Thursday, May 12, 2016

"Getting To Do It"

I often introduce myself as a "poet who teaches creative non-fiction," referring to the undergraduate essay writing courses and memoir writing workshops I teach. When questioned about why I don't teach poetry instead of prose, I joke, "Yeah, I don't get to teach poetry." As if someone were holding me back. 

Someone was holding me back. Me. 

As my fortieth birthday looms closer and closer, I've been trying to nudge my professional life towards poetry. 

Collaborating with the generous owner of The Spa Room, Mary Szegda, I've started to offer monthly generative poetry writing workshops. We had our first class Tuesday evening and it was lovely. We sat in a circle, surrounded by the earthy perfume of healing products, and wrote in response to prompts, poems and sensory objects (chocolate and stones.) Each participant wrote radically different pieces, encouraging us to take more chances in our writing with subsequent prompts. 

DMV area folks: Interested in joining our next generative poetry writing workshop? Register here through The Spa Room (click on June and Special Events to find the listing). 

Here is the full description: 

Writing the Body: Poetry Writing Prompt Workshop 
Tuesday, June 21; 7:30 - 9:00 pm
90.00 minutes
$30.00 each individual session (a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the DC Rape Crisis Center after costs are covered.) 

In this monthly workshop, we will write in response to prompts. The prompts will begin with our bodies (muscles, five senses, physical memories) and may bring us anywhere. As we can slowly stretch our body to allow an opening, we will focus on our physical experiences and related memories in order to understand them better. Writing, which includes naming our experiences, is part of how we understand and navigate our world. Our time together will be spent generating writing in response to prompts. Writers will be invited to read their in-class writing, if they choose to. The focus will be on the creative process (rather than editing and revising the work.) Writers of all levels welcome. Please come with a writing surface (clipboard or book) and paper or charged laptop. You are welcome to register for one or more classes. Each one will be unique and stand on its own. 

Chloe Yelena Miller, author of the chapbook Unrest (Finishing Line Press), teaches writing workshops at Politics and Prose Bookstore and privately. She also teaches college-level classes online at the University of Maryland and Fairleigh Dickinson University. She received her BA in Italian language and literature from Smith College and an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. You can read more about her here: 

Class limited to 8 students 

The Spa Room 
4115 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 102, Washington DC, 20016 

Future class dates: 
Tuesday, July 5; 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Tuesday, August 16; 7:30 - 9:00 pm

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