the Poetics Lab (tPL) is a poetry workshop series where students from all backgrounds are invited to engage in conversations surrounding identity. This poetry workshop series is for students who are interested in engaging with and learning about different identities in communities where this opportunity may not traditionally exist. tPL uses poetry as a conduit because poets are telling their stories using the language that feels the most honest to them. We find this engagement/learning process to be crucial in showing how people across various identities construct their own identities as opposed to others defining how different identities are constructed. To provide this space, they operate with three goals in mind: teach poetry, discuss the importance of language within communities and 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.
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 in a chapbook that will be sold at local bookstores.
Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (January 2021)