Guided by award-winning poet and teacher Jeffrey Bean, learn strategies to generate future poems and go beyond craft, exploring the ways in which poetry can enlarge our lives and cultivate creativity, joy, gratitude, empathy, and community in this peer-based poetry workshop for all skill levels.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

“One of the things poems do is demonstrate that you aren’t alone — that other humans have been here before, and have found a way to sustain aliveness, to find beauty within the condition of grief.” –Jane Hirshfield

This generative workshop, open to writers of all skill levels, will be a course in things poems do. Each day, we will investigate different poetic modes, including persona poems, odes, list poems, ekphrastic poems, and hermit crab poems, studying a variety of contemporary models and writing our own attempts in response to prompts. Through in-class exercises, interactive discussions, lectures, and readings, we will also examine and practice various elements of poetic craft—line breaks, image, sound, voice, metaphor, diction, and syntax. And we will go beyond craft, exploring the ways in which poetry can enlarge our lives and “sustain aliveness” by helping us cultivate creativity, joy, gratitude, empathy, and community.

Discussions, lectures, and in-class writing will be combined with peer workshops and one on one consultations with the instructor. Over the course of the week, you will write several new poems, receive friendly, constructive feedback on your work, learn strategies to generate future poems, and make connections with a community of other poets.

Instructor Jeffrey Bean has written award-winning books of poetry and is currently a Professor of English/Creative Writing at Central Michigan University and a two-time winner of the CMU Excellence in Teaching award.

Jeffrey Bean's Poetry Books, 2022
Jeffrey’s poems have won multiple awards, with Ella’s Plan recently winning the 2022 Poets Corner Chapbook Contest.

Testimonials & reviews

“Jeffrey Bean has a gift for making the creepy compelling, the silly sublime, and an obsession beautiful. He sells every poem with mouth-watering figurative language, rich music, and slant rhymes that slowly turn true. The Voyeur’s Litany is an invocation of guilty pleasure.” —Richard Newman (Poet and editor-in-chief of River Styx)

“ELLA’S PLAN is mesmerizing, embodying the real presence of an imaginative, eccentric, tender daydreamer-child. I felt riveted by the series of exquisite poems with such potent, occasionally chilling (as in the unforgettable poem ‘Truths’ about an abusive babysitter) images. I could not look away from these magical poems. I felt I had known and treasured this child all my life, but never read this much about her before. I felt these poems rising out of deepest understanding and care for the outcast, the wayward creative. I adore them. There would be no way for this NOT to be the winner. I can imagine how utterly sensational this chapbook will be, and can’t wait to hold it in my hands.” —Naomi Shihab Nye (Contest Judge)

“In each of these gorgeous poems I lose track of the boundaries of flesh and bread, dirt and the beloved’s hair, what the body holds and what holds a body.” —Traci Brimhall’s review of Woman Putting on Pearls

“It’s no small feat to compose a lifetime in just 24 pages of poetry, but Jeffrey Bean has done this, and brilliantly.” —Sarah Gorham, poet & editor-in-chief of Sarabande Books

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Jeffrey Bean, Poet, Profile Picture

Instructor: Jeffrey Bean

Jeffrey Bean was raised in Bloomington, Indiana.  He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Guitar Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and an MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from the University of Alabama. From 2006-2008, he served as the Axton Fellow in Poetry at the University of Louisville. Currently, he lives with his wife Jessica and daughter Olivia in Mount Pleasant, MI, where he is Professor of English/Creative Writing at Central Michigan University and a two-time winner of the CMU Excellence in Teaching award.  His first full length collection, Diminished Fifth, was published by David Robert Books in 2009. His chapbook Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window won the 2013 Vern Cowles/Copperdome Poetry Chapbook Prize and was published by Southeast Missouri State University Press, and his chapbook The Voyeur's Litany won the Anabiosis Press Chapbook Contest and was published in 2016.  His second full-length collection, Woman Putting on Pearls, won the 2016 Red Mountain Poetry Prize and was published by Red Mountain Press. Naomi Shihab Nye selected his chapbook Ella's Plan as the winner of the 2022 Poet's Corner and Maine Media Workshops chapbook contest.

His poems have been featured on, on the NPR program The Writer’s Almanac, in the New Poetry from the Midwest anthologies, and in the anthology Good Poems, American Places.  His poems have appeared in the journals The Southern Review,, The Antioch Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Missouri Review, Crab Orchard Review, Subtropics, Smartish Pace, and River Styx, among others.