New Jersey Writers Project

“It made me realize how important writing is and how much we can learn about ourselves. I had a great time.”
– 12th Grade Student, North Hunterdon High School

Residency Types

Program OverviewBasic ResidenciesLanguage in MotionEnrichment ProgramsLocal InitiativesThematic ResidenciesArt And Community ProgramsProfessional DevelopmentTeaching Artist Bios

“I used to think that my stories weren’t good. I used to not want to read my stories, but I learned to write stories with meaning, and now I feel more confident.”
– 5th Grade Student, Dennis O’Brien Elementary School

Each year, the New Jersey Writers Project (NJWP) engages over 15,000 students in grades K-12 through literary and performing arts residencies. Led by our seasoned teaching artists, students and teachers use the power of imagination in writing, presenting, and responding to each other’s work. The benefits of this creative process include a deeper comprehension of content, informed critical thinking, and problem-solving, among others.

Residencies are amenable to traditional and progressive school settings and community-based organizations. Programs are available in 4 to 12-day schedules and include pre-residency meetings with the teaching artist and professional development opportunities for teachers and staff.

The Basic Residency structure may also be adapted into an Enrichment Program that can be tailored to meet the particular needs of a site.

“Students who normally do not enjoy writing, suddenly found themselves trying new ideas as well as experimenting with words, sounds and images. Most importantly, they took pride in their work, knowing that it would be shared by the entire school community.”
– Vince D’Albero, Vice Principal Von E. Mauger School, Middlesex

Residency costs vary by length and discipline. Full and partial grants may be available depending upon program structure and school eligibility.

This program is co-sponsored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

“[The Artist] has created a learning atmosphere that has engendered introspective writing and ‘safe-zone’ sharing among my students…[She] wrote along with the students, validating the importance of their work and providing models of creativity and time management.”
– Maureen McVeigh-Berzok, English Teacher Piscataway High School, Piscataway

“It is impossible to put a point value on [the artist’s] effectiveness with our students but each of my staff strongly value her contribution. It must be noted that we purposely schedule [the residency] before state testing so that our students have this added instruction and the benefit of her unique presentation.”
– William E. Hoffman, Principal Aaron Decker School, Butler

Students discover the joy of writing, develop keen observation skills, find freedom in imagination, and see the power of their own voice. Under the guidance of some of the best writers in New Jersey, the program includes imaginative activities, writing exercises, group sharing, feedback and revision. Innovative, affordable, and adaptable, the Basic Residency is an ideal academic and artistic enrichment program for every school.

Basic Package Structure

  • Planning Meeting between teaching artist, school-appointed Site Coordinator and participating classroom teachers.
  • Artist Workshop for Teachers for up to 25 faculty members. Participants earn Professional Development credits.
  • Exit Meeting between teaching artist and faculty.
  • Choice of discipline:
    • Poetry (45 – 60 min. sessions/up to 4 classes per day)
    • Prose (45–60 min. sessions/up to 4 classes per day)
    • Playwriting (Ideally 80-120 minute sessions; however, it may be possible to conduct playwriting in shorter sessions, or in a specialized Enrichment Program)
  • Artist must work with the same classes for the duration of the residency.
  • Each class accommodates up to 25 students.


  • Basic Residency (4 days) Includes the Basic Package mentioned above. $1,500
  • Extended Residency (8 days) Includes the Basic Package mentioned above. $3,000
  • Project Residency (12 days) Includes the Basic Package mentioned above. $4,500


A limited number of partial reimbursement grants are available to offset the costs of a Residency. There are application and documentation requirements for schools receiving grants. Schools must fulfill documentation requirements in order to receive their reimbursement. For the 4-day Basic Residency, priority is given to schools applying for their first NJWP residency. For Extended, Project, and Thematic Residencies, priority is given to returning schools in good standing. Grants are subject to available funds.

Grant Reimbursements

  • Basic Residency (4 days) — $700
  • Extended Residency (8 days) — $1,300
  • Project Residency (12 days) — $1,700
  • Thematic Residency — varies

A limited number of Full Grants may be available. Email us at education@ptnj.org to see if you qualify for a Special Initiative Grant.

Funding Procedures

Schools are expected to pay the full amount of the residency by the first day of the residency. Grant funds are released to the school 3 to 6 months after the school has submitted the required paperwork and completed a Final Project.

Getting Started

You can apply by filling out the form on this page. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Grants are limited, so apply early.

Two actors rehearse a scene

Staged readings of student writing celebrate their hard work. Watch your students’ faces light up when they see professional actors perform their plays, stories and/or poems and make them come to life right before their eyes.


  • First performance — $850
  • Get a 50% discount on a second performance when booked for the same day.

Getting Started

You can apply by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Grants are limited, so apply early.

In-school and after-school programs bring learning to life in creative writing and performing arts workshops designed to meet the goals and budgets of a school or site. Enrichment programs can be designed to combine different disciplines, be based on specific themes, or used to further explore science and humanities curricula.


Minimum of two teaching hours per day.


Prices vary depending upon length of program, artist travel, and other factors. Typical cost between $90 – 150 per hour.

Getting Started

You can apply by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Grants are limited, so apply early.

