National Association for Poetry Therapy 39th Annual Conference


National Association for Poetry Therapy
39th Annual Conference
April 11-14, 2019

Beacons and Safe Harbors:
Navigating Personal and Societal Challenges through Poetry Therapy

Embassy Suites by Hilton
Baltimore Inner Harbor Hotel and The Grand


Registration and Conference Program

We will be posting the Registration Form and Conference Program by mid-December. You will be able to register online and be able to see the Conference Program in its entirety. Please keep checking back on the website for further information as it becomes available.



At our 2019 conference, we will be offering “Tracks” into the program to help attendees select workshops which best suit their needs as professionals. The tracks are:

Clinical/Health Care Setting: for those interested in working in both mental health and medical professions

Educational Setting: for those interested in working in schools, universities, after-school programs, etc.

Social Justice: for those interested in working in community settings that address cultural diversity, gender identity, and social issues

Spirituality: for those interested in working in spiritual centers or pastoral care, or whose work has primarily a spiritual focus


NAPT Scholarships for Conference Registration

To encourage newcomers to our conference, we are offering four scholarships of $250 each to first- time conference attendees. If you wish to apply, submit your name, e-mail, regular mailing address and major field of endeavor, along with a brief essay of no more than 500 words indicating your professional/educational links to poetry therapy and reasons for wishing to attend the NAPT conference. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2019. If you have already registered, you may still apply, and if you are awarded the scholarship, you will be reimbursed for that amount. Applicants will be notified before March 1 of their acceptance. Please send all application letters to Barbara Kreisberg, Conference Chair at


2019 Volunteers

Another way to receive a conference registration discount is to volunteer at the Registration Table.  Participants who choose to volunteer will not only be helping NAPT at the conference, but also receiving $15 per hour off of their registration up to $45.  Please contact Barbara Kreisberg at if you might be interested in volunteering.


Referral Discounts 

Receive a conference registration discount!!! If you can refer one new attendee to attend the conference OR to become a new NAPT member, you will receive $25 off your own registration fee. We look forward to increasing our visibility and spreading the word about the incredible resources and valuable opportunities offered by NAPT. Please help us do that by making a referral!


Event Highlights:

Thursday night Opening Event:

Gayle Danley is the former national and international poetry slam champion, the Maryland Library Association’s Poet of the Year, Young Audiences of Maryland Artist of the Year, and Young Audiences National Artist of the Year, and recently joined the Kennedy Center’s roster of master teaching artists. She gives an incredible poetry performance that creates a dramatic and emotional experience for the entire audience.

Friday morning Keynote speakers:

Peggy Osna Heller, PhD, LCSW-C, PTR, is a social worker, clinical poetry therapist and master mentor/supervisor. With an initial degree in speech pathology, Peggy taught for many years before training in poetry therapy. She has written poetry since childhood, loves to read, sing, and walk. She practices psychotherapy and poetry therapy in Potomac, MD.


Wendi R. Kaplan, MSW, CPT-M/S, LCSW, a psychotherapist with over thirty years experience, specializes in relational and biblio/poetry therapies with a holistic perspective. She has a private practice in Alexandria, Virginia and provides consultation to mental health providers, physicians and other professionals. She also teaches the theory and process of biblio/poetry therapy, journaling and word arts for the Institute of Poetry Therapy. As a meditator since 1974, Wendi incorporates meditative and mindful practices into all of her work.

Saturday morning Keynote Poet:

Mecca Verdell (Meccamorphosis) has been a Baltimore youth poet (She is 20 years old) for roughly two years. She has won an international championship and has a poetry radio show. She is a teaching artist for Dew more Baltimore. She has performed for venues like Busboys and Poets, and the Kennedy Center. In 2016, Mecca was a part of Baltimore City Youth Poetry that won Brave New Voices, an international youth slam. She’s also the creator and host of “SoapBOX Poetry Radio”, interviewing nationally and locally known poets and writers.

Saturday afternoon Celebratory Event:

The Dance Exchange, whose mission is to ignite inquiry, inspire change, and connect people of all ages more deeply to the questions at the heart of our lives through dance making and creative practices. Dance Exchange collaborates across generations, disciplines, and communities to channel the power of performance as a means for dialogue, a source of critical reflection, and a creative engine for thought and action. Our closing celebratory event will be facilitated by Matthew Cumbie, a dancemaker, educator, and collaborative artist based in Washington, DC, and Associate Artistic Director of Dance Exchange.


Past NAPT Annual Conferences

Poetry Therapy in a Changing World: Pathways to Growth, Healing, and Social Justice

Chaska, MN April 26-29 2018

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Reaching New Heights: Following your Poetic Journey

Denver, CO April 6-9 2017

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Converging in the Heartland: Poetic Expression for Healing Mind, Body and Soul

Kansas City, MO April 14-17 2016

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Blue Ridge Reflections: Word-Paths for Growth and Healing

Asheville NC April 23-26 2015

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Oasis in the Southwest: Reflection and Renewal through Expressive Writing and Poetry

Scottsdale AZ April 24-27 2014

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Standing on the Shore: Glimpsing New Horizons

Chicago IL April 11-14 2013

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Writing the Winds of Change

Chicago IL April 26-29 2012

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Looking Forward, Looking Back, Coming Home: Celebrating Thirty Years of Promoting Growth and Wellness through Language, Symbol, and Story

Washington DC April 7-11 2010

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Embracing Poetic Expression: Creative Pathways for Self, Community, and the World

Washington DC April 15-19 2009

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Reaching Out/Reaching In: Expressive Writing for Healing, Growth, and Well-being

Minneapolis, MN April 2-6 2008

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Growth & Healing through Language, Symbol and Story

Portland, OR April 17-22 2007

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From Our Roots to the Present: Liberating Voices through Poetry Therapy

Boston, MA April 19-23 2006

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Gateway to Wholeness: Poetry Therapy for the Individual, Family, and Community

St. Louis, MO 2005

The Intimate Word: Transforming Lives Through Poetry Therapy

Costa Mesa, CA 2004

Diving Into Language: A Multicultural Journey in Poetic Healing

Miami, FL 2003

Emerging Landscapes: Poetic Visions and Vistas

Denver, CO 2002