Poetry in Active Voice - Monday Sessions


Workshop meets over four Mondays, culminating in an optional showcase:

  • Monday, March 15, 6-8 pm CT
  • Monday, March 22, 6-8 pm CT
  • Monday, March 29, 6-8 pm CT
  • Monday, April 5, 6-8 pm CT
  • Optional showcase date to be determined


  • Tuition: $100
  • Location: Zoom virtual workshop
  • Deadline: Registration closes Monday, March 15, 5:30 pm CT

Tution Assistance Available!

Poetry in Active Voice - Monday Sessions


In this 4-part series, poet, actor, and educator Steven Willis helps poets move beyond the classic approach of descriptive and reflective narration, and instead into vivid stories and scenes held together by distinct first-person voices. With influences from Spoken Word, Shakespeare, and American Poetic Realism in theater, Willis shows how the single person speaking in real time is the most underutilized element of poetry. 

Session 1, GOAT: Willis repurposes Konstantin Stanislavski’s approach to acting into a literary approach for writers.  

Session 2, American Poetic Realism: Students will explore pivotal texts in American theatre and a playwright's use of extended metaphor in character development. 

Session 3, Form as Monologue: Students will examine the work of Shakespeare and Patricia Smith as they utilize iconic poetry forms like the sonnet, sestina and villanelle to make distinct character voices. 

Session 4, Writing Autobiography: Using resources from the Dialogue Arts Project, students will travel through an Identity Centered workshop that helps return their true essence back to their work. 

Students will have the opportunity to write and share work in every class, with a showcase to premier at a later date.


Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, 27 year old Steven Willis uses his writing background to creatively articulate the intricacies of African American culture. With art heavily influenced by urban life and religion, Steven mixes elements of hip hop and performance with formal teachings of history and anthropology to help express his eclectic personal narrative. Willis began doing spoken word at the age of 15 as a participant of Louder Than A Bomb and has performed for the likes of Charlamagne tha God and Olympic Track Gold Medalist Sonya Richards Ross. Willis is a contributing writer to the BreakBeat Poets Anthology, NYU’s National Council for Teacher of English Journal, Manhattanville College’s Graffiti Magazine and is a 3-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist. He is currently an MFA Acting Candidate at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.   


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