Mass Poetry’s Professional Development program is led by engaging Poet-Educators focused on the teaching of poetic craft, and on providing educators with the skills they need to get poetry off the page, invigorating their classrooms. While the sessions are geared toward high school teachers working with the Common Core Curriculum, all those seeking to strengthen their knowledge and skills in creative writing are welcome to attend. Teachers earn PDPs, while others earn Certificates of Completion.

Previous Seminars

2020 | Online | August 3 – 6, 10:30 am – 1:30 pm

Join workshop leaders John Bonanni & Lillian-Yvonne Bertram for Mass Poetry’s 2020 Teacher Summer Institute to learn new techniques and invigorate your classroom in the year ahead. Over the course of four days, participants will have the opportunity to study the craft of poetry and will learn a range of hands-on techniques that they can use in their classrooms.  In addition to looking at craft, we will also learn about the creative process, the difference between drafting and revising poems, and various ways to engage students through poetry. Teachers will leave with a heightened understanding and appreciation for poetry and its place in the classroom.

The cost is $100 to attend and teachers can earn Professional Development Points. Register now through our online form!

John Bonanni

A Pushcart and Best New Poets nominee, John Bonanni serves as founding editor for the Cape Cod Poetry Review. He is the recipient of a scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, grants from the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and a residency from AS220 in Providence, RI. His poems have appeared in CutBank, North American Review, Verse Daily, Seattle Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hobart, Washington Square Review, and Prairie Schooner, and his literary criticism has appeared in Rain Taxi, Tupelo Quarterly, and Kenyon Review. For more than a decade he has worked as a Special Education Teacher, currently teaching at Nauset Regional Middle School.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is an assistant professor in the creative writing program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She was recently named the new director of the Chautauqua Institution Writers’ Festival. Bertram has published poetry, prose, and essays in numerous journals and is the author of the poetry collections Travesty Generator, Personal Science, a slice from the cake made of air, and But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise, and chapbooks such as cutthroat glamours. Her honors include the 2017 Harvard University Woodberry Poetry Room Creative Grant and a 2014 National Endowment of the Arts Poetry Fellowship.

2019 | Suffolk University’s Poetry Center August 12 – August 14.

2019 Professional Development Seminar | Held at Suffolk University’s Poetry Center August 12 – August 14.

2018 | Held at Suffolk University’s Poetry Center August 14 – August 15, led by Ben Berman

2018 Professional Development Seminar | Held at Suffolk University’s Poetry Center August 14 – August 15, led by Ben Berman

2017 Summer Seminar
2016 Summer Seminar | Held at Suffolk University’s Poetry Center August 2 – 4, 2016.
2015 Seminar

The workshop was compact—not moment was wasted. Also an incredible value for quality of instruction. And thirdly, it helps to meet other like-minded poets/teachers and share techniques and experiences.

See what other 2015 participants have said about the Professional Development Course:

“What a great experience! Regie was generous with his creative teaching toolbox and I loved the pace he set–five hours felt like two! I got to take home not only ideas for instruction but ones to use in my own practice. Regie truly reminded me what it means to be a working creative. Plus, well-organized, great office and kudos to Laurin for being so kind and welcoming. I would definitely attend another PD session with Mass Poetry.”

“I thought it was fabulous. Regie dwells in creativity and lets it thrive in his teaching. What a positive energy, constructive and specific guidance, and overall intelligent imagination he offers. The space is unique and feels fresh and comfortable. I am excited to use his techniques and insights in teaching youth.”

“I really liked the small group setting. It was very engaging and I felt comfortable sharing and asking questions. Regie Gibson was great–such a command of the English language! I felt like I could’ve just sat and listened to him talk all day. I also really liked that we tried out the writing activities so that we could actually get a feel for how they would work in a classroom.”

2014 Summer Seminar
Day 1 of the two-day session wrapped up with a poetry reading by Jill McDonough and Maggie Dietz (pictured) outside at UMass Boston.

Our 2014 Professional Development Summer Seminar held at UMass Boston, led by Jill McDonough and Maggie Dietz, was a 15-hour, two-day event focused on the teaching of poetry writing for middle and high school students. It included workshops on using meter in the classroom, inspiring students to write from the point of view of objects and/or other people, teaching the importance of line breaks, and writing from history using primary sources as inspiration. 25 teachers were in attendance.

Day 1 of the two-day session wrapped up with a poetry reading by Jill McDonough and Maggie Dietz (pictured) outside at UMass Boston.

See what other 2014 participants have said about the Professional Development Course:

“The teachers were wonderful and thoroughly knowledgeable in their subject, talented in their craft, and encouraging in their teaching. The exercises they introduced were do-able and aligned with many aspects of the Common Core.”

“Expecting us to write and share our poems publicly was a great experience: it put us in the position of our own students and got us to see ourselves as poets.”

“The seminar was wonderful. It was great to have two different poet/teachers with two different styles. I loved the “modeling” and the time to write.”

“I loved it all: the pacing was good, the free writing time was great, I appreciated learning some of the finer points of poetry (aka meters!). Maggie and Jill were very engaging.”

“LOVED the facilitators, time to write and revise, and free time for discussion. I wouldn’t change anything. Best two-day PD in a while!”

“I enjoyed it so much and came away with new exciting ideas in thinking about writing and teaching about writing poetry!”

“I very much enjoyed the openness, warmth and sense of community of all those in attendance. I enjoyed meeting the people there who have similar interests in poetry and in teaching about it and in pondering with them, writing with them and laughing with them. I think this sense of good connection with a group of strangers was well fostered by the instructors.”

“Both Maggie and Jill offer impressive styles and approaches to teaching students about poetry. They pushed us and inspired us and gave us new things to think about in our roles as teachers and enthusiasts of poetry.”

Educator Newsletter

Become A Sponsor

Become a sponsor today or contact us for more information. Payments can be made via PayPal (to [email protected]) or via check (made out to Mass Poetry, mailed to 16 Cummins Highway, Unit 450 Roslindale, MA 02131).

Jill McDonough leading our 2014 Professional Development Summer Seminar
Jill McDonough leading our 2014 Professional Development Summer Seminar

Program Support

To support the teachers who will learn from this experience, Mass Poetry encourages gifts at the following levels:
• Supporter: $250
• Friend: $500
• Sponsor: $1,500