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Spring Term 2021

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A| Introduction to 20th c. Women Poets
Mondays | 10 AM – Noon | April 5, 12, 19, 26 & May 3 | Deborah Brown

This five-week course is an introduction to the poetry of later 20th century women writers. We read and discuss poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Adrienne Rich, Louise Gluck, Sharon Olds, Joy Harjo, and possibly a younger contemporary writer or two, if time permits. The class focuses on the poets’ themes and aspects of their craft. Copies of the poems to be discussed will be distributed by email before the first class.

Week 1
Poems by Elizabth Bishop 1911-1979: In the Waiting Room, Crusoe in England, The Moose, At the Fish houses; One Art

Week 2
Poems by Adrienne Rich 1929-2012: Power, Phantasia for Elvira Shatayev, To a Poet, A Woman Dead in her Forties
Lucille Clifton 1936-2010: cutting greens, to ms. ann, miss rosie

Week 3
Sylvia Plath 1932-62  Edge; The Moon and the Yew Tree; Ariel; Morning Song
Louise Gluck 1943: The Drowned Children; Dedication to Hunger; Mock Orange; The Triumph of Achilles; The Red Poppy

Week 4 
Sharon Olds 1942-: Indictment of Senior Officers; The Language of the Brag; 35/10; The Missing Boy; I Go Back to May 1937; True Love
Jane Kenyon 1947-95: Otherwise; Having It Out with Melancholy; Evening at a Country Inn; Let Evening Come

Week 5 
Rita Dove 1952- selections from Thomas and Beulah
Joy Harjo: Everybody Has a Heartache: The Blues; Remember; For Keeps

Deborah Brown’s book of poems, The Human Half was published by BOA Editions in April, 2019. Her first book “Walking the Dog’s Shadow,” was a winner of the A. J. Poulin Jr. Award from BOA Editions in 2011 and of a New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry. The title poem of the collection was awarded a Pushcart Prize. With Maxine Kumin and Annie Finch, she edited Lofty Dogmas: Poets on Poetics (Univ. of Arkansas Press, 2005). With Richard Jackson and Susan Thomas, she translated the poems in Last Voyage: Selected Poems of Giovanni Pascoli (Red Hen Press, 2010). She has poems in many literary magazines as well as recent prose poems in Take Five (Finishing Line Press, 2020). Brown, who lives in Warner, NH, was an English professor at UNH in Manchester.


B | The World’s Greatest Geological Wonders: 36 Spectacular Sites
Mondays | 1 – 3 PM | April 5, 12, 19, 26 & May 3, 10 | Paul Hague

This course takes us to the world’s most spectacular geological wonders, explains the forces that have formed them, and recounts the stories that have grown up around them. As we explore and learn about these amazing geologic locations our goal is to heighten our sense of wonder and respect for the planet on which we live. The lectures are presented by Michael E. Wysession, Ph.D. of Washington University, St. Louis, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Dr. Wysession is an established leader in seismology and geophysical education.

We begin our study of The World’s Greatest Geological Wonders with the following agenda:

April 5
Santorini – Impact of Volcanic Eruptions
Mount Fuji – Sleeping Power

April 12
Galapagos Rift – Wonders of Mid-Ocean Ridges
African Rift Valley – Cracks into the Earth

April 19
Erta Ale – Compact Fury of Lava Lakes
Burgess Shale – Rocks and the Keys to Life

April 26
The Grand Canyon – Earth’s Layers
The Himalaya – Mountains at Earth’s Roof

May 3
The Ganges Delta – Earth’s Fertile Lands
The Amazon Basin – Lungs of the Planet

May 10
Iguazu Falls – Thundering Waterfalls
Mammoth Cave – Worlds Underground

Paul Hague is a retired geologist who loves to continue learning.


C | Biophilia: An All-inclusive Survey of  Life on Earth, in All its Weird and Wonderful Diversity

Tuesdays | 10 AM – Noon | April 6, 13, 20, 27 & May 4, 11 | Eric J. Simon, Ph.D.

Life on Earth is characterized by both tremendous diversity and remarkable unity. This duality is accounted for by the evolutionary history that links all known life. This course presents the broadest possible overview of life on Earth, as if we were walking the halls of the world’s most complete zoo (and aquarium and botanical garden). Starting with a discussion of what constitutes life and how it may have originated, we will examine biodiversity from a phylogenetic (evolutionary) perspective. We survey viruses, single-celled organisms, fungi, plants, and animals—emphasizing the weird, the wonderful, and what makes each branch in the tree of life unique. This course is intended for learners of all backgrounds, with no prior knowledge or experience required.

