Write the World’s 2021 Virtual Poetry Workshops invite writers ages 13-19 to connect across continents, level up their craft, and learn from celebrated and caring authors through a variety of poetic genres.
Amanda Gorman—US Inaugural Poet, Youth Poet Laureate, and former Write the World Guest Judge—shared in a recent interview:
“For me, the greatest instrument that I have at my disposal is my pen… Everything is political, especially art.”
Amanda’s work has shown the world that poetry, especially poetry written by young people, is not only a form of self-expression but a tool to change minds and hearts across the globe.
Now, it’s your turn!
Throughout 2021, join peers from over 100 countries as you pour your voice and vision into poetry with the help of esteemed poets and educators through Write the World’s Global Writing Workshops. The four distinct Workshop offerings will each take place over the course of three to four 90-minute live Saturday sessions, inviting you to find, raise, use, and share your voice as you explore a variety of genres. All Workshops focus on the art and utility of poetry, and how we can use our writing to advocate, mobilize, unify, resist, connect, and work together to create the world we imagine. Writers of all levels and experiences are welcome.
We are pleased to announce that participants in our poetry offerings will be eligible for a chance to perform their work at a celebratory virtual reading hosted by the acclaimed Smith College Boutelle-Day Poetry Center in January, 2022. For more information about the Center, please see “Poetry Toolbox” below.
A Look Inside Our Offerings…
Find Your Voice: An Introduction to Poetry with Elisabeth Sharp McKetta - MEETS JUNE 12, 19 & 26, 2021 (11:00am-12:30pm ET)
Dive into poetry through this immersive, introductory workshop! Together, we will build our poetry toolboxes by exploring a range of techniques and forms, connect our work to that of poets past and present, and explore how poetry can empower writers and readers. Whether you hope to write poetry that expresses appreciation or advocacy, that sows unity, or action, or accountability, or even if you’re looking to bust through writer’s block by trying something new, we look forward to working with you.
About the Facilitator: Elisabeth Sharp McKetta teaches writing for Harvard Extension School and Oxford Department for Continuing Education. She is the author of nine books, mostly recently the novel She Never Told Me About the Ocean. Her poetry and short prose have been published widely, most recently in the winter issue of The Poetry Review. She delivered the 2019 TEDx talk “Live Like a Poem.” Elisabeth lives with her husband and two young children. See more at Elisabethsharpmcketta.com
Raise Your Voice: Spoken Word Poetry with Phil Kaye - MEETS SEPT 25, OCT 2 & 9, 2021 (2:00pm-3:30pm ET)
“When power corrupts, poetry cleanses,” said John F. Kennedy in a eulogy to the poet Robert Frost in 1963. Throughout history as much as today, spoken word and slam poetry have provided platforms for writers, creators, advocates, and activists to speak out about issues that matter to them. Raise your voice and connect your poetry to the world through this interactive spoken word poetry workshop taught by award-winning poet Phil Kaye!
About the Facilitator: Phil Kaye is a Japanese-American poet. His work has been featured in settings ranging from The New Yorker to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and viewed millions of times online. He has performed his original work in twenty countries and was invited to open for His Holiness The Dalai Lama for the celebration of his 80th birthday. A former teacher of weekly poetry workshops in maximum security prisons, Phil was the head coordinator of Space in Prisons for the Arts and Creative Expression (SPACE). Phil is a National Poetry Slam finalist, and his book, Date & Time, was published in 2018 by Button Poetry.
Use Your Voice: Writing Poetry for the Environment - MEETS OCT 23 & 24, 2021 (4 pm-6:30 pm ET)
Poetry is not only an art form but a tool. In this workshop, we will follow in the footsteps of Write the World teen authors featured in our recent environmental anthology, Writers on Earth, publicized in the New Yorker and on PRI’s podcast “The World,” by working together to pen poems that raise awareness, share appreciation, and create calls to action, combatting a warming world through the written word.
*Note: Registration for this workshop includes a complimentary copy of Write the World’s Writers on Earth anthology.
During workshop sessions, you’ll engage in interactive writing activities, connect with peers around the world, and work together to grow your poetry skills.
