Features from The Agora

Woodpecker, a poem by Jane Hall.


Text of Woodpecker can be found here.

Like many migrating species, Jane Hall divides her time between the American Midwest and the mountains of central Mexico. She writes fiction, nonfiction and poetry, inspired by her encounters with other cultures and the natural world. Jane has degrees from UW-Madison, Columbia University and Hamline University, where she earned an MFA in Creative Writing at age 65.

Olbrich Garden Gems, an artwork by Sherry Ackerman.


Sherry Ackerman is grateful for Mary Ann Inman, a wonderful teacher who inspired her to take painting to another level, which has honored her with many awards for her watercolors and acrylics. Sherry is the Chairperson for AWA's Tiny Treasures, an avid gardener, walker, pickleball, and table tennis player.

Foot of Yosemite Falls, a painting 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.

Margaret Mary, a poem by George Faunce.


Text of Margaret Mary 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.

Heatwave, a collage by Grethe Brix-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

All the Colors Happening Again, a poem by Norman Leer.

Text of All the Colors Happening Again can be found here.

Norman Leer has published three 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.

Still Life, an artwork 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.

Geese a poem by Mary DeWolf

Text of Geese can be found here.

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


Blue Moon Over Yellow Fields, a collage 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.

Cosmic Art and Poetry a poem by George Faunce and artwork by Jim Albright.


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.

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.

PLATO is proudly supported in part by Oakwood Village.


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