What happens during The Work poetry writing workshop? Information for newcomers

Excited to try your hand at a generative writing workshop but feeling a bit nervous about what to expect? The following is excerpted from a recent email response I sent to a writer who enquired about what they might expect from The Work poetry writing workshop:

My workshops tend to attract 4-6 poets per session. We sometimes begin by hearing one poem from those who care to share one. I do this because poetry is an oral tradition, and because hearing a few poems before we begin can help put us in the right frame of mind to begin creating something from nothing.

We then spend the next hour or so engaged in three separate timed writing exercises. I send out handouts with example poems that will be used during the writing period. Beside or beneath each poem is a series of writing prompts inspired by the poem. Each prompt has some relationship to either the content, style, or technique found in the example. I provide more than one prompt because I realize that not everyone will relate to or be interested in each one. 

I like to give people options, and to send them away with writing prompts for a rainy day. Many writers tell me that they sometimes have trouble maintaining their writing practice when they are not in the workshop. If you hold on to the handouts, you will begin to acquire a collection of prompts for those times when you may want to write yet feel uninspired. 

You also always have the option of freewriting something based on whatever struck you in the poem. 

The last hour of the workshop is spent hearing at least one poem from each writer, then sharing constructive feedback on their drafts. Because all of the poems we are discussing are first drafts, this is not a hard critique. You do not need to have any particular skills or educational background to participate. I simply ask each poet to respond as a reader and a human being, in order to let each writer know what she has accomplished so far, how/what the poem is communicating, and a few ideas for what might be done in the future should the writer choose to revise the piece.

Looking to follow your bliss in 2023? Take a poetry or memoir writing workshop with Christopher Luna.

Have a friend who might benefit from a creative writing workshop? Purchase one for them for the holidays.

I lead creative writing workshops and classes year-round. I am also accepting new coaching clients and manuscripts for editing. If you are looking for writing coaching, editing/manuscript review, or information about poetry and memoir classes, send me an email via printedmattervancouver@gmail.com.

You can read all about it on the Printed Matter Vancouver website:

WRITING YOUR LIFE STORY: A new creative writing workshop with Christopher Luna begins May 2, 2019

christopher by alisha jucevic
Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Beginning in May 2019, Printed Matter Vancouver co-founder Christopher Luna will  offer a new eight-week workshop called Writing Your Life Story at Angst Gallery on Thursdays from 10:30am – 1:00pm.

Printed Matter logo


Who: Open to all skill levels. The class will be limited to ten (10) participants.

Where: Angst Gallery, 1015 Main St., Vancouver, WA 98660

When: 10:30a – 1p Thursday, May 2 – Thursday, June 27, 2019 (Note: no class June 20)

What: Document your memories for your family or for possible future publication. Complete short timed writings as well as weekly take-home assignments. Give and receive feedback in a safe, informal environment.

Cost: $225 (cash, check, card)

WEDNESDAY, MAY 1 12 – 3:30pm

2019 Dates

May 2 – June 27
July 11 – August 29
Oct 3 – Nov 21

Overview: Christopher Luna will introduce the participants to the techniques of creative nonfiction storytelling which uses the content of one’s life as the foundation for narrative. He will introduce current examples in popular nonfiction and memoir to assist the process. Participants will be encouraged to share their writing in a safe environment (no one will be required to share their stories) with the option of receiving feedback from the facilitator and other students. We will work to achieve the following goals:

1) learn the key elements of successful storytelling in written form,
2) create a living document for yourself, your family, or others,
3) delve into or build upon your written skills.

Bring your ideas, notes, paper, and pen/pencil (no books required).

Your Facilitator: Christopher Luna

With an MFA in Creative Writing and over 25 years of experience as a creative writing teacher, published author, workshop leader, editor, and writing coach, Christopher Luna will lead you through skill-building techniques, content reflection, supporting examples, and constructive feedback. Originally from Long Island, New York, Christopher has made Vancouver, Washington his home since 2003. Since then he has taught a variety of English classes at Clark College, led poetry and memoir writing workshops, and served as the first Clark County Poet Laureate (2013-2017).

For questions contact Christopher Luna at printedmattervancouver@gmail.com or 360-910-1066.

