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, and 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. We use the online educational platform, Moodle.

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.

Upcoming Classes

    • 01 Jan 2018
    • 31 Dec 2018
    • Online

    NOTE: This class does not have a set time frame -- you may register and move through the material at any time of the year.

    This self-paced poetry class combines innovative writing prompts, inspiring essays and videos on the craft and passion of writing powerful poetry about our lives and times, and written discussions on the history and possibilities of poetry that speaks to social transformation.

    Each unit highlights both state poet laureate past or present, and a historic poet dedicated to changing the world, including a writing prompt and writing craft or writing life discussion from that poet, some of the poets laureate's poems with writing prompts, a discussion of a poet from the past or present who crafts poetry for social transformation, and exciting links to interviews, essays, and videos.

    By the end of this 12-unit class, you will have written dozens of new poems (over 10 writing prompts in each unit), learned more about poetry as a craft and way of life, considered various ways to speak truth to power for individual and social change, and interacted with the writing and poetics of 37 American poets.

    Poets highlighted in the class: Each unit will feature a state poet laureate, a U.S. (or tribal) poet laureate, and a historic poets, including the following: Walt Whitman, W. S. Merwin, Marilyn L. Taylor, Emily Dickinson, Dick Allen, William Stafford, Sue Brennan Walker, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, William Trowbridge, Robert Penn Warren, Muriel Rukeyser, Mark Strand, Grace Paley, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Adrienne Rich, Joyce Brinkman, Juan Felipe, Herrera, Denise Low, Wendell Berry, Rita Dove, David Romtvedt, Sharon Olds, Luci Tapahonso, Kimberly Blaeser, Yusef Komunyakaa, Joy Harjo, Marjory Wentworth, Audre Lorde, Elizabeth Woody, Natasha Trethewey, Li-Young Lee, JoAnn Balingit, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Naomi Shahib Nye, Tracy K. Smith, and Richard Blanco. (Photo: from left, Audre Lorde, Meridel Le Sueur, and Adrienne Rich.)

    Recommended supplementary text: An Endless Skyway: Poetry from the United Poets Laureate of America, edited by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Denise Low, Walter Bargen, and Marilyn L. Taylor. Ice Cube Press. NOTE: Special discounted rate for supplementary text available to those who enroll in this class.

    Week by Week

    Each unit includes:

    • 10-15 writing prompts 

    • 3-6 poems by visiting state poet laureate, U.S. or tribal poet laureate, and historic poet.

    • Handout on craft or other consideration by visiting poet laureate.

    • Essays and videos on poetry as a catalyze for social change and ecological stewardship.

    • Links to articles, interviews, websites, etc. featuring visiting poet laureate

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class is appropriate for those with any amount of experience writing poetry, from those who are interested in learning more and might be a bit nervous about it, to writers with years of experience who want to generate new work and brush up on elements of craft and be exposed to new contemporary writers, and how writing can be a positive force for change.

    NOTE: This class cannot count towards TLA Foundations Certification requirements.


    This is a self-paced online class. By self-paced, we mean that you do this class on your own without interacting with the teacher or a cohort group, and according to your own schedule, allowing you to engage with the the material on your own timeline. Each unit is full of resources, reflections, discussion questions, and writing prompts. Students should expect to spend 4-7 hours per unit perusing resources and readings and engaging in several writing prompts (although with so much material and so many writing prompts, students can certainly spend more time revisiting each unit to find more inspiration and ideas).

    About the Editor

    Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 KansasPoet Laureate, has created this class through study, experience, and in conversations with over a dozen state poets laureate (many of whom shared their best handouts and writing prompts). Caryn is the author of two dozen books, including the recent Miriam's Well, a novel; Following the Curve, poetry; and Everyday Magic, a collection of beloved blog posts and personal essays. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, particularly for people living with serious illness and their caregivers. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-leads Brave Voice writing and singing retreats.