Course outline:

  1. An introduction to life: Hypotheses on the origins of life, how life is recognized, the search for extraterrestrial life, an introduction to Darwinian evolution, an introduction to biodiversity.
  2. Microbial life: viruses, bacteria, archaea, prions, viroids, and protists.
  3. Life occupies land: fungi and plants.
  4. The invertebrates: sponges, cnidarians, worms, mollusks, echinoderms.
  5. The vertebrates: fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals.
  6. Modern life: human evolution, and the weirdest life on Earth.

Eric J. Simon, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Biology and Health Science at New England College, in Henniker, New Hampshire. He teaches introductory biology, human biology, and tropical marine biology with a field component in Belize. Dr. Simon has also taught a series of international travel courses, including ones to Belize, the Galapagos, Tanzania, Cuba, the Amazon river, and Patagonia. Dr. Simon received a B.A. in biology and computer science and an M.A. in biology from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University. Dr. Simon is the author of a widely used series of college biology textbooks with nearly 3 million books in print that help teach biology to students in over 40 countries.


D | Words from the Nursing Sisters, 1914 to 1918 in the Great War to Save Civilization

Tuesdays | 1 – 3 PM | April 6, 13, 20, 27 & May 4, 11 | Elaine Clow

For 20 years Elaine Clow researched the 1914-1918 Great War to Save Civilization with emphasis on the changing roles of nurses, often from private and restricted Canadian military sources.  From a time when unmarried “girls” were considered superfluous, nurses transformed “dirty work, only suitable for a maid,” to a respectable and admired profession in its own right. These nurses were at the forefront of social change for women. The focus of these presentations is the untold story from unpublished, primary source documents in the individual woman’s own words.  The information is collected from diaries, letters, later interviews, and supplementary information from official records and archives.  These excerpts enable us to better understand life in the medical theatres of the Great War as seen through distaff eyes.

Course Outline

  1. The Onset — August and September 1914 – Going to War (Mabel Clint, Kate Wilson)
    1. Mobilization
      1. Protocol, Regulations, Women in the Medical Field, Government Orders, Training. Kitting Out (paperwork package)
      2. Medical Structure in the Army (paperwork)
      3. Transportation
      4. Officers and Other Ranks – Uniforms and Mufti – at Home and Abroad – about class and who could “Fraternize” with whom (Euphie Denton, Vera Strange and others)
      5. The Harvard Unit – (and other medical units) (Katharine van Buskirk, Vera Strange)
      6. Male attitudes to the Nurses: patients, officers, doctors, military hierarchy
    2. Going Over – October – December 1914
      1. The Voyages (including later reinforcements)
      2. Getting Stationed – England
      3. Matron Macdonald
      4. France
    3. Off for fields Far Away
      1. Lemnos, Mediterranean, Egypt, Dardanelles
      2. In the words of the women (Katherine Wilson Simmie, Euphemia Denton, Mabel Lucas Rutherford)
  2. 1915 – War in Earnest – France and England (all nurses for whom we have appropriate material)
    1. Gas
    2. Zeppelins
    3. Patients, treatments, procedures
  3. How Soldiers Died or Were Incapacitated 1915 – 1916 – Some Documentation
      1. Artillery Shelling
      2. Small Arms Fire
      3. Poison Gas
      4. Accidents
      5. Illnesses – Disease
      6. Pyrexia of Unknown Origin
      7. Trench Fever – Lice – Cooties
      8. Hidden from the Women – Venereal Diseases
    1. Reinforcements of the original contingents Medical Staff
      1. In the words of the Women (Vera Strange, etc.)
  1. Lifestyle of the Nurses — Duty, Off Duty, Recreation, Letters, Food, Parcels, Weather
    1. Ongoing Duty
    2. Leave
    3. Night Duty
    4. Other Nurses
    5. Officers
    6. Fraternization is not allowed
    7. Lifestyle
    8. Relations with Patients
    9. Food
    10. Off Duty Hours
    11. Illnesses
    12. First Votes for Women
    13. Holidays for the soldiers
    14. External War Events affecting the nurses

All in the words of the women’s individual experiences

  1. Eternal War
    1. Here Come the Yanks
    2. Casualty Clearing Station Work
    3. Anesthetics (Vera Strange)
    4. The Bombings of the Hospitals and Hospital Ship – Nurses Killed (Vera, Euphemia, et al)
    5. Slogging forward
  2. The Armistice
    1. Onward to Germany
    2. Pandemic – Spanish Flu
    3. Cleaning up afterwards
    4. Going Home
    5. Denouements of some of the nursing sisters

All quotes are from primary sources of letters, diaries, interviews, and official records.

