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Things to Talk About and How to Get Started

I love reading, teaching, and talking about poetry. Contact me if you'd like to schedule a reading or a class. Below are some of my favorite topics. Let me know if you’d like something tailored to your particular needs and audience.

How to Read Contemporary Poetry

What happened to rhyme? What happened to meter? How do you read a poem that doesn’t seem to subscribe to any of the notions of so-called traditional poetry? If you love to read but find contemporary poetry confusing, hard to read, or hard to find, this class is for you. We’ll look at a sample of contemporary poets, discuss concepts of free verse and organic form, and explore strategies for reading and decoding poetry. Bring your questions for an energetic and thought-provoking discussion.

Contemporary Poetry: How to Find it, Read it, and Use it in Your Classroom

Contemporary poetry is alive and well with a wide range of styles and voices. Its ability to inspire and speak to contemporary life makes it a beautiful tool for the classroom. The abundance of poetry resources online makes it easier than ever to find good stuff. Yet many teachers, even those who teach literature, are not confident in their ability to “decode” a poem. In this session, we’ll cover some sources and ideas for using poetry in the classroom, but will spend the bulk of the time on strategies for reading and discussing poetry. The aim is to demystify the process of reading poetry, for teachers and students alike.

Writing Poetry: From the Body to the Page

Poetry relies heavily on recreating the images, smells, textures, tastes, and sounds that come to us through our senses. In this workshop, we’ll look at some inspiring examples, and turn to our own senses for memories and material to shape our own poems.

Elegy: Writing to Preserve Love and Memory

The ancient Greeks and the American Puritans alike wrote elegies to mourn their lost ones. And so do we. In this workshop we’ll explore the historical and emotional roots of elegy, look at the ingredients of elegies as they appear in contemporary American poetry, and try our hand at writing.

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