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  • Twelve Poets to Change Your Life // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

Twelve Poets to Change Your Life // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

  • 07 June 2023
  • (PDT)
  • 18 July 2023
  • (PDT)
  • Online
  • 4


  • Regular price
  • Regular price

Class Description

Want to immerse yourself into poetry you may already love or will get to fall in love with while also generating a lot of new poems of your own? Come expand your understanding of how poetry can foster healing, advocate for liberation, break silences, create community, grow courage, and continually give us new maps to find our own true north. 

This six-week class leads you on a journey through illuminating poetry from contemporary and historic poets who speak from a multitude of communities, places, times, and traditions. We’ll read some of the writing of Ilya Kaminsky, Gwendolyn Brooks, Czeslaw Milosz, Muriel RukeyserJoy Harjo, Galway Kinnell, Diane Seuss, Li-Young LeeEmily Dickinson, Linda Pastan, Walt Whitman, and Ada Limón.

Each week features two poets, including a sampling of their poetry, links to articles and interviews, and a summary about what their work offers us as readers and writers. Additionally, each week includes craft lesson, writing tips, and lots of writing prompts to help you open doors to your new poems. We’ll share our writing and positive responses to each others’ writing online in a warm and welcoming community. By the end of the workshop, you'll have a big bunch of new poems and, through the poets we're exploring, lots of new poet-companions.

Week-by-week Lesson Plan Summary

Week One: Who We Are Alone and In a Crowd: Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson: This week’s historic poets deeply consider what it is to contain multitudes (Whitman) and speak in deep solitude (Dickinson), both of whom have a lot to show us about identity, history, and voice. 

Week Two: The Extraordinary in the Ordinary: Linda Pastan and Gwendolyn Brooks: Find the magic in everyday life through writing about the seemingly ordinary in all its extraordinary specifics, all of which shows us more of real life in real life. 

Week Three: Liberation and Illumination: Ilya Kaminsky and Muriel Rukeyser: Poets, including one current (Kaminsky) and one historic (Rukeyser) poet this week, who write of transformation and freedom shine a light on what it is to survive and build greater community with others who seek liberation. 

Week Four: Healing Fountains: Li-Young Lee and Ada Limon: Through exploring the poetry of personal and communal healing in Lee’s and Limon’s poetry, we can find and write some of our own healing fountains, surfacing what's ripe for revising in our lives and life stories to craft more authentic and generous narratives to write and live. 

Week Five: Finding Home: Galway Kinnell and Czeslaw Milosz: Poets who write deeply about home in multiple dimensions can help us see where we live, from our bodies to the cosmos. This week's poets open windows into the ways we come home to our bodies, places, and ecoregions. 

Week Six: Maps to a New World: Diane Seuss and Joy Harjo: Poetry can also help us re-envision where and how we live, lighting from within the details and big picture views of our lives. By considering the work of these poets who write so vividly of the present, stretching language to show us new maps, we can better comprehend the possibilities of our time and place.

Intended Audience

This is a generative class for all people who drawn to poetry, whether you're just getting started or have a long-time practice. All the writing prompts and interactive activities are designed to meet you where you are and gather us into a vibrant poetry community for the duration of our time together. 


This is an online class in which we come together through an interactive website in council, reaching across the miles to hold one another's words and reflect deeply on what we discover individually and together. Each week includes ample writing prompts, a short essay on the poets we're visiting with this week, a discussion and examples of the craft of strong writing, and a short meditative piece (often a podcast) about this week's theme, including considerations for your own immersion into the writing life. Expect to spend a minimum of 2-5 hours per week on writing poems and responses to each other on our site. Participants are also asked to respond to at least three other participants' work each week, deepening our dialogue altogether. Most of the exercises will give participants options to write in the genre of their choice.

We will also meet in two optional Zoom meetings -- at the beginning (to get to know each other) and end (to celebrate our writing) of the class at 7 CT/ 8 ET/ 6 MT/ 5 PT Sun., June 11 and Sun., July 16.

About the Teacher

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, PhD is the founder of Transformative Language Arts, the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 24 books, including How Time Moves: New & Selected Poems; Miriam's Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body. A beloved writing workshop facilitator and writing and Right Livelihood coach, she offers writing workshops widely, particularly for people living with serious illness, adults in transition, humans looking for greater connection with the earth, and poets and writers seeking their most courageous voice on the page and in their lives. She loves life-giving collaborations, including YourRightLivelihood.com with Kathryn Lorenzen, Bravevoice.com with Kelley Hunt, and TheArtofFacilitation.net with Joy Roulier Sawyer. She offers weekly “Care Packages for a Creative Life” through her Patreon page, and her long-time blog, “Everyday Magic” at CarynMirriamGoldberg.com. 

Born hard-wired to make something (in art, music, and especially writing), Caryn’s long-time callings include writing as a spiritual and ecological path, yoga, cultivating a loving marriage, family, and community, and helping herself and others make and take leaps into the miraculous work of their lives. For over three decades, Caryn has worked with many arts and ecological/bioregional not-for-profit organizations as a grant-writer, fundraiser, staff or board member, and consultant on collaborative and community arts, group process, and better meetings. She lives in the country on land she and her husband, ecological writer Ken Lassman, have put in a conservation reserve and are restoring as prairie and woodlands. See more at www.CarynMirriamGoldberg.com

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