Writing Circles: Finding Community, Clarity, Poetry, and Prose

with Susan Vespoli

poetry writing circle

May 26, 2020 | 8 Weeks |

$395.00

Text and Live Video

Want to form a writing community, find clarity in your words, and turn your untamed free-writes into poetry and/or prose? Then join us as we gather together twice a week in writing circles where we will write messily, read aloud, and witness each other’s growth. Telling our stories and listening to others’ is vital to our wellbeing. As author Barry Lopez once said, “Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”

A writing circle is an intimate, brave space to gather for 1 ½ hours at a set time to free-write from prompts in timed bursts. These writing sessions are spontaneous, intimate, freeing, transformative, and sometimes even cathartic. We write quickly and messily, say yes to whatever shows up, followed by group read-arounds. We don’t edit, judge, or critique during the writing circles. We let go of expectations. We witness.

In this eight-week class we will:

  • Gather for two virtual writing circles each week on Zoom.
  • Form a writing community on Zoom and on the Wet Ink site.
  • Build a regular writing practice.
  • Find clarity in our own free-writes and by listening to others’ stories.
  • Learn ways to sift through our free-writes and journals to find jewels to turn into poems or short prose pieces.
  • Respond to weekly prompts and craft tips on the Wet Ink site.
  • Post poems and short essays: receive feedback and revise if you choose to.
  • Workshop classmates’ poems and short essays.

Susan was lovely and responded in a timely manner. She gave detailed feedback, and the content of this class was perfect.
—Lessette F. Altamiranda

Writing Circle Times

Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time

Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time

Recommended – not required – Text

Writing Poetry to Save Your Life – How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories by Maria Mazziotti Gillam

Syllabus

Week One

Find the poet inside you and translate your life experiences.

Week Two

Learn to let go and trust yourself.

Week Three

Read aloud, read silently, and listen while others read.

Week Four

Write it down! Keep a journal.

Week Five

There’s power in specifics.

Week Six

Form or no form?

Week Seven

Find courage in your work.

Week Eight

Onward, keep your writing flowing.

Why Join a Writing Circle through Writers.com?

  • We welcome writers of all backgrounds and experience levels, and we are here for one reason: to support you on your writing journey.
  • Small groups keep our online writing classes lively and intimate.
  • Work through your weekly written lectures, course materials, and writing assignments at your own pace.
  • Share and discuss your work with classmates in a supportive class environment.
  • Award-winning instructor Susan Vespoli will offer you direct, personal feedback and suggestions on every assignment you submit.

Course type:

Student Feedback for Susan Vespoli:

The weekly meets up have been a blessing in these unusual times. I have felt lifted after every session. It's incredible to participate in a creative space that is encouraging and kind. Natalia Evans

Susan is inspirational--positive, thoughtful, and always willing to help. She is not just a teacher, but also a peer and a fellow writer guiding the class through the journey. John Johnson

Susan Vespoli is a wonderful teacher/facilitator. She creates a safe space for each group, gives us realistic timed writings with soft landings, and makes sure that no one is ever left out from reading. Most all of us show up for the twice-a-week group, and as the days go by, our writing gets deeper into meaning. We truly end each session not just knowing each other better, but with a deep caring toward each other. This is my fourth group in the circle with Susan, and I hope there will be many more to come. Andrea Gordon

Really great writing circle. Lovely group of writers, great feedback given and received, and a wonderful experience writing together. Made me realize the importance of a good writing community. Susan's writing circles are a gift. I learned so much from everyone, and am immensely grateful for the opportunity to write with this group. Amy Smith

Susan's class was a joy. It was well organized and interesting. Susan is a caring and very invested teacher. She was very present all during the class and her feedback was well thought and helpful. Ariela Zucker

I started taking Susan’s classes almost 2 years ago and never stopped.What a blessing for my writing and my mental health. Her writing circles are a place to let loose and get creative. She does an excellent job of making it a safe space to share. Wild writing has been pivotal for me as a writer. It is where I come up with new material for poems and prose, and has also grown into a spiritual practice. I have grown so much as a poet from Susan’s feedback and encouragement. Ten out of ten, highly recommended to take again and againDean Angeles

