October 22nd, 2021

Resident telling stories of seniors through poetry

By Gillian Slade Alberta Newspaper Group on March 10, 2021.

Jen Zollner, president Medicine Hat Cowboy Poetry Foundation, is turning the personal stories of seniors into poetry.-SUBMITTED PHOTO

A local resident wants to tell the stories of seniors in a unique way – through poetry.

Jen Zollner, president of the Medicine Hat Cowboy Poetry Foundation, says each senior has a special, personal story that paints a picture of history.

During the past year Zollner has been connecting with seniors and listening to their personal reflections and memories. She then created a poem for each person interviewed and is publishing the collection in a booklet that will soon be for sale.

Zollner says there has been a lot of interest in the project and she is planning to continue with the goal of another publication for 2021. She welcomes the opportunity to meet more seniors and sit down to chat about their life experiences and personal stories.

Throughout the past year Zollner developed a style of making a personal connection while chatting to seniors. The process involves getting to know each other and identifying key aspects of each person’s story that will feature in the poem. Along the way there is an opportunity for the interviewee to review the story to ensure accuracy, she said.

Ultimately it is an opportunity to preserve local and rural history.

Zollner says this opportunity is not only for people with a ranching or cowboy background. It is about rural living and recording specific and interesting aspects of our traditions through the eyes of seniors’ lived experiences. It is a unique perspective and a slice of history that would otherwise be lost.

It is also a chance for a senior to have their story told and recorded in a unique way for succeeding generations to enjoy.

Medicine Hat Cowboy Poetry Foundation’s goal is to “preserve, promote and perform cowboy poetry and western music to celebrate the history, traditions and lifestyle of the cowboy and rural living in Medicine Hat and area”, according to its website.

The group also holds gatherings to enjoy cowboy music and the spoken word. There is a collection of stories to read on the website.

Anyone who would like to share their own story with Zollner, or would like additional information, can contact her by telephone 403-529-6384 or by email: jzollner10@gmail.com

You can also find additional information about the Medicine Hat Cowboy Poetry Foundation on its website:

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