Palisadian Barbara Ligeti and Howard Kern, a Pacific Palisades-based corporate attorney and author, have started a new business, ShiftPoetry.
“We help folks use self-expression, through writing, to feel better about all aspects of life,” said Ligeti, who noted that the work is more than journaling and memoir writing. “ShiftPoetry is a form of ‘auto-writing’ conceived and read out loud in real time, which has an immediate amazing tonic effect on people’s lives.”
She emphasizes that this is NOT a writing program, but rather a self-help program that embraces spontaneous self-expression. “My 11-year-old-grandkid Lucy says we show folks how to ‘write for heart not art,’” Ligeti said.
Kern and Ligeti will host a ShiftPoetry Zoom workshop in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Tuesday, October 20, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Serving as a co-host will be fellow Palisadian Susan Cambigue-Tracey, a performer, artist, yoga and movement teacher.
For more information, call (310) 800-0440 or email info@ShiftPoetry.com.
Ligeti said that ShiftPoetry started as in-person workshops in Pacific Palisades and has grown from California to New York, Massachusetts and several foreign locations, such as Waikeke Island in New Zealand and Hydra, Greece.
To mark Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, Ligeti and Kearn will host a second workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 10.
Kern graduated from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University in New York City and until 2015, his writing focused on law.
A few years back, Kern lost his best friend to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), his mother died from cancer, and shortly after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
His focus switched from law when cancer reappeared in his life in 2016-2017. Kern, instead of following Western medicine, decided to change his lifestyle, which included becoming a vegetarian and investing deeply in a yoga/meditation practice.
Ligeti met Kern at a kundalini yoga retreat in Vietnam and taught him how to use writing to heal.
She had received a degree in psychology and theater from Columbia Teachers College and became a holistic health counselor, certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. She is a master Pilates teacher and has also trained in mindful meditation and iyengar and kundalini yoga.
In 2018, Kern approached Ligeti for coaching about writing a book. The result is a memoir (to be published later this year) about losing and finding oneself: “Walking with Kerry,” which recounts Kern’s friendship with an ALS victim whom he feels is his guardian angel these days.
Simultaneously with the book’s release, Ligeti will re-release a Sundance Film Festival Favorite movie, Robert Downey’s “Hugo Pool,” which deals with ALS — and features Alyssa Milano, Patrick Dempsey, Richard Lewis, Cathy Moriarty, Robert Downey, Jr, Sean Penn and Malcolm MacDowell.
Their first book, “ShiftPoetry in the Time of Covid-19,” came out in May. This is not only a collection of poems written by 26 people, but also a workbook “to Help You Write Yourself Well.” (Visit: ShiftPoetry.com)