Saturday, April 10th   See Conference Schedule 

8-8:45 am Coffee Circle 

Grab a cup of joe and join us! You will also have the opportunity to learn more about those who live  in your own geographic area as well as other national and international attendees. This is an    opportunity to both have fun and meet some new people.




9:00-10:30 am  Workshop #10: Partners in Rhyme: Using Poetry to Bring Generations Together

Partners in Rhyme is an intergenerational poetry program that uses poetry to intentionally bring generations together. Based on twelve years facilitating the program in Massachusetts schools and community centers, this experiential workshop will highlight some tried-and-true facilitation plans -- warm-up activities, poems, and writing prompts --  to use with teens and older adults. In addition, we will review the goals and benefits of intergenerational programming, program evaluation methods, and how to address some of the challenges in getting an intergenerational program up and running. (75% Experiential/25% Didactic) Educational (1.5 peer hours)

Patti Russo, MS, CPT, is a certified poetry therapist in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She created Partners in Rhyme, an intergenerational poetry program, and has been facilitating it for the past twelve years in Massachusetts schools and community settings. Patti also works with older adults and is a regular guest artist at Memory Cafes.






10:45 am-12:15 pm  Workshop #11: Writing from the Heart: The Pongo Method for Therapeutic Poetry with At-Risk Youth and Other Vulnerable Populations

The Pongo Poetry Project is a 25-yearold nonprofit that uses personal poetry as a healing response to trauma, for youth and adults who are incarcerated, homeless, or in other ways leading difficult lives. At the heart of the program is the Pongo Method, a uniquely successful trauma-informed technique for teaching poetry that was documented in a book by Pongo’s founder, Richard Gold. Among Pongo’s accomplishments, they have directly served 6,500 youth, offered 80 trainings in our methodology, inspired at least 90 projects on their model nationally and globally, been the subject of five pilot studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of their work. This workshop, presented by Richard Gold, MA, Shaun McMichael, MAT, and Elnur "El" Gajiev, PsyD, achieve the following goals:


• Participants will gain appreciation for the therapeutic impact of poetry on populations challenged by social injustice


• Participants will learn the context and outcomes of Pongo’s work


• Participants will learn and practice hands-on skills that utilize the Pongo Method                                                                                             (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Social Justice 

Richard Gold, MA, founded Pongo Publishing, a 24-year-old nonprofit that provides therapeutic poetry  programs inside jails, shelters, etc. He wrote Writing with At-Risk Youth (Rowman & Littlefield  Education). He has taught the Pongo methodology nationally and supported Pongo-inspired projects worldwide and has been honored by Bill and Melinda Gates, among others.






Shaun McMichael, MAT, is Program Manager of the Pongo Poetry Project. He oversees projects in  juvenile  detention, the state psychiatric hospital, and other sites. Shaun is responsible for community  trainings and for nurturing Pongo’s volunteers. Shaun is a credentialed teacher, a former Pongo  volunteer, and a passionate advocate for this work.






Dr. Elnur "El" Gajiev is a clinical psychologist, poet, and educator. He specializes in bringing together empirically-based, creative therapies to foster greater connection, purpose, and growth for individuals, groups, and organizations. Dr. El serves on the faculty at the University of Hawai’i, as well as the Board of the Hawai’i Psychological Association, and is one of the key pioneers of spoken word poetry therapy—a novel modality incorporating the elements of spoken word and poetry therapy for a broad array of clinical and nonclinical contexts.






11:45 am-12:45 pm  TRIPLE WORKSHOP: Experience a Poetry Therapy Group Second Session 

For the newcomer or dedicated trainee, experience poetry therapy in action along with Nancy Scherlong, LCSW, PTR, CJT, M/S, & Elaine Brooks, RN-BC, MA, PTR, M/S! Join us each day for this interactive and didactic workshop that spans over three days (Fri, Sat and Sun). Experience the beginning, middle and end of a real poetry peer group. Integrate your conference experience, meet new colleagues, and write new material in a supportive community. Participants will be divided into two small groups.  (4.5 peer hours) 


1:00 -1:45 pm  KEYNOTE POET - Jimmy Santiago Baca, International Poet and WriterInvoking the Divine Power of Poetry

Jimmy will be reading from A Place to Stand, Healing Earthquakes: Poems, and Spring Poems Along the Rio Grande, all available from Amazon.