Elaine Clow  I was four or five when Uncle Arthur’s glass eye peaked back at me from a glass in the bathroom. I asked the basic questions – who, what, where, when, why, how? His granddaughter, Jeanne-Marie, a year younger than I, had the same curiosity throughout our childhoods. Uncle Arthur was a great storyteller, and delighted in telling his tales, some of which were even true. A cavalry sergeant in the Great War, he lost the eye in the trenches in France. Jeanne-Marie and I were inseparable during summer holidays, so when he babysat us, the glass eye stared at us through his afternoon nap in the hammock. He felt it necessary to sing ALL the words to many of the trench songs; a good many with words that needed explanation or glossing over. In addition to Uncle Arthur, my dad’s family also ran to a lot of medics: two of his cousins were in the Harvard Unit, Uncle Leon was one of the founding doctors at Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, and Aunt Bessie’s husband was an early psychiatrist at the Veterans’ hospital in Manchester, working with shell shocks from the Great War. 

After art school, and university, I obtained my pilot’s license at the airport housing the Aviation Museum of the Great War with flying war birds of the era.  I became involved with the Canadian Warplane Heritage before my marriage.  After becoming a new mom, I wrote and had published three books on play. 

A friend of a friend had material she wanted to preserve, obtained from her mother-in-law, Vera Strange, who had served on the Somme as a Canadian Nursing Sister – did I want to see if it could be published? This led to a still-unpublished manuscript, and years of research and writing. I had access to primary source documents at the: Canadian Forces College, the University of Toronto Allemang Project Interviews, Grey-Bruce Museum, Royal Canadian Military Institute, Canadian War Museum, and private letters and diaries from family members of some of the nursing sisters. I also had access to the existing scrapbooks created by Canadian businessman Thomas Knowlton containing thank you letters from the trenches for Comfort Boxes and newspaper clippings collected during the Great War that had been housed at the Canadian Military College, and later the Canadian Forces College. 

The course Nurses’ Voices from The Great War draws from these primary, mostly private and unpublished, sources.


Sheridan College School of Design, Port Credit, Ontario (textile design)
Sheridan College of Applied Arts and Technology, Oakville, Ontario Arts Dipl. (English & Media)
Orangeville Airport, Caledon, Ontario
Brampton Flying Club, Brampton, Ontario YZP 30143 Private Pilot’s License
York University, North York, Ontario B.A. (History, Political Science, Psychology 4th year majors)

Supplemental: Humber College, Ontario Management Development Certificate, George Brown College, Public Speaking, Canadian Securities Course (investment banking)

Books: Baby Games, (Canada, US, Australia); Kids’ Games (Canada, Australia); Kids’ Games Too! (Canada, Australia)


E | Charles Dickens: A Product of His Time and Place
Wednesdays | 10 AM – Noon | April 7, 14, 21, 28 & May 5, 12 | Julie Machen     


There is a course limit of fifteen, with acceptance based on the postmark of registration. As of 2/21/21 only 4 spots are left.

”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” When Charles Dickens wrote these words, he was describing 18th century France, but he could just as well have been writing about 19th century England, a period from which he ultimately benefitted but one that his pen satirized and condemned.  The Victorian age was one of paradoxes and no one depicted that more brilliantly than Dickens.  He was, through his fiction, a chronicler of the time and place in which he lived, as well as a product of that period.  In this course, we look at the period, the man, what molded and motivated him and how specific writings reflect his own experiences.  Participants are asked to read Hard Times, Dickens shortest novel, and to refamiliarize themselves with Oliver Twist, one of his most famous.

Julie Machen has been an Anglophile since her student days at Durham University in Northern England.  She and her English-born husband visit the country regularly.  While teaching AP European History at Greenwich High School in CT, she conducted an independent study of Victorian England.  She was also the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study the Industrial Revolution in Britain at the University of Nottingham.  Charles Dickens was one focus of that seminar.


F | American Novel Reading Group
Wednesdays | 1 – 3 PM | April 7 and May 5 | John McCausland

The April novel is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.