    • 16 May 2018
    • 26 Jun 2018
    • Online
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    Our current economic, political, and social systems are serving fewer and fewer people, not to mention destroying the environment.

    I don’t know what a future society will look like, but if it is to meet our human needs better than our current society does, I believe it needs to be formed with certain values in mind.

    Fortunately, these values can be taught, not just through stories, songs, dances, and poems about the values, but also through the very processes of telling or creating stories, singing or creating songs, and so on. In other words, our artistic processes themselves can give people experiences that open them to values that are necessary for an improved society.

    In this 6-week course, I'll briefly lay out a theory of how values can be influenced, as well as the eight values I’ve chosen as “values of a future society.” I’ll introduce the values one at a time and give examples of processes from storytelling that support each value. Then I’ll help you identify and/or create processes that can give others experiences of each value, from your particular type of transformational language work.

    Key to this course is inspiring each other to notice the transformative power of the creative processes. Together, we’ll engage in building an enlarging web of activities that can help people align themselves with currents that, I believe, will help move us toward a more just, supportive, and enlightened society.

    Week by Week

    Prework: Before the first lesson, I'll ask you to describe briefly the type of transformative language arts work you do (or are interested in doing), so that we can begin to notice the diverse strengths among us.

    Week 1

    What are we doing here? The difficulties of thinking about a future society. Eight values to help guide the path.

    The three ways it’s possible to influence someone else’s values. Influencing via content versus influencing via process: the advantages and disadvantages of each. Which processes are you familiar with in your own area of practice? Which processes are you drawn to learn more about?

    In Lessons 2 through 5, I’ll explain how the processes of storytelling can promote each of the two values introduced in the lesson. Then I'll guide us through an example process for each value. Finally, I’ll help you identify, adapt, and/or create processes from your work than can give your audience or students an implicit experience of the values.

    Week 2

    Value #1, "The Power of Listening”

    Value #2, “A Predisposition To Compassion,” as opposed to our cultural predisposition to evaluation.

    Week 3

    Value #3, “The Importance of Relationships.” How our society systematically discourages us from being truly close to each other and distracts us from the pursuit of connection.

    Value #4, “The Efficacy of Openness.” How openness and authenticity make everything else go better.

    Week 4

    Value #5, “The Preciousness of Every Human Point of View.” Each human has a unique and valuable perspective and set of experiences.

    Value #6, “The Universality of Human Potential.” All humans are capable of learning all human subjects. The destructive fallacy of “talent,” fostered by a society dependent on profit.

    Week 5

    Value #7, “The Whole Mind: Conceptual Thinking Plus Image Thinking.” Since the Enlightenment, our view of thinking has been too narrow; it’s time to broaden it.

    Value #8, “Emotion’s Dual Role in Thinking.” Emotion is required for thinking, but, at the same time, unhealed emotional hurt can distort our thinking.

    Week 6

    Summing up the relationships we’ve explored between processes and values. Are there patterns that emerge from the processes that all the course members identified for each of the eight values?

    How can what we’ve done here be carried forward? What does all this teach us about transformative language arts as a field?

    Who Should Take This Class

    Storytellers, fiction writers, narrative poets, songwriters, improvisational singers, dramatists, etc. - all who use language to help people imagine or convey their experience - especially those interested in teaching their art or discipline with an eye toward promoting generative values.

    The course will be most helpful to those with enough experience in their work to have already developed some processes for doing and/or teaching their art/discipline. I define transformative language arts broadly. If you think your work might belong here, it likely does!


    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.

    The instructor will also host a live webinar call each week, at a time based on the schedules of the enrolled students. You will be able to attend the calls via computer or via telephone. All calls, including the visuals, will be recorded; the recordings will be available for any class member who needs to miss any of the calls.

    About the Teacher

    In 1970, Doug Lipman was a struggling teacher of troubled adolescents. He had given up connecting with them when one day, by accident, he found himelf telling them a story. They responded! Ever since, he has pursued the transformative power of storytelling.

