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Poetry, prose—out loud

Fox Run group bonds over the written word

Created date

July 26th, 2011

Retired schoolteacher Barbara Wozniak and her husband, Gene, moved from Michigan to Tennessee about two decades ago when they retired. With more free time on her hands than when she was raising her four children and working, Barbara decided to pursue acting a hobby she says she had always wanted to try. Barbara helped start a small theater group in Tennessee. She says the troupe put on one musical and three other productions every year. Barbara worked with her Tennessee theater group for 20 years, and acting became a significant and rewarding part of her life. A little more than two years ago, the Wozniaks decided to move back to Michigan to be closer to two of their children and several grandchildren who live in the state. Barbara and Gene chose Fox Run, an Erickson Living community in Novi, Mich., which features several restaurants, a convenience store, doctor s office, fitness center, indoor swimming pool, two clubhouses, and several other on-site amenities, all under one roof. Barbara says Fox Run enables her and her husband to live near their family in Michigan without having to endure the cold winter temperatures they left behind in Tennessee. This was a good move for us, Barbara says. [At Fox Run], you don t have to go outside if you don t want to. The couple frequently enjoys the view of the beautiful pond from their open Lincoln floor plan. When she moved back to Michigan, Barbara says she wanted to continue to be involved in theater. She did participate in a few plays, including one production in which she played Lady Macbeth, but she wanted to find an outlet that could play a role in her life similar to the one that her local theater group had played. Fox Run offers residents a full lineup of clubs and special events. Unlike at some communities where activities are determined by the staff, the clubs at Fox Run are driven by residents interests. That environment gave Barbara the opportunity to create a club that would inspire her like her theater work had done. I had heard about all these poetry clubs opening and I thought that s what ,we ll do here, Barbara says.

All kinds of writing welcome

Barbara formed a group called Poetry and Prose Out Loud. She advertised her idea to her neighbors and found several other Fox Run residents who shared her interest. The group meets on a monthly basis to read and discuss poetry and other literature. Each member brings a different poem or passage, and he or she reads it aloud. Barbara says the club s structure is informal. Sometimes members will share a bit of background about the passages they bring to the meeting, and any kind of writing is fair game. Sometimes we do discuss [the readings], or they will say something about the author, where they got it and why they chose it, Barbara says of the club s meetings. We have even had a couple of people read their own poetry. At a recent meeting of the poetry and prose club, readings ranged from T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost to a children s story and an excerpt from a book entitled Words, Wisdom, Women. Barbara says the club has caught on at Fox Run, and the group remains open to all residents, even those who would rather listen than read. I have invited anybody who wants to come and read or just listen.