Summer Enrichment in Creative Writing

Writers by the Park: A Literary Arts Studio

Writers by the Park provides sixth through eleventh grade students the opportunity to explore multiple genres of writing within the many resources of Manhattan. Creative writing allows students to develop their voices as writers while encouraging students to look around them for artistic inspiration. Participants will compile polished portfolios of their work ready for publication.

The following three seminars are offered:

  1. In Praise of the Narrative Essay – Creative Non-Fiction
  2. Creating Poems: A Seminar on Contemporary Poets and Writing Poem
  3. Word + Image: Writing Through Art

Dates: June 13-24, 2011

Times: Monday through Friday, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. at York Prep

Cost: $1,600.00 – Enrollment includes all three seminars.

Please email Leah Umansky at for registration.


Seminar 1: In Praise of the Narrative Essay – Creative Non-Fiction

Instructor: Ethan Pennington

Explode the moment and shrink the century! The narrative essay is the perfect vehicle to teach students to discover their voices, become storytellers, and write with purpose. In this course, students will plan, revise, and publish their writing within this powerful format. We will encourage students to delve into specific moments and craft detailed narratives in order to amplify their stories to a wider audience.

Works to be studied: Various authors from, and writing about, New York City.

Possible trips: Grand Central Station’s “Whispering Wall,” Central Park Zoo


Seminar 2: Creating Poems: A Seminar on Contemporary Poets and Writing Poems

Instructor: Leah Umansky, MFA in Poetry, Sarah Lawrence College

The popular U2 song “Mysterious Ways” says so eloquently “every poet is a thief,” and it is true. Inside every one of us is a poet trying to get out, and inside every famous poem is faint sliver of another, older poem. Sometimes we do not even know how our words get inside us, but when we put our words down onto paper, a poem is born!

In this class, students write poems based on assignments derived from the reading of contemporary poets.

Possible poets to be studied: Marie Howe, Anne Sexton, Walt Whitman, Frank O’Hara, Anne Carson, Elizabeth Bishop, Billy Collins, Sylvia Plath, James Tate, and Mark Doty.

Possible trip: Poets House (a poetry library) in Battery Park


Seminar 3: Word + Image: Writing through Art

Instructor: Anna Martens

How do writers generate ideas for their work? How do writers become inspired? In what ways is the process of creative writing similar to the process of creating visual art? In this workshop, we explore the play between words and image. Using a wide range of sources (including visits to local museums), we examine photographs, drawings, paintings, and sculptures as a point of inspiration for vivid, image-filled writing. Careful observation of artwork and the creation of visual storyboards lay the framework for a collection of written pieces ready for publication based on and inspired by visual art in New York City.

Works to be studied: Various works of art from the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art