poetry & creative writing Workshops

Claudia Jensen Dudley brings many years of experience and experimentation in creative teaching techniques to any residency, tailoring her work as much as possible to individual student needs.  Her aim is to ignite self-exploration through poetry in “children of all ages,” whether in a school, senior living community, home school, business, hospital, or other environment – wherever it’s needed. 

 

Anthology chapbooks, K-5 students, San Francisco Unified School District.


 With residents at The Sequoias, San Francisco, 2016.

With residents at The Sequoias, San Francisco, 2016.

Creative Writing Workshops for Seniors

Claudia has provided creative writing classes for senior citizens in San Francisco since 2013, using a wide variety of writing prompts and ideas in a mutually supportive atmosphere. The subject matter ranges from questions such as “When and how has intuition served you?” or “How did a piece of mail change your life?” to prompts like “I was completely taken by surprise,” or “I wanted my money back!” The results are memoirs, poetry, fiction, prose essays—often humorous, always reflective of serious issues. All work is read out loud in an atmosphere of trust and respectful listening. Senior writers, even those who haven’t written in this way before, bring a broad life experience and world view to their work. Both writers and “facilitator” are amazed at the results.

With Claudia’s ‘prompts,’ suggestions for different approaches, and warm, nonjudgmental responsiveness, I came to enjoy writing memories, reflections, and even dreams. The class’s safe, supportive atmosphere also helps me trust that sometimes poetry is the way to go, whether sad, serious, or silly.
— Janet Boeth Jones, resident, The Sequoias
Never did I think I had any talent for writing, nor did I like poetry. That class changed my thinking, and I have been attending and enjoying the class ever since. Claudia suggests wonderful prompts that each of us takes and turns into prose or poetry unique to our own style. I thoroughly enjoy the class, and have found that rhyming is a talent of which I was unaware. Now I am trying fiction.
— AnnieScott Rogers, resident, The Sequoias
This is better than therapy!
— Ruth Burton, resident, Vintage Coventry

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 Storytelling in a first grade class at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, San Francisco, 2016.

Storytelling in a first grade class at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, San Francisco, 2016.

 During poetry residency at Cabrillo Elementary, 1996.

During poetry residency at Cabrillo Elementary, 1996.

Poetry Workshops for Children and Youth

Claudia has been an enrichment teacher in San Francisco since 1990. As a member of California Poets in the Schools, she initiated and developed a school day poetry residency in her neighborhood elementary school that spanned over a decade. She was poet-teacher and storyteller 16 years in the Richmond District After School Collaborative, an after school program which highlighted arts education from its inception. She also worked in collaboration with San Francisco Performances on theme-based high school residencies in Bay Area High Schools.

Her lessons include exploration of simile, metaphor, personification, alliteration, and other poetic techniques, plus thought-provoking writing on feelings, family, dreams, colors, questions, animals, “what’s silly,” and much, much more. Typically, each session lasts between 45 minutes and an hour, with students sharing their writing at the end

 
Classes with Claudia helped teach me that learning was about the experience, not getting a grade or pleasing someone else. Those workshops also taught me how to harness language in a powerful way. I’m grateful for my time spent creating with my peers, and I often reference that as a model when I think of what learning should be.
— Alexandra Pantazes, Former Student
When Rachel saw me on the schoolyard at lunch hour today, she couldn’t wait to show me the anthology of Cabrillo students’ work. Her drawing, related to her 4th grade poetry section, had made it to the title page, and she was beaming with pride. At this age when being cool, or thick-skinned, can be a defining personality trait, a guided opportunity for self-expression through poetry is a gift. The individuality and honesty and insight that so many of her classmates shared was a treasure. If I were in charge, poetry instruction with someone as warm and skilled as Claudia Dudley would be REQUIRED, for every class, grades 1 through 5 (and beyond, of course!)
— Teresa S., parent of former student, Cabrillo Elementary

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