S225. Starting from Zero: Teaching Poetry to the (Initially) Resistant

Room 17, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Saturday, March 10, 2018
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


Veteran poetry teachers know that many people are resistant to the idea of writing or journaling even as a simple way to order and make sense of their own memories. Whether they are combat veterans suffering from PTSD, IV drug users in a needle exchange program, or just recalcitrant 7th graders who think poetry is stupid, sometimes the folks who could benefit most from a little introspection are the last to seek it out. Come hear stories of successful strategies for dealing with such resistance.


Mahogany L. Browne is a Cave Canem, Poets House, and Serenbe Focus alumna, playwright, poet, and orgranizer. Publisher of Penmanship Books, she earned her MFA in writing and activism from Pratt Institute and she serves as artistic director of Urban Word NYC.

Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam. A four-time National Poetry Slam champion, he is the founder of the Page Meets Stage reading series in New York City.

Seema Reza is the author of When the World Breaks Open, a memoir in essays and poetry and coordinates and facilitates a unique multi-hospital military arts program in Washington, DC. She is a VONA alumnus and serves as a council member-at-large for the Transformative Language Arts Network.

Jon Sands is the author of The New Clean. His work has been featured in The New York Times and anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2014. He is the cofounder of Poets in Unexpected Places, and teaches creative writing at Bailey House in Harlem (an AIDS service center).


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside