Writers in the Schools Program is on the Cutting Edge of Poetry Instruction

November 8, 2019

Communications Staff

Man teaching in classroom.
Otto Vock ’19 leads a poetry lesson at Langston Middle School as part of the Teaching Imaginative Writing workshop.
Photo credit: Mathias Reed

Oberlin’s Writers in the Schools program is an opportunity for serious writers to take what they’re passionate about and share it in the community.

Director Lynn Powell teaches a workshop each fall called Teaching Imaginative Writing. In the course, Oberlin students create and workshop their own poetry lesson plans and participate in seven-day residencies with Powell in the classrooms of Langston Middle School. 

“It’s an American cultural phenomenon that people generally don’t have much experience with contemporary poetry, and they carry around impressions that poetry is either really sappy or really difficult and obscure,” explains Powell.

“In our work in the schools, we try to break through those misconceptions and clichéed notions of poetry. We do that by immersing students in the experience of writing poems, with lessons that stimulate their imagination and give them both freedom and guidance.”

Video: Writers in the Schools

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