1:00 -1:45 pm  FILM: A PLACE TO STAND


A Place to Stand is the amazing story of how Jimmy Santiago Baca, a man with seemingly no future, became a celebrated teacher, poet, novelist, and screenwriter. Based on the critically acclaimed memoir of the same name, A Place to Stand takes viewers into Jimmy’s past and present to uncover how the power of the written word lifted him from the violence and pain that had defined his early life. With powerful revelations from family, friends, and fellow inmates, as well as incredible insight into the early writings that first captured Jimmy’s imagination, audiences learn why it is never too late to turn your life around as long as you have a place to stand. Written by Catamount Films. A discussion will follow with Jimmy himself, facilitated by Karen (Ren) vanMeenen, MA, MA, CAPF, PhD Candidate.

Karen (Ren) vanMeenen, MA, MA, CAPF, PhD Candidate, is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at Rochester Institute of Technology. She has served as Editor of Afterimage, the international journal of media arts and cultural criticism, for more than 25 years, and has edited and/or copyedited several anthologies and books of poetry, as well as written for several journals and gallery catalogs. She is the longtime Editor of NAPT’s The Museletter and the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Poetry Therapy, and has served on the NAPT Board since 2001.


4:30 -6:00 pm  Workshop #12: The Poetry of Forgiveness

Like so many experiences of spiritual encounters that defy discursive language, forgiveness, this workshop by Iris Gildea, MA, PhD, suggests, can blossom forth in poetic invitations and manifestations. Applying a phenomenological approach, the facilitator presents expressive-arts pedagogy to support poetic engagement with the forgiveness through an exploratory lens. Focus remains on poetic encounters rather than personal story. This workshop aims to support a nuanced relationship with embodied experiences of forgiveness that may intersect, overlap or exist outside of intellectual and/or theological debates regarding what forgiveness is or isn’t. Goals for participants include the development of one’s own poetic encounter with forgiveness through experiential learning. The methodology used will be discussed such that participants leave able to adapt and apply this practice of poetic inquiry to their own communities and contexts. Discussion between prompts and the sharing of reflections on the emerging metaphors of forgiveness will contribute to engagement with experiences of poetic cognitivism. (70% Experiential/30% Didactic) Spirituality 

Iris J. Gildea, MA, PhD,  is an Associate Professor in the Teaching Stream in the Book & Media Studies Program at the University of Toronto and an Expressive Arts Facilitator with a practice in community education and healing from trauma.





7:30-7:45 pm Presidential Closing – Marianela Medrano, PhD, CPT


 7:45-8:30 pm  Celebratory Closing Event: An Evening of Rhythm & Song from the Land of Enchantment  – Giselle Felicia Vivian, Founder, and One Heartbeat Rhythm Circles Facilitator

Join Giselle Felicia Vivian of One Heartbeat as we orchestrate poetry in motion and sound, bridging the ancient universal heartbeat rhythm of local native culture to the global and organic rhythms that invite celebration of diversity, empowered self-expression, deepen community, and give voice to the authentic spirit of the Self. 

Giselle Felicia Vivian, BM, CHT, of ONE HEARTBEAT, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a Clinical Music Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Performance Coach, and Professional Rhythm Event Facilitator who has been sharing the joy and power of rhythmic metaphor, group drumming, and empowered rhythmic  music-making with diverse audience populations locally, and with those visiting the Land of  Enchantment.


REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED. STAY TUNED FOR OUR UPCOMING VIRTUAL EVENTS! 



"NAPT" The National Association for Poetry Therapy

is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization 

PO Box 98259
DesMoines, WA 98198

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