Start off 2017 on the write foot!

Posted by Marie Scarfo on Thu, Jan 12, 2017

Happy New Year, friends and learners! We hope you had a fabulous holiday. We're 12 days into 2017. Have you settled back into reality yet? 

In the spirit of carpe diem we'll dive right in. This post is about WRITING. We have a robust, loyal writing program here at the BCAE, and our Jan/Feb term is serving up an amazing variety of writing classes with some truly talented instructors. Let's start by raising our pens in salute to Emily O'Neill.


Emily O'Neill Headshot (resize).jpg Emily O'Neill has taught the Creative Writing Workshop at the BCAE for 3 years. Her first book of poems, Pelican, was the winner of YesYes Books' first annual Pamet River Prize. Publisher's Weekly called the debut "forceful, exceptional," and the organizers of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale's Devil's Kitchen Literary Festival agreed, awarding the book its annual Reading Series prize in poetry. O'Neill recently traveled to Carbondale to accept the prize and read alongside other Devil's Kitchen award winners. Her next book from YesYes, a falling knife has no handle, is forthcoming in 2018. 

Tuesdays, Jan. 17 - Feb. 28 (7 sessions)
$210 / $179 member

Next up are two staff picks: single-session classes featured because of their unique course material, led by industry professionals (and locals!) - Amaryah Orenstein and Lee Gjertsen Malone!

Lee Gjertsen Malone Book Cover (resize).jpg
Instructor: Lee Gjertsen Malone
Date: Saturday, January 21
Time: 11:00am - 2:00pm 
Tuition: $60 ($51 for members)
If you've always thought you'd like to write for children, this is the class for you. Join middle-grade writer Lee Gjertsen Malone, author of The Last Boy at St Edith's, which was released by Simon and Schuster in 2016, for this informative and fun one-session class. You'll examine popular and critically acclaimed children's books to learn what makes them work and discuss the ins and outs of writing and publishing books for kids.

FirstImpressions_Image.gifFirst Impressions: How to Hook an Agent/Editor
with Your Opening Pages
Instructor: Amaryah Orenstein
Date: Saturday, February 11
Time: 1:00pm - 4:00pm 
Tuition: $89 ($76 for members)
Amaryah Orenstein has always loved to read and provide (often unsolicited) editorial advice and, as founder and literary agent at GO Literary, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. She currently serves as Co-President of the Boston chapter of the Women's National Book Association.

In this class she gives you an inside look at how to make a first impression with an editor or literary agent. The class will cover: common pitfalls found in first sentences and first pages, tips for how to avoid clichés and overused beginnings, and the pros and cons of using a prologue as the opening chapter of your novel.

Want more writing? Whether your interests are in workplace, digital, fiction, or travel writing, we offer different (key)strokes for different folks! Check out the rest of this term's writing courses:

(And, for those of you who need a refresher on the basics before diving into a year of storytelling)

The best way to start a written work is simply to do exactly that - START - and the dawn of a new year is the perfect time to do it. Has 2016 left its indelible mark on your mind that you have to commit to the page? Does 2017 look to your eyes like a year worth rigorously documenting? Is writing your escape from reality, or the lens through which you examine it with greater focus? Or maybe you just need to get that stupid limerick out of your head, finally. Whatever the case may be, we hope this year you'll find the spark to start. 
So, what are you waiting for? Start!


You know what pairs well with writing? Wining. Check out these great wine classes:

Riesling Royalty: The Aromatic Wines of Germany

Big Winter Wines: A World Tasting Tour

REAL Wine for Under $15: Taste & Learn

So, you've written a masterpiece. Are you ready to pitch it? Find your edge:

Connect & Communicate: Speaking With Confidence

Mindfulness & Positive Psychology

Reading People: Learn From an Ex-CIA Body Language Expert



Topics: BCAE classes, cover letter writing, Professional Development, Boston blogger, writing workshop, Boston classes, poetry class, BCAE poetry, BCAE Writing Classes, writing, publishing, Boston publishing, blogging, fantasy writing, Boston Writing Classes, travel writing, children's books, creative writing

#DebateHeadache and Alleviating the Post-Election Hangover

Posted by Marie Scarfo on Wed, Oct 19, 2016

 So, who's seen Excedrin's latest promoted tweet?

