Courses

The events, achievements, and ideas of 19th century America laid the foundation for American domination in the 20th. We will include such topics as Westward expansion, the industrial revolution, women's suffrage, the Dred Scott decision, and Plessey vs. Ferguson and how they determined what the country would become as a world power.


You can increase your happiness, joy, and contentment despite challenges due to aging, health issues, life events, and changing political and social norms. The key is understanding, and then applying, proven ways and means to do so.

It may be a book, a poem, a photo, a film, a traveler's tale, or memory savored which sparks the desire of adventuring on your own. This repeat course can help you overcome the obstacles and prepare you for the new delights and fresh discoveries of traveling solo. Sights and sounds, food and drink, rich and rewarding peopled experiences await; why not just do it? Adventures to share in class are welcome.


Afghanistan, a mountainous western-Asian country, has seen invaders come and go in search of control against competitors, and its people have successfully, if tragically, managed to elude this quest for conquest.

Discover and explore your own inner resources for successful living. Each session in this nine-week, repeat course features insightful talks and meaningful interaction about inner resources such as peace, appreciation, inner strength, self-awareness, understanding, dignity, choice, hope, and contentment.


Escape from "busy" and give yourself a two-hour block of time to work on your art, at your own pace, in a relaxed environment. Fellow artists share ideas, encouragement, and support. Pack your materials and come paint! NOTE: if you are using oils, please plan to use water-based paints only.


How can a painting or a poem give rise to a tactile sensation? How can music summon spatial imagery? Human experience is a creative act. In this slide/ lecture/discussion course, we'll read from philosophers, neuroscientists, musicians, and poets and look at paintings from Lascaux to Expressionism as we attempt to answer these questions. There will be simple, optional homework.


In the film and book Being Mortal, New York Times bestselling author/surgeon Atul Gwande discusses medicine at life's end. Many physicians offer procedures/treatments to terminal patients that may extend suffering.
Many of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets revolve around the destructive power of time; a fear of mortality; and the joys, yearnings, and agonies of love, procreation, and sexual desire.
America is a multicultural country held together by its political and legal system, especially the United States Constitution. How can we cope with the major divisions in our society: female versus male; black versus white; poor versus rich; rural versus urban; etc., etc.? How do you envision America's future?
A detailed look at the musicals that opened on Broadway during the 1980s. This decade is often referred to as the British Invasion.
This repeat course provides a foundation in the combined skills of listening, speaking, and writing Chinese characters as well as a general picture of Chinese culture. Students start with the Mandarin phonetic system (Pinyin), pronunciation, stroke order, and basic Chinese characters.

The first part of this repeat course will be an in-depth review of painting landscapes. We'll review bamboos, trees, leaves, and waterfalls; the three perspectives; composition; and the always-present symbolism, embodied by the concept of yin and yang. We'll then move to the simplicity and changing moods of seascapes and the value of adding color.


This course will feature works by J. S. Bach that have been presented previously, but it will be devoted exclusively to Bach's choral music.
This course (a repeat with updates) will focus on the Civil War from a Southern cultural, rather than military, point of view, including the causes of the war, military strategies and technology, the aftermath, and the continuing cultural conflicts resulting from the "War of Northern Aggression."
Classics include timeless themes, universal emotions, believable characters, and meaningful stories. Come see the stars who shaped the film industry.
This repeat workshop is for anyone familiar with American Mah Jongg or those who have taken a previous OLLI Mah Jongg class and want to practice their skills for a day. We will briefly review game strategy and provide plenty of time for supervised play {if desired).
Erosion of the norms and traditions of American democracy and our faith in government continues. Major challenges face our nation but too often they are avoided in election debates.
If you love maps and geography, you will enjoy Cool Maps, Hot Topics, which uses a visual portrayal of spatial data to define and examine some of the contemporary issues facing the world today.

In this class you'll not only learn how to draw, you'll also learn how to see as an artist sees. Using simple tools, this eight-week, step-by-step course will teach you how to speak a new visual language, unleashing your inner creativity as you learn how to draw the world you see before you. No special talent or experience needed.


This repeat course will review major U.S. and world current economic events. Students can determine how each topic will affect them and their family. Topics will include lingering effects of recession and future world economic growth.


This repeat course provides a new view of the Third Age (from 50 to 80), based on 25 years of Sadler's research about people who are creatively redesigning their lives and redefining retirement. Students will explore principles for personal growth that can support a successful transition into a Third Age of fulfillment. Classes encourage participant interaction.


