On Tuesday, October 25 at 11:30 a.m., Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) will host a book signing event in honor of beloved Literature professor, Dr. Sylvia Baer's, new memoir. Attendees will gather in the mezzanine of the Gloucester campus College Center to listen to Baer read excerpts from “Learning Life: A Memoir," have their copies signed, and enjoy light refreshments.
“Learning Life: A Memoir" is the first of three anticipated volumes from the nationally recognized author, poet, and Yale University (Davenport) Associate Fellow, who recently celebrated her 50th year as an educator and her 2022 appointment as Cape May, N.J.'s first ever Poet Laureate. Through essays, photographs, poems, and thoughtfully placed excerpts from Emily Dickenson, Baer introduces the reader to five generations of her extraordinary family.
With great grandparents who lived under pogroms in Eastern Europe; grandparents who escaped the Holocaust to Uruguay, where she was born; a grandfather who was a celebrated engineer and German immigrant to the United States in the 1920s; parents from diverse cultures and languages; her own United States immigrant experiences in the late 1950s; and stories of the many people who helped, guided, and influenced her during her childhood, Baer tells an intergenerational story that is both uniquely personal and remarkably universal.
"Sylvia Baer does in stories what great artists do in pictures," remarked Dr. Zorana Ivcevic Pringle, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence's Director of the Creativity and Emotions Laboratory. “They break through layers of gloom and despair to make one feel what humans are capable of being –their kindness, courage, sense of justice, and above all, hope. The great psychologist Abraham Maslow would have called these stories examples of the further reaches of human nature."
The volume highlights Baer's singular ability to bring stories so vividly to life, which has long delighted her students at RCSJ where she has been teaching subjects including Literature and English Composition since 1988. Her classes are an exuberant, hands-on exercise in learning and loving literature, and frequently include projects like a quilt with squares representing each student's favorite author or a “scholar's shawl" embroidered with the classroom's most-loved quotes from American writers.
“I don't want students at the end of my class to think 'I never want to read again!' I want them to feel like reading really matters in their lives," explains Dr. Baer. “I think if you want to be a teacher, you have to find creative ways to empower and engage your students."
To learn more about Literature and English courses at RCSJ taught by accomplished faculty members like Dr. Sylvia Baer, visit RCSJ.edu/CCPA.
“Learning Life: A Memoir" will be available for purchase at the book signing and can also be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and on local bookstore shelves. No registration is required to attend this free event and directions can be found at RCSJ.edu/Visit/Gloucester.