Book me to teach!
I facilitate writing workshops both nationally and internationally for ages five to eighty-five. I teach at Brooklyn College, Urban Word NYC, and for 10 years I’ve headed a weekly writing workshop for adults at Bailey House, an HIV/AIDS service center in East Harlem. It’s possible to tailor a workshop (or a series of workshops) to your specific needs.
Sample Workshop Abstract
In the world of people, celebration is often laced with melancholy, joy is a border that surrounds sorrow, and fear is usually one doorbell away from bravery. So, how the fork can we construct poems that acknowledge a complicated and dynamic world? How do we avoid writing that transforms us into caricatures? How do we convey what it feels like to be us, alive at the onset of a new millennium? If the job of an artist is that of an emotional historian, then we must create poems that are as multi-dimensional and layered as the people who write them. If we’re to properly archive, we must ask ourselves not whether this is a great poem, but rather, is this today’s poem?
His loving, generous, barbaric yawp of a performance thrilled both teachers and students, and afterwards the kids from our literary magazine were given a rare treat: a high quality, inspiring writing workshop conducted by a writer who commanded the attention of a rock star …and two days later, the students in our American Literature classes were still feeding off his positive energy… Even our most reticent students couldn’t help but be engaged by his joyful and open hearted poetic embrace.
– Emily Moore, English Department, Stuyvesant High School, New York City
“Jon Sands is an ideal visiting writer for high school students. He is not only an engaging performer of his work whose presence in the classroom creates excitement and energy, but also a thoughtful conversationalist about his writing, the field of writing, and what it means to be human in the early 21st century. In terms of content, much of his work grapples with both mistakes he made in high school, and small moments of beauty and wonder he’s come to appreciate later in life as he looks back at his younger self. He also shares work that illustrates the kind of evolutions he’s made as a person since high school, an overall picture which allows students to gain perspective not only on what they’re currently going through, but also on what kind of changes they may be able to accomplish for themselves as they move forward into their own futures. He is bold and does not shy away from the kind of topics students struggle with every day, but he’s also kind, compassionate, humorous and inclusive of everyone in the room. Whenever he comes to my class, it’s one of the best days of the year.”
– Jeff Kass, Teacher of English 10 and Creative Writing at Pioneer High School, Ann Arbor, MI, and author of Teacher/Pizza Guy