Recess for Poets

Experiments in Squashing Writer’s Block

As writers, we can often be intimidated by impasses in our practice. When experiencing stagnation, boredom or rigidity in one’s practice, it’s vital to learn how to cultivate a wide and wild space of play. Remember that feeling when the whistle blew and it was time for recess? You’d bolt for the swings where you could leave behind the ground. Or maybe the monkey bars, where you could feel your muscles churning as you challenged yourself rung for rung. In this six-week online workshop, we’ll use the playground as a greater metaphor for creative adventure and abandon. Each week we’ll center on an element of the playground (slide, monkey bars, swings, etc.) as a writing “structure” designed specifically for fun and imagination. This is a highly generative class for all levels, grounded in exercises and creativity lectures, designed to squash writer’s block into a messier, juicier puddle, which, yes, we will then proceed to splash through. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Wednesday night, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details


Shira Erlichman is a poet, musician and visual artist. She was born in Israel and immigrated to the US when she was six. Her poems explore recovery—of language, of home, of mind—and value the “scattered wholeness” of healing. She earned her BA at Hampshire College and has been awarded the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center, the Visions of Wellbeing Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe and a residency by the Millay Colony. Her work has been featured in the PBS NewsHour Poetry Series, Huffington Post, Seattle Times and New York Times, among other publications. Her debut poetry book, Odes to Lithium, was published by Alice James Books in September 2019. She is also the author and illustrator of the picture book Be/Hold (Penny Candy Books, 2019). She has taught for Urban Word NYC, the Volume Summer Institute and York College–CUNY, and she has been teaching online poetry classes via her company Freer Form for the last nine years. She lives in Brooklyn.