This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, register by clicking the RSVP button above or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org.

You will receive the Zoom information no later than the morning of your program.

with Gayle Danley, CEO, Poetry Pros and James Pennebaker, PhD (University of Texas, Austin)

Did You Know?

Smith Center is pleased to announce the launch of a special series of talks designed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the center. Each of the talks will highlight one of eight healing practices that research and practice tell us is important to the health and well-being of cancer patients/survivors, and their loved ones.

The topics include: Eating Well, Moving More, Managing Stress, Sleeping Well, Creating a Healing Environment, Sharing Love and Support, Exploring What Matters Now, and Expressing Oneself.

For each topic, we will have two expert speakers. One will provide a clear and concise review of the science behind the given topic: what we do and do not know about the topic, the impact of this practice on cancer-related quality of life and mortality specifically, and national recommendations for action. The second speaker will “translate” this information into an action plan (e.g., provide user-friendly tips about how to integrate this aspect of healing into your daily life). At the end, there will be time for a question and answer period.


Did You Know? will be hosted Monthly on Wednesdays from 6:00-7:30pm ET.

Upcoming Dates: 

  • October 20 – Expressing Oneself
    • with James Pennebaker, PhD (University of Texas, Austin), and Gayle Danley, CEO, Poetry Pros

In honor of our 25th Anniversary in 2021, we are suggesting donations for this series in fractions or multiples of the number “25.” E.G. $2.50, $12.50, $25, etc.


About Gayle Danley, CEO, Poetry Pros

Gayle Danley

Soon after crushing the competition at Asheville’s National Poetry Slam in 1994, Gayle Danley entered America’s classrooms teaching thousands of children how to access their emotions through the force of words. She performed and taught her way from Maryland Young Audience’s Artist of the Year, to National Young Audience’s Artist of the Year. She’s also both a former national and international poetry slam champion. CBS 60 Minutes profiled her work with middle schoolers as well as the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and New York Times.

For the past five years, Gayle’s Grieffriend sessions have helped women who are living with AIDS, widows, incarcerated youth and those struggling with drug addiction and recovery use poetry to cope and bravely face life’s challenges.

Gayle was recently named Maryland Library Association Poet of the Year.

About James Pennebaker, PhD

Jamie Pennebaker is the Regents Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts and Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. His early research dealt with physical symptoms and health which eventually merged into the discovery of expressive writing.  He and his students discovered that when people were asked to write about emotional upheavals for 3-4 days for 15-20 minutes a day, their physical and mental health improved compared to controls. Over 1,000 studies on expressive writing labs around the world continue to show the value of this method. For the last 25 years, he has focused on computerized text analysis as a way of understanding and measuring people’s social behaviors and psychological states. His text analysis program, LIWC, is well known in psychology, business, and computer science. 

Pennebaker has been continuously funded by NSF, NIH, and other federal agencies since 1983. He has published over 300 articles and written or edited 12 books. He has received many awards and honors for research (e.g., Honorary Doctorate, Social and Personality Society’s Distinguished Scholar, Health Psychology Distinguished Scholar, APA’s Distinguished Contributions to Applications in Psychology, the Pavlovian Award, APS’s William James Fellow Award) and teaching (UT Austin’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers). He served as Chair of UT’s Psychology Department from 2005-2014 and President of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology in 2014. His most recent books are The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us (Bloomsbury, 2011) and Opening Up by Writing it Down (Guilford, 2016).

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Gayle Danley, national & international poetry slam champion

Gayle Performing in Frederick, MD
Gayle Performing in Frederick, MD

Slam poetry began in Chicago’s bars and coffeehouses in the late 1980’s. This phenomenal blend of spoken and written word turns every willing soul into a poet while providing relief from the stresses of the day. Master teaching artist Gayle Danley has shared her down-on-the-floor style of performance poetry all over the country in classrooms, lecture halls, theatres and even on CBS’ 60 minutes.

