TLA Classes

We offer online classes to help you deepen your understanding of Transformative Language Arts, explore the craft of various genres and arts related to TLA, and develop your livelihood, community work, and service related to TLA.

Designed and taught by leading teachers, transformative language artists and activists, and master facilitators (want to be one of them?), these classes offer you ample opportunities to grow your art of words, your business and service, and your conversation with your life work.

The online nature of the classes allows you to participate from anywhere in the world (provided you have internet access) at any time of the day while, at the same time, the intimate and welcoming atmosphere of the classes helps students find community, inspiration, and greater purpose.

All classes include hands-on activities (writing, storytelling, theater, spoken word, visual arts,music and/or other prompts), plus great resources, readings, and guidance.

Enrollment Cost

Classes are priced by the number of weeks they run. Members pay $35/week, non-members pay $40/week. Most classes run for 6 weeks, so members would pay $210 and non-members would pay $240.

NOTE: When there is a sale, the class page only displays the non-member discounted price. If you are a member, it will show the member discount once you start the registration process.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Cancellations: A nonrefundable fee of 10% is included in each registration. No cancellations after the class begins. In the case of extenuating circumstances, please contact us.

Low Enrollment Cancellations: Classes that do not meet a minimum enrollment may be canceled a minimum of 3 days prior to the first class meeting with full refunds for all registrants.

Incomplete: Students seeking certification in TLA Foundations who cannot complete a class due to extenuating circumstances may be granted a discounted registration on the next available offering of that class. To be eligible for the discount students must communicate their circumstance to the teacher as soon as possible.

Gift Certificates

Want to purchase a class for a very lucky someone, but not sure which one they'd be most excited about? Get them a gift certificate that they can redeem for the class of their dreams! Here's how it goes:

  1. Click on the button to the right -- you'll be taken to a PayPal page (NOTE: You must have a PayPal account to purchase a gift certificate.)
  2. Enter your name, the receiver's name and email, and a personal message (if you want). You have the choice to have PayPal email it for you, or you can print it out and include it in a card.
  3. Purchase the gift certificate. Your special someone will receive a redemption code with their gift certificate and can use it to enroll in a class of their choosing! (NOTE: Only non-member rates are available for gift certificates. If the receiver of the gift certificate is a member of the TLA Network, they will get the discount and then have credit to go towards something else -- score for them!)

Upcoming Classes

    • 14 Jun 2017
    • 25 Jul 2017
    • Online

    Often as writers, we seek to extend our voice beyond the boundaries of self, seeking to capture and translate the texture of life beyond our skin.

    Inherent in this work is the omnipresent question: how can I, in the body I live in, bring the stories of others to life in a way that authentically captures their culture, offerings, three dimensional representation and unique perspectives?

    In this workshop we will investigate the power inherent when other people's stories enter our hands, specifically through the lens of news and creative writing. 

    We’ll write a poem/short prose piece weekly in response to a world event, and present work for feedback and supportive but probing commentary.

    In each session, we’ll also examine work (mostly poetry) by published poets of witness from diverse backgrounds, styles, professional and creative approaches including Carolyn Forche, Juan Felipe Herrera, Elana Bell, Patricia Smith, Denise Levertov, CD Wright, June Jordan, Tarifa Faizullah and John Murrillo, among others.

    Our goal is to create a space that is both brave and safe enough to question and rub up against the sticky parts of this work: ethics, fears and challenges, with support and warmth.

    Week by Week

    Week One: Poetry of Witness: history, future & methodology

    Week Two: Translating Our Stories: bearing witness to our own truths

    Week Three: Oral History Poems: interviews as poetic source material

    Week Four: Persona Poems: inventing characters ethically

    Week Five: Manifestos: creating powerful political statements

    Week Six: Odes & Praise Poems: using joy as a tool of illumination

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class is appropriate for more experienced writers looking to jump into a more rigorous challenge in their craft. Perhaps for autobiographical writers who’ve tired out their story arsenal and are looking to expand their work, or TLA practitioners grappling with how to discuss their work in the field in writing.

