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Creative Space

Businesswoman and poet shares her passion with neighbors

Created date

April 12th, 2016
Renee Summers

Renee Summers, who has written poetry for many years, helped to started a poetry club at Linden Ponds.

Renee Summers has pursued a variety of different professional paths over the years. She worked as a legal secretary and then ran her own secretarial service. She earned a master’s degree in gerontology from the University of Massachusetts, and then at age 58, she got a degree in business management. She went on to work for 17 years in the field of finding lost pension funds for retirees. 

“I have a lot of knowledge about this,” she says. “I used to call myself ‘Renee Summers, tracer of lost pensions.’”

As she built her career in the business world, Renee often spent her downtime writing poetry. She started writing poetry in the 1980s after a brief hospital stay inspired her to try something new. She stuck with it over the years, and joined a local poetry group to give and receive feedback on her work with other like-minded poets. Renee has been a frequent performer at poetry open mics and has had a few of her poems published. She even decided to self-publish an 84-page book of her own poetry to share with family and friends. Now retired and living at Linden Ponds, Renee has found a whole new group of people who share her passion for poetry.

Linking words to art

Over the summer, a sub-committee of the Linden Ponds Artist Council headed by resident Jan Conover put together a unique show that paired artists with residents who wrote poems to accompany each piece of artwork. Jan, along with Renee and resident Ann Marcus, commissioned 100 pieces of artwork from 52 resident artists. The idea to add a poetry component to the show came from Renee, who had participated in a similar style of show at a gallery in Plymouth, Mass.

The poetry component of the summer art show was such a success that Renee and fellow resident Elaine Taber decided to start a new club dedicated to poetry. Renee says the group will serve as a forum for resident poets to share their work and give one another constructive criticism. 

“There are an amazing number of people here who write,” Renee says. “I think it’s important to have feedback, especially if you don’t get published, which can be tough.”

The residents who have joined the poetry group have an array of different styles, which keeps meetings interesting. Renee specializes in free-verse poems, while some other members write narrative poetry or light-hearted rhyming verses. She says it’s been fun getting to know fellow poets through their writing, and she hopes more resident writers join the group.

“I would love for everybody who writes and who wants feedback and to enjoy each other’s company to come to meetings,” she says.

More to come

As the poetry group becomes more established, Renee says they may also organize some other poetry-related activities. Already, Elaine’s niece, who is a writing professor, gave the group a writing lesson. Renee says the club would like to bring in more speakers and may consider doing another poetry performance on campus.

“When we did the reading for the summer art show, it was very nice and rewarding to see people respond,” Renee says. 

After a busy life as a career woman, Renee is enjoying her retirement at Linden Ponds, where she moved almost three years ago from Scituate, Mass. In addition to writing poetry, she plays Scrabble, mah-jongg, and card games and also enjoys drawing.

“I said I was going to play when I moved here—and I do play!” she says.