Lipstick University

instructor orientation

photo: @ari_thepoet

teaching philosophy

Ashley taylor (poet performer, professor, + writing program designer)

The teaching of creative writing should:

  • be inclusive to contemporary writers of diverse backgrounds and identity expressions;
  • be student-centered, free verse, generative, and reflective to empower students to view themselves as writers;
  • emphasize rhetoric (who the poet is, who the audience is, and what the message is, all matter in terms of how the language is shaped), aka the dynamic of audience awareness and intentional language choices;
  • emphasize process over product; and
  • have a more active role in partnerships, both in the classroom among writing groups and with community groups to share resources or opportunities (collaborate, promote yourself and others).

INFLUENCES + Resources

marty mcconnell + the gathering voices approach

(1) We value the potential, the experience, and the perspective each person brings. This is reflected in our words, actions, and attitudes.

(2) We approach poems not as broken things in need of fixing, nor as objects of like or dislike, but as subjects of study and analysis, artworks whose possibilities we get to unpack.

(3) We come ready to work, eager to engage, and committed to creating a positive, challenging environment for everyone.

Which includes:

  • Curiosity about new perspectives, approaches, and possibilities;
  • Receptivity to ideas, to art, to each other;
  • Joy in the work and in the community; and
  • Rigor in our approach to growth, both our own and other people‚Äôs.


huey + kaneko, poetry: a writer’s guide and ANTHOLOGY

Not only is writing a practice, but the practice of writing is a muscle we strengthen through habitual reading and writing *and* a rhetorical practice that includes intentional language choices.

michael kardos, the art and craft of fiction

Being a writer means paying attention to the world around you, discovering and developing a focused study and guided practice of description and storytelling.

Q&A Discussion

  • What’s your experience + comfort with teaching poetry?
  • Do you have any questions for me about the program?
  • How can I best serve you as an instructor?
  • Which course would you like to teach?

lipstick university: Schedule

Friday Oct 2
SLAM 101: The Power of Language
Poets are introduced to what spoken word is and what poetry can do. We explore the ways in which different communities use creativity and innovation for social progress, and discover what art has been formed out of oppression and necessity. Writers begin to identify and describe slam performances by their poetic devices and crafted language choices. 


Friday Oct 9
WK 2: [Line, Breath, and Vision.] Begin to Shape + Look for Patterns
In this workshop, writers learn to shape their poems, moving from their generative freewriting to a more crafted work of art. We learn how to shape a poem, line by line, breath by intentional breath. 


Friday Oct 16
WK3: [Sound, Imagery, and Description.] Intentional Craft + Patterns
Poets discuss and discover the interconnectedness of sound(s) and image(s). We learn how to employ various poetic devices (such as imagery, alliteration, allusion, hyperbole, and more) to strengthen the lyrical quality of our poems and poetry performances.


Friday Oct 23
WK 4: Performance: [Grounding, Breath, and the Body.] 
Poets explore how words are enhanced by embodied performance and movement. Everything connects to how we present on stage. Our images and sounds can also reflect, echo, and mirror in our rhythm, tone, and body.


Friday Oct 31