Poet in Community and Poet in Conference: Ronna Bloom

By Nancy Johnston, University of Toronto Scarborough, nancy.johnston@utoronto.ca

One of my pleasures at Inkshed conferences has been the many opportunities for creative thinking and for writing, whether collaborative inkshedding or my own freewriting. In keeping with this year’s theme, Work-in-Progress, Work-in Conference, we’ve invited Ronna Bloom, poet, teacher, psychotherapist, and our “poet in community” at the University of Toronto, to lead a writing workshop tailored to Inkshedders.

Since 2008, Ronna has been the first Poet in Community at the University of Toronto and the founder of unique sessions and writing series that aim to engage students, staff, and instructors in creative reflection and writing. She describes “using writing in the service of the community, for the needs of students, staff and faculty.” Some of her sessions promote creativity by writing poetry, and in others she promotes personal reflection through writing prompts. Some of her popular sessions include A Writer’s Process (a 4-part session salon), Spontaneous Poetry Booth, and Writing Your Way Out of a Paper Bag (for staff and faculty to reflect on writing blocks).

As her student, in workshops and her Personal Narrative courses in Continuing Studies, I admire her creativity and passion as a teacher and her skill in engaging students in what can be a complex and chaotic writing process.

At Inkshed, Ronna will invite us to write and refresh in her morning session, titled The Dialect of the Heart: Reconnecting to your Passion for Writing.

What if you could bring yourself back to your work enlivened? What if you could bring your students to their writing with revived energy? Sometimes the relationship with what or who we are teaching or researching or writing goes stale. We lose heart. This workshop aims to coax you into different kinds of conversations between work life and creative self, between heart and page. Using poems, prompts, and memories, bring yourselves back into the room with what you know in a new way. 

Ronna Bloom is the author of several books of poetry, including Public Works (2004), Permiso (2009), and Cloudy with a Fire in the Basement (Pedlar Press, forthcoming Fall 2012). More information on Poet in Community at the University of Toronto or her work can be found on Ronna’s website http://www.ronnabloom.com/ and at http://blogs.studentlife.utoronto.ca/poet/

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