This is an on-going group meeting through the year. It meets the first Wednesday of each month from 1:00 to 3:00 to discuss a novel chosen by the group from several “100 Best” lists. New members are welcome to join starting with the spring LINEC term. The group’s reading choices have included classics like Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby, and books by more recent authors like Toni Morrison and Saul Bellow. Discussion is lively and informal, with the facilitator and group members contributing background, historical and literary insights. 

Note:  The American Novel course has been described as an “abnormal book group.” Class discussion is informal and wide ranging; this is not a “teacher taught” or lecture course, though John McCausland as facilitator comes armed with questions to stimulate discussion and usually contributes some framing background for each session. Because we select novels from several lists of “100 best,” choices range over the centuries and a variety of authors — some familiar, some not. We talk about how a book relates to the history of its times: slavery and residual racialism, immigration, regional differences, industrialization and the tensions between capitalism and socialism, masculine and feminine points of view, religion, and much more. Don Melander, retired English professor at New England College, is a member of the course and often contributes from his rich knowledge of American culture and literature. Classes usually run a little over an hour, depending on when we run out of things we want to talk about. Most people tune in for all monthly sessions, but it is perfectly okay to skip if you have a conflict or can’t face a particular book!

John McCausland has taught LINEC courses on the Bible, Chaucer and the American novel. He loves history, literature, theology, teaching and learning.


G | The History of the Supreme Court
Thursdays | 10 AM – Noon | April 8, 15, 22, 29 & May 6, 13 | Dick Hesse

Since the turn of the 20th century the U.S. Supreme Court has been a powerful force in modern society. How does it relate to the other legal and political institutions of government? How did this peculiarly “anti-democratic” institution come to be a powerhouse? Is it too powerful? This course explores these questions and examines some familiar examples of historical and contemporary debate over government policies. Putting aside current politics, how is the Court constituted and how does it operate? From its formation to its functional operations, we explore how the Court manages to process the major legal disputes of the day.

Course Schedule:

The course is scheduled for 5 session with the possibility of extension to six.  The outline below is substantive and not a calendar for the sessions.  We will move as fast as your questions allow.

Part 1  The current Court’s processes. Along the way we note historic changes.

Part 2  1791-1835: The formative years.

Part 3  1836-1864: Political and social reactions in and out of the Court.

Part 4  Civil War Amendments and the Court’s negative reactions.

Part 5  1864-1937: Economic policy set by the Supreme Court.

Part 6  1937 – ?     The “Great Depression” spawns a new Court and constitution.

Part 7  Individual Rights in the Court

Part 8  Discussion: Modern times and the modern Court: current events

Very selective bibliography

  • Ginsburg, Ruth Bader, MY OWN WORDS

Supreme Court statistics on-line:
SCOTUS Stat Pack offers statistics back to 1995.

Dick Hesse is a retired lawyer and law professor who specialized in constitutional law and was involved in several cases before the Supreme Court. He has presented history courses for LINEC and other adult education programs over a number of years.


H | The Art of Mindy Weisel: The Survival of Beauty
Thursdays | 1 – 3 PM | CHANGE ON DATES from April 8 & 15 to NEW DATES MAY 6 & 13 | Mindy Fitterman

This course studies Mindy Weisel, an abstract expressionist artist working in paint, collage and glass with artworks held in the permanent collections of museums around the world and featured in scores of exhibitions. Born in the Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons Camp after World War II, she grew up feeling responsible to “be everything” to her parents, who had survived Auschwitz. In more recent years, Weisel met with German teens, because she believes personal connections are key to moving forward with hope. Her art is about the survival of beauty. Through videos, discussion, and a slide presentation the course weaves together the stories of her art, her process, and her life.

Mindy Fitterman has been playing with color, paper, and textiles since forever. Now retired from a career in public health nutrition with a special focus on health literacy and communications, she has returned to her first love – art.


I | Film Seminar
Fridays | 10 AM – Noon | April 9, 16,23, 30 & May 7, 14, 21 | Don Melander

In this seven-week term, we study Orson Welles both as a director and as an actor, viewing the films: 

Citizen Kane (1941),
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942),
The Lady from Shanghai (1947),
Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949) starring Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten,
Touch of Evil (1958),
The Trial (1962), and
F for Fake (1973)  

Films, usually found on Netflix or Amazon Prime, must be viewed on your own prior to Friday discussions.

Don Melander often makes reference to films in his teaching of literature.  Since 2010 he has taught a Communications course on movies and film directors.  Although he has no formal training in film, he has been ‘reading’ serious films as serious literature since 1958.