“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
Poet in Community Events
Shift, Alt, Delete: Writing as a Way to Make Change in Your Life
Sometimes the routines that support you, bind you. Perhaps you drink the same coffee, commute on the same road, or go to the same floor in the library every single day. Note the feeling associated with these routines: boredom? comfort? stuckness? In this Poet in Community workshop, we’ll take time to get grounded, then mess around with writing exercises to free up other ways of doing things and seeing things. Join us as we shift, alt, or delete. Ronna Bloom, Poet in Community will be facilitating this session.
When: Wed., Feb. 1, 2017, 1- 2:30 pm
Where: Grad Room, 66 Harbord St
Is Home a Moment or a Place? I’ll Meet You There.
This workshop offers an opportunity to write about what the word home conjures as you wander among strangers and friends in new classes and new realities. What grounds you and where do you return to as the sense of home changes? Whether you’re somewhere brand new or have lived here forever, this workshop offers selections of poetry and writing exercises to investigate this reference point that orients and disorients us and how it looks from here. Everyone welcome. No experience necessary.
When: Tues., Nov. 22, 2016, 1- 2:30 pm
Where: Hart House, Room TBA
Cost: Free / Register online
Weekly Writing Hubs with Peer Mentors
Write Now! Program: Self-reflection through writing
Join us in a supportive and stress-free environment to explore creative and reflective writing. Free from the pressure of evaluation, sessions are aimed at spontaneity and bringing your whole self to school. The space is transformed each week by the people in the room and whatever they create individually and together. Writing is the vehicle, and the experience is the destination.
How it works:
Groups meet weekly, and are led by upper-year and graduate mentors who have a shared interest in writing. The group explores a different theme each week (advertised on Facebook – Poet in Community) and mentors use creative writing prompts to get participants writing. Participants may choose to share what they write, but there is no expectation; you are very welcome to enjoy a quiet, personal experience. Drop into a single session, or attend as many as you like. Please arrive at the start of the session and stay for the 1.5 hours to get the full experience. All are welcome, and no prior experience in writing is necessary.
Write Now! sessions can help you:
- Reflect on your identity and experiences
- Clarify what’s important to you, your life, and your learning
- Gain insight and develop your awareness
- Open up and challenge yourself with new perspectives
- Generate unexpected ideas
- Kick-start your imagination and your self expression
- Have a space to write about feelings, school, home, friends, and everything you bring
- Explore your voice as a writer
- Become more mindful
- Unwind and de-stress
- Build community with like-minded people