Poetry Workshops in Schools, Libraries and Community centers
I have been a visiting writer/teaching artist in the New York City Schools since 2000. I specialize in programs that stress the idea of poetry as serious play and incorporate visual art and music into the lessons. Following the Teachers & Writers method made famous by Kenneth Koch, I start most lessons by bringing in a poem by a published writer and having students write collaboratively. I believe the best poems often arise from an active engagement with great literature, and through the writing exercises and prompts, students soon discover that poetry is approachable and fun. Often at the end of a program, an anthology of the students’ work will be produced, or students may create handmade books of their own poems. I am happy to conduct programs of any duration, from a one-day workshop to a year-long residency. I have worked with students of all ages, from first-graders to senior citizens, and love to collaborate with classroom teachers to integrate their curriculum goals into my teaching. I have taught poetry programs in all five boroughs of New York City, as well as in Connecticut and Westchester County, and have worked with gifted students and special education students.
In addition to poetry writing, I have taught creative nonfiction, fiction writing and playwriting and am able to design a multi-genre curriculum to fit a given school’s needs. Organizations I have worked with include Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Poets House, the Waterways Project, LeAp and CEPP. For six years, I taught creative writing at Science Skills Center High School in Brooklyn, where I worked with classroom teachers and taught an after-school program. I have also led professional development workshops on integrating poetry and visual arts and on poetry and scale, and have developed a lecture for senior citizens on how to read contemporary or “difficult” poetry. My essays on teaching the work of Jayne Cortez and teaching poetry to architecture students appear in Teachers & Writers magazine. Contact me for more information or to set up a program at your school or community. I am open to teaching students directly or leading a professional development workshop. Fees depend on the situation and location. You can work with me directly or through the following organizations: Teachers & Writers CEPP Poets House. Here’s a sample group poem from a third-grade-class:
Poetry is periwinkle ice cream.
Poetry is a cup of hot chocolate.
Poetry is like teachers floating in the air.
Poetry is like a black mountain crying for help.
Poetry is a shiny sunflower sitting in the garden.
Poetry is a sprinkle rainbow and a colorful penguin that waddles around the North Pole.
Poetry is a lion named Larry eating a leprechaun.
Poetry is a monkey named Michael eating a mackerel.
Poetry is a girl with a big fat lollipop.
Poetry is a 100-petaled flower.
Poetry is a teacher calling my name to be called.
Poetry is a big golden heart where there is candy.
Poetry is a penguin looking for its mother.
Poetry is a worm that wiggles through the soil.
Poetry is like paper dancing.
Poetry is paper floating in the air.
Poetry is like a red and orange shooting flame.
Poetry is like a diamond saying, “Come on, Lynahia, let’s party.”
Poetry is like people saying, “I am rich and not you.”
Poetry is a pretty girl laughing.
Poetry is dresses flying in the sky.
Poetry is the purple sky.
Poetry is a purple ice cream.
Poetry is my purple dream.
Poetry is everything that we see, hear, smell, touch and taste.
Poetry is every person in the world.
Without poetry, there would be no world.
-Complied by lines from Ms. Park’s 3rd grade class at P.S. 153