Conference on Poetry and Learning

July 5 – July 11

: for educators, teaching artists, and other poetry advocates :

: bringing the power of poetry into communities :

The driving force behind poems is a longing to communicate with our own kind.

—Dawn Potter, conference director


The Conference on Poetry & Learning invites educators, teaching artists, and other poetry advocates to work intensely with their colleagues and a faculty of distinguished poets who are experts in both teaching poetry and creating community. The 2024 faculty features conference director Dawn Potter, associate director Teresa Carson, and visiting poet Maudelle Driskell.

Conference participants come from a variety of backgrounds. Many are K–12 teachers or university instructors. Others work in community-based settings, such as social services, the prison system, or lifelong learning programs. Still others follow a nontraditional path as they strive to integrate poetry into daily life.

Over the course of 4½ days, faculty and participants will share inspiring, effective techniques for teaching poetry and bringing its power into the classroom and other educational and community settings. We’ll consider writing, revision, and analysis as actual working poets do—an approach that also aligns with curriculum standards for reading and writing. Sessions will include faculty and participant presentations, writing exercises, discussions and group work, as well as evening readings by faculty and participants. In-service teachers will earn 33 hours of professional development credit.

The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.

—Henry David Thoreau

Conference Writing Retreat (Optional)

The Conference Writing Retreat is an optional 1½-day generative-writing experience immediately following the Conference on Poetry & Learning. Led by Dawn Potter and Teresa Carson, it offers participants the rare opportunity to focus solely on themselves as poets and creators. Sessions include discussions and prompts, ample writing time, and an evening faculty reading. In-service teachers will earn 11 hours of professional development credit.

The Conference Writing Retreat is open to all 2024 conference participants. If you have previously attended workshops with Dawn or Teresa, you may also apply.


Lodging and Meals

Monson Arts offers on-campus housing in a private (single) or double (shared with one other person) room in a house with shared bathroom and kitchen. Houses are comfortably furnished with linens provided. If you do not need housing, you may register as a day student and pay only for meals. All meals are prepared by the The Quarry, a fine-dining restaurant in downtown Monson and recent James Beard award winner.

Meet the 2024 Faculty

Dawn Potter, Director Dawn is the author or editor of nine books of prose and poetry, most recently the poetry collection Accidental Hymn. A finalist for the National Poetry Series, she has won a Maine Literary Award for nonfiction and has received support from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Writer’s Center, the Maine Arts Commission, and the American Rescue Plan, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts. Her poems and essays have appeared in the Beloit Poetry Journal, the Sewanee Review, the Threepenny Review,  and many other journals in the United States and abroad. For more than a decade Dawn directed poetry and teaching programs at the Frost Place, and since 2019 she has led the high school studio writing program here at Monson Arts.

As a poet, Dawn is endlessly intrigued by the intersections of character and place. Lately she’s also been thinking a lot about the complexities of sound and cadence as well as the porous borders between form and free verse. Her primary goal as a teacher is to help writers become deeply attentive to their own voice, to pay ever closer attention to what they say and don’t say, and to use this search as a conduit into both inner revelation and a growing sense of community in the world.

Dawn lives in Portland, Maine, on a little city plot with a big garden.  Learn more about Dawn and her work here.

Teresa Carson, Associate Director Teresa’s work centers on the themes of time, memory, and the stories we humans tell. She is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Time Out of Joint, and holds an MFA in poetry and an MFA in theater, both from Sarah Lawrence College. Teresa lives in Sarasota, Florida, where she co-curates two programs aimed at fostering cross-disciplinary collaborations and putting art into public settings: the Unbroken Thread[s] Project and Art in Common Places. Learn more about Teresa and her work here.

Maudelle Driskell, Visiting Poet Maudelle Driskell is the author of the poetry collection Talismans. She holds an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College, and her poems appear widely in journals and anthologies. Maudelle is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, awarded by Poetry and the Modern Language Association. She lives in Albany, Georgia. Learn more about Maudelle here.

Dates and Costs

Conference on Poetry & Learning: July 5–10, 2024 $750

Conference Writing Retreat: July 10–11, 2024 $200

Total for Conference and Retreat, with room and board:

    • Single room = $1,820
    • Double room = $1,595
    • Meals only = $1,370 (For those who do not need accommodations)

Total for Conference only with Room and Board: July 5th – July 10 (includes lunch on the 10th)

  • Single room = $1395.00
  • Double room = $1287.50
  • Meals Only = $1,100 (for those who do not need accommodations)

We will have a few scholarships available. To apply for financial aid, please email Dawn Potter.

Participants are welcome to bring along nonparticipating partners. Please email Chantal Harris for further information.

Deposit of $800 due now with the final payment processed by April 15th. Indicate in the accommodations comments if you will be attending the conference only or the full conference and retreat.

Single rooms are sold out. Registration extended through June 7th.