Writing Department

Tools of Poetry 4-week course
Teacher: Crystal Woodling
Location: Zoom

During this 4 week course, Students learn how to utilize poetry as a powerful magical tool like the ancient poet-shamans of old.

Whether you want to write your own ritual poems, prayers or spells, connect more deeply with the Divine, sing the praises of creation, or simply record the complex inner workings of your heart and mind, this course will offer you exciting and profound new resources.

Sound, symbol, pattern creation, & sensuous language! In this course we will explore all of the ways that poetry makes meaning…and destroys it.

Students will learn to harness the power of sound from its most primal foundations to more complex forms; utilize figurative language to add limitless depth and density of meaning; entrance with sensuous detail; and weave potent ambivalence and emotional potency into their works.

Crystal will guide you to create and revise original works throughout this course, and teach you how to embody each tool as you learn it.


Week One: Poetry as a Force of Change

What Makes it a “Good” Poem?
Creating Density of Meaning
Connotation vs. Denotation
Ambivalence as Power

Week Two: Sound and its Technologies

The Sound of Words
The Poetic Line
Creating Rhythm
Syllabics and Metrics
The Use of the Unspoken

Week Three: The Primacy of Image

Sensuous Language and Evocation
Symbol Construction both Intentional and Accidental
Simile, Metaphor, and Magical Thinking

Week Four: The Use of Poetry in Ritual

Writing Poetry with Land Spirits
Channeling and Automatic Writing
Poetry for Evocation
Poetry for Praise

Begins November 12th. Sign up here

About the Teacher: 

Crystal (Hoffman) Woodling is a poet, performer, clinical and folk herbalist, Hellenistic astrologer, and yogini. However, she is first and foremost a teacher.

Crystal has been entranced by the word and its effects on the material world from her earliest moments of conscious thought. She started studying anthropology in elementary school and composing songs and stories almost as soon as she could speak.

Michael Dennison, her first poetry mentor, was a master occultist who taught her to write and perform in the tradition of the great poet-shamans of old: Taliesin, Enheduanna, Byron, Dickinson, Yeats, and H.D. These remain some of her strongest influences.

Her poetry has been published in dozens of literary journals and her theatrical work has been performed on stages around the globe. While serving as visiting lecturer in creative writing at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, she co-founded and received an A. W. Mellon Grant for Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Arts Journal with Rima Rantisi. RR still serves as a cornerstone of Lebanon’s arts and literature scene today.

In 2013, she left academia to become the wandering bard she always dreamt of being. She walked alone from West Virginia to South Dakota writing poetry for kind folks who took her in and penning new myths of the land. This journey led her to the Ihanktonwan Nakota Reservation where she began the deep medicine work that now forms the core of her being.