    Format

    This is an online class. Each week, a new week will open full of resources, reflections, discussion questions, and writing prompts. Students should expect to spend 3-5 hours per week perusing resources and readings, answering a discussion question, engaging in several writing prompts, and responding to peers’ work. A gentle but clear process allows each participant to work at her/his own pace.

    About the Teacher

    Caits Meissner is a multidisciplinary writer, artist and community facilitator. She is the author of the hybrid poetry book Let It Die Hungry (The Operating System, 2016), and The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You (Well&Often, 2012), co-written with poet Tishon Woolcock. With a long history in community arts, Caits currently teaches in prisons, public school, and at CUNY and The New School University. She is a Spring 2017 MFA in Creative Writing candidate at City College of New York.

    • 14 Jun 2017
    • 25 Jul 2017
    • Online

    We move our bodies through this world, experiencing it daily, but often not connecting with either the world or our selves in a conscious and intentional way. This six-week class will help us to slow down, breathe deeply, and experience our bodies in this world. Through a variety of readings and texts, online discussions, and creative writing exercises, participants will investigate what it means to be in their bodies in the natural world. Read an interview here with Angie about the class!

    Participants will be invited to engage in the natural world in whatever means possible for them – be that on a park bench in a busy city, through an apartment window in the suburbs, camping in a forest, walking through open fields, or working in a garden – and to embrace their bodies in their current state of being. Creative writing will focus on the senses of the body, the elements of nature, and the ways we can be more aware of those things in our daily life. We will explore these themes through various forms of poetry including traditional nature-based forms such as the bantu, haiku, and renga, as well as forms such as the pantoum, free verse, and communal writing.

    Week by Week

    Week One ​will begin with an overview of sensory-based writing and a discussion of the benefits of using the natural world as a way of talking about our bodies and selves. We will also do introductions of ourselves and our daily worlds, and be introduced to the idea of the “small noticing.”

    Weeks Two through Week Five will each focus on a different element - earth, air, water, and fire - and the ways we can connect with both with these elements and with our selves through writing. We will do various readings each week and experiment with different forms of poetry.

    Week Six​ will bring the various writing we’ve done throughout the course together, and will include a community written poem as well. Additionally, we will reflect on what we’ve gained and learned over the last several weeks and ways we plan to continue this work.

    Format

    This is an online class. Each week will include various texts to help us explore the topics. Each week will also include discussions of the readings and our personal experiences, as well as creative writing prompts. Participants should expect to spend around three to four hours per week on this class. If you have specific accessibility needs please contact the facilitator.

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class is ideal for anyone wanting to get more in touch with themselves or the world around them, and those wishing to expand their creative practices. Participants will also learn more about various types of poetry and should expect to spend around three to four hours per week on this class.

    About the Teacher

    Angie River is a writer, educator, activist, and performance artist. She has taught writing workshops and done performances in various states across the country, and is published in “Tidepools Literary Magazine,” “Reading for Hunger Relief,” The Body is Not an Apology webpage, and the upcoming anthology “Queering Sexual Violence,” as well as having her own blog and zines. Angie fully believes in the power of writing to help us gain a better understanding of ourselves, to build connections and community, and to make personal and social change.

    • 06 Sep 2017
    • 17 Oct 2017
    • Online

    What is the physicality of a wound? What types of loss feel nearly impossible to come back from? What kind of life settles into our bones if we don’t take the time to grieve these losses? Can we dive into the wound, the loss: excavate and unearth it?

    We will focus on surviving and survivorhood; what it looks and feels like to live beyond traumatic experiences. The dominant narratives about the survivor body— oft pathologized as disembodied, disassociated and unwell— will be turned on their heads. We can never actually leave our bodies, as hard as we might try (and as wise as we are in our reasons for trying) and are therefore always already embodied.

    Too often survivors that are also writers are told to not dwell in the trauma, that writing from personal and traumatic experience isn’t “legitimate” writing. I don’t believe that to be true and am regularly heartened and inspired by the writing people do while diving into the wound(s).

