Features from The Agora

Chambered Nautilus by Barbara Carson

The text of Chambered Nautilus can be found here.

Barbara Carson dreamed of going to college and being a writer, but the realities of life dictated a different path. She became a nurse, wife, and mother. Her life has taken a beautiful and rewarding path and writing has been an enjoyable avocation.

Iris by Fay Ferington


Felicitus (Fay) Ferington was born in Buffalo, raised on a farm, studied and taught psych/mental health at several Big Ten Universities and retired from the Army Nurse Corps in 1991. In all, a life in love with photography since 1950, from film & the darkroom, to digital with prints of any color or shade.

To a Poet With Gratitude a poem by the Barbara Carson


The text of To A Poet With Gratitude can be found here.


Barbara Carson's career has been nursing and nurse anesthesia. She has written poetry since she was a teenager and published a little of it. However, it was mostly pre-computer and almost all of it was lost in a flood. After living and/or working in 15 states,she retired in Madison. Barbara is slowly recovering some of her poems.


Kokophili, a sculpture by Donald Tubesing


Curious about the process of how the sculpture was created?  Follow this link to Don's website at www.albertostoneworks.com.

Donald Tubesing is the author of 20 books on stress management, co-founder of two award-winning book publishing companies, and past president of the Independent Book Publishing Association. Passionate about stone carving, he is founder of Michelangelo’s Workshop, a not-for-profit initiative teaching underemployed post-release inmates the art and craft of sculpting stone.

Margaret Mary a poem by the late George Faunce

The text of Margaret Mary can be found here.

Walking with Mother by Grethe Brix-J. Leer



Grethe Brix-J. Leer is a teacher, artist and writer. She has exhibited and published work in her native Denmark and America. She taught memoir writing and art to older adults in Chicago for several years and currently coordinates a women’s writing and self-discovery class for PLATO.


Your Danish Hope Chest a poem by Norman Leer

Your Danish Hope Chest can be found here.


Norman Leer has published two books and a chapbook of his own poems, as well as a critical study of Ford Madox Ford.  In 1990 he received the Illinois Significant Poet's Award from state Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks.  He and his artist wife Grethe enjoy long walks and talks together.


Foundation Cranes, a sculpture by Donald Tubesing
Foundation Cranes, a sculpture by Donald Tubesing


Donald Tubesing is the author of 20 books on stress management, co-founder of two award-winning book publishing companies, and past president of the Independent Book Publishing Association. Passionate about stone carving, he is founder of Michelangelo’s Workshop, a not-for-profit initiative teaching underemployed post-release inmates the art and craft of sculpting stone.


Seasons Stirring a poem by Mary De Wolf

Seasons Stirring a poem by Mary De Wolf

The text of Seasons Stirring can be found here.

Mary DeWolf  has been a PLATO member for nine years, two years of them on the board. A Chicago ex-pat, I love the Madison area. I retired from 25 years of working with computers, the last five years designing databases. It is grand to be able to concentrate on my first love, writing, and to share that love through the Agora.


Contentment, a sculpture by Donald Tubesing



Donald Tubesing is the author of 20 books on stress management, co-founder of two award-winning book publishing companies, and past president of the Independent Book Publishing Association. Passionate about stone carving, he is founder of Michelangelo’s Workshop, a not-for-profit initiative teaching underemployed post-release inmates the art and craft of sculpting stone.


Crazy Daisies by Jo Simons

Crazy Daisies by Jo Simons



Jo's comments - I’m calling this flower collage photo Crazy Daisies because I don’t know what those flowers are called. I’m always on the lookout for photo ops from my favorite artist, Mother Nature but this shot showed up in the grocery store!

Jo Simons is a retired piano and music together teacher. She grew up in a very musical family 40 minutes from New York City.


Celestial Choices a poem by George Faunce

The text of Celestial Choices can be found here.

George Faunce is the author of The Parry Poems, a small collection of verse composed over fifty years. Parry was his nickname as a child; a variation on his middle name ‘Paris.’ He initiallydisliked the nickname; it sounded wimpy. However, working his way through the decades he learned, as many of us do, that dealing with the world sometimes meant dueling with it as well.  So he came to appreciate the concept of the parry in fencing. He could thrust or slash when necessary in his career in education, retiring as Superintendent of Schools for a K-12 district in a New Jersey before moving to Wisconsin in 2008 with his wife Maggie. But those fencing moves caused unnecessary harm if delivered unwisely. When instead he parried, he was able to buy time and think things through to a better resolve. To parry was to come at things more at a slant than head on and reckless. So the Parry Poems are a final understanding of life embraced more through metaphor than through expletive, and held with gentleness.


Moring on Toddy Pond by Jim Albright


Jim Albright was born and raised in Wisconsin. He and his wife, Jan, returned here after retiring. He is an engineer by degree and spent his working career in industry, all the while pursuing his love of painting. Some of his works can be viewed at his web site: www. jimalbrightart.com.


Rite of Passage a poem by Tom Schlicht, reading and comments by the author

The text of Rite of Passage can be found here.

