Special Projects

Writing Workshops in Non-Traditional Settings

Within the broad range of the more than 1,800 literary events Poets & Writers supports each year, an important group stands out: writing workshops that reach underserved populations. Since Poets & Writers' earliest days, the Readings/Workshops program has helped bring workshops, free of charge, to thousands of underserved people, including seniors; urban and rural youth; individuals in recovery; and individuals who are homeless, imprisoned, or physically or psychologically abused.

With generous contributions from private foundations and donors, Poets & Writers has introduced writing workshops to seniors in New York City Settlement Houses; adolescents in Bellevue Hospital; Holocaust survivors at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center in Nassau County, New York; LGBT youth at the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City; survivors of domestic violence at numerous shelters and sanctuaries; AIDS/HIV patients at hospitals and medical centers; and individuals in prison.

“The writing workshops supported by Poets & Writers provided the teens with an invaluable experience they will be able to carry with them throughout their lives. The teens were inspired to channel their feelings onto the page, as well as learn valuable composition skills,” said poet Regie Cabico, who teaches workshops at the Bellevue Inpatient Adolescent Unit in New York City.

Project Director Dr. Lonnetta M. Gaines of the Lorraine Monroe Leadership Institute/Genesis II International Museum for Black Culture in New York City, where P&W supported workshops with writer George E. Tait, had this to say: “One participant, a senior citizen, said that she learned to value her own story and her own history by participating in the workshop. We are indebted to P&W for helping us to create a collaborative community of writers who are being given the opportunity to share their artistry with others."

Do Something Special

We’re always interested in receiving applications for literary events that reach underserved audiences at venues that do not traditionally host literary events. But we’re also eager to hear from people who will help us help others. If you’re interested in supporting efforts to expand the reach of our free reading and writing programs or to learn more about how you or your organization can contribute, please contact us at (212) 226-3586 (on the East Coast) or (310) 481-7195 (on the West Coast).