From Poets & Writers, Inc.

POETS & WRITERS IS MORE than a magazine. We are a nonprofit organization that puts money directly into the hands of writers who give readings and lead workshops in museums, prisons, homeless shelters, libraries, and senior centers. Your subscription to Poets & Writers Magazine supports the all-important work of cultivating literary activity in urban and rural communities throughout the United States.

Working on the Soul

Poets & Writers supports hundreds of literary events each year through our Readings & Workshops program. Since 2011 we’ve supported writing workshops sponsored by EngAGE, a nonprofit that fosters creativity, wellness, and lifelong learning for seniors in Southern California. Jamie Asaye FitzGerald, director of the Readings & Workshops (West) program, and Melissa Sipin, our current McCrindle Foundation Readings & Workshops Fellow, visited with some of the participants. Read more on the Readings & Workshops blog at

“One of the things I’ve learned is to try and blow Darth Vader off my shoulder. The little critic that says, ‘You can’t do it. You’re not Dylan Thomas.’ That stuff goes on forever! I am in much greater control of that now. I sort of just go with the muse. And it feels really good. It makes me very happy.” —Kit Harper

“When I started the workshop…something opened up. And the feedback from other people said, ‘This was okay; what opened is good.’ So I kept allowing it to open a little bit more, and a little bit more. When I think about how much I was able to get out, it’s as if I lived in a little dark cave inside of myself and I was able to open up tiny windows to let something out that I didn’t even know was there. And then that got bigger, and bigger. I’m still not letting it out as often as I’d like to, as much as I’d like to, and that’s where the workshop really, really helps. We come here together, and I remember how to do it again.” —Abigail Howard

“Sometimes around the table, hundreds of years of life experience are being talked about, and I love that. I suppose what I have taken from this class, most of all, is that when I read my poems, and look at them, I’m extremely surprised that I was able to produce something on that level—I didn’t know I had it in me. And I’m very proud.” —Jean T. Ritchie

“I believe we have been working on the soul. It’s been music that we’ve been creating together.” —Oshea Perry-Luja, workshop facilitator