November, 2019

 

Maggie’s experience as an author and writing coach has given me the courage to finally write my memoir. Her guidance has helped me see more clearly how to structure my book, stay true to my purpose, and tell a story that will engage the reader.  I know I couldn’t do this without her expertise and dedicated commitment to my project. Thank you, Maggie

Jeri Ross, MPH
Licensed Health Educator & Entrepreneur
Author of See You in the Sky: A Memoir of Prison, Possibility and Peace
Santa Cruz, California
June, 2018

 

PDF Description

Women’s Memoir Writing Series – Google Docs

 

 

Live from many places…it’s the CUC!!

The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) is an organization of Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist member congregations and individual Unitarian Universalists acting to enhance, nurture and promote the Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist religion in Canada.

Learn more this way:

  • Subscribe to the CUC Monthly eNews.
  • Read the January 2021 CUC eNews
  • Read previous issues of the CUC Monthly eNews
  • Pad your resume! Join in local discussions with UCV’s Unitarian Universalist Connections Committee (UUCC) about CUC’s mission, vision, goals, and strategic priorities, and, if you’re a congregational member or an associate member, become eligible to be a voting delegate. Contact UUCC Chair Keith Wilkinson, or members Lynn Armstrong, Kiersten Moore, Olivia Hall, or Emilie Adin.

Mark your calendar
for the 2021 Canadian Unitarian Council Conference and take part from the comfort of your home!
CUC National Conference 2021: Sustaining Our Light – Online via Zoom

  • Saturday, 8 May 2021 – CUC AGM
  • Friday, May 14 – Sunday, 16, 2021
  • Details to follow at the CUC Conference website. (Registration opens 15 Mar 2021)

Participate in the AGM Motions Roundtable 2021
Saturday, 20 February 2021 at 9 am PT |10 am MT | 11 am CT |12  pm  ET |1 pm AT

Online via Zoom: http://bit.ly/CUCMotions   Join us for a discussion session on the motions…

(The big stone photos were taken at E’eyalmo in winter 2021 and spring 2020.)

And while you’re waitinghere are a few book and podcast suggestions from me (Keith Wilkinson) that I thought were consistent with Unitarian principles and sources. My 8 favourites are marked with asterisks*.

On democracy and autocracy

  • Sarah Kendzior, 2020. Hiding in plain sight *
  • Sarah Kendzior, 2018. The view from flyover country
  • Steven Livitsky & Daniel Ziblatt, 2018. How democracies die *
  • Kishore Mahbubani, 2018. Has the West lost it?
  • Timothy Snyder, 2017. On tyranny *
  • Hannah Arendt, 1973, The origins of totalitarianism
  • Left right and centre (a PRX podcast) *
    “PRX is a non-profit media company specializing in audio journalism and storytelling. We believe strong public media is anchored in journalism, strengthened with diverse voices, and amplified by innovative technology”)
  • IQ2US Debates – Intelligence Squared US Debates (a Panoply podcast) *

On equity and racial justice

  • Layla F. Saad, 2020. Me and white supremacy
  • Isabel Wilkerson, 2020. Caste: The origins of our discontents *
  • Isabel Wilkerson, 2010. The warmth of other suns

On persistence and gender equity

  • Victoria James, 2020. Wine girl
  • Sara Seager, 2020. The smallest lights in the universe *
  • Chris Hadfield, 2013. An astronaut’s guide to life

Poetry

  • Margaret Atwood, 2020. Dearly *

 

Multigen Documentary History Club

  • Mary Bennett

Like many in the congregation I’ve been a big fan of the Encountering Our Ancestors worship services that Rev. Steven Epperson researched, wrote and directed over many years.

It was a very rich experience for me to research Dr. Sheilah Thompson’s “life and times” and share in the 2020 service.

Ever since Steven announced his retirement I’ve wanted to get a group together to continue learning together about our Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian-Universalist ancestors and to carry on this tradition. This offering was a unique one from Steven who was a historian, as well as a minister and was adept at writing scripts. If we happened to get a minister who wanted to be involved, well, that would be great, but imho unlikely.

There are many options for how the “performance” part would be presented in future–in collaboration with the minister and worship service.  The research, writing and learning would be put to good use whatever form is decided on for the sharing with the congregation.

Steven gifted us with his significant and substantial work and it may be that over time, we would find the resources to organize, copy-edit, publish his work, perhaps with additional materials by UCV members and youth. Perhaps even to video-record performances to share with other UUs and congregations.

