S262. Nothing to Prove, Nothing to Lose: Introducing People to Poetry without Scaring Them Away

Room 2B, Washington State Convention Center, Level 2
Saturday, March 1, 2014
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm


What keeps people from embracing poetry? Were they taught it in a way that made it seem an intellectual puzzle they weren’t smart enough to solve? Did the poetry they were exposed to seem irrelevant to their lives? The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program staff and poets will share an approach for engaging newcomers in poetry that reduces their fear and values their individual response. The program has introduced thousands of teachers and students to the pleasure of reading and hearing poetry.



Michele Russo is Poetry Coordinator for the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program. She has extensive experience managing arts education programs and services throughout New Jersey, and a background in early childhood education. Her poems have appeared in several New Jersey-based publications.

J. C. Todd is author of What Space This Body, Nightshade, and Entering Pisces. A PSA Lucille Medwick finalist with poems in the Paris Review and American Poetry Review, she holds a Pennsylvania Arts Council fellowship and Leeway Foundation grants and teaches at Bryn Mawr College and the MFA Program at Rosemont.

Crystal Bacon is an assistant professor of English at the Community College of Philadelphia and a long time yoga teacher and practitioner.

Renée Ashley is the author of a novel and five volumes of poetry. She has received fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her most recent book of poems is Because I Am the Shore I Want to Be the Sea. She teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Martin Farawell directs the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. His work has appeared in a chapbook, Genesis: A Sequence of Poems, and in a variety of journals and anthologies, and his plays have been produced from Los Angeles to South Africa. He writes about poetry for Dodge’s "Poetry Friday" blog.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center