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Jan-19-2011 23:38printcomments

Lincoln's Birthday Set to Launch 'Peace in Poetry' Workshop

Cultivating the first peace event at the State Capital for some 15 years.

Salem means peace
Salem means peace as do several variations of the word like 'Shalom' in Hebrew and 'Salaam' in the Arab World.

(SALEM, Ore.) - It is well over "fourscore and seven years ago" since Abe Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address to pay homage to Union troops who died in the Civil War.  Yet the spirit of Peace has been revived here in Salem and will be celebrated on his birthday, February 12.  

A unique "Saying Peace in Poems" workshop by noted local poet Eleanor Berry will lead the session on Saturday, February 12 at 10:30 am at Salem's Center 50+.  Its goal is to write poetry and poetic phrases for the Salem Peace Mosaic, a city-wide public art project which will involve children, adults and seniors in creating art for the Downtown Salem mosaic. The process may well unlock hidden potential.     

Eleanor Berry, a widely published poet, taught writing and literature at Willamette University, is a member of the committee that oversees the Oregon Poetry Collection at the Oregon State Library, and serves on the board of the Oregon State Poetry Association. Green November, a book of poems derived from her acclimation to western Oregon, was published in 2007. Eleanor writes, “How can one say "peace" so as to bring it home to the heart? The surest way to do so is through images, sounds, and rhythms that stay in readers' and listeners' minds”.   

Location of this mosaic mural is planned for the Salem Family YMCA's corner building on Court Street. That building's 40-foot wall at street level will project a new image reflective of peace with mosaics tiles by hundreds of participants choreographed by artist Lynn Takata. The mosaic is subject to review by the city's Public Art Commission. The project is sponsored by the Salem Family YMCA and funded in part from awards from the Oregon Arts Commission, the SAA Gallery Guides, and the Salem Fellowship of Reconciliation.   

The Peace Mural Council has been promoting the mural concept since Fall of 2009,  Its objective is to boost the visibility of Salem as the "city of peace", from which its name is derived and to involve the community in creating the mosaic.   

Space is limited in our free workshop, Saying Peace in Poems. Please call Center 50+ to register at (503) 588-6303 or send an email to   

For more information about the Salem Peace Mosaic, go to     

_____________________________________ Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address:

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