“The highest purpose of art is to inspire.” –Bob Dylan

Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic Featuring Reggie Marra September 13 / Narrative Healing Workshop September 14

Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic flyer September 13 2018 cropped

Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic

Hosted by Christopher Luna and Toni Partington of Printed Matter Vancouver

Featuring Reggie Marra, Connecticut Poet and author of Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed

7 pm

Thursday, September 13

Open mic sign up begins at 6:30 and closes at 7


Angst Gallery

1015 Main Street

Vancouver, WA 98660

Food and libation provided by Niche Wine Bar, 1013 Main Street

Sound provided by Briz Loan & Guitar


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Reggie Marra is the author of four books of poetry and four of nonfiction, including And Now, Still: Grave & Goofy Poems and Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed. He has conducted poetry-writing and adult development and healing workshops since 1997, including work with the NEA’s Poetry Out Loud program, the National Association for Poetry Therapy, the Connecticut Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools program, the Transformative Language Arts Network, Teleosis Institute, the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, HealingNewtown, the National Speakers Association and in schools throughout the northeastern United States. Reggie is an Integral Master Coach,™ a Voice Dialogue practitioner through Bridgit Dengel Gaspard, and Nature Based Soulcraft® practitioner, through Bill Plotkin and Animas Valley Institute. Prior to 1997 he spent 21 years as a teacher, basketball coach and administrator in secondary and higher education. Learn more at www.reggiemarra.com.


The music stops.
The young women holding hands,
their tank tops, shorts, boots, long
flowing brown hair, and the young
man in a black tee, blue jeans and
boots to their right, capture a neon-
backlit American summer evening.
They run, semi-crouched, amid
food and beverage containers
strewn across the open space while
those behind them kneel, crawl,
crouch and cower along the fence,
unsure where the shooter is and
when the shooting will stop.
If ever.

From Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed.

Killing America Cover

Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed is Reggie Marra’s fourth book of poems. As with his This Open Eye: Seeing What We Do (2006), Marra unflinchingly sees, writes and shares with the reader verbal snapshots of his country’s late 20th- and early 21st-century culture of violence as it manifests at home and abroad. His poems both grieve slaughtered school children, unarmed black men, ambushed law enforcement officers, church-, concert- and movie-goers, military veterans and victims of American foreign policy violence in the Middle East, and indict the leaders who refuse to act amid, or implicitly condone, the ongoing slaughter.

ISBN: 978-0-9627828-8-6

135 pages | 6×9 paper

Cover Art: Whose Heaven? by Ray DiCapua Charcoal and ink on paper | 48” x 72” Copyright © 2003 by Ray DiCapua

Go to Amazon in September: https://www.amazon.com/Reggie-Marra/e/B00AECM6OM

Approximately 546 copies of this book will be sent to the September 2018 occupants of the United States Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court and White House. We’ll be raising money to do that: https://www. gofundme.com/poems-for- politicians-in-dc

Ongoing updates and poem excerpts at: https://killing-america.com/

Narrative Healing: Transcending the Illness Narrative Workshop with Reggie Marra

6:30 – 9:00pm

Friday, September 14

Angst Gallery

1015 Main Street

Vancouver, WA 98660

Cost: $35

RSVP to christopherjluna@gmail.com by Thursday, September 13

Narrative Healing: Transcending the Illness Narrative

“It is true that the mind is restless and difficult to control, but it can be conquered… through regular practice and detachment” (6.35)  – The Bhagavad Gita, c. 500-200 BCE.

The power of story to heal was understood 2,000 years ago. We now have over 30 years of research that confirms this philosophical, intuitive understanding. This workshop will engage you in your own narrative healing process, introduce the salient history, philosophy and research, and prepare you to write and revise your story from a salutogenic, rather than pathogenic, perspective. Deepen your abilities to embrace your own healing and nurture that of your clients, patients, students or loved ones. Find out: do you have your story – or does your story have you?

Whether you are navigating your own personal healing, coming to terms with the ongoing cultural and societal healing that is necessary to address American violence at home and abroad, or the larger global issues of pain and suffering, story matters. Your narrative impacts what you see, how you see and what you can do next. Join us on ….. for an experiential introduction to narrative healing.