Long-Term-Care planning is one of the most important, and too often overlooked, parts of one's retirement and estate plans. This repeat workshop will present the topic of long-term-care planning in a clear, compassionate, and comprehensive manner. We will discuss the various options that can help us manage our long-term-care risks and will compare and contrast these different solutions.

This six-week course will focus on reading and discussion (in English), supplemented by excerpts from the 2009 Russian film version of Dostoevsky's masterpiece, one of the great works of world literature.
Did you ever duck a tough conversation, wishing it would disappear? Ever wish you could just dive in? Diving into discomfort is much easier with some planning.

Enjoy six weekly, narrated walks through Portland's historic neighborhoods exploring the city's history, architecture, and people since Europeans arrived. In this repeat class, you'll view historic structures, learn about Local architects and their works, and discuss immigrant populations. The longest walk is 2 miles in two hours.


We will look at some short writings concerning notable social activists, some religious and some not. These will include Dr. Martin Luther King, the anarchist Emma Goldman, and the Catholic Worker's Dorothy Day.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), paleontologist and Jesuit priest, foresaw a synthesis of religion and science, applicable to people of all religions and spiritual traditions. Scientists rejected his idea that evolution has a goal or specific direction (orthogenesis, or "conscious evolution").


Tarot is a divination technique that uses brightly colored cards rich with images to tap into intuitive knowledge. The 78 cards in a Tarot deck create a complex structure that assists the reader in accessing personal and universal mystery.
The book for this class is "part travelogue, part history lesson, and part science seminar," organized by color. You can read as much or as little as you like, but you may find it hard to put down.

Teaching requires a love of learning and sharing ideas, dedication, patience, and the ability to communicate and listen. Most of all, it requires a love of humanity and the desire to shape the next generation. A good sense of humor helps a great deal.


Have you ever wondered what the fuss is about when a major literary award is announced? What do these prizes suggest about our contemporary culture? How does their success teach us about what we expect literature to do? Join us in reading four recent prize winners.

This course explores the interaction of earth materials, processes, and time that shaped New England and Maine. It focuses on the specific types of minerals, rocks, and the physical and chemical means that molded the landscape and provided our geological resources. Special emphasis is given to the bedrock foundation and surficial constituents and the river, glacial, and wave actions that have been the prime movers in determining what we see today. No prior geology is required.


This course aims to provide an introduction to the German language, including cultural aspects and norms relating to communication. With special emphasis on interaction, participants will develop basic listening, speaking, and reading skills.
What is antisemitism? What are its historical implications for America today? What role did ancient Egypt play, the early Christian church and its theologians? What was Spain's role?
This workshop will evaluate Richard Dawkin's book, The God Delusion, in which, from the point of view of natural science, he purports to invalidate religion.

This repeat course explores songs, spirituals and hymns from the Christian tradition that are normally called "gospel." Designed primarily from a Protestant perspective, the course examines "white" gospel and religious music from the African-American tradition.


Great Decisions is a flagship program of the World Affairs Council of Maine, facilitated by members of the Council. The eight topics of discussion for 2018: The Waning of Pax America; Russia's Foreign Policy; China and America: The New Geopolitical Equation; Media and Foreign Policy; Turkey: A Partner in Crisis; U.S. Global Engagement and the Military; South Africa's Fragile Democracy; and Global Health: Progress and Challenges.


We will discuss the musical magic of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II, from before they were united until their last musical.


In a Guided Autobiography workshop, participants are led through themes and priming questions that evoke memories of known and/or forgotten events. We will write stories in response and read them to classmates. Writing and sharing life stories is an ideal way to find new meaning in life and to put life events into perspective.
This repeat class is designed to encourage participants to use the transformative power of writing to heal from life's wounds and move on to healthy and mindful living. Writers will respond to poems and prompts provided in the text and then share their writings with the group.
Following the lead of the editors of the Oxford edition of Shakespeare's Complete Works, the instructor began the long line of eight plays with Henry VI Part II, which he then considered to be the first one written.
There's a lot of dietary information and disinformation out there in the media. How can we tell the difference? Let's look at the evidence-based science behind how food choices can affect personal health.
Irish roots or not, people from all over are drawn to this small (size of Indiana), lush, green island called Ireland. A stalwart example of survival through countless invasions, hunger, and loss of land, the Irish people's interior way of life has sustained a deep cultural heritage and a deep connection to the land.
We will discuss the improbable path by which Henry Tudor became King of England. We will then go on to the reigns and profound changes in the nation under him, his son, and his grandchildren.

