A Day of Poetry Play

By Erica Hendry, WriteGirl Volunteer

Who says poetry has to be stuffy? That’s what Workshop Director Kirsten Giles asked a roomful of WriteGirl mentees and mentors at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens on Jan. 26, 2019. She was kicking off WriteGirl’s annual Poetry Workshop, a day that proved to be inspiring, educational and fun… and the opposite of stuffy!

More than 100 WriteGirl mentees and 100 mentors explored the gardens, using the beautiful scenery as inspiration for their poems. It was a gorgeous day for writing, and the poems reflected it, with lines bursting with evocative imagery and brilliant detail.

“I felt like the atmosphere of women and the gardens was so positive and helped not only my mentee open up, but also me,” WriteGirl volunteer mentor Molly Kate said of the experience.

Workshop participants also had the opportunity to work in small breakout groups with a stellar group of poets, who gave them prompts and advice on their writing. One group, led by poet Yazmin Monet Watkins, vented some frustration by penning their very own clapback poems. Mentees and mentors alike shared how they felt a sense of relief and empowerment from getting their emotions out onto paper.

The day came to a close with the classic WriteGirl staple: the Soapbox. Mentees ranted and raved about topics they couldn’t get off their minds, such as their annoyance at Monday tests. Then the workshop concluded with a live reading, in which girls shared poems they’d written that day. The poems were a mix of styles and incorporated the lessons and scenery of the day, exploring themes of love, nature and vulnerability.

“I loved this workshop because I got to meet a lot of amazing poets who really helped me improve my writing skills,” WriteGirl mentee Kendra said.

WriteGirl’s upcoming Songwriting Workshop will also take place at the Huntington, on Saturday, February 23, 2019.