This was my first writing circle course; I've been dabbling in poetry for a while now but had not interacted with others in this sort of setting. Susan created a welcoming, open environment for all of the students and chose some terrific poems as prompts. I am now inspired to go to the next level and workshop my poems rather than just writing from prompts. Tom Kerr

Excellent. The whole class—teacher and fellow writers—are so supportive and encouraging. Cheryl Treiber-Kawaoka

This is my favorite of the three courses I've taken with Writers.com. The Zoom writing circles were incredibly powerful. Susan is a great facilitator. She was always timely in feedback and had a well organized course that was easy to navigate. Tamara Kreutz

Susan is a truly gifted teacher, whose presence and generous spirit create a safe environment in which to write and share freely. I appreciate her openness, the lack of judgement, and her willingness always to share her own writing. Lovely circle! Sarah Putnam

Susan was lovely and responded in a timely manner. She gave detailed feedback... The content of this class was PERFECT. Lessette F. Altamiranda.

Susan brought together a group of strangers from all walks of life and all points on the continent, and under her calm and insightful leadership encouraged us to find our own writing styles, speak our own truths, and support each other as a community. Jennifer Burton

Susan's feedback and promptness were very professional. Her lessons are packed with information and ideas.  And, after the class was completed, she kept the site open for additional time to finish assignments, which I greatly appreciated. I look forward to interacting with her in another class! Joan Connor

This was a terrific class. The lessons were well-organized and stimulating. They had excellent "lectures" and plenty of additional resources and ideas. I will be able to refer back to them for inspiration for months. Susan was a thoughtful and resourceful teacher. She was able to nurture an especially lively and collegial relationship among the class, as we discussed the lessons and responded to each other's writing. Please encourage Susan to offer this class again! Marge Osborn

I have taken a number of courses at Writers.com and I have always found the teachers did a good job. My all- time favorite teacher is Susan Vespoli. She did an excellent job of providing readings that set a creative tone and she chose excellent prompts. She assured us that it was not necessary to use what she provided. I appreciated the manner in which she responded to our shares. At no time did I feel that I was taking a risk in reading what I wrote because Susan had created such a safe place. Jane Knox

Taking Susan’s workshop helps me generate tons of ideas for my fiction writing. It also helps me write regularly. I cannot wait to join her next session. Sharon Mirza

The writing circles on Zoom have been my favorite part of this class. Being able to write at scheduled times rather than around the clock really helps me to set writing dates and to write with others. Also, I like the spontaneous nature of the writing on Zoom meetings, and being able to see and hear the other students and the teacher. Noa Granot

This class was amazing! Susan did a fantastic job with the curriculum and with keeping the group moving with discussion and encouragement. Susan created a very safe experience for all of us. She's a fantastic facilitator - providing poems and lines from those poems that somehow really tap into things for me. Andi Reed

susan vespoli headshot

About Susan Vespoli

Susan Vespoli learned early on that writing is a tool to stay sane, not to mention healthy. For years, she owned and ran a Montessori school where she taught young kids, but after a mid-life wakeup call, she sold everything, moved to a cabin in the forest, and set off to earn her MFA in poetry and nonfiction from Antioch University Los Angeles. Since 2010, she’s taught adults: creative writing summer courses online through Prescott College, English classes in-person at Maricopa Community Colleges, and has led Wild Writing circles. Her poems and essays have been published or are forthcoming in spots such as Rattle, Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, Mom Egg Review, Nailed Magazine, Emrys Journal, Write Bloody, New Verse News, OVS Magazine, Verse Wisconsin, Role Reboot, and Pact Press.  She’s received three Pushcart Prize nominations for her poetry and is the author of Blame It on the Serpent (Finishing Line Press, January 2022), Cactus as Bad Boy (Kelsay Books, July 2022) and two chapbooks by dancing girl press. Since Susan is a devout believer in the power of writing to heal/transform/illuminate, she practices what she preaches with daily morning pages a la the Julia Cameron Artist-Way technique and attends as many classes and workshops in writing as she can. She was trained as a Wild Writing teacher by Laurie Wagner of 27 Powers. She lives in Phoenix, AZ with her three poetic rescue dogs, Frida, Sasha, and Lulu.