Programs

The Craft and Heart of Writing Poetry for Children

May 1 - 5, 2022

OVERVIEW:

In-person 5-Day/4-Night Workshop and Retreat

  • This is an in-person workshop at our Retreat Center with lectures, writing exercises, and faculty consultations.
  • We include ample time to relax, retreat, and work on your own writing.
  • Lodging and meals are included.
  • Begins at with dinner 5:30pm Eastern on Sunday, May 1
  • Ends with lunch at 1:00pm Eastern on Thursday, May 5
  • 16 participants max

If writing poetry for children is your passion, this 5-day/4-night retreat will give you time to work on your own poetry through guided writing exercises, peer workshopping and sharing, lectures, and private consultations. We also include ample private retreat time so that you can write, wander, and connect with fellow poets.

FEEDBACK EXPECTED:

  • Informal feedback throughout the workshop via discussions and open sharing/small group workshopping time with peers
  • A 1:1 consultation with faculty during the workshop (You may submit up to 3 individual poems (up to 20 lines each), or 3 poems from verse novel project, or 1 complete poetic picture book manuscript of no more than 500 words.) Submissions due for faculty review by April 15, 2022.

WHY THIS WORKSHOP?

Poetry as a craft is at the heart of this workshop, with guided interactions, lecture sessions, and free creative writing time.
Craft and Heart of Writing Poetry for Children
We’ll focus on all elements of poetry, from the importance of word choice to surprising metaphors.

There will be plenty of writing exercises to inspire new poems, followed by group discussions. Together we’ll:

  • brainstorm ideas,
  • share our writing processes,
  • share our writing, and
  • generate original poems.

THIS WORKSHOP IS A GREAT FIT IF:

  • You are a poet who writes for children, at any level. This workshop is open to poets who are just beginning and those who have more experience. We learn best from one another.
  • You want to immerse yourself in the elements of craft within a community of poets. At this workshop you’ll be surrounded by words and a community of poets who love them.
  • You’d like a retreat where you can work on new poems. There will be ample free writing time built into this course so that you can stretch and work on your own projects.

DETAILED AGENDA:

Pre-Workshop

  • You will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow writers, engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards), and view submission details related to this course.
  • Submission deadline: April 15. You’ll be asked to submit up to 3 individual poems (up to 20 lines each), or 3 poems from verse novel project, or 1 complete poetic picture book manuscript of no more than 500 words.

Retreat Details:

  • There will be structured lectures, workshops, and group hands-on activities, as well as 1:1 consultations. There will be optional (but encouraged) peer group workshopping.  You will have ample free writing time built into this course so that you can stretch and work on your own projects. It is meant to be the perfect pairing of “retreat” and guided lectures.
  • All times Eastern Standard Time.

Sunday, May 1

  • 3pm – 5pm Eastern:            Arrival and check in.
  • 5:30pm:                                 Appetizers & Dinner (with introductions over dinner)
  • Following dinner:                Expectations and goals for our time together.

Monday, May 2
Morning:

  • Breakfast
  • Mini-workshop #1 (60 minutes)
  • Peer-led sharing from morning exercises & guided poetry prompts to work on while you’re not in consultation
  • Consultations with Rebecca or Georgia for half of the group

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • Writing Time: optional peer group gathering to share poems; independent writing time; or retreat to your private accommodations to relax and recharge

Evening

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • Informal poetry discussions and sharing fire-side (weather permitting)

Tuesday, May 3
Morning

  • Breakfast
  • Mini-workshop #2 (60 minutes)
  • Cooperative poetry building exercise

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • Consultations with Rebecca or Georgia for half of the group
  • Peer-led sharing from morning exercises & guided poetry prompts to work on while you’re not in consultation
  • Special virtual visit from Janet Wong

Evening

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • Informal poetry discussions and sharing fire-side (weather permitting)

Wednesday, May 4
Morning

  • Breakfast
  • Mini-workshop #3 (60 minutes)
  • Informal consultations with Georgia or Rebecca

Afternoon

  • Lunch
  • Writing Time: optional peer group gathering to share poems; independent writing time; or retreat to your private accommodations to relax and recharge

Evening

  • Appetizers & Dinner
  • After dinner: Visiting Editor session with Rebecca Davis

Thursday, May 5
Morning

  • Breakfast
  • Mini-workshop #4 (30 minutes)
  • “Poetry-At-A-Glance” with visiting editor Rebecca Davis, followed by last questions

Afternoon

  • Lunch & farewells

A note about workshop agendas and how they change and evolve. 

