a traveling poetry class

in 2016, i taught a class for the chester county night school called “the pull of poems.” in the next session, i taught a class of flash fiction, which is a sometimes very concentrated and short form of fiction, meaning often less than 1,000 words, more likely less than 500 words, often less than 200 words, and once in a while, and more whimsically for the fact, less than 50 words or even just hardly a few sentences. because of how intensely packed with meaning in brief sets of words flash fiction can be in certain examples, it is often not far off from poetry but with a prose-feel.

after the flash fiction class ended, students from both of those chester county night school classes who’d stayed with me all along were open to the idea of me creating a traveling poetry class from a more independent approach. we began on our own, venturing to different places for inspiration and changing up where we meet. then more students joined. and newcomers are always welcome, whether regularly or just once in a while.

now, my traveling poetry class meets two sunday afternoons per month. in the warm seasons, we meet once a month along the schuylkill river to practice river poems along different sections of mud-and-sand. pottstown in montgomery county and mont clare at lock 60 in chester county are our most beloved spots. in the past, we’ve taken the colebrookdale railroad to do railroad poetry, visited an auction in kutztown to do auction poetry, and spent some nostalgic moments at the peppermint stick candy store in boyertown to do candy shop poems. while we’ve visited many more places, these are just a few examples of our outings. we also now focus on specific poets and their writings in order to learn from their craft, when we’re not working with a theme of place to stir our own new poems into existence. some poets we’ve loved learning from in my traveling poetry class are former u.s. poet laureate ted kooser, his good friend and the author of legends of the fall, the late jim harrison, and the poet of instagram, nayyirah waheed.

during my traveling poetry classes, we go over samples of writing related to our most recent theme of focus, and then we read our own poems and ask for feedback from each other. and while it’s a poetry class, i also happily welcome other variations of creative writing since it’s often laced with poetic language. we’re glad to absorb different kinds of writing for our own goals of expanding through the words we read and experience on the page.

to find out more about upcoming traveling poetry classes, visit the blog for poetry with jennifer hetrick. if you’d like to join the email list for updates about scheduled classes, please submit your proverbial deets here.

other community classes

classes with specific themes of focus for community educational and cultural venues, schools, holistic centers, yoga studios, retirement and assisted living homes, and other kinds of locations are also available. feel free to reach out if you’d like to discuss more.