We will meet for six one-and-a-half to two-hour leisurely walks to historic sites of Portland - rain or shine. This repeat walk series proceeds from east to west across the peninsula, tracing the history of Portland as it developed westward.


Harvard's Laurel Ulrich coined the phrase, "Well-behaved women rarely make history." In this repeat course, we shall examine the evolution of women's status from the colonial period through the Civil War, as well as the lives of many "ill-behaved women" who thought outside the box (or invented new boxes!) to advance women's rights.
This course will examine the important works of recognized international film directors from an aesthetic point of view. We will try to cover them both geographically and chronologically, starting with the silent film and coming close to the end of the 20th century.
This three-part, repeat workshop will be an introduction to the family of religions called Buddhism. We will discuss the development of Buddhism in India, focusing on the life and teachings of its founder, and will then briefly follow its spread across time and space through Asia and the West.
The Dead is the final story in James Joyce's first published prose work, Dubliners. It's been celebrated as the finest short story ever written in English. For this workshop, please read the story prior to meeting; instructor will provide an online link in advance.
This updated, repeat course, while including some writing basics, will emphasize quality of writing, continuity, use of language, and absolute importance of editing. Class will include readings and critiques from the instructor, class writing exercises, class readings, critiques from colleagues, and at-home reading and writing assignments.
A continuation of French language study, with emphasis on expanding vocabulary and listening and speaking ability. This six-week course, starting Sept. 17, assumes a basic knowledge of French as it is conducted largely in French.

This course is a continuation of basic French refresher. It offers a review of pronunciation, vocabulary, listening, and conversation skills in a travel/tourism context to help you feel comfortable using your French.


This ongoing, participatory dance class draws from the dances of many cultures - traditional American Country/Western using contemporary C/W and pop music, Greek circle dances, Brazilian samba, tango, rhumba, Spanish cha-cha, and the Shim Sham jazz line dance from Harlem. Not all of these are taught every semester. Prior dance experience is not necessary, but ability to comfortably walk two miles at a decent pace is strongly recommended. This class includes a mix of new dances as well as dances taught in previous sessions.


The title of the workshop is the title of the instructor's book, published in December 2017. It forcefully argues that the 1986, 1989 Bell cases ceding Maine's title to its intertidal land to adjacent upland owners were wrongly decided.

This course will provide an introduction to the use of mandala journaling as a tool for exploring our inner lives.


Evergreen Cemetery is a jewel in the heart of the city. Many prominent Portlanders have been interred there. Walking through with a knowledgeable docent is a walk through our history. We will meet at Evergreen in the Wilde Chapel weekly, and we will learn about a different aspect of our past, as we have a lecture and a guided tour with a different trained docent each week.


This repeat course features oral family storytelling. Weekly, students will prepare and tell the circle brief stories from their lives, using written points to guide them.


Join the Biodiversity Research Institute at River Point Bird Observatory (West Falmouth, ME) for an interpretive discussion about our use of bird banding in research.
Maine has an extraordinary number of mystery and crime fiction writers, many with national reputations. Is it something in the air? The water? The winter? In our conversations, each anchored by a Q&A between the instructor and a published Maine crime writer, we will dissect the plot, setting, character, and structure of mystery genres, including police procedural, noir, amateur sleuth, thriller, and cozy.
We will reexamine the importance of music in enhancing the cinematic experience. We will highlight a few more great movie composers whose work has stood the test of time and is frequently heard in symphonic halls.

A dull knife is a dangerous knife. Let's learn how to sharpen kitchen knives and be ready for fall and winter holidays. We'll learn about knife-making, materials, knife safety, knife care, sharpeners, and sharpening technique. Bring two knives (well-wrapped) for the instructor to sharpen. This is a repeat workshop.


