Student Testimonials

20151129_124127“Poiesis taught me how to write honestly. It taught me how to ask important questions to make my writing mean something, and to say things worth saying. It taught me to tap into areas I never knew existed to access buried experiences. It taught me to write outside of my experience and for other people, rather than for only myself. The readings and assignments were like little nuggets of gold filled with profound new ideas that I feel taught me both how to write in ways that create change, and why I should do this. Each week, I grew stronger and braver and more honest as a writer.”
– Cathly Lau
Poiesis: Cross-Genre Generative Writing Workshop, 2015 Summer Session

“My experience in the 2015 Poiesis writing workshop was fabulous. Right from the start I found the assigned readings moving and inspirational; I was introduced to new (to me!) writers and styles and their work fanned the flames of my own creativity. I produced deeper, sharper, and more assured pieces than I have before. The instructor, mia susan amir, provided warm guidance and suggestions that gave me multiple “aha!” moments in my writing.”
– Christine O’Fallon
Poiesis: Cross-Genre Generative Writing Workshop, 2015 Summer Session

20151130_193606I loved the Advanced Memoir Workshop on World Building and the Art of Revision. The readings were inspiring, rich with ideas as to how to improve my own writing. […] Throughout the short six weeks, I changed as a writer and a person; a new voice arose, a more authentic voice that I didn’t even know was inside me. I feel that now I know a lot more about character and how to tap into a character’s voice, to explore their relationship to place and space and their feelings.
– Catherine McNeil
Advanced Memoir Workshop: World Building and the Art of Revision, 2015 Summer Session

“…my grip on my writing has been loosened, which is freeing. I can allow myself the liberty to write toward any place, feeling, time, or subject […]. This has been realized in two ways. The first is basic confidence building; writing and sharing that writing with others. The second is by learning the value of revision. This is where developing our StoryWeBe2craft builds our stories and brings these worlds to life. I have also learned the rigor of allowing deep scrutiny by others into my work as a means of elevating my craft rather than destroying my identity.

mia leaves no room for uncertainty as to why she is present in the room. Significant care is given to eliminate barriers to storytelling by reinforcing inclusive language and posture. Any person should feel confident in finding their place in this environment. The learning environment is well protected. Community agreements are prioritized and the room is maintained as a focused learning environment. The levels for inquiry and examination are set high. Within that learning context the participant is welcomed into finding their own voice, their own learning pace, and their own opportunity as it applies to their current writing.”
– Ronnie Grigg
The Craft of Memoir & Personal Narrative, 2014 Summer Writing Institute
The Advanced Memoir Workshop: World Building and the Art of Revision, 2015 Summer Session

“I decided to take this workshop because I wanted to challenge myself creatively to become a better writer, and every week it feels like I have been learning more; not only about my own writing, but also the actual craft of writing. I’ve been growing as a writer. Being in a group setting is something that I was really missing. I think that it is easy for writing to become a very personal or isolated practice and I know that has always limited me and the kinds of writing that I have been exposed to. To not only be learning about writing, but to be learning about writing with other people, and discovering things about myself through other people’s writing, has been really helpful. I’ve been exposed to new terminology,  new language, and new ways to think about why writing works. It’s really a privilege. It’s exactly what I wanted.”
– Talent Pun
The Craft of Memoir & Personal Narrative, 2014 Summer Writing Institute

“In the write-up for the Intensive it talked about learning the craft of writing and I think I didn’t really understand what that meant. There was a moment a few weeks ago when we were talking about Chris Abani’s writing and I said something like, “Isn’t it just good writing?” and mia said, “Well no!” As we have read more about character and structure, and through the writing prompts, I think I now not only look at what I’m reading, but also what I’m writing in a totally different way.”

Ben Keane-O’hara
The Craft of Memoir & Personal Narrative, 2014 Summer Writing Institute

“ThIMG_20140630_214227~2e Intensive is a really safe space to explore the work because everyone has been very open and supportive. I feel like I have a much stronger sense regarding what craft means to memoir, cause I never would have thought about things like environment, character, and scene outside of playwrighting and fiction. So so many doors have been opened in that regard.”
– Indu Iyer

The Craft of Memoir & Personal Narrative, 2014 Summer Writing Institute


“We bonded as we were massively different from one another, and there was a trust and a camaraderie that came out of that, artistic respect; all kinds of things I hadn’t bargained on.”
– Jenn Griffin
2013 Memoir Reading & Writing Intensive
From The Body, 2014 Summer Writing Institute


Watch our 2014 crowdfunding video to hear past participants speak to their experiences in our programs!

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 3.09.49 PM

What participants from the 2013 Memoir Reading & Writing Intensives said:

“Fantastic. Inclusive. All class members held in complete dignity. Rigor combined with great respect for humanity. Rare”

“Amazing creative texts and companion theory – very smart, interesting, thought provoking education.”

“Extremely beneficial to my creative process. This has been so enjoyable, and challenging, inspiring … overall a practical experience focused on craft that I know I will use in my ongoing work.”

“More please.”

“Really high quality teaching.”

“Knowledgeable and enthusiastic instruction.”

“…made our words feel valuable.”

“It revived my desire to write and connected me with other writers, which was my goal.”

“Fantastic. I now feel like this art form is really something I can dig into…”

“Enlightening! I will take this fascination with the medium forward with me and continue to explore reading and writing memoir.”

“Now I know what dedication and care is required to craft something readers can “see.”

“There was always that impulse to keep everyone engaged and talking.”

“The Intensive was… a good challenge where you learned a lot in a short period of time.”

“It definitely expanded my horizons.”

“Fantastic, supportive, encouraging.”

“I learned things I had never imagined.”

“We were trusted us to come to our own conclusions and to steward each other.”

“I loved it.”

“There was a real balance of people coming from different walks – from race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, age, varying abilities.”

“This experience was opening, challenging, beautiful.”