Choose Poetry as Your Retirement Hobby
For many, retirement can seem a daunting prospect and not the wonderful transition to rest and relaxation that some of us imagine. For people who are used to being busy; actively engaged and in demanding intellectual work environments, retirement can seem a veritable void of substance. In many cases the retiree is at an age where the mind is still vibrant, alive and replete with life experience and knowledge but the body has become frail. Illness and age take its toll leaving the mind wanting for something to do that the body can still handle.
Take heart, poetry is the most wonderful retirement hobby. Donít think youíre the type to write, read and enjoy poetry? Iíll bet youíre wrong! Poetry isnít just Shakespearean sonnets; it encompasses the limericks you couldnít get enough of as a young person, the song lyrics you will never forget, the short but clever thoughts of haiku and the wonderful odes to life. Who better to write these than the people with the fullest life experiences?
Poetry groups can be found in just about every town and city and finding one where you live should not be difficult. Senior people are most welcome into these groups because their accumulated wealth of knowledge and experience is valued. Sharing individual creativity is very fulfilling mentally and emotionally. Some poetry groups invite people of all ages to listen and participate, others cater exclusively to seniors.
For seniors considering joining a poetry group the most frightening prospect may be the idea of being put on the spot and asked to read or write something in front of the group. In my experience this simply does not happen. Everyone will be in the same situation and will know how much courage it takes to put thoughts forward publicly. Rest assured you will be permitted to observe and listen for as long as you wish without any pressure. When you are ready to share your creativity it will be in an environment you know is safe and respectful.
Another cause for apprehension may be for a man who thinks that perhaps only women enjoy poetry; he may feel a largely female environment will be awkward. You may be surprised to know that in many poetry groups men make up at least half of the attendees. Limericks were mentioned earlier and some men will find funny poetry like this an easy way of breaking the ice in a poetry group situation. Many if not most of the greatest poets of all time were after all men.
If you are a natural leader, particularly if you already live in a well populated environment like a rest home, you may find yourself inclined to seek out the other Ďthinkersí in your community and start your own group. Local book clubs, reading groups and the library would all surely get behind you providing suggestions, speakers and opportunities for sharing ideas and events. Themes for poetry evenings can range from jingles to pantoums; poetry provides an endless source of interest for every type of personality.
Poetry groups consist of thoughtful people who enjoy poetry, some like to write, some to recite and some just like coming along to listen and possibly share their insights. This is a non-threatening environment which anyone can enjoy. For those who are finding the physical challenges of life are hindering their ability to utilise a still sharp mind, a poetry group is a wonderful opportunity for friendship and mental stimulation.
Individuals interested in poetry should visit or phone the local library or have a look in the community telephone listings, for a reading group or book club, if a poetry group is not specifically listed. Any of these would be happy to point you in the direction of the local poetry group.
Thank you to Helga Sonier for this "Poetry Hobby" article.