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


Call for Proposals

Look for the Call for Proposal Form to be posted on the website by September 15th.  We look forward to receiving your proposals in order to create a diverse and exciting conference program.  Deadline for proposal submission will be October 15th.  


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