Tom Schlicht is one of the longest-serving PLATO coordinators. He has been a strong supporter of PLATO since the mid-nineties. The oldest of six children, he got started in teaching by helping his sibs with homework and starting them off in sports. He now enjoys the Golden Years with his long-suffering, faithful life partner, whom he lovingly calls “Saint Catherine”.

Branches by Fay Ferington


Felicitus (Fay) Ferington was born in Buffalo, raised on a farm, studied and taught psych/mental health at several Big Ten Universities and retired from the Army Nurse Corps in 1991. In all, a life in love with photography since 1950, from film & the darkroom, to digital with prints of any color or shade.


The Omnibus a poem by George Faunce, read and commented on by Edie Urness-Pondillo

The Omnibus a poem by George Faunce, read and commented on by Edie Urness-Pondillo
The text of The Omnibus can be found here.

George Faunce is the author of The Parry Poems, a small collection of verse composed over fifty years. Parry was his nickname as a child; a variation on his middle name ‘Paris.’ He initiallydisliked the nickname; it sounded wimpy. However, working his way through the decades he learned, as many of us do, that dealing with the world sometimes meant dueling with it as well.  So he came to appreciate the concept of the parry in fencing. He could thrust or slash when necessary in his career in education, retiring as Superintendent of Schools for a K-12 district in a New Jersey before moving to Wisconsin in 2008 with his wife Maggie. But those fencing moves caused unnecessary harm if delivered unwisely. When instead he parried, he was able to buy time and think things through to a better resolve. To parry was to come at things more at a slant than head on and reckless. So the Parry Poems are a final understanding of life embraced more through metaphor than through expletive, and held with gentleness.

Sunrise Over Chickaree Lake by Jo Simons


Jo Simons is a retired piano and music together teacher. She grew up in a very musical family 40 minutes from New York City.

An Ode to 2021 by Mary De Wolf

The text of An Ode to 2021 can be found here.


Mary DeWolf has been a member of PLATO since moving to the Madison area over 8 years ago.  She served as the Chairman of the Membership Committee, sat on the PLATO Board for three years, and is currently on the Agora Board and helps edit the Agora.  Mary is immensely proud to work on it and even more proud to be a part of what goes into producing that publication.   Originally from Chicago, Mary loves her adopted home of Madison.


Natural Contrasts by Fay Ferington


Felicitus (Fay) Ferington was born in Buffalo, raised on a farm, studied and taught psych/mental health at several Big Ten Universities and retired from the Army Nurse Corps in 1991. In all, a life in love with photography since 1950, from film & the darkroom, to digital with prints of any color or shade.


What She Believes a poem by George Faunce, read and commented on by Jason Faunce

The text of What She Believes can be found here.

The text of What She Believes can be found here.

George Faunce is the author of The Parry Poems, a small collection of verse composed over fifty years. Parry was his nickname as a child; a variation on his middle name ‘Paris.’ He initiallydisliked the nickname; it sounded wimpy. However, working his way through the decades he learned, as many of us do, that dealing with the world sometimes meant dueling with it as well.  So he came to appreciate the concept of the parry in fencing. He could thrust or slash when necessary in his career in education, retiring as Superintendent of Schools for a K-12 district in a New Jersey before moving to Wisconsin in 2008 with his wife Maggie. But those fencing moves caused unnecessary harm if delivered unwisely. When instead he parried, he was able to buy time and think things through to a better resolve. To parry was to come at things more at a slant than head on and reckless. So the Parry Poems are a final understanding of life embraced more through metaphor than through expletive, and held with gentleness.


Indian Scene by Jim Albright


Jim Albright was born and raised in Wisconsin. He and his wife, Jan, returned here after retiring. He is an engineer by degree and spent his working career in industry, all the while pursuing his love of painting. Some of his works can be viewed at his web site: www. jimalbrightart.com.


Early Winter Music by Norman Lear


Norman Leer has published two books and a chapbook of his own poems, as well as a critical study of Ford Madox Ford.  In 1990 he received the Illinois Significant Poet's Award from state Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks.  He and his artist wife Grethe enjoy long walks and talks together.


Solstice by Grethe Brix-J. Leer


Grethe Brix-J. Leer is a teacher, artist and writer. She has exhibited and published work in her native Denmark and America. She taught memoir writing and art to older adults in Chicago for several years and currently coordinates a women’s writing and self-discovery class for PLATO.

Grethe Brix-J. Leer is a teacher, artist and writer. She has exhibited and published work in her native Denmark and America. She taught memoir writing and art to older adults in Chicago for several years and currently coordinates a women’s writing and self-discovery class for PLATO.


Mothers are Forever by Lorna Kniaz

Read the text of Lorna's poem here.

Lorna Kniaz grew up in Fort Atkinson. She attended UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison, graduating with a law degree. Her four kids, four grands, classes, lectures, travel, family, friends, reading, concerts, volunteering, and laughter almost fill her life. She has a small space left for writing.


Bryce Canyon by Jim Albright


Jim Albright was born and raised in Wisconsin. He and his wife, Jan, returned here after retiring. He is an engineer by degree and spent his working career in industry, all the while pursuing his love of painting. Some of his works can be viewed at his web site: www. jimalbrightart.com.

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