Between workshop sessions, you may be asked to work independently (and asynchronously) on writing prompts and activities, guided by peer and expert reviews, at your own pace, for approximately 1-2 hours, depending on your facilitator’s workshop plan. You will also receive individualized feedback that will strengthen your poetry.
Registration & Cost
For our three-week offerings “Find Your Voice,” “Raise Your Voice,” and “Use Your Voice,” registration is $225. For our four-week offering, “Share Your Voice,” registration is $250.
Repeat participants will receive 20% off subsequent 2021 poetry workshops.
What Teens Say About WtW Programs
It was a unique and engaging experience with a variety of prompts, useful meetings and tips, wonderfully-skilled mentors, and just an overall amazing design.
Amitha, 14, US
It was incredible to connect with amazing and creative people from across the world. Reading all of [their] stories and prompt responses each day inspired and motivated me so much.
Sherry, 16, Canada
I found receiving reviews to be the most memorable part of my week. I used to rush home from school and check my writer dashboard to see if I had any reviews, and seeing them gave me great joy.”
Chukwuka, 17, Nigeria
Poetry Toolbox: Resources from Friends & Partners
We are pleased to announce that participants in Write the World Poetry Workshops will be eligible for a chance to perform their work at a virtual reading hosted by the Smith College Boutelle-Day Poetry Center based in Northampton, Massachusetts. Founded in 1997, the Center has welcomed audiences ranging from 75 to 2,000, hosting acclaimed poets such as Mary Oliver, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and former Poetry Center Director Elizabeth Alexander, among many others. You can visit them on Facebook and Instagram.
Below, please find further poetry resources provided by the Center, as well as other WtW friends and partner organizations.
The Smith College Boutelle-Day Poetry Center’s “The Poem I Wish I Had Read” video series features acclaimed poets discussing and reading a single poem that they wish they had encountered as a teenager. In each of these video testimonials, poets talk about who they were as high school students, why reading these poems would have been transformational for them, and how these works altered their sense of what a poem can be. Click to watch poet Ada Limon read Ross Gay’s piece, “Sorrow is Not My Name,” and click through to watch the full series on the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center’s Youtube channel.
In 2006, the Smith College Boutelle-Day Poetry Center launched its first annual Poetry Prize for High School Girls in Massachusetts (open to sophomores and juniors); since then, the contest has expanded into the other New England states and New York. Judged by a prestigious poet each year, this regional opportunity invites eligible writers to hone and share their craft. Learn more here.
Should you have any questions, we’re here to help! Please check out our FAQ below and reach out to our Administrative Specialist for College & Workshop Programs, Janelle Milanes, at Janelle@writetheworld.com.
Write the World’s Poetry Workshop is an excellent way for teens ages 13-19 to explore a variety of writing genres within a supportive community of educators, authors, and peers. Whether your teen is an avid author or penning their first piece, we welcome their participation and will provide personalized feedback to accommodate different skill levels and strengths.
Yes. For Workshops that offer writing in a group on our website, a dedicated team of Write the World (WtW) trained site moderators will monitor young writers’ content following established guidelines. WtW is committed to maintaining a supportive writing community for its members.
Teens will work in small cohorts of about 20-25 to maintain cohesion and support community building.
WtW’s Poetry Workshops offer two tiers of facilitation. Some of our Workshops are led by members of the WtW team, trained authors and educators who work with our global community of young writers year-round. Other Workshops are facilitated by notable poets, educators, and/or publishing professionals who bring their expertise to our community and connect teens’ writing instruction with the “real world” through their expert guidance and feedback.
WtW will host three to four 90-minute synchronous workshop sessions per program, that encourage interactive writing activities communicated through Zoom video conferencing. (Note: in most cases, these will take place from 11a.m.-12:30p.m. EDT, but we will attempt to accommodate different time zones; if necessary, sessions will be recorded for those individuals who cannot make the live meetings). In most cases, your teen will have a specific set of prompts and/or peer reviews to complete in the week between sessions. This self-guided writing should consume approximately 1-2 hours per week, depending on your teen’s pace and approach. We recognize that teens are also juggling school work during our academic year offerings and design our program workload accordingly.