• Wild Words and Free Verse (5-day residency) — In this residency, students will learn about creative approaches for brainstorming, writing and editing poems. Starting with word games, students will explore word-mixing as a way to create new ideas. Next, we'll study different kinds of poems and learn to recognize techniques like alliteration, rhyme, simile, metaphor and more. Then we'll learn to compose original poems using various techniques and styles. We'll also play with how these words can be presented on the page using stanzas, line breaks, concrete poems, and careful word choices. After testing out some rough drafts, we'll learn how to edit and revise poems. Lastly, I'll share information about poetry contests, publications, and how to publicize poetry. (grades 3-8)
• WonderWorlds: Writing Poems about our Planet (5-day residency) — Animals, plants and all living organisms have adapted to specific habitats. We call these places ecosystems or biomes. Studying biomes helps us understand the amazing biodiversity on the planet and the challenges these species face to survive. Learn fascinating facts about biomes and write poems that celebrate the complexities of life on earth. (language arts and science integration, grades 3-6)
• Show 'Em a Poem! (3-5 day residency) — Do you have a certain topic or theme you're studying in school? A unit on animals or space exploration or a series of lessons about a culture or a specific time period? There are all sorts of great ways to use poetry composition as an assessment tool when students begin a new topic, delve deeper into study, or complete a unit. Whether it's a catalogue poem that helps to capture key vocabulary, a pantoum that uses repetition to review an historical time period, or a persona poem that provides a unique perspective on a character or setting, there are different forms of poems that can enhance and energize science, social studies, history, math and English/language arts lessons. (grades 3-12)
• The Art of Advertising (3-day residency) — Learn about the history of advertising, propaganda, and persuasive techniques used to draw people to a message or product. Create your own advertisement or propaganda campaign and develop an original message or product you can market using strategies such as word magic, bandwagon, and card-stacking. (language arts and social studies integration, grades 6-8)
• PhotoPoetry Reading Images / Writing Poetry (3-day residency) — We live in an image-driven world. How do we find meaning in these images? How can images remind us of memories and lure us into dreams? Examine photographs from news stories past and present. Learn how you can write poems that become critical and personal reactions to the images we encounter. (language arts and social studies integration, grades 6-12).
• The Art of the Ode — The best inspiration is often right under our noses—from common household items to favorite foods to well-worn pieces of furniture. Celebrate the simple, honor the ordinary by learning the art of the ode, one of the oldest forms of lyrical poetry dating back to the ancient Greeks.
Studying sample odes that use sharp metaphors and strong imagery, we’ll craft new odes that elevate a singular subject until it dazzles like “glitter-drizzle,” as Irish poet Seamus Heaney once wrote in his ode about a rain stick.
• Conversations with Poetry — Learn how to appreciate the craft and techniques of poetry by reading and analyzing contemporary poems by poets from around the world. Use critical thinking skills to speculate on the world within poems and the creative mind that kindles them.
• Say What? Asking Questions in Poems — The poet Rainer Maria Rilke encouraged fellow writers to "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves...." Questions help us delve deeper into experience and expand our understanding of the world around us. Sometimes it's not about finding the answers but having the courage to ask the questions. Learn how poets use questions to explore and enrich our lives. Write new poems using questions.
• Child's Play: The Muse of Memory — Childhood gives us a wealth of experience to draw from; it helps to frame our minds for the wonder of poetry. Whether it's a coming-of-age story, an observation of another person through a child's eyes, or meeting the ghosts of our haunted past, childhood is a place we visit in dreams, conjure up in subtle smells, or return to (willingly or unwillingly) throughout our adult lives. Take a ride back to childhood and see where it leads you.
COST: $300 — 90-minute adult workshop
$900 — 3-day residency
$1,200 — 5-day residency with 3 classes per day
$1,400 — 5-day residency with 4 classes per day
$1,700 — 5-day residency with 5 classes per day
** on-site pre-residency meeting required with participating teacher(s)
(maximum of 30 students per class)
For more information, email me at