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A college student writes: “These words I write/ open their mouths wide/ screaming the most intimate secrets.”

An inmate in a maximum-security men’s prison writes: “Within my writing, I am able to break down my prison walls and escape, leave the gangster façade behind.”

The Forms of Things Unknown: Teaching Poetry Writing to Teens and Adults draws from Shelley Savren’s forty years of teaching poetry writing to a diverse array of students, from teens with mental health issues to seniors to adults with developmental disabilities, and in a wide variety of settings, which include middle schools, high schools, colleges, juvenile halls, women’s centers, and a men’s prison.

Each chapter includes an original poem from Savren, heartfelt stories, and lesson plans that introduce poetic concepts through model poems by professionals, open-ended writing assignments, methods for sharing and critiquing, and student poems. Designed for use in a classroom or community setting, this book features forty-one lesson plans and nineteen more poetry-writing workshop ideas and provides guidance and inspiration for teaching poetry writing to teens and adults.

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