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In the spring of 2000, author Tzivia Gover decided to leave the world of daily journalism to teach poetry to teen mothers in a small, struggling inner-city neighborhood in western Massachusetts.
White, suburban and Jewish, Gover couldn’t have felt more different from the urban, Puerto Rican students she came to teach on that first day of class. Nor could she have anticipated the lessons she would learn from and with them.
LEARNING IN MRS. TOWNE’S HOUSE: A TEACHER, HER STUDENTS AND THE WOMAN WHO INSPIRED THEM (Levellers Press, Florence & Amherst, Mass., paperback, $18.95) is the story of Gover’s first years teaching at The Care Center, the students she met and the tale she uncovered in their creative, colorful, and slightly chaotic school.
With her students, Gover learns that their school building was once home to Elizabeth Towne (1865-1960), an early suffragist and leader of the New Thought movement (precursor of today’s New Age movement). By coincidence, Towne was herself a teen mother who left school at age fourteen to marry. Unhappy in her marriage, she divorced her first husband and set out on her own, supporting herself by publishing a magazine that went on to become the nation’s leading New Thought journal.
By turns humorous, informative and moving, LEARNING IN MRS. TOWNE’S HOUSE tells of Gover’s experience as an idealistic poetry teacher who tries to capture the hearts of the teen mothers who are her students. Faced with the gritty reality of these young women’s lives, she seeks inspiration and refuge in Elizabeth Towne’s story.
All the Snooze that's Fit to Print
A blog on how to sleep, dream, and live better.
Mindful Moments for Stressful Days: Simple Ways to Find Meaning and Joy in Daily Life
Mindful Moments offers tips and exercises to make everyday tasks meaningful--from standing in line at the grocery store to cleaning the house. The approaches to creating a harmonious, conscious life include meditation techniques, information on aromatherapy, feng shui, and yoga.
Dream House features poems that are haunting, humorous and evocative. The chapbook is a collaborative effort featuring Tzivia Gover's poetry and her sister, Joanne Yoshida's artwork. The collection is hand-bound by Aja Riggs. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to charities that fight homelessness.
My article on approaching spiritual fitness just as one would physical fitness, appeared on Beliefnet.com. To read the article, visit http://www.beliefnet.com/story/29/story_2996.html
Not a Luxury: Poetry in the Classroom
This essay about the author's experience teaching poetry to teen mothers appeared in Hampshire Life Magazine and was broadcast on WAMC, an affiliate of National Public Radio. The author is available to speak about and lead workshops about teaching poetry in nontraditional settings.