Poetry Workshops

First of all, THANK YOU for your interest! I am amazed and humbled at the support and attention my poetry has gained in the past six years. Throughout my teaching experiences, I’ve found that middle and high school students often respond in much more engaged, empathetic, and personal ways to my poetry performances than they do to lecture-style events.

I’ve taught Snaps Poetry Workshops in 22 school districts in the U.S., four universities, and four library districts and have experience hosting open mics and slams for competitors ages 12-18, as well as adult and college slams. I’m the current Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition Coordinator for the Grand Rapids Public Library, a contest that is held annually for Kent County residents and students, Editor-in-Chief of Hyype, host of WYCE’s weekly Electric Poetry, and a board member of Write616. From 2016-2017, I also organized and coached the Tendons + Teeth Slam Team at Grand Valley State University (CUPSI competitive team).

Read my published work here.

Curriculum covers:

  • Language & metaphor
  • Identity & personal experience
  • Family, culture, & belonging
  • Cultivating empathy & gaining new perspectives
  • Confidence & self-esteem
  • Public speaking & presentation skills

Programming Examples

  • Adult and / or teen poetry workshop
  • Publishing how-to workshop
  • Editing roundtable, where participants bring completed poems for critique
  • Open mic event or curated reading with local writers
  • Poetry book club, where participants read a selected collection prior to the event
  • Nature hike & write
  • One-day writing “retreat”, which looks like a mini conference with different presentations, specialized programming, & free-write sessions

Sample Settings

  • Classrooms
  • Libraries
  • University clubs
  • After-school programming
  • Winter & spring break intensive
  • Environmental Clubs
  • Gay-Straight Alliances
  • Team bonding & leadership events
  • Creative writing classes
  • Mental health events, conferences, & centers
  • Poetry Month
  • Women’s centers
  • LGBTQ events & conferences

What others are saying

Kelsey combines craft and instinct to create honed but still raw, vital poems. Her work faces difficult issues such as race, sexuality, the environment, and violence against women. Bridging the (perceived) gap between slam poetry and traditional verse, she is an acrobat of language.

                                                     — Matthew Landrum, Poetry Editor, Structo Magazine

Kelsey is a remarkably authentic young woman who is dedicated to community service and social change; she is not afraid to voice her concerns on challenging issues and clearly willing to dedicate her time and energy to actively bring about change. I find her openness and wisdom for her age refreshing. She is comfortable and confident beyond her years.

                                                     —   Susan J. Sorg, Grand Rapids Community College

I did not anticipate the delight, the uplift, the softening and warming of the evening’s atmosphere that Kelsey brought with her. In her very presence amongst us, she was offering those around her something of her spirit — a palpable inspiration that must be what moves her from within to so joyfully and courageously enliven a bunch of folks she’s never met!

                                                     — Jed Myers, NorthEnd Forum, Seattle, WA

Grand Rapids Metro Rates

$125           one-hour session
$315           four-hour session or two two-hour sessions
$450           six hours or three two-hour sessions or full-school assembly

Michigan Rates

$200            one-hour session
$400            four-hour “writing intensive” session or four one-hour same day workshops
$500            six hour session or full-school assembly


I’m currently booking for the 2019-2020 school year and would love to hear from you! Booking requests or inquiries can be sent to kelseymaywriting [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thank you again for your interest, and I can’t wait to hear from you!

If you’d like a copy of my booking kit, you can download it here.

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