Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes. – Walt Whitman
The Poet in Community (PIC) programme 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.
From students who’ve come to PIC workshops:
“It allowed me to think about writing as a practice of freedom not 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.”
“It shows me that although English is my second language, I can in fact express myself well when not blocked.”
“Oh my god such freedom and honesty, I had not previously known.”
“So incredible that its asking the questions I’ve been asking and going to a deeper place.”
Poet in Community Events: Winter 2019
February 13, 2019: Poetry in Union: Railway Lines and Valentines
In a special partnership between the League of Canadian Poets and Union Station, 8 poets will bring poetry to the general public, using the spirit of Valentine’s Day to offer people personalized poetry as gifts. It will also be an l introduction to the potential of the renovated Union Station. Throughout the day, poets will be on hand to write you a poem on the spot.
While this is not specifically a U of T event, you’re welcome to come for a poem. Ronna Bloom, Poet in Community, will be one of the 8 poets writing.
Poets and hours announced in late January ronnabloom.com
March 7, 2019: Speaking to Power with Clarity and Effectiveness
11:30 am-1 pm / Multi-Faith Centre
Making a request for accommodations or consideration from your professors, teaching assistants or supervisors can be an intimidating process. You may struggle to: know what to say; maintain a sense of your competence as a student and assess if their response is reasonable or not.
This workshop will use poetry and writing to explore the areas in which you feel hesitant in asking for what you need. The workshop will also give you practical tools to support you standing in the power of your request.
Facilitated by Rahul Bhat, Ronna Bloom, Rouya Botlani Esfahani
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
March 12, 2019: Bowl of Words –– A Writing Workshop for Families
10 am-12 pm / Baldwin Room, Centre for International Experience
What would it be like to write together? What might you say? How would you start? Would a bowl of words help?
In this workshop, let yourself be guided on a writing spree of stories, poems, lists, letters and random details of your lives. A playful, fun way to connect that lets you go home with more stories than you came with. No writing experience necessary. Ages 8 and up.
Students, staff, faculty and their families are FREE but space is limited, please register soon. Please let us know if you have any mobility challenges so we can accommodate your needs. To register, email email@example.com and include your name, status with U of T, and child’s name & age.
Ronna Bloom Biography:Ronna Bloom is the author of six books of poetry. Her most recent book, The More (Pedlar Press, 2017) was longlisted for the 2018 City of Toronto Book Award. Ronna’s poems have been recorded by the CNIB, translated into Spanish and Bengali, and used in the work of filmmakers, doctors, academics, spiritual leaders, and architects. Ronna is Poet in Community at the University of Toronto and Poet in Residence at Sinai Health.