Currently trending on Twitter with 1,000+ Retweets and 2,000+ Likes, the hashtag #DebateHeadache has been pretty relatable during this roller coaster of an election season.
Regardless of the outcome of this year's presidential election, the journey to the White House has been rife with enough ups and downs and arounds to make anyone dizzy. But don't despair; the BCAE is providing intensely interesting, incredibly timely programming to help you process your post-election hangover. So, rally your friends and like-minded learners in need of an intellectual aspirin, and check out what we have coming up:
WHAT JUST HAPPENED? Debriefing an Unconventional Election
Monday, November 14, 2016 - 6:00-8:00 PM
Monday, November 14 (less than one week after Election Day - phew!) join The Boston Globe Political Editor Shira T. Center for a lively conversation about the pivotal moments along the campaign trail, how those events impacted the outcome of the race, and what it all means for the future of politics in America. The conversation continues at a wine and cheese reception to follow. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR WHAT JUST HAPPENED?
HOW I GOT THAT PHOTO: Press Photographers Tell Their Stories 
Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 6:00-8:00 PM
Acclaimed photojournalists Vin Alabiso and Stephan Savoia are joined by other promiment photojournalists featured in the BCAE’s new exhibit – Presidential Hopefuls in the 21st Century – for a spirited discussion of the fascinating stories behind the pictures. An informal wine and cheese reception follows. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR HOW I GOT THAT PHOTO
And of course, central to it all, is our Presidential Hopefuls gallery, a timely new exhibit that examines the highs and lows of the road to the White House (2000-2016) through the eyes of local press photographers who have seen it all. This exhibit is housed at the BCAE and is free and open to the public during business hours, September 2016 through January 2017. 
Democrat, Republican, or Otherwise, we can all agree that this presidential election will be unlike any we have ever seen - and that makes it worthy of in-depth examinations and healthy conversation among friends, to put it all in context and identify what we can learn from it. But until Election Day (and our first post-election-day program!) remember to pace yourself, sleep well, and stay hydrated - this last #DebateHeadache might be a doozy.


Looking for more hangover cures? You might like these classes:

Brunch Rejuvenation: Feel-Good Weekend Treats

Quick Tools to Lower Stress & Anxiety

Ginger: The Root of Culinary Joy

Interested in Photography? Check out our upcoming Photography classes:

Digital Photography for Beginners

Intermediate Digital Photography: Weekend Workshop

The Holidays in Boston: A Photo Excursion



Topics: BCAE classes, BCAE Gallery, BCAE Photography Classes, Boston classes, Boston photography class, Election, Presidential Election, Election 2016, Debates, Presidential Debate, #DebateHeadache

BCAE Instructor Spotlight: Chris Cuddy

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Mon, Sep 19, 2016


Our Instructor Spotlight Series continues! The latest instructor, featured in our November/December catalog, is Chris Cuddy, BCAE Adobe instructor! Catch the full interview right here, and stay tuned for more awesome details about our even more awesome instructors.

BCAE: What’s your favorite thing about teaching beginners?
CHRIS: That moment when it all clicks, when the student ‘gets it.’ That is the moment when the class turns  to a conversation - a give and take  - where we then learn from one another, trading ideas, concepts, theories. Often, we both learn something new. I enjoy finding new ways to see things - and I learn as much from the students as they do from me.

BCAE: What types of people are taking your classes?
CHRIS: My students range from those straight out of college to those mid-career and  transitioning…touching up some skills. In the middle of that spectrum, there is a small section of retirees, photo hobbyists and people just plain curious.

BCAE: You’re an author and illustrator. Tell us a little about some of your projects?
CHRIS: My latest project is Track Cats, which I wrote, illustrated and even animated. The book has a humorous tone to engage, entertain & educate young to early readers.

It stars Johnnie Johnson the Cat, who thinks running is easy. When the big race comes, though, Johnnie cannot do it and must learn what it takes…to win a race!  I am currently shopping the book to publishers and agents. My first book, Colman the Pug, sold a couple hundred copies locally and I want to take that small success to a bigger level. Writing and illustrating are truly a passion and I believe if you do not have passion, what do you have?


Take a class with Chris!

Adobe InDesign for Desktop Publishing:  October Session or November Session

Zoomed In: A Photoshop Intensive

Photoshop for Beginners

Adobe InDesign Intensive: October Session or December Session

Adobe Illustrator Intensive: October Session or December Session




Topics: BCAE classes, Boston computer classes, Boston classes, Boston Inddesign classes, BCAE computer classes

BCAE Instructor Spotlight: Ulla Bauder

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Mon, Aug 01, 2016




Our Instructor Spotlight Series continues! The latest instructor, featured in our September/October catalog, is Ulla Bauder, BCAE German instructor! Catch the full interview right here, and stay tuned for more awesome details about our even more awesome instructors.