    Over the decades, Doug has coached hundreds of people on their storytelling, writing, and recordings. He is the author of three books on storytelling (Improving Your Storytelling, The Storytelling Coach, and Storytelling Games), scores of published articles, and over 150 issues of his own email newsletters, including "eTips from the Storytelling Coach (

    A professional storyteller since 1976, Doug has performed and led workshops on three continents and led many online courses and webinars. His ongoing search for effective ways to teach the transformative power of storytelling has led to projects such as a new paradigm for coaching storytellers, an exploration of the seldom-noticed Hidden Storytelling Skills, and the pursuit of ways that storytelling and related arts can allow our true humanity to blossom.

    • 27 Jun 2018
    • 14 Aug 2018
    • Online
    • 8

    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.


    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

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

    • 27 Jun 2018
    • 14 Aug 2018
    • Online
    • 0
    Join waitlist

    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 One: The Survivor Body(ies)

    Week Two: The Survivor Body as a "Failed Body" and Using Failure to Create

    Week Three: Wound Dwelling as a Creative Practice an Embodied & Somatic Practice

    Week Four: Wound Dwelling as an Embodied & Somatic Practice

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

    Week Six: Wound Dwelling: Moving Beyond Dominant Narratives

    Please note: There is no class for the July 4th week.

    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.


    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 about 4 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 with.

    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 grief worker who uses plants, breath, words to explore survivorhood, body(ies) and healing. She is the editor of Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti- Violence Movement (2016), lectures across the country, and has had writing published in places like OCHO: A Journal of Queer ArtsNat. Brut, The EstablishmentHandJob, and The Feminist Wire. New publications are forthcoming. She is also the creative nonfiction editor of Hematopoiesis Press.  A queer and trans affirming, trauma-informed herbalist and Breathwork facilitator, Jennifer offers sliding scale care as a practitioner through her own practice Corpus Ritual and is a member of The Breathe Network and Breathwork for Recovery. She facilitates writing and Breathwork workshops at healing centers, LGBTQ centers, a Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish healing center, a needle exchange and harm reduction clinic, veterans hospitals, online with the Transformative Language Arts Network, sexual violence resource centers, the collective What Would an HIV Doula Do?, and at colleges and universities. A graduate of Goddard College’s MA program, Jennifer is finishing a book project focused on translating embodied traumatic experience through somatic practices and critical and creative nonfiction. You can find more at
    • 27 Jun 2018
    • 14 Aug 2018
    • Online
    • 9

    In this creativity-generating workshop we’ll follow in the footsteps of genius eccentrics, outsiders and outlaws who've stepped beyond their perceived limitations, risking ridicule (and worse) to access their unique creative offerings — ultimately proving that what is outside the norm — and the academy — is often the most deliciously innovative and juicy. Together we’ll engage playful and boundary-pushing exercises to become co-conspirators in building a vibrant universe, soaked in the imagination’s brightest colors. Flexing our natural instinct for curiosity, we'll write beyond the world of convention, actively practicing how to find inspiration anywhere. A range of silly/light to inquisitive/profound themes tie together disparate artists of various mediums that we'll use as a diving board into short and extended creative exercises. We’ll ignite creative experiments in non-writing mediums (just for fun!) in order to aid our writing. We’re after a hands on, interactive experience aimed at shaking up and pushing the edges of the creative spirit. The ultimate hope is for the writer to surprise themselves.

    Week by Week

    Each week we’ll engage with a series of diverse artists in different mediums, as well as a packet of multiple poems, and other supplemental readings revolving around a central theme. In response, non-writing experiments, as well as short and long writing prompts will be given in service of generating new work. We’ll share encouraging feedback throughout the process — staying away from critique in this course, opting for questions, curiosities and other ways to push the imagination further.