    In this 6 week workshop we will engage with work written by a wide range of writers, generate our own body of work through interrogating the roots of trauma and how it manifests in the body and explore body-based writing can help support us as we write into the wound. The trauma doesn't have to just live in our body; it can be moved from living within our skin and be rewritten onto paper (and computer screens).

    "How people feel, what they feel, what breaks them, how trauma resonates through their lives . . . that’s a legitimate space in poetry." —Claudia Rankine

    "Write backwards from the dissipated, exploded, violent body. Write the blows backwards until you make a real body. This movement of a body through space, how to reduce the pain of this body, the pain of a static, habitual, repeated movement-- impact-- is what I mean by healing. Not resolution, but a rewriting in neuromuscular terms of gesture." — Bhanu Kapil

    “What’s fertile in a wound? Why dwell in one? Wounds promise authenticity and profundity, beauty and singularity, desirability. They summon sympathy. They bleed enough light to write by. They yield scars full of stories and slights that become rallying cries. They break upon the fuming fruits of damaged engines and dust these engines with color. And yet—​beyond and beneath their fruits—​they still hurt. The boons of a wound never get rid of it; they just bloom from it.”— Leslie Jamison

    Note: "Wound Dwelling" is language drawn from Leslie Jamison's work on wounds and pain.

    Week by Week

    Week 1 // The Survivor Body(ies)

    Week 2 // The Survivor Body as a "Failed Body" and Using Failure to Create

    Week 3 // Wound Dwelling as a Creative Practice an Embodied & Somatic Practice

    Week 4 // Wound Dwelling as an Embodied & Somatic Practice

    Week 5 // Wound Dwelling: The Body(ies) in Pleasure and Pain

    Week 6 // Wound Dwelling: Moving Beyond Dominant Narratives

    General outline for each week:
    •    Review guidelines for holding space for each other and writing into traumatic material in order to foster a safe(r) space
    •    2-3 readings from other writers drawing from poetry, creative non-fiction, and a little trauma theory
    •    Questions to generate discussion
    •    Offerings of writing prompts, response, and discussion

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class is for anyone who is looking to mine the embodied knowing of traumatic experience — all bodies, genders, and identities. Whether someone is looking to delve more deeply into personal experience or needing to get through writer’s block that lives deep in the well of their body it will be helpful for people who are writing memoir, creative non-fiction, poetry, and fiction.

    Format

    This is an online class. Each week, a new section of the course will open full of resources, reflections, exercises, discussion questions, and writing prompts. Students should expect to spend 2-3 hours per week perusing resources and readings, answering a discussion question, engaging in exercises, and responding to peers’ work.

    Note from the teacher: Working with trauma is inherently risky and challenging writing often comes from places of harm. I want to offer a space that is safe but also know that I can’t guarantee (because of the vast scope of trauma) that we won’t be triggered at times. I’m very invested in creating a container for us to write in and I will offer guidelines for writing together that honor individual experience and affirm the difficult writing we will share with each other. I come to this work as a survivor of multiple forms of violence, as a writer and artist and I have a background as a community organizer and as an emergency room rape crisis counselor. I want to be in and create spaces that honor the myriad ways our survivorhood can look, spaces that honor all genders, identities and experiences and I want to be open to growing and shifting the spaces I create to meet the needs of the individual people I work

    That said, it is important to note that I am not a licensed therapist so if you feel like you are at a particularly tender or charged moment in your healing process it might also be helpful to have a therapist or someone you trust to be on deck to offer further support. If you have specific concerns or accessibility needs, please contact the facilitator. 

