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Finding Voice Poetry Workshop

Facilitator - Annie Holden

Finding Voice Poetry workshop began at the Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio in May of 2009.

It was supposed to be a “one-off” event but when one of the participants asked if we were coming again the following week, Julie, Jack and I, local assistants to John Fox, without hesitation spontaneously agreed it must be done.

Initially funded with a grant from IPM, it eventually to on a life of its own.

Our formula is simple but the results are immeasurable. Each week we present a selection of “starter” poems by anyone from Etheridge Knight to Wanda Coleman to Robert Frost. We read, we discuss, we write our own. Then the process repeats—we read our own, we admire, we celebrate. This all takes place at a long conference table in the “library” at the shelter with bowls of candy, nuts, fruit, and plates of cookies circulating all the while.

Each week for 11 years this has been our routine and our respite. We’ve learned to deeply listen to each other through joy, pain, often laughter and even aggravation. Poetry takes us to the center of things and each other.

Power in Numbers




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