The Sensations of Poetry

Taught by guest instructor Ann Koshel van Buren

Poetry is the synthesis of sensation; it is a place where the effects
of the physical and historical world around us can be diminished or magnified by calling attention to specific sights, scents, and sounds.

In this workshop, we will use experiential and analytical methods to unlock the senses that are tamed and sometimes defeated by everyday life. We will re-shape our impressions—and find their best expression on the page.

In our own poetry and the works of others, we’ll look at:

> Poetry and visceral memory
> Poetry and society
> The physical impact of the poetic form

Participation in this workshop requires openness, respect, and a willingness to explore the effects of our own words and the words of others.


  1. "The poetry workshop was great. A very tactile approach on how and where to find inspiration. The idea of a sensory approach to writing is great for any kind of writing workshop."

  2. "I enjoyed the poetry writing class very much. It was just a little too short :-)"

  3. "Mouths pucker as six people suck lemons. 'What sounds does this taste make you make? Can you locate words for the sensation?' asks U.S. poet and workshop leader Ann Koshel van Buren. It’s the first exercise in an afternoon spent exploring the writing and sensuality of poetry. It ends, reluctantly, sipping hot chocolate. 'You couldn’t get a more delicious introduction,' sighed one participant."

  4. "Writing poetry always seemed unattainable to me. It was far too mysterious and complex and difficult a goal for me to achieve. I have never been happier to have been proven wrong in my life. Not only did I actually write poems in the workshop, I now can't stop writing them! Ann Koshel van Buren is an excellent teacher: passionate, understanding and filled with love for her subject. Poems are still mysterious and complex to me but no longer unattainable. Ann made them tangible and real and taught us how to capture that sense of wonder and lyricism that had escaped me until now. Plus there was delicious food and hot chocolate! It was the perfect day. Thank you."


If you have taken this workshop, please send us your feedback here.