Travels, Teaching, Poetry and Dance

So much has happened since I last wrote. My nephew Justin and his lovely bride Gina married in a traditional Tahitian wedding ceremony in Papara, Tahiti in October. Joseph and I had a wonderful time at the wedding, visiting with my many family members in Tahiti, French Polynesia. We also had a lovely dinner with the Tahitian author Rai Chaze, visited cultural sites, and spent time together in a little fare (Tahitian bungalow) on the beach in Faaone, one of the more remote communes (town/district) that is still very much like the Tahiti of my childhood in the 70s. Joseph proposed on the return trip home (I said yes, of course)! We’ll have a non-traditional interfaith ceremony in June, reflecting our roots in indigenous Polynesian and Native American traditions, incorporating elements of Tahitian and Abenaki music and dance.

With Joseph and my cousin Emilia after our arrival in Tahiti.

With Joseph and my cousin Emilia after our arrival in Tahiti.

In November, Joseph and I visited the First Nations Reserves in New Brunswick, Canada, on whirlwind tour from town to town across the province. Warmly received by the Maliseet and Mi’kmaq communities, we were honored to share stories while feasting on traditional foods. Joseph and I both participated in programs at the University of New Brunswick, in Fredericton. I gave a talk on Teaching & Learning in the Digital Age, for the Center for Enhanced Teaching and Learning. We visited Montréal, Québec City and Rivière-du-Loup during our journey. I spent several years in these cities during my late teens to early adulthood, and still very much appreciate the language, culture, landscape and people of the province of Québec.

Didactic Poetries book cover

Didactic Poetries book cover

In the meantime, before and beyond, I devoted every spare minute completing my translation of the French poet Philippe Beck’s masterpiece, Poésies Didactiques. A labor of love and five years’ scholarly focus, my translation is forthcoming this fall, as a Univocal publication. As stated on the book site, Complex, haunting, imaginative and profoundly literary, Didactic Poetries is Beck’s response to Schiller’s statement: “We are still waiting for a didactic poem where thought itself would be and would remain poetic, ” and Hegel’s claim that, “strictly speaking, didactic poetry isn’t poetry.”  Beck’s deftly textured poems interweave contemporary commentary with cultural, historical, literary, and philosophical allusions, drawing the reader into a world of lived poetic experience. For a full description of the book in translation, see: http://www.univocalpublishing.com/univocal-books/didactic-poetries.

I also worked as the master’s thesis or capstone project supervisor for several graduate students in the Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies. They have now completed and defended their projects, and will be graduating this summer:

  1. Cruz, Irene. Integration of a (LMS) Learning Management System with a (VLE) Virtual Learning Environment for ESOL/EFL Adult Learners.
  2. Steenburgh, April. An Examination of Digital Literacy Training Through Immersive Environments.
  3. Anderson, Maja. Digital Storytelling Curriculum: Community-Based, Participatory Action Methods For Co-Curricular Digital Storytelling Projects
  4. Brown, Dave. An Exploration of Assessment Attitudes and Interaction Factors Within XMOOC Learning Environments. A research case study.
  5. Hernandez, Doris. Dream Fusion: Immersive Innovative Pedagogical Design For Artistic Engagement Using Emerging Technologies.

And served as the second reader for the following projects, which are also completed and defended:

  1. Barkevich, Sandra. Unleashing the Storyteller Within: Using an integrated Learning Theory and Multimedia Approach to Designing a Digital Online Creative Writing Workshop.
  2. Shapiro, Phyllis. Creating an Active Learning Environment that Aligns to a Fashion Student’s Career Interests and Goals.

In addition, I have been teaching some very interesting studies in dance, and working with international dance students. My home dance studio is now complete with custom-installed dance mirrors, a bamboo floor, and a lovely ash ballet barre. I started a new Tahitian dance company, Reretava Tahitian Dance Company, and will write about my new developments in dance in a future post.

Until then, be well! Enjoy the lovely spring and summer weather and the bounty it brings.

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