    Writers we’ll read: Amiri Baraka, Tracy K. Smith, George Bradley, Nathalie Handal, Audre Lorde, Etheridge Knight, Zora Neal Hurston, Phillis Wheatley,  Maggie Nelson, Jane Hershfield, Danielle DeTiberus, Kim Addonizio, Yona Harvey, Pablo Neruda, Michael Waters, Joseph O. Legaspi, Mahogany L. Browne,  Safia Elhillo, Reg E Gaines, Eve Ewing, etc.

    Week One: Mashups, Remixes, Recycling: the Art of Re-appropriation

    Artist inspiration: Nancy Chunn, Noah Purifoy, Joseph Cornell, El Anatsui, erasure poems, centos, etc.

    Week Two: Diving into Sky, Calling in the Sea: Imagining the Beyond

    Artist inspiration: Sun Ra, Jason De Caires, science fiction illustration, Guo Fengyi, Octavia Butler, etc.

    Week Three: Unshackled Voices / The Rose that Bloomed From Concrete

    Artist inspiration: Etheridge Knight, Phyllis Wheatley, Anthony Papa, Bill Traylor, The Lady Lifers, etc.

    Week Four: Fracturing the Mirror: Redefining Self = Redefining the World

    Artist inspiration: Frida Kahlo, RiotGrrrl Manifesto, Cindy Sherman, Annegret Soltau, Afghani Women's Landays, etc.

    Week Five: I Love What I Love: Honoring the Obsessive Genius Itch

    Artist inspiration: Yayoi Kusama, Xenobia Bailey, Gregory Blackstock, Gee’s Bend Quilts, Adolf Wolfi, etc.

    Week Six: Ancient/Future Fly: The Art of Adornment

    Artist inspiration: David Wojnarowicz, Kalinga tattoo artists, the Omo people, Delphine Diallo, Alexander McQueen, etc.

    Take-away: Getting Messy: Hyper experimentation and the Glory of Imperfection

    Artist inspiration: Judith Scott, Cy Twombly, Doug Kearney, etc.

    Who Should Take This Class

    This generative workshop is for writers looking to combat writer’s block, begin a new collection, try something out of the ordinary and have some fun! It is also a low pressure setting for new writers who are curious about entering the writing process.


    This is an online class. Students should expect to spend 3 hours per week perusing resources and readings, engaging in several writing/creation prompts, and briefly responding to peers’ work. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

    About the Facilitator

    Caits Meissner is the author of the illustrated 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. The recipient of multiple artist residencies and fellowships, including the BOAAT Writers Retreat and The Pan-African Literary Forum, Caits is widely published in literary journals including The Literary Review, Narrative, Adroit, Drunken Boat and The Offing. She has taught, consulted and co-created extensively for over 15 years across a wide spectrum of communities, with a special focus on imprisoned people, women and youth. Caits holds a BFA in Communication Design from Pratt Institute, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York. She currently serves as the Prison and Justice Writing Program Manager at PEN America.

    • 05 Sep 2018
    • 16 Oct 2018
    • Online
    • 14

    When we discover, explore, and (re) connect with our voices—that perspective, knowledge, and expression that is uniquely ours—our life stories become intimate and emotionally powerful. We begin to offer a glimpse of what it’s like to live the complex constellation of privileges and disadvantages, joys and heartbreaks that are exclusive to each of us. Embarking on this type of self-reflective inquiry not only has the potential for healing and developing a greater understanding of one’s self and experience, it also holds the potential to open the hearts and consciousness of others, becoming narrative catalysts for change. Throughout this 6-week course, we will explore our various life experiences as a springboard for generating life stories that reflect our distinctive voices. By the end of the course, you will have a body of new writing, a clearer understanding of your writer voice, and an enhanced ability to connect with your audience. This course is also beneficial for non-writers, such as storytellers and other performers, who want to generate new material to use in their work. 

    Week by Week

    Week 1: (Re) Connecting with Our Voices

    This week we will explore the concept of voice and begin (re) connecting with and understanding our own.