ABOUT OUR RETREAT CENTER:

All in-person Highlights Foundation workshops (including this one) are held at our Retreat Center: The Barn at Boyds Mills.  This site was the home of the original founders of Highlights for Children Garry and Caroline Myers, and is located in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania on the traditional and contemporary lands of the Lenape Nation.

Your workshop tuition includes lodging, farm-fresh meals with snacks, and shuttle service from our local airport or bus/train stations if you need it.  For more information about attending a workshop or retreat here, visit the Barn at Boyds Mills website.

HOW THIS WORKSHOP IMPACTS KIDS:

Kids love poetry and it motivates them to play with language and words, increases phonemic awareness in reading and builds essential skills like vocabulary, fluency, and authentic expression. This workshop will immerse you in the craft of writing poetry that can inspire a love of poetry and creativity in children.

Why do we mention this? Learn about the Highlights Foundation mission. 

COMMITMENT REQUIRED FOR THE BEST EXPERIENCE:

As an in-person event at our Retreat Center, you’ll have a chance to step away from everyday life to experience the workshop. We try to build in breaks and independent time so you have space for your personal needs. While we encourage participation in all group events, we know that as an adult learner you can decide if you need more time to yourself. Please let someone from our staff or faculty know if you plan to step away from group activities.

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

Another commitment that will help you get the most from this workshop is participating in the 1:1 consultation and optional peer group discussions. The submission deadline in advance of your consultation with faculty is April 15 in order to allow faculty time to familiarize themselves with your work in advance of your meetings.  If this is an issue, please let us know. For your optional peer group discussions, you will be able to read aloud and discuss your work in the workshop atmosphere, no need to prepare additional copies to distribute to the group.

Read some ideas about planning for the right level of commitment.

RELATED RESOURCES

Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard: Collecting Word Treasures
Rebecca Kai Dotlich: One Poet’s Story
Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich: The Magic of Metaphor
Faculty Interview: Poet Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Picture Books: To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme
Writing Poetry for Children
Harvesting Language From the Worlds We Know
See some great examples of the way Janet Wong shares poetry here. Janet is the recipient of the 2021 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children.

FROM OUR COMMUNITY:

“Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard are amazing apart and absolutely magical together. Smart, approachable, creative and supportive. Would attend ANY workshop with either of them again.”

“Georgia and Rebecca were amazing, fun presenters, knew their stuff, gave lots of information, supportive. One-on-one session was very valuable. Their choice of poems was on-spot to exemplify the lesson. Assignments and feedback were valuable. Open, friendly, knowledgeable, honest. what you hope to get!!!”

“Georgia & Rebecca were incredible. The workshop was the perfect blend of instruction, writing, group reading, feedback and guest speakers. Georgia and Rebecca took the time to become “part of the group”, appearing to have as much fun with us as we had with them.”

The Highlights Foundation will offer one full tuition and one partial tuition scholarship to this workshop. Deadline to apply is March 13 at midnight eastern. Find out more about scholarships here.

Faculty

Georgia Heard

Georgia Heard received her M.F.A. in poetry writing from Columbia University and is a founding member of the Teachers College…
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Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Rebecca is the author of a diverse range of picture books and poetry collections for children, including Lemonade Sun, One…
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Janet Wong

Virtual Special Guest Janet Wong is a graduate of Yale Law School and a former lawyer who switched careers to…
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Rebecca Davis

Rebecca M. Davis is Editorial Director of Astra Young Readers and Wordsong, imprints of Astra Books for Young Readers, a…
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$1,399.00

All-inclusive registration includes workshop tuition, lodging, meals, beverages, and snacks.

Free shuttle service is available from the local airport, train, and bus station, or you can park on site. Get more logistics information here.

Pay in full or secure your spot with a deposit of $200 and payment plans as low as $75/month. We'll be in touch with details after you register.

Do you want help finding a workshop or resources that will fit your needs? Talk to one of our ambassadors.

workshop information

Our all-inclusive price means we provide transportation to and from the airport, lodging, all meals, unlimited snacks, and wireless Internet access.

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