BCAE: How do you keep a class that focuses on such a complex language fun?
ULLA: I try to keep my teaching content as contemporary and diverse as possible by
balancing ‘dry’ grammar topics with audio, video clips, and games.

BCAE: What inspired you to start teaching German?
ULLA: Actually I never planned on teaching German it happened more accidentally. In order to get my necessary teaching qualifications and to work for the local county council adult learning service I had to agree on teaching German classes. Out of the necessity I developed a real passion to pass on my native language and culture.

BCAE: You’re an active student at the BCAE. What is your favorite class that you’ve taken?
ULLA: I am always eager to learn about different cultures and their traditions. The ‘Brazilian Connection’ was a great opportunity to enjoy some Samba dancing, food, and caipirinha.    


Take a class with Ulla! This fall, we're offering both Level 1 and Level 2 on Wednesdays, starting September 21st.

SIGN UP NOW - German: Level 1

SIGN UP NOW - German: Level 2



Topics: BCAE classes, Boston classes, learn German in Boston, Boston German classes, Boston German instructors, German classes, learn German

Summer in Boston: 5 Things to Add to Your To-Do List

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Wed, Jun 08, 2016

Well, folks, summer has arrived in Boston, and we couldn't be happier about it! It quickly spoils us with sunshine and makes us forget that it was ever cold and snowy here...

Knowing that summer could be taken away from us at any time, we squish as much as possible into these fleeting warm, glorious months! We surveyed the BCAE staff about their favorite summer activities here in the city (or close by) to help you start (or add to) your ever-growing summer to-do list.


1. Catch a Game at Fenway Park

Whether you're a die-hard Red Sox fan, or an unwavering addict of Fenway Franks, there's something for everyone. And with this being Big Papi's final season, make sure to buy your tickets to catch the legend's final glory days at Fenway.


2. Get Artsy...Outside!

Eager to enjoy the long days and warm nights, many of Boston's arts organizations head out of doors for the summer so you can get your cultural fix al fresco. Some that top the list?

Can't stand the heat? STAFFER TIP: Museums offer a great air-conditioned alternative...


3. Hit the Water

Rent a kayak, learn to sail, or just cruise - the Charles River and the Boston Harbor have loads of opportunities to stay cool and explore the life aquatic without leaving the city limits. We've partnered with some local businesses to bring you some water-filled offerings of our own:


4. Patio Season...

...might just be the happiest season! When you stroll the streets of Boston and your favorite restaurants and bars transform into Euro-chic patios and beer gardens of all sizes and shapes. Those beers just taste better outside, don't they? Some staff favorites include:


5. Lobster, lobster & more lobster!

Nothing says summer like a hot dog bun overflowing with the freshest Boston waters have to offer. Well, really, throw that fresh New England lobster on just about anything and we're there. Some staff picks include:


 And as always, we have a long list of classes to satisfy any and all of your summer to-do cravings! Check 'em out here!

Topics: BCAE, Boston summer classes, Boston restaurants, BCAE Summer class, summer in Boston, boston things to do, Fenway Park, lobster rolls, red sox

Instructor Spotlight: Gail Gardner

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Tue, May 31, 2016


If you've been reading our paper catalogs lately, you have probably noticed our instructor spotlights highlighting some of our impressive and well-loved instructors. The latest installment, in our July/August catalog, features Gail Gardner, BCAE dance instructor for over 15 years! Catch the full interview right here, and stay tuned for more awesome details about our even more awesome instructors.

BCAE: How did you get started with the BCAE?

GAIL: Before I taught at the BCAE I assisted two wonderful dance instructors at various studios in the area, sometimes teaching nine classes a week. About 16 years ago, when one of them, who was teaching here at the BCAE, got engaged, she asked me to take over her classes for a couple of months as she planned her wedding. She got pregnant shortly after the wedding so she gave me the classes and I’ve been honored to teach them ever since. 

BCAE: What’s your favorite thing about teaching beginners?

GAIL: When a student thinks that dancing is too complicated and that they won’t be able to “get it”, they find that, when the steps are broken down and then put back together, it’s really just stepping to the beat of the music. Even if one dance style doesn’t speak to them, another one will! My favorite thing about teaching beginners is that they may start the first class full of trepidation but may very well walk out of the last one and sign up for more dance classes!

