“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.” –Walt Whitman
The Poet in Community (PIC) program uses creative writing to address the needs, passions and interests of students. Through workshops and conversations, the program offers a space that’s not as formal as a classroom, or as casual as a cafe. It’s a learning experience without evaluation. There’s no teacher and no boss. Here it is possible connect the intellectual with the emotional, the physical and the social.
As Poet in Community, Ronna Bloom leads workshops through Student Life, as well as within the faculties of Nursing, Medicine, Nutrition, and through various colleges. She gives talks and offers unusual encounters with poetry such as The Spontaneous Poetry Booth where she will write you a poem on the spot for $1. Together with the Academic Success Centre, Hart House and the Multi-Faith Centre, Ronna helped develop the Write Now! Peer Mentor Program, launched in 2014.
Ronna Bloom is a writer, teacher, psychotherapist and author of five books of poetry. Her most recent book is Cloudy With A Fire in the Basement (Pedlar Press, 2012). Ronna’s poems have been broadcast on CBC, made into short films, recorded for the CNIB, and translated into Spanish and Bengali. In addition to her role as Poet in Community at the University of Toronto, Ronna is Poet in Residence at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Feedback from students
“[Poet in Community] allowed me to think about writing as a practice of freedom as opposed to a form of prison.”
“I think it’s very important to have learning experiences that show that writing is more than technical expertise and is related to our emotional lives.”
“It’s liberating to be able to free flow with writing. As someone coming from the sciences, I feel stunted in my writing. It’s nice to know that it’s not me that’s incapable of writing, rather scientific writing that’s bottled me up.”
“[Poet in Community] shows me that although English is my second language, I can in fact express myself well when not blocked.”
For more, have a look at Ronna’s website, blog or join the Poet in Community Facebook group.
Contact the Poet to discuss the possibility of requesting a workshop for your group or faculty: ronna.bloom at utoronto.ca