This collection grew out of a graduate-level course on writing development and instruction for inservice teachers in the Department of Literacy, Language, and Culture at the University of Southern Maine. The purpose of the course was two-fold: 1) to expand teachers’ pedagogical repertoires for facilitating writing in K-12 contexts and 2) to cultivate teachers’ identities as writers. To support the latter goal, we, the instructor (Nicole) and virtual poet-in-residence (Angela), collaborated to integrate poetry workshops into six of the class’s Zoom sessions.

Ahead of each workshop, teachers wrote from a set of place-based provocations we created using Keri Smith’s How to be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum. The book, which is aimed at fostering observation through short activities such as taking a daily walk or assembling a cabinet of curiosities, enabled us to scaffold different types of writing about a place that was meaningful to the teachers.

In all, teachers wrote from five provocations, resulting in a prose poem, a guide poem, haikus and haigas as well as a poem that drew readers into the sonic environment of their place and a poem that experimented with the space on the page. It was through a study of craft, however, that the teachers were able to shape these provocations into literary works with potential beyond the classroom.


Submissions from 2021


Travelling in Place: Poetry From the Pandemic, Nicole Siffrinn and Angela Williamson Emmert