BCAE: Can you tell us one of your favorite stories from your classes?

GAIL: One of my favorite stories is of a couple who decided to take the ballroom dance class shortly after they started dating to see if they could work as a team. It was successful so they took the swing dance class and, about a year later, I was so happy to see them walking into the class to prepare for their wedding dance!

Gail-1.jpgGail in action teaching a line dancing pop-up class last summer at our Pop-Up Classroom at Downtown Crossing!

Click here to browse all of our Dance classes online!

Topics: BCAE, BCAE classes, BCAE Dance Classes, BCAE Instructor, Boston dance classes, Boston classes

Back Pocket Dinners for Spring Eating

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Thu, Apr 21, 2016

Spring has finally sprung! And with the much-needed blue skies and sunshine come cravings for new, often greener recipes, but that lingering evening chill prevents us from jumping straight into summer salads. Spring also means schedules begin to fill back up after our time of hibernation, and free weekends seem to be few and far between.

The balance of cooking all those delicious spring ingredients taunting you in the grocery store (have you SEEN that gorgeous asparagus lately?!), while finding time to also go out and enjoy the newly nice weather is a hard one to find. The key? Few ingredient, low-labor recipes packed with freshness, that you can keep in your back pocket to whip up at just the right moment.

Longtime BCAE instructor and Chef Diane Manteca has loads of dinner recipes that fit the bill, and we're sharing one to get you started.

This one's veggie-centric to give your diet a little "spring cleaning," and it has enough spice and warmth to keep you comfortable dining on the porch with a cool spring breeze. Close your eyes and these flavors will transport you to even warmer air south of New England.



















Looking for more recipes to keep in your back pocket this spring? Sign up for Diane's Back Pocket Dinners for Spring Eating class Wednesday, May 4th!

Other recipes taught in this class may include:
- Braised Chicken with Dates and Moroccan Spice
- Turkey Satay Burgers with Peanut Sauce
- Sauteed Pork Chops with Sweet & Sour Orange Glaze



Topics: BCAE classes, Boston cooking classes, BCAE Instructor, cooking classes, chickpea recipe, spring cooking, spring recipe, masala

BCAE 5th Annual Fundraiser RECAP - Chew on This: Global Street Eats

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Mon, Mar 28, 2016


Earlier this month, we hosted our 5th Annual Fundaiser here at the BCAE, Chew on This: Global Street Eats. Just to kick it up a few notches, this year we added one more chef station than previous years, to round out a full 10 delectable takes on street foods from around the world.


Lucky VIP guests started the evening off at 5:30 with a taste of Germany, Oktoberfest-style...pretzels, bratwurst, potato pancakes and more while they got early glimpses of the night's auction items displayed around the building. While the chef stations did not open until General Admission began at 6:45, all of the bars were pouring 90+ Cellars wine, Peak Organic beer, Downeast Cider House cider, Polar Seltzer, and the evening's signature cocktail featuring Deep Eddy Vodka and Polar Seltzer. All was served with a side of cheese, courtesy of our Shelburne Farms, Dole & Bailey, Accardi Foods cheese table available all evening long.


6:45 brought General Admission guests along with the opening of all 10 chef stations! Guests wandered from room to room, traveling to different countries as they made their way around the building...sampling chef-prepared bites and bidding on auction items.

Some fan favorites included Moody's Delicatessen Chef Joshua Smith's Choripán, an Argentinian chorizo sandwich, and The Smoke Shop Chef Andy Husbands' Jamaican Jerk Ribs.


Our Mediterranean room featured Chef Matt Jennings of Townsman with a "Pea Falafel" (Lebanon) and Chef Leo Asaro of Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar's take on Lamb Gyros (Greece).


There was also a Mediterranean table full of Accardi Foods snacks, Filippo Berio Olive Oil, Victoria Gourmet spices and more.


Guests made their way to Mexico down the hall where Mei Mei Street Kitchen's Smoked Maple Tofu Taco was certainly the star. Guests could also sample Nola's salsa, Tortilleria Mi Niña tortilla chips, as well as a variety of flavors of Taza Chocolate.


