Poetry Workshops: Literature as Therapy

Can literature save you? People who practise bibliotherapy – reading for well-being – believe that attentive immersion in great literature, especially poetry, can relieve, restore and reinvigorate the human mind. As International Ambassador for the ReLit Bibliotherapy Foundation, I have had ample opportunity to work with groups and individuals who seek solace in reading and writing. I am an award-winning lecturer and a published writer with a Ph.D. in English.

I have over 18 years’ experience teaching literature and a successful portfolio of bibliotherapy workshops.

I offer workshops (30 minutes to 2 hours) on a variety of themes to a wide range of audiences: students; community resource users; yoga practitioners; professional writers; retirees; and so on. These have taken place in cafes, halfway houses, public libraries, university lecture halls and private homes.

I can custom-make a workshop for your group, or I can offer workshops on themes including (click each to expand):

When the odds are stacked against us, how can we use poetry to reduce them? How do we escape the pain of the past and the fear of the future? In this workshop, participants engage in discussion about a variety of poems and spoken word pieces on resilience. They also have the opportunity to write and, if they like, share their own pieces about living in the present.
Life after loss
In this workshop, we consider mourning. We look at non-Western cultures’ approaches to public grief, and we engage in writing exercises that assist us in exploring our own attitudes about and approaches to bereavement.
Poetic mindfulness
This workshop blends a meditative reading of poetry with participants’ own writing. Working predominantly with the brief poetic form of haiku, participants will absorb themselves in meditative listening and choral reading, emptying their minds of everything except the words they are hearing and the images they conjure. The workshop closes with a contemplative piece on the power of silence that will ready us for the chaos of the everyday world.
Poetry of the senses
How can we engage with our senses to treat stress and anxiety? In this workshop, participants slowly read and meditate on five Japanese haiku (translated into English) that explore sensory encounters with nature. Participants are guided in the choral reading and discussion of two other poetic forms. There is also be an opportunity for participants to write their own haiku.
Awareness, Movement and Surrender (especially designed to complement yoga classes)
In this pre-yoga workshop, participants engage in choral reading focused on some fundamental aspects of the yoga practice. We use poetry to assist us in moving into readiness for yoga. This is not an intellectual pursuit. Instead, words become the conduit between thinking and feeling, between doing and being.

Please contact me to discuss hosting a workshop for your staff, classroom or group. Rates (from as low as CA$75) vary, depending on the group’s needs.

What are my clients saying? Click here to review some of the feedback I’ve received.