bring beauty into your world through the art of poetry

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I share my poems
so that they may bring beauty
into your world;
I teach you to write poetry
so that you may bring beauty
into your own world … and the worlds of others.

Poetic expression
brings out the beauty
in a world full of ugly.

There is courage and camaraderie in bloody battles.
{The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred Lord Tennyson}
Rain is as cleaning as floods are destructive.
{joy in the midst of them, by jordan elisheva}
Getting lost in the desert means a clear view of the stars.
{Lost, by Jordan, age 8}

Join me in increasing the beauty in the world
as you read poems I've written
and learn to write your own.

my story...

I’ve been using poetry to find the beauty in the ugly since I was a child. One morning when I was eight years old, I woke early, before anyone else. The sunrise lit up the living room, illuminating a stack of library books. The morning seemed better suited to creating than consuming (most mornings are), so rather than picking up the first book to read I let the beautiful cover art inspire a few lines of poetry. The desertscape on the book was familiar to me, since I was born and raised in the Sonoran Desert, but the title gave me a new perspective on the saguaro and coyotes: Lost. What would it be like to be lost in the desert on a night like the one illustrated here?

I found a scrap of paper and jotted down four simple lines:

“The stars twinkle
as the moon flares.
I am lost here
and it is beautiful.”

I probably wouldn’t remember this quiet morning or the poem that I produced, except that my dad found it and saved it. He’s good at that sort of thing. Over the years that followed, he encouraged my many creative pursuits, whether I was singing or painting or writing or sewing. He and my mom home-educated me, which gave me a special freedom of exploration. By the time I was in high school I was running a small business as a freelance seamstress. A few years later I published my first book, {the classic wrap skirt}, which takes the reader through the process of designing and hand-crafting a custom-sewn skirt. I wrote the book in a poetic sort of way, and my readers loved it. In fact, they began to tell me that they thought of me more as a poet than as a seamstress. They wanted me to publish another book, but this time they were asking for my poetry. That's how I came to be where I am now: writing and teaching full time.

I taught creative writing to middle and high school students in my family’s homeschool co-op after I graduated high school. More than one of my students has continued to pursue writing. Richard Barrett II published a book a few years after taking my class, Grace publishes poems, short stories, and "random thoughts" on her blog, and Moriah performed spoken word poetry at the Wisdom on the Streets event.

I love teaching creative writing. Seeing my students produce beauty out of almost nothing is magical. They think of things I would never have imagined, taking my prompts and exercises to heights I couldn't dream of.

Some of my students hadn't written much before, but most of them took my class voluntarily because they already loved writing. As I nurtured that love, it grew, and my students blossomed. One of my students took the first piece she wrote in my class, edited and revised it, and entered it in a city-wide writing competition. She won first place and was honored at one of the largest book festivals in the United States!

The primary thing that I wanted to provide for my students was a reason to write regularly. This is why they thrived in my class. They weren't writing only when inspiration struck, they were becoming disciplined so that inspiration knew where to meet them.

I see a marked difference in the quality of my own work depending on whether I am writing consistently or not. When I began writing every day and publishing every week, my poems became more clear and beautiful than when I simply jotted down a few lines here and there when I felt inspired.

I want to help you write poetry

I have set up a blog series to encourage aspiring poets to practice their art every day for a month. I share daily inspiration, prompts, and exercises to help you become an accomplished poet through regular practice. The first 31-day series will begin October 1, 2016. Subscribe below and I will send the daily posts straight to your inbox.