Poetry Partners

Transformative Programs

We know that poetry-as-healer:
encourages integration
empowers wholeness
acts as a catalyst for genuine hope
creates a community that nurtures lasting growth
welcomes self-expression

IPM’s Poetry Partner Programs express the heart of our work and extends our reach into some of the most marginalized communities across the country and around the world.

Through funding our incredible Poetry Partners, we apply and magnify poetic medicine in creative ways throughout the country. We have served men in prison, immigrant and refugee youth, elders, persons overcoming addiction, women who have suffered domestic violence and sexual assault, persons living with mental health challenges, persons who are unhoused, college students who live with chronic depression, people living with traumatic brain injury, persons living with Parkinson’s Disease, children with a parent or parents in prison, children and teens with physical and developmental challenges, young people in juvenile hall, and young women in Afghanistan.

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Metaphor Medicine

Facilitated by Wayne A. Gilbert
Denver, CO

A Creativity Lab on-line in collaboration with the Unsteady Hand exploring the power of words for living better with Parkinson’s.

Stories of Arrival

Stories of Arrival

Facilitated by Merna Ann Hecht
Tukwila, WA

Helping refugee and immigrant youth find their voices and tell their stories of trauma, resilience, displacement, and loss through poem-making.

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Embracing Uncertainty

Facilitated by Tonia Lyon & Ashleigh Glass
Charlotte, NC

A workshop series for families whose child has cancer, a life-altering, rare or terminal illness, helping them to focus on Believing and Healing.

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WisdomVerse

Facilitated by Magdalena Montagne
Los Gatos, CA

A poetry curriculum for seniors and those with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other cognitive and physical impairments.

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SOLA Poetry Club

Facilitated by James Elsaesser
Afghanistan

Healing poetry circles offered regularly via Skype with young women at The School of Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA).

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Poetry as a Tool for Wellness

Facilitated by Cathey Capers

A manual along with training webinars that prepares facilitators for using poetry to enhance the information, strengths, and skills needed to foster wellness.

Previously Funded Programs

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Unlocked Poetry

Facilitated by Wayne Gilbert
Sterling, CO

Monthly poetry circles helping inmates at Sterling Correctional Facility to discover inner resources for personal transformation through reading and writing poetry.

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Rise Up!

Facilitated by James Elsaesser & Gwen Federico
Newton, NJ

An ongoing series of monthly poetry circles where survivors of domestic and sexual violence gather to read, write, and share healing poetry.

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Finding Our Voices

Facilitated by Judith Prest
Schenectady, NY

Poetry groups at New Choices Recovery Center serving adults who are in recovery from addiction.

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In the Shelter of Poetry

Facilitated by Cyra Dumitru
San Antonio, TX

Poetic Medicine Circles for students at 
St. Mary’s University.

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Rediscovery Project

Facilitated by Krista Wissing-Harrison
Larkspur, CA

A Poetic Journey for people living with Acquired Brain Injury in collaboration with the Larkspur Bay Area Brain Injury Network.

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Finding Voice

Facilitated by Annie Holden
Cleveland, OH

Weekly poetry workshops at the Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside, the largest shelter in the state of Ohio.

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Poetry of Nature Letters
Facilitated by NanLeah, Geoff Oelsner Monthly Letters delivered through November
This Poetic Medicine journey of monthly letters (with access to past issues) is for all kinds of Nature Lovers: for those wishing to create or deepen their Nature practice and poetry writing; for those that are concerned about Earth’s chang- ing climate, and their place in it; for those who have the felt sense that things can be different; and for those who are ready to turn their hearts and minds to a new story.
Through stories, poems, writing prompts, and reflections on the theme of choice, we’ll weave a tangible, living record of our journey together.
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Morning Branches
by Geoff Oelsner
If there’s an award for Most Eclectic Local Album of the Year and Possibly Even the Decade, it will surely go to Geoff Oelsner for his new release, “Morning Branches.”
There is the unadorned informality of Geoff Oelsner, LCSW’s Dream and the theatrical pandemonium of Mad Tom’s Song. And there are some genuine folk songs delivered in Geoff ’s engaging resonant baritone and liberally sprinkled with tasty acoustic instruments and harmony. Two of these songs, My Shady and Borderguards, I would put right up there with the best of Joan Baez or Peter, Paul & Mary.
More than those of most singer-songwriters, Geoff Oelsner’s lyrics read as poetry on the printed page…Oelsner, who once told me that he considers himself “a happy hand-puppet of the artistic process,” often gets song ideas, and even entire songs, from his dreams… Geoff Oelsner is especially attuned to this phenomenon and tries to honor it and be faithful to it when it occurs.
Emily Kaitz, Fayetteville Free Weekly
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Ordinary Mystery
by Geoff Oelsner
Geoff Oelsner doesn’t spend too much time thinking about writing songs. Inspiration, he says, just hits him. He calls them “givens,” and he knows that a gift like that is to be used.
On the recording (Ordinary Mystery), he was backed by Kelly Mulhollan, Robin Rues, Andrew Sieff, and also his family, including his wife and two grown children who now make their careers as musicians.
Oelsner chatted with the us recently about the gifts of songs, the importance of recording with his family and his love of Native American cultures. Four songs on the album are dedicated to the country’s different native peoples, and proceeds from the recording will be donated to Native American charities.
Kevin Kinder, Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Finding What You Didn’t Lose: Expressing Your Truth and Creativity through Poem-Making
by John Fox
Transcending the traditional academic approach to poetry writing, Finding What You Didn’t Lose deals with craft but, more importantly, guides readers to explore their deepest feelings and express their own unique insights through the incomparable language of poetry.
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Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making
by John Fox
Poetic Medicine is designed for readers wanting to tap their creative energy in order to make a difference in the world, including educators, therapists, parents and their children, writers, couples, and the infirm. As John Fox demonstrates, we all possess the ability to write. This gift enables us to access unlimited spiritual resources that restore our genuine voices and meaning in our lives, while healing and creatively satisfying us.
We Are the Future: Poems with a Voice for Peace
Edited by Merna Ann Hecht
This unique anthology brings readers into the personal, lived experiences of young people whose lives are challenged by leaving a homeland behind and negotiating relocation. At a time of uncertainty with a global pandemic and the very real threat to our planet from climate change, We Are the Future reminds us to stand strong with refugee and immigrant youth in their hopes, dreams and determination for a more humane, just, and peaceful world.
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Geography of Loss
by Judith Prest
Geography of Loss explores grief and loss, whether through death or other experiences. It is a collection of poems detailing family history, lessons from loss and the resilience that come from surviving loss.
Write a Poem, Save Your Life
by Meredith Heller
With writing prompts, tools, encouragement, and moving student examples, Meredith Heller gently guides us in the art of using poetry to figure out who we are and what matters to us and to heal the deeper issues many of us face, such as depression, addiction, health and body image issues, low self-esteem, trauma, gender and sexual identity issues, and home and family problems. Along the way, we learn that writing poems helps us believe in ourselves, make positive life choices, and find direction, purpose, and meaning.
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