The full around the world tour also included:
Myers & Chang Chef Karen Akunowicz's Clay Pot Chicken (Thailand)
Sweet Cheeks Q and Tiger Mama Chef Tiffani Faison's Malaysian Red Pork served up by Chef Dan Raia
Uni Chef Tony Messina's Spicy Crab Salad (Vietnam)
SRV Chefs Kevin O'Donnell & Michael Lombardi's Nervetti Fritti (Italy)
Commonwealth Chef Steve "Nookie" Postal's Crispy Chicken Wings (USA)

Billy Costa and Jenny Johnson of NESN's Dining Playbook returned to again host our live auction, as they have successfully done in the past...and lucky bidders won private cooking classes, airline tickets and more! 4 gift certificates to Columbus Hospitality Group restaurants were raffled off, and guests raced to get their last bids in for the close to 50 silent auction items.


To cap off the evening, BCAE Instructor & Pastry Chef Brian Grabowski served up sweet treats for all...freshly dipped Éclairs, and "Eton Mess" Truffles, both featuring Taza Chocolate.

We can't possibly fit all of the fantastic moments from the event here, but looking for more photos? Search #ChewonThis16 and check out the Facebook album here!

Thank you to all who made this event a success!

Karen Akunowicz//Tiffani Faison//Andy Husbands//Matt Jennings//Mei Mei Street Kitchen//Tony Messina//Kevin O'Donnell & Michael Lombardi//Steve "Nookie" Postal// Michael Schlow//Joshua Smith

Billy Costa & Jenny Johnson of NESN's Dining Playbook!

90+ Cellars//Accardi Foods//Deep Eddy Vodka//Dole & Bailey//Downeast Cider House//Edible Boston//Espresso Plus//Filippo Berio Olive Oil//Hunt's Photo & Video//Nola’s Fresh Foods// Northeast Family Farms//Northeast Family Fisheries//Northern Trust//Peak Organic Brewing Company//Peterson Party Center//Polar Seltzer//Shelburne Farms//Sistema//Taza Chocolate// Tortilleria Mi Niña//Victoria Gourmet//Wüsthof

BCAE CHEFS: Diane Manteca & Jan Quinn

BCAE PASTRY CHEF: Brian Grabowski


DÉCOR: Joanne Coughlin, Kellie Kavanaugh-Maffeo, Jan Quinn



Topics: Boston restaurants, BCAE events, Boston chefs, BCAE Fundraiser

Realistic Resolutions for 2016: Basics and Trending at the BCAE

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Fri, Jan 22, 2016

2016 may be already be a few weeks old, but for us, that's when the real work starts. Don't worry - not the scary, stress-inducing kind of work, but the positive, productive, exciting stuff. Sure, talk of resolutions happened way back in December (only last month but still it feels like a while, doesn't it?), but the actual achieving of the lofty goals we set for ourselves is a trickier task earning plenty of procrastination. So with February just about staring us in the face, we realize that, "Oh yeah I better start thinking about my resolutions...what were they again?"

In thinking about it, we realized that resolutions often fall into one of two categories:

1) Doing something new (often something you've been meaning to do for a while)

2) Doing something you already do, but better

As a result, we decided that the new year was also a perfect time to introduce two new groupings of classes that we'd like to start focusing on - now and into the future. If you've seen the January/February catalog, you'll notice two new pages at the front: All About Basics and Trending...

All About Basics
is the answer to the "I've always wanted to try..." and "I've been meaning to improve..." - and a reminder that many of our classes are designed for students of all levels, starting at the very bottom. Think Sewing for Beginners and Cake Decorating Basics. This 2016, we're daring you to dive in headfirst and leave your regrets back in 2015. Check out some of our constantly changing offerings right here and check something off your list today.


Trending...these are the classes that keep you current and might push you out of your comfort zone as you jump on board the hottest trends for 2016. Think Urban Beekeeping and DIY Dog Treats. Make your mark on the new year, try something new and fresh, and be a trendsetter. See a little of what we mean here.

You'll continue to see these pages in future catalogs, and the web pages will be continually updated so your resolutions can last well beyond January. Happy resolving!



Topics: BCAE, BCAE classes, BCAE cooking classes, New Year's Resolutions, Boston art classes, cooking classes, BCAE basics, BCAE trends, BCAE art classes


Posted by Kim Wieczner on Mon, Nov 16, 2015


BCAE: How did you get started writing poetry?

TOM: I began writing, without much of a disciplined approach, poems that reflected teenage angst. I dabbled, as teenagers tend to do, in writing poems positively plump with grand metaphors and abstractions, and not yet understanding, as Paul Valery is said to have quipped, “It is a hundred times easier to be profound than to be precise.”

