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The Writer's Workshop

The Writers’ Workshop focuses on technique as an approach to enable participants to write more creatively and effectively. The sessions present a unique opportunity for youth and adults to work closely with their peers. Over the course of a given time frame, I teach specific, hands-on techniques for writing poetry and prose. The emphasis is on the reading-discussion-writing cycle. We attend to, but not primarily fix on the use of poetic devices such as simile, metaphor, and traditional literary forms. More so, I teach a variety of strategies and a range of perspectives which are step by step, easy to follow, and meant to provide fresh ideas for the writing process.

“The more closely the author thinks of why he wrote, the more he comes to regard his imagination as a kind of self-generating cement which glued his facts together, and his emotions as a kind of dark and obscure designer of those facts.” - Richard Wright

In this workshop we write lyric and narrative poems and prose as compositions of relationships, and what they mean as they emerge from the interactions of self with others.  

During each session we:

  • Read exemplary sample poems and prose to reference as an integral part of the workshop process.
  • Discuss strategies regarding craft. 
  • Work from writing prompts.
  • Write first drafts. 
  • Share the drafts during the session to receive constructive feedback. 
  • Critique each others work and focus on whether the writer's deep intention is successfully rendered.
  • Revise the work as a way to further the poem’s development. 
  • Explore the elements of character, image, scene, situation, tension, connections, structure, imagination, voice, and meaning.
  • Build on what we explore and pay close attention to the wonderful things that make poetry and prose alive.
  • Support the development and progress of each writer.
  • Produce new work.

The main goal of the Writer’s Workshop is to help participants focus entirely on their own creative growth and work. 

Here are a few testimonials from participants:

"The poetry class led by Phillip Shabazz at the 2014 Table Rock Writers' Workshop was an extraordinary experience, mainly due to his high degree of skill in creating an atmosphere of trust that promoted quality work and mutual support among the participants. I cannot believe how much I learned in such a short amount of time. I feel very fortunate to have had this wonderful opportunity, and left with renewed energy and commitment to my goal of producing my first poetry collection." 
                                            Martha Golensky, Greensboro, NC

"Phillip Shabazz masterfully creates an environment so safe you could crash through the window without getting scratched, so structured it makes learning feel like a Ferris wheel ride, and so inspiring you might be tempted to quit your day job. If that isn't enough, he is one kind and compassionate human being."
                                                                                Linda Vigen Phillips, author of CRAZY/Eerdmans/2014 

"In my university class in just a single visit, Phillip Shabazz ignited, inspired and fully engaged the students. His poems moved them; students saw life in a new light; students fully understood for the first time the power of the spoken word, rhythm and flow; and students’ passions for writing and expressing what they have to say were rekindled with excitement and confidence.
Phillip is an inspiring and talented educator who will empower everyone who takes his workshops."
                                                                                                Barbara Rhoades - professor at Elon University

​Contact Phillip Shabazz for more information at pshabazz@gmail.com

With Phillip Shabazz