Let's spend the fall together watching new movies, released in the U.S. in either 2017 or 2018 (or perhaps never shown in the U.S.). Expect to see Oscar-nominated films plus movies shown at other prestigious festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Toronto, and Venice.
Research has shown that those who nourish their mind, body, heart, and soul tend to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. This enjoyable and highly interactive course will provide insights into enhancing your well-being by engaging in practices focused on each of these four areas.
Let's explore ideas about what might have happened during the adolescence and young adulthood of Jesus of Nazareth and about his mother Mary's life after his death. New York Times bestseller novelists Anne Rice and Colm Toibin imagine two biographical narratives based on their readings of contemporary scholarly research. ISBN 9781451692389, USM price $13.
When asked if he ever read novels, Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle replied, "Oh yes. All six, every year." Ryle saw in Jane Austen's six novels a serious moralist worthy of consideration.
You must be a current member in order to participate in OLLI Programs.
This unique workshop is designed to engage, educate, and entice participants about opera. It will put Mozart's music and The Marriage of Figaro into broader contexts musically, socially, and historically.

Daniel Ellsberg's new book, The Doomsday Machine, rouses far more than Dr. Strangelove's toothy grin picturing a male paradise surviving nuclear desolation. Ellsberg has warned American leaders since the '50s about the devastating consequences of accidental confrontations and bad assumptions.


Remember snail mail? The anticipation of opening your mailbox? Let's revive the tradition! You will learn three different techniques for decorating paper. Then we will transform our favorites into a variety of cards and envelopes..


This continuation of Putting Art in Your Digital Photography will take a fun, new approach. The class will explore how to build a story with photographs while observing the principles of writing - but using images instead of words.
For starters, participants will read aloud from a new collection: The words of men of international distinction confessing to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them and why.

This course contains no sessions

Another Election Day approaches. What will be the outcomes in Congress? In Maine and in the various states' referenda? Mini-lectures from Psychology and Politics will provide the framework for discussion.
Have you made slideshows before, but now want to insert video clips seamlessly into your presentation? Come watch various methods to do that. We'll look at ways you can incorporate YouTube videos, your own movie clips, and sections from DVDs directly into your shows.

Let's focus on films. We'll use concepts and experiments from Psychology to shed light on cinema scenes. Mini-lectures and 15-minute video clips will provide a background for examining about 20 movies.


Willingness to use your imagination to immerse yourself in a role is a prerequisite for this ongoing class. It's an opportunity to learn and practice basic acting techniques using voice and facial expressions. Class includes pantomime and improvisation skills.


Some magic is for fun: Harry Potter or Pen & Teller. [The magician drove his tractor down the road, but then it turned into a field]. Some is everyday superstition: amulets (???? ?), rabbit's feet.
In this course we will discuss, analyze, and consider the policy implications of important 2017 and 2018 decisions of United States Supreme Court dealings with the controversial subjects of presidential power, federalism, freedom of religion, gun control, labor rights, partisan political gerrymandering, digital privacy, and antitrust.
Restorative Yoga utilizes props such as bolsters, blankets, and blocks to create the opening and gentle stretch of a pose. Because they are gentle and completely supported, the poses are held for longer periods of time, allowing a slow, deep release for the body and quieting for the mind.

This repeat course is an introduction to, and discussion of, a range of retirement issues. Topics include estate planning practices, insurance issues (Medicare Advantage plans, long-term care, life insurance, annuities, etc.), trends in recreation and travel, and retirement financial planning and practices.


History consists of the stories of people, and preserving those stories is important to the individual as well as society.
In this workshop we will explore the science behind happiness. We will discuss and engage in practices that have been proven to increase an individual's happiness, including mindfulness, gratitude, and kindness.
To varying levels (conscious/unconscious) we cultivate a persona, or "mask," for social interactions. How much this coincides with what we know about ourselves varies. In Japan, people "rent" families and friends who pose for Facebook photographs, creating the illusion of relationships.

Do you know about "alkaline hydrolysis"? What are the rules about scattering ashes? Can you be buried on your own land? Which is greener, burial or cremation?


Take a fast journey from the motivational, folk, and antiwar music of the '60s to the uplifting millennial songs of today. We will remember "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and then learn how to stop "polishing the bombs of holy wars.

We'll shine a close-up lens on relationships of all kinds, intimate and platonic, and consider how one's destiny, even in angelic realms, might be altered by the influence of a loved one.


We will be learning about "spring ephemerals," wildflowers that bloom in early spring before the trees leaf out. In the morning we will be in the classroom becoming familiar with these flowers through a PowerPoint presentation.


This course examines six films, with discussion and popcorn included.