In my first encounter with Sylvia Plath’s poetry in a creative writing class in college, I received a potent antidote to the abstractions and the grandiosity when I came upon a poem called “Point Shirley.” The poem is an account of Plath’s return to a seaside house her grandmother had lived in. The visit occurred years after her grandmother had died. The subject is sentimental (nostalgia for the old days—Plath even manages to talk about her grandmother’s “wheat loaves and apple cakes”), but the treatment is anything but sentimental. Stones on the beach are said to be “bickering under / The sea’s collapse.” Plath characterizes the sea as “sluttish,” the setting sun as “bloody red.” If Grandmother had a flower garden, a series of storms kept invading it. At one point, Plath tells us, a “Shark littered in the geranium bed.”  

Having lost my own grandmother just around the time I discovered the poem, I was astonished at the way in which Plath could be simultaneously reverential and tough on the subject of her loss.  The stones on the beach, which had been used in the construction of the house, become the central metaphor, and the poem ends in a blast embodying wistfulness and savagery.

Ever since then, I have sought to read and write poems that follow Robert Lowell’s definition: “A poem is an event, not the record of an event.”

BCAE: How long have you been teaching at the BCAE?

TOM: I started teaching in the summer of 2004. I had taken several workshops with Ottone Riccio, who led the BCAE poetry workshop for over thirty years, at the BCAE, and still recommend his book, The Intimate Art of Writing Poetry, to workshop participants, as one of the finest books on the subject. Riccio was a participant in the workshop itself when it was the place to be for aspiring poets in Boston. Anne Sexton and Maxine Kumin workshopped their poems for the first time here, and both went on win the Pulitzer Prize in poetry.

Riccio was followed by Jennifer Badot, who pulled me aside and said that I really should be leading the workshop, not taking it. She eventually turned the post over to me, and I have been here ever since.

BCAE: How have you built such a loyal following?

TOM: I try to maintain a workshop that is both collegial and challenging. I give in-depth exercises, using close readings of the works of a particular poet each term, as voluntary prompts. I try to cultivate respect among the participants, and insist that every critique of a poem start with what works and why. Rather than narrowly focusing on a description of the shortcomings of the poem, we try to explain what we would do differently if we were revising the poem.

I try to cultivate a deeper appreciation of a range of poetries by having participants read a poem they admire at the beginning of each meeting of the workshop. We learn a great deal from each other in this way—I am constantly being exposed to poems and poets that I had not encountered and find delightful and inspiring, as is the entire workshop.

Each week, I re-read the poems people have brought to the workshop, and select a poem by an established poet to bring to each participant the following week by way of response. The poem I choose resonates in some way with the workshop participant’s poem, either in theme, style, content, or sensibility.  I spend quite a bit of time each week looking for poems that make this kind of match.

I also run an informal salon before the workshop begins, in which anyone interested in participating generates the beginning of a poem based on a prompt I give. From time to time, we discuss the tactics one must employ in publishing poetry as part of this salon, and issues such as writers block, lack of inspiration, and trouble with revising.

The act of writing poetry is a solitary, sometimes lonely act, and often the poems come from emotional distress the poet or her/his subjects have experienced. While I maintain a respectful stance, I also try to alleviate the gloom one can imagine might descend on a workshop full of such poems by leavening my pedagogy with a little humor. Someone posting online once quipped about my teaching—“Even if you don’t like his comments on your poem, you’ll find him entertaining.”

BCAE: What is your favorite thing about getting new students in the mix? If anyone is nervous, how do you help cure those nerves?

TOM: New students always bring a new perspective, a new appreciation of the work we do in the workshop. While a core of participants returns to the workshop each session, the new voices help to invigorate the sense of collegiality which is, hopefully, always a hallmark of the workshop. Their particular take on other poets’ work, their idiosyncratic sensibility, enriches the experience of working together to help each other write better poems.

Bringing one’s poems, which are often written in isolation and out of a place of vulnerability, to be evaluated can be a daunting task. I don’t underestimate how hard that can be, especially the first time. But I try to explain that everyone is an equal in the eyes of the workshop, that everyone will get the same amount of time, the same careful consideration. I try to be careful to commend the impulse, even when the realization is not producing many successful results yet, and to remind new participants that the best poets achieved excellence only after a long apprenticeship in the workshop of craft making. 


SIGN UP NOW for Tom Daley's next workshop!

Topics: BCAE, BCAE classes, BCAE Instructor, Boston classes, poetry class, BCAE poetry