    Week 2: Naming Our Uniqueness

    This week we will reflect on our various identities, as well as notions of belonging and difference.

    Week 3: Memory, Imagination & Truth-Telling

    This week we will consider the co-mingling of memories and imagination in our writing and what it means to tell the Truth in story.

    Week 4: Stories of Home & Family

    This week we will write stories of home and family, diving into our formative narratives.

    Week 5: Stories of Places and Locations

    This week we will contemplate how our voices are shaped by the places we come from and how the intersection of place and identity informs our language and stories.

    Week 6: Stories of the Past Illuminating the Present

    This week we will explore how stories of our past can illuminate the present as a basis for connecting with the reader/audience, building empathy and understanding.

    Who Should Take This Class?

    This class is ideal for a wide variety of people, including poets and writers of all genres, storytellers, healing arts professionals, teachers, songwriters, and anyone interested in reflecting on, writing about, and sharing their personal experiences as a way to make connection, build community, and foster understanding of self and others.


    This is an online class. Each week, you will receive a new collection of resources, reflections, discussion questions, and writing prompts. Students should expect to spend 3-5 hours per week perusing resources and readings, participating in discussions, and engaging the writing prompts. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

    About the Teacher

    Dr. Liz Burke-Cravens is an interdisciplinary educator, poet, writing coach, passionate scholar and determined optimist. She is the founder of A Brave Space, a learning community that seeks to create positive social change and personal transformation through writing. Her work has appeared in Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History: A Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia, Volume 2The Irish HeraldSoulstice: A Feminist Anthology Volume II, and Sandy River Review. Liz enjoys traveling, kickboxing, cycling, photography, and cooking. She has a deep love for language and a passion for teaching and supporting student success. Originally from Portland, Maine, she now lives in Oakland, California with her wife, Amber, and their two dogs, Schmoopie and Mr. Bits. You can learn more about her work, courses, and inspirations at and

    • 05 Sep 2018
    • 16 Oct 2018
    • Online
    • 15

    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.

    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.


    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.

    About the Teacher

    Angie Ebba is a queer disabled femme. As a writer, educator, activist, and performance artist, she believes strongly in the transformative powers of words and performance. She has taught writing workshops, presented, and done performances across the United States, including at the Body Love Conference. Angie is a poet published in Hematopoiesis Press, the Queering Sexual Violence anthology, several literary magazines, and her self-published blog and zines. She teaches writing workshops at Portland Community College, through the TLA Network, and also occasionally through her own website. Angie fully believes in the power of words to help us gain a better understanding of ourselves, to build connections and community, and to make personal and social change. Angie is currently working on writing and producing a one-woman multi-genre performance about the body and the soul. You can find Angie online at

    • 24 Oct 2018
    • 04 Dec 2018
    • Online
    • 15

    Explore how to use narrative-based models to strengthen your professional voice, better communicate who you are and what do you as a transformative language artist, and further shape the emerging field and practice of TLA.

    TLA practitioners, artists, activists, facilitators and scholars, we're often asked, “What's Transformative Language Arts?” In this class, we'll hone our abilities and build tools for communicating both the effectiveness of using the written, spoken and sung word for personal and communal change, and the specifics of our individual and community TLA work. Especially when working with people and cultures whose narratives are invisible and silenced, this kind of communication is particularly important to foster a new world of possibilities for healing, creativity and voice. Such models also lift the TLA profession and the reputation of the great people doing good work in the world.

    Yvette will use her TLA inspired model to offer practical “how to” guidance that strengthens the profession, helps you establish an expert voice, and better creatively showcase your work for a variety of audiences and uses. This course provides a framework of three anchors for promoting your TLA skill and expertise: Scholarly Personal Narratives, Authoethnography, and Story Branding. If you are imagining a way to effectively and passionately convey your the whys, whos, and whats of your practice and to market yourself effectively, this is the course for you. In a nutshell, this course will guide participants to succinctly name: This is my body of work. This is who I am. This is who I work with.

