the Poetics Lab (tPL)

Mission Statement: Through education and performance poetry, the Poetics Lab creates inclusive spaces for communities to discuss the intricacies of identity construction.

the Poetics Lab (tPL) is a poetry workshop series where students from all backgrounds are invited to engage in conversations surrounding identity. The poetry workshop series is for students who are interested in engaging with and learning about different identities in communities where the opportunity may not traditionally exist. tPL uses poetry as a medium of engagement, as poets tell their stories using language that is most honest to them. The facilitators find this honesty and engagement to be crucial in showing how people across various identities construct their own identities. To provide the best workshop experience the facilitators operate with three goals in mind: 1) to teach poetry through facilitation of a community-based creative process, 2) to discuss the importance of language within communities, focusing on the use of language as storytelling and self validation, and 3) to engage with communities through performance.

Throughout the series, students will analyze poetry from poets across differing identities including but not limited to race, gender expression, sexuality and ability. These discussions will operate on the principle of building inclusive spaces where “mistakes” may happen (on all sides) and will be approached with an openness to understanding and inclusive thinking. The facilitators will role-model the creative process of poetry by breaking down the poems discussed into not only the content, but also into the poetic tools used. These tools include language, metaphor, simile, form, structure, etc. In writing their own poems, students will be invited to share their stories and allow others to engage with and learn from their stories. This exchange of life experiences will happen both in and out of the classroom.

Within the classroom, students will engage with each other’s stories through constructive workshops. These workshops will provide the students a space to discuss each piece and build a portfolio of critiqued poems. At the conclusion of the program, students will present their work outside the classroom at a community performance. Students will also be offered the opportunity to publish their best piece(s) in a chapbook that will be sold at local bookstores--and copies will be provided to each student for free.