I envision us meeting (whether in person, video conference or just an email exchange) monthly over the coming year. We would start out very organically by sharing our interests and being very flexible about participation and contributions. For instance, some people may be interested in the role of being cast as a performer to deliver a script written by someone else; others may be interested in doing research. Many possible roles are possible.

Even though other than the actors, Steven did all the rest himself, I think we need a team. As an educator and lifelong learner I also want to make it explicit that a key outcome is the learning along the way. While the focus of the Encountering our Ancestors service might provide a goal, I believe there will be many conversations along the way that will be rich within themselves.

Does this sound interesting to you or your family or Coming of Age pair?

For now I am “calling the circle” as a first step in creating a UU Multigen History Club.

Note the Coming of Age journal includes lists of Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist ancestors. We could start exploring that list and seeing how many of those people already have a script created by Steven.

We might as part of a video-conference do readings to share with each other. Costumes and wigs encouraged but not required.

I’m hoping we can continue the discussion on a SLACK workspace.

Here’s a link to a questionnaire on our Breeze database to gauge interest.

(coming)

Or just send me an email telling me more about your interest: why you’re interested and, if you know already, what aspects of creation are likely t be the focus of your contributions.

Here’s a link about documentary theatre, that you may find of interest.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_theatre

Feminist Book Club on Zoom

Meet with feminist Unitarians from across Canada to discuss books by feminists and/or about feminism.

The group is open although we expect a core group to emerge.

We meet on the 2nd Sunday of each month from 4-5 pm Pacific time. (but occasionally change!)

How to Join

To get updates on the books to be discussed and how to connect, send an email to unitarian-feminist-book-club+subscribe@googlegroups.com

Locally Mary Bennett is involved.

From CUUWA Chair Jo-Anne Elder-Gomes

Hello all,
The Canadian Unitarian*Universalist Women’s Association, an affiliate of the CUC (Canadian Unitarian Council), invites all to join the Canadian U*U Feminist Book Club. Mary Bennett initiated this group and Jo-Anne Elder-Gomes agreed that it should be added to CUUWA’s activities.
We will be meeting by month by Zoom. We’ll use the same link each time, and I’ll invite people who haven’t used Zoom before to join early. https://ucv.im/feministbookclub
This group will be open. You don’t have to worry about missing a call or not being able to read the book we’ve chosen to discuss.
We’ll meet once a month, for one hour. Meetings will be on the second Sunday afternoon/evening of each month: 4 pm Vancouver, 7 pm Eastern, 8 pm Atlantic)
We’ll start on March 10, 2019, as part of a full calendar of CUUWA activities for International Women’s Day / Month. Check out our package of activities at:https://cuuwa.org/2019/01/23/announcing-the-2019-international-womens-day-service-package/<
We will be reading books on feminist subject and/or by Canadian feminists. Feminist is to be understood in a broad and intersectional way, inclusive of the perspectives of trans/nonbinary folx and racialized / marginalized people. (Feel free to add your requirements/wishes for full and respectful participation)

Here’s a format I’m proposing.
We’ll go around the circle twice:
1. Intros: 2 min. each (or less, depending on number, for a maximum total 25 minutes): name, pronouns, location and either a brief or a deep check-in relating to the book / our lives
2. Impression or highlight: 2 min. each (or less, maximum total 20 minutes): comments on the book and how it contributes to your understanding of feminism
Then we will invite final comments; depending on time this may be either a sentence about what you liked best about the book or further discussion of how it inspires you or concerns it raises. After the online discussion, we will continue with comments posted here. Again, all are invited to participate by asking questions, making comments, raising issues.
At our first meeting, we will be discussing two books by Indigenous women of two different generations: read one of them or both, if you have time, or feel free to join and listen!

1. Lee Maracle, I Am Woman, Press Gang, 1988;
2. Terese Marie Mailhot, Heart Berries: A Memoir, Counterpoint, 2018.
Links and more information is sent to the googlegroup.

At each discussion, we’ll pick a moderator and a book for the next month, and post it here for those not able to attend. We’ll compile a list of books to draw from; please add your suggestions.

 

Update: We now use breakout rooms to get to know and deeply listen to one or two other people rather than be in the whole group. You can join randomly and if you have zoom 5.3 installed, you’ll be able to choose your own group.

 

Poems by Canadian women – share a favorite and reflect on others

UPDATE: Would you like to be part of a women’s circle once a week to share and reflect on a poem and facilitate a short reflection? We would use the same format as Rev. Lara’s Lectio Divina Morning Meditations that she leads Tuesday through Friday every morning 9-9:15 am. (Someone reads a poem three times. We listen first for feelings; secondly for memories and third time for a message.) We would take turns leading.

