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Creating a safe container, Arlyn 

introduces participants to simple but powerful tools to dig deeper.   


- Ramaa Krishnan, Founder, Full Bloomed Lotus Center for


Single-session or multiple session workshops are offered for writers and aspiring writers of all levels, as well as for non-writers wanting to enhance self-knowledge, creativity or spirituality.  Workshops may be held in community venues such as public libraries, yoga and wellness centers, houses of worship, art and nature centers, and as part of professional conferences.  Expressive arts workshops may also be held in private homes, including to honor personal milestones or to commemorate family events.


I tailor each workshop to the venue and to the particular interests and abilities of participants.  In addition to working on my own, I co-facilitate expressive arts workshops with other artists and educators.


Upcoming "Self as Subject" Writing Workshop

Whether you're interested in writing memoir, personal essay, autobiographic poetry, or maintaining a journal, this workshop will provide the tools, motivation and feedback to get you going or to keep you going.  Each session will include time to read and discuss examples by published writers, write in response to prompts, and discuss participants' process and work.  Suitable for all levels, included aspiring, novice, and seasoned writers; experience levels may be grouped together, if possible.

2 hours in morning or afternoon tbd, Wednesdays, May 8, 15, 22 & 29, 2019

Held at Arlyn's home in Glencoe.  Class limited to 8 participants.  


If interested, please click Contact button, note your preference for morning or afternoon class time, and level of writing experience.

Past Workshops


The Creative Impulse: Gathering the Sparks, Fanning the Flames

In this workshop you’ll be asked to consider why you write (or want to write), what topics compel you, who your ideal reader (even if only imagined) is, and what impact you want your writing to have for yourself and for readers.  In generating new work (gathering the sparks), we’ll consider fresh approaches to well-worn subjects, as well as try out less familiar topics.  To develop and hone work in process (fanning the flames), we’ll explore tools to engage prospective readers (and publishers) and to take writing to a more self-satisfying level.

The Poem as a Snapshot

It’s been said that a novel is like a movie and a poem is like a snapshot.  As poets, how do we decide what to leave in the frame and what to leave out?  During this session we’ll consider several published poems in this regard.  Participants are encouraged to bring a poem to workshop for feedback on this topic.  We’ll also spend some time experimenting with poetic viewfinders.

Aubades: Time as a Port of Entry for Engaging with Poetry 

In this workshop, we explore time of day as an organizing principal for writing.   Thematically, we’ll consider what things we associate with certain times of the day, what subjects we might we want to write about depending on the time of day we are writing, and what subjects readers might want to read about depending on the time of day they are reading.  We’ll also explore “tone” or “mood” associated with certain times of the day, including how we might write differently about a subject depending on the time of day we are writing about it.  For experienced writers, this workshop is designed to freshen your writing and challenge habits of language, syntax, and tone.  For newer writers, this workshop offers a port of entry to approach your writing.

Fresh Takes on Mother Poetry Workshop

As writers, we are often drawn to topics that have long haunted, delighted, or befuddled us.  In this workshop, we explore innovative approaches to writing poems about – yes, mothers.   We’ll look at a variety of published poems which treat the time-honored theme of mother in fresh ways.  We’ll discuss what allows for new ways of treating archetypal topics. 

Solstice and Equinox Writing Workshops

As age old, natural markers of time, solstices and equinoxes provide ripe inspiration for writing, especially plein air writing.  These generative writing workshops may be held in September for the autumnal equinox and March for the vernal equinox when daylight and nighttime are of relatively equal lengths, and in June and December (when daylight is longest and shortest, respectively, in North America.  This workshop can also incorporate visual art making and/or movement.  No prior writing experience is required. 

Plein Air Workshops

Writing and art-making outdoors can stimulate creativity in novel ways (pun intended) that differ from our customary experiences creating indoors.  Not only does the scene look different, it also feels different, smells different, sounds different, offering writers and artists an embodied, multi-sensory generative experience.  Part of what’s fascinating and inspiring is to see how different the work may be despite participants all working in the same location at the same time.  This workshop may be held rain or shine, in urban spots as well as pastoral settings.  The workshop may focus solely on writing or incorporate visual art-making as well.

Writing Toward Emotional Healing and Growth

This workshop offers structured approaches to writing creatively to enhance our own emotional healing and growth.  We’ll talk about when it’s helpful to let loose, writing in a stream-of-consciousness style, and when it’s more effective to pare down or reign in our writing and how to do so.  This is an inspiring, engaging workshop for which no prior writing experience is required.  We’ll experiment with a number of writing techniques.

Positive Focus Creative Writing Workshop

In this workshop, I lead participants in creating a personal “focus wheel” outlining areas of growth for themselves in the coming year.  Then, we’ll use the focus wheel as a springboard for a poem or other piece of creative writing. Paper and writing/drawing implements will be provided, although you’re welcome to bring your own or a favorite journal, if you prefer.  All you have to bring is an open mind and a creative intention.  No prior writing experience required.

Spiritual Journaling

Spiritual journaling is a way to explore being human as we reflect, anticipate, remember, wonder, dream, worry, and wish.  In this workshop we’ll do some journaling activities and leave inspired by additional ideas to maintain our own spiritual journals. 

Poems as Spiritual Texts

Most of our workshop time will be spent looking closely at and discussing published poetry that has spiritual elements.  We’ll even talk about what we mean by “spiritual.”  This workshop may be structured to include time to experiment with spiritual writing.

Expressive Arts Workshops with Adults with Disabilities

Cognitive impairments that commonly pose life challenges and limitations can actually be advantageous for creative expression. Guidance for writing and/or art is provided in a relaxed environment where creative expression and conversation are welcomed.  Some prompts and techniques will be adaptable to use by participants outside of workshop.  No prior experience with art or writing needed. 


Workshops are typically held on a recurring drop-in basis or as part of a series of sessions.  This workshop can only be offered in partnership with an organization serving adults with disabilities.

© 2016 Poetic License, Inc.
P.O. Box 279, Glencoe, IL 60022
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