O.W.L.L. Courses

What is O.W.L.L.?

With the collaboration of the Lexington Council on Aging, the Friends of the Council on Aging present
O.W.L.L. - Older, Wiser, Lifelong Learners.

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O.W.L.L.’s Fall 2021 Semester Courses on Zoom

Sponsored by the COA and FCOA

Exciting September through December OWLL Learning Opportunities

Meet the exceptional instructors who are offering low cost, not-to-be-missed courses for Older, Wiser, Lifelong Learners.

Please register for the Zoom link to join OWLL for our 1st Virtual Instructors Reception

Wednesday, September 8th at 3:00 in your home

Take a look at what’s coming!


One Great Novel: Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf

Instructor: Cammy Thomas, PhD 

September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19

6 Tuesdays from 10:00-12:00

Cammy Thomas  

Cammy Thomas’ first book of poems, Cathedral of Wish, received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. A fellowship from the Ragdale Foundation helped her complete her second, Inscriptions. Her third collection, Tremors, is forthcoming in 2021. All are published by Four Way Books. She received a PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Having taught literature and creative writing for many years, she lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Mrs. Dalloway is a groundbreaking 1922 novel set in London has two plots: in one, a well-connected upper-class woman prepares for and gives a dinner party; in the other, a shell-shocked World War I veteran, wandering in Hyde Park with his wife, has a breakdown. The novel weaves from one story to the other in the London between the wars, focused on two personalities with their loves, fears, and hopes. Woolf helps bring the modern novel into being with this deeply moving portrait of an era.

The first class is informational (no homework that day). For each subsequent class, we will be reading a section of the novel, so please have a copy on hand for the duration of the course. Nothing is required except reading.

Ten Crises Shaking the World and Why We Care

Instructor: Professor Robert I Rotberg 

September 23, 30, October 7, 14, 21

5 Thursdays, 11:00-12:30

Professor Robert I Rotberg 

Robert Rotberg was professor of political science and history at MIT, Academic Vice-President of Tufts University, president of Lafayette College, professor at Harvard Kennedy School, and president of the World Peace Foundation. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He has also been Fulbright Distinguished Professor of International Relations in Brazil and Canada. He is the author of several books, most recently Things Come Together: Africans Achieving Greatness in the Twenty-first Century (Oxford, 2020) and Anticorruption (MIT Press, 2020). He has been a Town Meeting Member for 45 years and served on the Lexington School Committee.

We will discuss whatever issues are of concern to the U.S. and the world in September/October 2021. Those crises might include Iran, Afghanistan, wars in the Congo, Honduras/Guatemala migrants, wars in Nigeria, Venezuela, Belarus, Cyprus, the Western Sahara, Taiwan, North Korea, climate change, nuclear proliferation, cyber warfare, Brazil’s meltdown, etc.

In My Craft or Sullen Art: The Poetry of Dylan Thomas

Instructor: Tom Daley 

October 15, 22, 29; November 5

4 Fridays from 10:00-12:00

Tom Daley 

Recipient of the Dana Award in Poetry and the Charles and Fanny Fay Wood Prize from the Academy of American Poets, Tom Daley’s poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, The Boston Globe, Massachusetts Review, 32 Poems, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, Witness, and elsewhere. He is the author of two plays, Every Broom and Bridget—Emily Dickinson and Her Irish Servants and In His Ecstasy—The Passion of Gerard Manley Hopkins, which he performs as one-man shows. His book, House You Cannot Reach—Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems, was published by FutureCycle Press. He leads poetry and memoir writing workshops through Lexington Community Education and elsewhere in the Boston area and online.

Tom has taught courses on poetry for OWLL including “How to Read a Poem,” “Comedy and Parody in Poetry,” and classes focusing on individual poets Pablo Neruda, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Sylvia Plath.Dylan Thomas’s eloquence was achieved by a combination of brooding and exuberance. A master of breaking private images into public consciousness, he was a difficult poet who nevertheless won a wide following for his celebration of the human body, of the wonders of his childhood in Wales, and of Christian mythology. His poetry ranges from the hyper-tragic to the hyper-comical. More than almost any other English-speaking poet of the mid-twentieth century, he honored the oral and bardic tradition that was poetry’s birthright with his prophetic vision and his haunting, stentorian, and sometimes bombastic voice.

Although Dylan Thomas’s critical reputation has shifted back and forth over the years since his death, poems such as “Do not go gentle into that good night,” “Fern Hill,” “Poem in October,” and “And death shall have no dominion” have not only entered the canon of poetry in English, but might be counted among the poems almost any lover of poetry has at once time or another been intrigued by, even enchanted with.

In this four-part course, we will go through close readings of representative poems, paying careful attention to his uses of and innovations in traditional poetic form and meter and to his deft crafting of unsettling and unusual imagery.

Required Text: The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas (with an introduction by Paul Muldoon)https://www.amazon.com/Collected-Poems-Dylan-Thomas-Original/dp/0811218813

Long Live Chairman Mao! An Historical Appraisal of Mao Zedong

Instructor: Caroline Reeves, PhD 

October 20, 27, November 3, 10, 17

5 Wednesdays from 10:00 -12.00 (without break, 10:00-11:30)

Caroline Reeves, PhD 

Caroline Reeves began studying China in 1980, shortly after the People’s Republic of China and the USA normalized relations. She taught Chinese history for many years and publishes and lectures all over the world about China’s historical legacy and its international role. She specializes in the history of Chinese charity; Chairman Mao has been a particular interest of hers for many years.

This course will examine the rise and reign of Chairman Mao Zedong in historical perspective, exploring the context of his life and accomplishments in China 1898-1976. If time permits, we will look at his global impact from Paris to Peru, Warhol to the wilds of Nepal. Murderer or Savior? Hero or Villain? The course will explore all points of view.

The Music of Duke Ellington: 50 Years of Artistic Excellence

Instructor: Jeff Leonard 

October 28, November 4, 18, December 2, 9, and 16

6 Thursdays, 11:00 – 12:30

Jeff Leonard 

Jeff Leonard taught in the Lexington schools for 34 years where he brought the LHS Jazz Program to national prominence. He retired in 2017 and is currently teaching at Berklee College of Music, Boston University and New England Conservatory.

This course will explore the world of Edward Kennedy (Duke) Ellington, from his very beginnings in Washington, D.C., to the end of his fruitful life. We will examine Ellington as a pianist, an arranger, a band leader, and a problem solver. We will explore the contributions and influence of the instrumentalists, vocalists, and the various business contacts that he worked with over the course of his career. Mostly, we will explore his music and contributions to American music over his lifetime. The music will be presented in chronological order to examine his growth over the decades. No specific knowledge of Ellington or any musical background is required to take full advantage of this class.

Fall 2021 registration for OWLL courses

*Registration begins on August 18th for Residents/August 25th for Non-residents.

To register for courses and programs go to https://lexrecma.myrec.com/ then search OWLL courses.

Older Wiser Lifelong Learners (OWLL) courses, now sponsored by the COA and FCOA, are currently virtual via Zoom. Cost is $25/course for residents over 60, $50 for all others.

For more information, or contact Lexington Human Services at 781-698-4840.

If you prefer to send a check and register by mail, please download and complete the fillable registration form.