    Participants can expect to:

    • Establish a routine for ongoing reading and analysis of research to inform TLA practice
    • Track and evaluate the impact of TLA practice
    • Share experiences to further the knowledge of the field through writings and professional presentations
    • Advocate, educate and pass on TLA practices to promote learning and development
    • Weave between research, writing and practice, and theory and experience
    • Develop a TLA niche and target audience to support Right Livelihood
    • Prepare templates for public speaking
    • Prepare templates for Interviews on radio, podcasts and television.
    Participants will reflect on and write a high level overview of their TLA theory and practice suitable for publication in order to make an impact and advance TLA’s reputation in the field. The framework used to write their overview can be repeated in writing about more detailed TLA research and practices. Using a story branding process, participants will build a narrative model for marketing and branding themselves and creating a story profile for their target market.

    Week by Week

    Week One:  Introduction to Turning TLA Practice and Theory into Scholarly Personal Narrative, Autoethnography, and Story Branding: This week, we'll explore who we are, what's our TLA practice, and our goals for the class as well as learn more about various forms of sharing our TLA work in publications, for our livelihoods, and for many manner of lifting up the field of TLA while enhancing our own work.

    Week Two:  Elements of Scholarly Personal Narrative: By building a Scholarly Personal Narrative practice, we can turn our experience into stronger and deeper work in our communities for social and individual change. We'll also discuss how strengthening how we can tell our story can speak to our wider goals in terms of our art, livelihood, and callings.

    Week Three:  Diving Deeper into Scholarly Personal Narrative: Through sharing feedback with one another, we can further enhance how we convey our work, experience, goals, capacities, and vision.

    Week Four:  Autoethnography For Speaking to Your Story and the Cultural Story:Autoethnography is a methodology and emerging tradition of creative non-fiction for writing holistically about our experience and work in the world while also describing the cultural context of that work. This week, we'll learn more about how to create powerful creative nonfiction in service of building authoethnographic work that helps us see the larger world view and deeper meaning of our work.

    Week Five:  Diving Deeper into Autoethnography: We'll share feedback with one another in an effective and guided way to help us further develop our authoethnographic writing which, in turn, can help us create publishable works of scholarship and vision.

    Week Six:  Build a Framework for Story Branding: By immersing yourself in Story Branding – a marketing approach to differentiate who you are, your target audience, and the work that you do – you can better communicate our experience, goals, and vision for our community, publications, and the business of making a living through TLA. We'll build Brand Stories, and from there, ripple out to speak to target audiences and potential communities.

    Week Seven:  Putting Together Your TLA Marketing Profile and Documented Body of Work: We'll wrap up this class by creating a portfolio of our work for marketing and publication, including a marketing profile, bio, Story Branding material, Scholarly Personal Narratives, and Autoethnography work. We'll also identify potential TLA scholar-practitioner projects, publishing opportunities, and next steps.

    Who Should Take This Class

    This online class is for facilitators and practitioners (whether you're a writer, storyteller, performer, activist, educator, healer, or community leader) wishing to creatively document your work; craft strong writing of your background, experience and offerings for your print and web marketing materials; and create various form of TLA scholarship centered on your story and vision. This online class works well for individuals wishing dedicated time to write about their storytelling, personal narrative, and narrative storytelling based facilitation practice. This course will help participants write about their practice from a creative-scholar-based framework, and learn how to establish their “brand” and marketing through stories.


    Participants can expect to spend 3-6 hours a week in an online format checking out posted resources, assigned readings, brief slide presentations, sample writings for discussion, and templates, creative prompts, and exercises to initiate writing. Participants will receive and give strengths-based and positive feedback when responding to peers’ work.