 

Join her for much laughter, emotion, comfort, understanding and instruction in the art of slam poetry. Her 4-step process has been tried in the fire and proven to be an effective antidote to the blues of the day and the isolation that threatens to drive us mad!

Suggested Donation: $15


Poem for my Sisters With Sons:
Breathe:
Pull a clean fist of air inside your self
and let it rest there
wide and unfrightened inside your belly
asking for nothing
Remember when the baby boy was there
Stirring and fighting and kicking things around
inside of you.
And where is he now?
Kicking at air
asking for everything
Defiance rippling on the edge of his skin
Beautiful as water
And do not worry if your brown boy 
doesn’t smile enough
as long as he still smiles at you:
over dinner
over the news
from beneath a curtain of hair tangled and sprawled,
it is enough
Does he still know your name?
Good.
Does he still reach for you when there is blood
Does he still make you want to kill him on Monday mornings
and kill FOR him on Saturday nights?
Good
Is he still
breathing
good 
good 
good
Your turn:
breathe
again
until all
the air you can find
makes home
 within your body
Your black sad
scared hopeful body
Round and trembling
like your mother’s
Rest now
tomorrow will come before you know it
with her hair on fire and her knee on your neck
Your son knows you are his home
He has memorized all the valleys in your voice
every scream and grin
He ain’t going anywhere far
He is not leaving you
He will not vanish
he will not stray
Your breath is his
Your love is his
Never leaving
never dying
never going
away

And, check out more of Gayle’s work on YouTube here!


About Gayle Danley

Gayle Danley

Soon after crushing the competition at Asheville’s National Poetry Slam in 1994, Gayle Danley entered America’s classrooms teaching thousands of children how to access their emotions through the force of words. She performed and taught her way from Maryland Young Audience’s Artist of the Year, to National Young Audience’s Artist of the Year. She’s also both a former national and international poetry slam champion. CBS 60 Minutes profiled her work with middle schoolers as well as the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and New York Times.

For the past five years, Gayle’s Grieffriend sessions have helped women who are living with AIDS, widows, incarcerated youth and those struggling with drug addiction and recovery use poetry to cope and bravely face life’s challenges.

Gayle was recently named Maryland Library Association Poet of the Year.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Gayle Danley, national & international poetry slam champion

Gayle Performing in Frederick, MD
Gayle Performing in Frederick, MD

Gayle’s first session left a lasting impression! Please join her for round 2!

Slam poetry began in Chicago’s bars and coffeehouses in the late 1980’s. This phenomenal blend of spoken and written word turns every willing soul into a poet while providing relief from the stresses of the day. Master teaching artist Gayle Danley has shared her down-on-the-floor style of performance poetry all over the country in classrooms, lecture halls, theatres and even on CBS’ 60 minutes.

Join her for much laughter, emotion, comfort, understanding and instruction in the art of slam poetry. Her 4-step process has been tried in the fire and proven to be an effective antidote to the blues of the day and the isolation that threatens to drive us mad!

Suggested Donation: $15


Poem for my Sisters With Sons:
Breathe:
Pull a clean fist of air inside your self
and let it rest there
wide and unfrightened inside your belly
asking for nothing
Remember when the baby boy was there
Stirring and fighting and kicking things around
inside of you.
And where is he now?
Kicking at air
asking for everything
Defiance rippling on the edge of his skin
Beautiful as water
And do not worry if your brown boy 
doesn’t smile enough
as long as he still smiles at you:
over dinner
over the news
from beneath a curtain of hair tangled and sprawled,
it is enough
Does he still know your name?
Good.
Does he still reach for you when there is blood
Does he still make you want to kill him on Monday mornings
and kill FOR him on Saturday nights?
Good
Is he still
breathing
good 
good 
good
Your turn:
breathe
again
until all
the air you can find
makes home
 within your body
Your black sad
scared hopeful body
Round and trembling
like your mother’s
Rest now
tomorrow will come before you know it
with her hair on fire and her knee on your neck
Your son knows you are his home
He has memorized all the valleys in your voice
every scream and grin
He ain’t going anywhere far
He is not leaving you
He will not vanish
he will not stray
Your breath is his
Your love is his
Never leaving
never dying
never going
away

And, check out more of Gayle’s work on YouTube here!