The Flower of Life is a simple geometric shape that forms the basis for many of the world's most powerful religious symbols (and, some would claim, the energetic grid of our entire Universe). In this class we will learn to draw the Flower of Life, explore its origin and meanings, and create a variety of art forms based on it, including the Star of David, the Sri Yantra, the Taoist yin/yang, many Christian symbols, the Platonic solids, Metatron's cube, and New Age images. Instructor will collect a $15 fee for art materials.
This course will cover all the principal topics necessary for a good lay-person's understanding of global-climate-change risks and possible responses.
We will examine excerpts from most of Denzel Washington's movies to demonstrate this actor's seemingly effortless style of acting in almost every genre of movie.
In last year's course we experienced 20 of Mozart's compositions, about 3 percent of his officially numbered works. This course will be mostly new Mozart music, with a few repeats of some of his most important works, which newcomers must hear and those who took last year's course will enjoy hearing again.
This course will look experientially at both primary paths of awakening, the wonder-filled world of devotion and love and ecstatic dance and song, and the profoundly clear and even confrontational path of the height of Buddhist teaching in the Seven Points of Mind Training of an 11th century Tibetan master.
What do you want to teach? Why do you want to teach? And, most importantly, how do you want to teach? Exploring these questions will help you get ready. Our meetings will incorporate various teaching/learning styles - mini-lectures on teaching, focused discussion, open discussion, and skills practice.

This new course will unpack a toolbox of skills you might wish you had learned in school. Transformative communication can help turn difficult conversations into opportunities for healing, greater understanding, and finding solutions to seemingly irreconcilable differences.


As we travel to Canterbury, we will read tales told by the Knight, the Reeve, the Prioress, the Man of Law, the Wife of Bath, and other interesting pilgrims.
Join us on a visual trip around the world through the prism of eight international movies made by native filmmakers in their own language. This is not a repeat course; these are all new movies.
Everyone has stories to tell. Our stories define us; they are our personal myths. All you have to do is write them. In this ongoing writer-supportive course, you will rekindle memories or past events, find your own voice, and develop storytelling skills that give life to your experiences.
Using readings, films, lectures, and discussion, we will examine Sophocles' and Shakespeare's brilliant plays of sympathy and final transcendence over the traumas of tyrannical families and societies.
The issue of security clearances has been in the news a lot lately. But what exactly is involved with granting federal government security clearances? How many agencies are authorized to issue clearances?
Let's walk back in time through Paris with photographs. We'll be on theLeft bank of the Seine in the 7th, 6th, 5th and 13th "arrondissements"; from west, L'''Ecole Militaire and I' Hotel des lnvalides; to east, L'Hospice de Ia Saldetriere.
You've heard Brian Thon nationwide on TV and radio commercials. Now hear him live as he illustrates how you can use your speaking voice for commercials, films, videos, and more.
Learn about community programs that work with new Mainers. There will be an overview of local trends in people seeking asylum; a description of local response programs; and discussion on ways to help.

Humans are animals. But how so? Often we think mainly of differences, humans and all other animals. This course treats similarities as well: morality, mental capacity, communication, empathy, altruism, tool use, cooperation.


To paraphrase Bette Davis's immortal words, being an older woman in America's youth-obsessed culture can feel like an act of fortitude. We face significant challenges, but we also have new advantages.
"I don't consider I did anything extraordinary? I did it because I wanted to, because it was useful, because it had to be done." This quote from Pearl Witherington, a British spy in Nazi-occupied France, could have come from any one of the many women heroes of WWII.

This ongoing workshop is a supportive peer group of 10 fiction writers working to improve their short-story writing skills. Each month, members send their work to one another in advance of the meeting. Each is responsible for constructive feedback of the work to be shared and discussed at the next session. The workshop will evolve in response to the interests of its members. New members are welcome.


This ongoing workshop is not a class but a supportive group of memoir writers who share and respond constructively to each other's work. New members are welcome, to a limit of 12.


Open to new and experienced poets alike, this once-a-month class will study published poems and use imitation as a generative process for creating our own new work.
This ongoing poetry-writing workshop is limited to 12 members. Participants may volunteer to prepare a short poetic presentation and design a related prompt for the next session. One week before each workshop, members will email a copy of their poem to all other members, who will print the poems and write comments on hard copies for discussion on workshop days.
In Zen Buddhism, meditation practice is fundamental and is part of a search for the answer to the question, "Who am I?" It's a question that follows us through life and can arise at any age.