    About the Teacher

    Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams, MA-TLA, Principal and Chief Storytelling Officer at Narratives for Change: I am a writer, teaching-artist, and transformative narrative coach. Currently, my research and writing projects center around analyzing personal experience for women and girls to understand their cultural realities. This social action writing confronts pressing issues that women and girls face, and I publish as research reports, journal articles, book chapters and on blogs. In addition to my writing projects and teaching creative and expressive writing, I help leaders and teams embrace transformative change using narrative models that promote transparency, positive reframing of language, and from a strengths-based philosophy. My history includes deep experience and training in applied behavioral science and mindfulness-based practices. I have a strong business background as Senior Vice President and corporate banker heading up a change management strategy division; as President, and Chief Executive Officer for a boutique change management consulting firm, and as President of a non-profit education institution for adult experiential learning and professional development. I get to help people rescript how they live and work in the world, so every day is a great day with words.

    • 24 Oct 2018
    • 04 Dec 2018
    • Online
    • 15

    We live in concentric circles, starting at our most local home of our bodies, and rippling out through our homes, communities, ecoregions, continents, planet, and the cosmos. Drawing on a bioregional perspective that home informs who we are and how we are to live, this class will bring participants together in council, creatively writing out our truths and into our questions to find companionship along and joy throughout the journey. The writing and storytelling prompts will be accompanied by occasional expressive arts explorations as we seek home through poetry, stories, songs, and other forms of TLA (your choice!). Along the way, we'll explore identity, callings, embodiment, personal history, ecology, and what it means to both live in time and place. Most of all, we'll be illuminating how to make the visible – what's right here in/of our bodies, dwellings, local terrain, weather and skies – more visible, and use that new vision as a lantern to lead us toward greater homecoming.

    Ah, not to be cut off,

    not through the slightest partition

    shut out from the law of the stars.

    The inner -- what is it?

    if not the intensified sky,

    hurled through with birds and deep

    with the winds of homecoming.

    ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

    Week by Week

    Week 1 / Home to the Body: Our Most Local Address: Our most intimate home is the local ecosystem of being a body. We'll romp and roll through prompts and questions about what our bodies have to say and how they say it over our history, and consider through what we create the possibilities of more embodied writing and living.

    Week 2 / Dwellings and What It Means to Make a Home: What does it mean to live in a house, apartment, yurt or wherever you hang your hat and aim yourself toward a good night's sleep on a regular basis? Drawing on such works as Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space, we'll write and play our way into the signs and symbols we find right at home and over time in our various dwellings.

    Week 3 / Watersheds and Watershed Moments: Our homes are part of a watershed, the area that is drained by a river, creek, stream or other defining ground of our waterways. At the same time, we'll look at the watershed moments of our lives that changed everything, and how to gain greater vision of what such moments mean, and how to understand, honor, and learn from our inner and outer watersheds.

    Week 4 / Ecoregions and Mapping Our Stories: Expanding out, we land in our land form, whether we live in the tallgrass prairie, the eastern woodlands, the Sonoran desert, the Rocky Mountains or elsewhere. In exploring a little more about the common plant and animal associations of your area, you can also cultivate greater connections with the more-than-human species among us. At the same time we look at mapping where we live in place, we'll play with mapping where we are in time by following the lines and curves of the stories we've lived.

    Week 5 / Earth and Sky: We're part of an evolving, ailing, regenerating, suffering and changing planet. At the same time, the sky begins at our feet, and we live in weather -- both inner and outer. This week journeys into the centers of our earths and sweeps across the skies of our imaginations as we use our writing to connect with the larger planet and constantly shifting sky.

    Week 6 / The Cosmos: The Visible and Invisible: Our plant floats in a vast universe, and beyond our universe, universes beyond universes, only a sliver visible to us. In concentrating on what we can learn about the cosmos and our local universe, we'll also journey through the cosmos of our infinite imaginations. This week also includes some circling back to body and place prompts to better see the concentric circles of home where we live, what we've created, and what calls to us beyond this call.