    About the Teacher

    Jennifer Patterson is a poet/writer, creative and herbalist who uses words, threads and plants to explore queer survivorhood, the body and healing. She is the editor of the forthcoming anthology Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Sexual Violence Movement (Magnus/ Riverdale Ave Books, 2016), facilitates writing workshops and has had writing published in OCHO: A Journal of Queer Arts, the Outrider Review, and on The Feminist Wire. With a past-life in fashion design, she now uses her hands to map and mark the body through movable states of (dis)embodiment. Jennifer is also in graduate program at Goddard College focusing on trauma, queer communities, healing, craft, loss, pleasure, pain and creative non-fiction. You can find more at http://ofthebody.net/

    • 18 Oct 2017
    • 28 Nov 2017
    • Online

    This thorough introduction to Transformative Language Arts (TLA) encompasses the personal and the global, the contemporary and the historic, and how TLA can be practiced through writing, storytelling, performance, song, and collaborative, expressive and integrated arts. Each week includes short readings, a lively discussion, and invigorating writing prompts to help you articulate more of your own TLA callings.

    Participants should plan on spending 3-5 hours on class assignments each week. We will also have two 40-minute conference calls (time to be determined in concert with everyone’s schedules), at the beginning and end of the class, to get to know one another and discuss questions and topics voice-to-voice.

    Every week includes website to visit and engage with, whether that engagement be simply perusing a site and learning about a movement, organization, watching a video or listening to a podcast. Weekly writing prompts give you room to work and play through what you know, are coming to know, and how this knowledge cross-pollinates with what you do and who you are.

    This class is also required for TLA Foundations Certification.

    To order a copy of The Power of Words: A TLA Reader (required text for class), please scroll down.

    Week by Week

    Week One: TLA history, fields and traditions

    An overview of theory and practice, including genres, arts and community practices, ethics, and your own values informing your TLA. Explore TLA in many forms–from poetry therapy to social change theater to healing storytelling–and share what ignites your soul and work.

    Week Two: TLA in Service: health, healing, spirituality, and personal growth.

    We’re explore how TLA can help people find their way home through health or emotional crises or wounds, spiritual callings, and many manner of personal growth. Starting with the personal, and recognizing how the personal is political, we look at ways in which TLA can foster health, healing, and homecoming, and also some of our cultural biases and blindnesses about such directions.

    Week Three: TLA as Catalyst: community, culture, history, and social change.

    We’ll look at TLA in relation to community-building, culture-shifting, history-revisioning, and social change, and particularly explore what it means and can mean to be part of various communities.

    Week Four:  TLA and Right Livelihood: Ways to Make a Living and a Life.

    What are our callings for how we make a living and how we live a life? We’ll dive into how TLA intersects with our life’s work (whether that work relates to a paycheck, volunteering, or other aspects of our life), and develop plans for where we’re led to go.

    Week Five: TLA in Action: Facilitation, Consulting, Collaboration, Coaching and More.

    Looking at the ethics of our work, art, and community involvement, we’ll discuss and write about the specific forms of TLA we do and want to do.

    Week Six: TLA and You: Plans, Visions, and Maps.

    Deepening our plans for the work, art, and community-making ahead, we’ll clarify what’s right for us to pursue next, what support and tools we need along the way, and the future envision.

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class is ideal for a wide variety of people, including professionals who want to infuse TLA into their teaching, counseling, pastoral work, arts collaboration, and community work; writers, storytellers, performers and other artists who want to develop their facilitation of writing, songwriting, expressive arts, drama therapy and community theater, collaborative arts, storytelling, and integrated arts; and perspective or current students or alumni of TLA studies.

    Format

    This is an online class. Each week, a new week will open full of resources, reflections, discussion questions, and writing prompts. Students should expect to spend 3-5 hours per week perusing resources and readings, answering a discussion question, engaging in several writing prompts, and responding to peers’ work. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

    Required Text: The Power of Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader, edited by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Janet Tallman. You can purchase the text on Amazon.

    About the Teacher

    Joanna Tebbs Young is a Writer and Transformative Writing Facilitator and Coach. She holds a Masters degree in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College and is a certified instructor through the Center for Journal Therapy. Joanna writes weekly columns for two local newspapers and offers workshops at her writing center in Rutland, VT. Her blog and coaching information can be found at http://wisdomwithinink.com.

    Read TLA Founder Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s article, “Why I’m a Transformative Language Artist” in Huffington Post.

"The Transformative Language Arts Network" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Kansas, P.O. Box 442633, Lawrence, KS 66044

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