About Gayle Danley

Gayle Danley

Soon after crushing the competition at Asheville’s National Poetry Slam in 1994, Gayle Danley entered America’s classrooms teaching thousands of children how to access their emotions through the force of words. She performed and taught her way from Maryland Young Audience’s Artist of the Year, to National Young Audience’s Artist of the Year. She’s also both a former national and international poetry slam champion. CBS 60 Minutes profiled her work with middle schoolers as well as the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and New York Times.

For the past five years, Gayle’s Grieffriend sessions have helped women who are living with AIDS, widows, incarcerated youth and those struggling with drug addiction and recovery use poetry to cope and bravely face life’s challenges.

Gayle was recently named Maryland Library Association Poet of the Year.

This program is being offered virtually through Zoom. In order to participate and receive the Zoom link, you must register here or by emailing carla@smithcenter.org

with Gayle Danley, national & international poetry slam champion

Gayle Performing in Frederick, MD
Gayle Performing in Frederick, MD

Slam poetry began in Chicago’s bars and coffeehouses in the late 1980’s. This phenomenal blend of spoken and written word turns every willing soul into a poet while providing relief from the stresses of the day. Master teaching artist Gayle Danley has shared her down-on-the-floor style of performance poetry all over the country in classrooms, lecture halls, theatres and even on CBS’ 60 minutes.

Join her for much laughter, emotion, comfort, understanding and instruction in the art of slam poetry. Her 4-step process has been tried in the fire and proven to be an effective antidote to the blues of the day and the isolation that threatens to drive us mad!


Poem for my Sisters With Sons:
Breathe:
Pull a clean fist of air inside your self
and let it rest there
wide and unfrightened inside your belly
asking for nothing
Remember when the baby boy was there
Stirring and fighting and kicking things around
inside of you.
And where is he now?
Kicking at air
asking for everything
Defiance rippling on the edge of his skin
Beautiful as water
And do not worry if your brown boy 
doesn’t smile enough
as long as he still smiles at you:
over dinner
over the news
from beneath a curtain of hair tangled and sprawled,
it is enough
Does he still know your name?
Good.
Does he still reach for you when there is blood
Does he still make you want to kill him on Monday mornings
and kill FOR him on Saturday nights?
Good
Is he still
breathing
good 
good 
good
Your turn:
breathe
again
until all
the air you can find
makes home
 within your body
Your black sad
scared hopeful body
Round and trembling
like your mother’s
Rest now
tomorrow will come before you know it
with her hair on fire and her knee on your neck
Your son knows you are his home
He has memorized all the valleys in your voice
every scream and grin
He ain’t going anywhere far
He is not leaving you
He will not vanish
he will not stray
Your breath is his
Your love is his
Never leaving
never dying
never going
away

And, check out more of Gayle’s work on YouTube here!


Wellness in the Time of COVID

The Washington Home

This 6-month integrative wellness series, sponsored by The Washington Home, will be offered to caregivers, those who are critically ill, and those facing cancer-related challenges during this especially difficult time.

Check out the full series program schedule HERE!


About Gayle Danley

Gayle Danley

Soon after crushing the competition at Asheville’s National Poetry Slam in 1994, Gayle Danley entered America’s classrooms teaching thousands of children how to access their emotions through the force of words. She performed and taught her way from Maryland Young Audience’s Artist of the Year, to National Young Audience’s Artist of the Year. She’s also both a former national and international poetry slam champion. CBS 60 Minutes profiled her work with middle schoolers as well as the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post and New York Times.

For the past five years, Gayle’s Grieffriend sessions have helped women who are living with AIDS, widows, incarcerated youth and those struggling with drug addiction and recovery use poetry to cope and bravely face life’s challenges.

Gayle was recently named Maryland Library Association Poet of the Year.