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class is ideal for people who do word arts–writing, storytelling, spoken word, theater, and other forms of TLA–and are ready to put themselves out there more in the world and in their work. The innovative exercises and engaging discussions make this class appropriate for both new and seasoned word artists.


    This is an online class, yet we strive to come together in council, reaching across the miles to hold one another's words and reflect deeply on what we discover individually and together. Each week will include an exploration of a particular writer (in various genres), such as David Abram, Linda Hogan, William Stafford, Pattiann Rogers and others; a discussion on the craft of strong writing; several writing, storytelling and/or expressive arts prompts to lead you to your own best words; and a discussion question to ponder.

    Each week, a new section of the course will open full of resources, reflections, exercises, discussion questions, and writing, storytelling and expressive arts 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

    About the Teacher

    Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet, is the author of over 20 books, including most recently, the novel Miriam's Well; a collection of essays, Everyday Magic; and a new book of yoga and embodiment poetry, Following the Curve.  She also wrote Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet, a bioregional memoir on cancer and community; and five poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather: Tornadoes, Tempests, and Thunderous Skies in Word and Image with weather chase/photographer Stephen Locke. Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, particularly for people living with serious illness and their caregivers. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-leads Brave Voice writing and singing retreats. Caryn is a long-time organizer of the bioregional movement, and helped found the Kansas Area Watershed Council, an the Continental Bioregional Congress. She's also co-founder of the TLA Network and serves on the TLAN council. She lives just south of Lawrence with various humans and animals, in love with her people, place, community, and the big, wild sky. More at (Photo by Stephen Locke)

Past Classes

04 Apr 2018 Stories with Spirit: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice // with Regi Carpenter
14 Mar 2018 Writing for Social Change: Redream a Just World // with Anya Achtenberg
21 Feb 2018 Funding Transformation: Grant Writing for Storytellers, Writers, Artists, Educators, & Activists // with Diane Silver
10 Jan 2018 Fantastic Folktales & Visionary Angles to Transform Our Stories // with Lyn Ford
18 Oct 2017 Writing Our Lives: The Poetic Self & Transformation // with Dr. Liz Burke-Cravens
18 Oct 2017 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
06 Sep 2017 Your Memoir as Monologue: How to Create Dynamic Dramatic Monologues About Healing and Transformation for Performance // with Kelly DuMar
06 Sep 2017 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennifer Patterson
14 Jun 2017 The Five Senses and Four Elements: Connecting with the Body and Nature Through Poetry // with Angie River
14 Jun 2017 The Poetics of Witness: Writing Beyond the Self // with Caits Meissner
19 Apr 2017 Diving and Emerging: Finding Your Voice and Identity in Personal Stories // with Regi Carpenter
01 Mar 2017 How Pictures Heal: Honoring Memory & Loss through Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
01 Mar 2017 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
11 Jan 2017 Your Callings, Your Livelihood, Your Life // With Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
11 Jan 2017 Values of the Future Through Transformative Language Arts // with Doug Lipman
14 Sep 2016 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennifer Patterson
14 Sep 2016 Creating a Sustainable Story: Self-Care, Meaningful Work, and the Business of Creativity // with Laura Packer
29 Jun 2016 Coming Home to Body, Earth, and Time: Writing From Where We Live // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
29 Jun 2016 Making the Leap into Work You Love // with Scott Youmans
18 May 2016 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations
18 May 2016 Saturated Selfies: Intentional and Intense Photography and Writing
28 Mar 2016 Gathering Courage: Still-Doing, Big Journaling, and Other (Not So Scary) Ways to Begin Accommodating the Soul
15 Feb 2016 Living Out Loud: Healing Through Storytelling and Writing
15 Feb 2016 Soulful Songwriting: How To Begin, Collaborate, And Finish Your Song
04 Jan 2016 Your Memoir as Monologue: How to Create Dynamic Dramatic Monologues About Healing and Transformation for Performance
04 Jan 2016 The Five Senses and the Four Elements: Connecting with the Body and Nature Through Poetry

"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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