Let Mary Bennett know if interested. Along the lines of this post, we’d choose poems written by Canadian women.

Open to all women in the broadest sense. UPDATE: Mondays at 4pm Pacific starting October 19th.

by Debra Sutherland

A warm and welcoming invitation to a reflective, restorative, poetry-focused Feminist Book Club Zoom meeting

The UU Feminist Book Club was launched in the spring of 2019 by Jo-Anne Elder, an accomplished writer, poet, editor, educator and translator, who makes her home in New Brunswick. This initiative unites book-loving feminist Unitarian members (and friends) across Canada, via Zoom and Google groups. The group membership though stretching from coast to coast is still small and personal. The Zoom meetings are scheduled for the second Sunday of every month, and you all are invited!

Jo-Anne has suggested we use the time to talk, read/listen to poetry and ask reflective questions, rather than discuss a book selection. She has invited us to bring our favourite poems by women (preferably Canadian women) about spring, hope, liberation or other themes that may hearten us as we go through this difficult time. Sounds very nurturing and sustaining to me! So I am all in, and it would be very nice to see a few more local faces as well!

I was first introduced to the feminist book club a year ago by Mary Bennett, and it was also my first introduction to Zoom. For those of you who may not yet have found your way onto Zoom, I want to say that I found the Zoom platform easy to access, even though and even at the best of times, I am technically challenged! So hopefully you will not let your lack of technical prowess keep you away. You only need to download the Zoom application to your computer or Ipad or Smartphone, and then simply click on the link and the group leader, Jo-Anne Elder, will do any of the harder stuff!

Books that have been read and discussed in the Feminist Book club to date include a wide range of genres, including award winning fiction – The Red Word by Sarah Henstra, Women Talking by Miriam Toews, and That Time I Loved You by Carrianne Leung; poignant, powerful and poetic memoir – Heart Berries by Therese Mailhot; informative and interesting non-fiction – Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution by Judy Rebick; academic – Women’s Ways of Knowing by Belenky et al; indigenous feminist philosophy – I am Woman by Lee Maracle; a feminist essay collection – Shrewed: A Wry and Closely Observed Look at the Lives of Women and Girls by Elizabeth Renzetti; and classics – The Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro and The Bell by Iris Murdoch; and to round all that out, the psychoanalytic and feminine psychology books of Marion Woodman. Something for everyone I would say!

So with all of this by way of introduction to the UU Feminist Book Club  And if you can’t fit it in this time then it would be equally lovely to see you on Zoom for another gathering.

Some links

http://famouspoetsandpoems.com/country/Canada/women/Canadian_poets.html

 

Theatre Friends – share your reviews and recommendations

Paula and Mary invite you to a weekly theatre discussion on zoom – Mondays @ 4pm.

Sign in at https://ucv.im/theatre  You’ll need the regular connect and engage password. Ask Mary for it if you don’t know it. ucvconnect@gmail.com

Mary also has set up a private facebook group called “Theatre Friends” – theatrefriendsmary If you have a connection with UCV and/or Mary, you’ll be approved for membership after you answer the member questions and agree to rules.

Hoping to help us all take advantage of the amazing theatre available online at this time, and post-pandemic share theatre reviews and information and perhaps even a theatre project together.

This weekly discussion grew out of a book and video discussion, so we may throw in a bit about what we’re reading and films we’re watching as well. Hope to see you there!

Sponsored by Connect & Engage team, Mary Bennett, chair.

All Ages Book and Video Sharing Online Group

by Paula Vander

Did your heart do a little gasp when you heard the libraries were closed? Did the locked door of your own library, with all those lonely books behind it, convince you that we were really and truly locked down?

If you are someone who loves to read, you will enjoy the book sharing zoom meetings. You will find your peeps.

Everyone shares a bit about the books they are reading and sometimes films they have seen on Netflix too. This way you can start to assemble a good dream list of books to take out when we finally, finally can get back into our libraries!


from Mary: Bruce and Phaedra are regulars, as are Paula and myself. We welcome others of all ages.

Bruce helped Phaedra put her book review on a video.

If you love kids and young adult books, please have one ready to share according to who’s on the call.

You can also ask some questions or for recommendations.

This past week I asked for some discussion related to Jane Eyre so I’m ready to watch the National Theatre broadcast. I got a great context-setting and additional reading (or re-reading) of various 19th century novels. I’ve now posted a request for Middlemarch on my Buy Nothing Group. Confession: Although I owned a copy and it was required reading, I no longer have it and (oops) never did finish reading it.