Local Initiatives

Built specifically for each locale, arts enrichment experiences are provided to multiple schools within a district or town. Residencies conclude with a community event to celebrate the participants’ achievements.

Examples of Local Initiatives

    • The Madison Young Playwrights Program teaches playwriting at all schools in the Madison School District.

Professional actors perform select plays at a springtime Festival, which includes a tour of local schools.

  • The Newark Young Writers Program offers creative writing residencies to schools and community groups in the City of Newark. Professional actors perform student work at each school.
  • The Cranford Young Playwrights Program teaches playwriting at schools in the Cranford School District. Professional actors perform select plays at each school.
  • The Camden Writers Project offers residencies and assembly programs in multiple arts disciplines to schools in the City of Camden. Professional actors perform student work at each school.


Getting Started

You can apply by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Grants are limited, so apply early.

Choose from residencies designed by our artists that explore specific subjects, styles and techniques.

  • Subjects in the past have included: Historical Character Writing, Nature Writing, Prose Reflection & Revision, Performance Poetry, Folklore, Multi-genre Writing, Beyond Haiku: Traditional Poetry, Japanese Style, Developing the Writer’s Eye, Write & Draw, Heightening the Senses, Dialogue Across Time, Create-a-Culture
  • Lengths and rates vary.
  • Up to two additional classes/days may be added to any Residency for $275 each.



The Artful Poem
By Therese Halscheid

In this poetry residency, students will explore elements of artful poems and practice ways to enhance imagery. Unlocking their own inner voice – the potent language of the interior self – participants call attention to life’s details turning the ordinary into something extraordinary.
Grades: K-12; Professional Development
Curricular tie-ins: English
Options: 4-day, 8-day, 12-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)
Developing the Writer’s Eye
By Therese Halscheid

“Once every people in the world believed that trees were divine, and could take a human or grotesque shape and dance among the shadows…. They saw in the rainbow the still bent bow of a god thrown down in his negligence; they heard in the thunder the sound of his beaten water-jar….” – W.B. Yeats

As in the past, we will enter the present. In this workshop, participants will experience an old way of seeing and learn the difference between the daily eye and the writer’s eye. Participants come to know the wisdom of the ancients – and from that perspective, explore creative writing.

Grades: K-12; Professional Development
Curricular tie-ins: English
Options: 4-day, 8-day, 12-day options
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)
Earth Images
By Therese Halscheid

Through photography, natural sounds, and earth-related objects, students discover how the earth develops the writer’s eye, evokes unusual imagery, enhances ways of perceiving, and develops keen powers of observation. These are tools that can strengthen the language of poems and demonstrate how the relationship between nature and mankind can be used to create fresh and profound metaphors for poetry.

Grades: K-12; Professional Development
Curricular tie-ins: English
Options: 4-day, 8-day, 12-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)
Heightening the Senses to Write
By Therese Halscheid

A workshop which utilizes the senses, perceptions, and personal experience to evoke imagery and creative thought. Participants learn strategies that heighten the all five senses for the purpose of creative thought and learn successful techniques for transferring thought through print. The workshop also shares ways of blending writing across the curriculum and can be adapted to meet the needs of any age or grade level.

Grades: K-12; Professional Development
Curricular tie-ins: English
Options: 4-day, 8-day, 12-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)
Stream of Poetry: An Exploration of Imagery and Verbal Energy
By Luray Gross

Students compose poems using forms and approaches inspired by streams, from the smallest tributaries to mighty rivers. The residency is designed to increase writing fluency, to embolden reluctant writers and to harness the energy of the enthusiastic writer. The work will encourage sharp imagery and will emphasize the power of well-chosen nouns and verbs.

Grades: To be determined by teaching artist
Curricular tie-ins: science, visual art, performing art, music
Options: 4-day, 8-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)
What Goes Around: Poetry and Sound About the Earth
By Anndee Hochman

“What Goes Around” blends poetry, invented instruments, performance and ecology into a lively, hands-on workshop. Students create poetry inspired by the living world, discover “found poetry” and recycle it into a collaborative piece with an environmental theme.

Grades: 4-8; Professional Development
Curricular tie-ins: science, English, music, performing arts
Options: 8-day, 12-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)



Write and Draw Workshop
By Meredith Sue Willis

This creative writing residency focuses on the relationship between words and drawing, and uses art to stimulate words, and words to stimulate drawing. Students engage in a variety of artistic and literary activities to generate a piece of artwork and a piece of writing that may be shared with other classes in the school.

Grades: 2-5
Curricular tie-ins: English, visual arts
Options: 8-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)



Create-a-Culture: Exploring Imaginary Worlds (Poetry, Prose, or Playwriting)
By Penny Harter

This residency addresses collaboration and multiple learning styles as students are encouraged to work in groups to create a fictional culture, past, present and future. Workshop may involve classroom teachers from a variety of disciplines to provide students with examples of all cultural media.

Grades: 4-12
Curricular tie-ins: English, science, social studies, visual arts, performing arts, music
Options: 12-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)
Creating a Written Collage: “Paterson” by William Carlos Williams (Poetry or Prose)
By Penny Harter

Introducing selections from Williams’ epic poem, Paterson, the teaching artist leads students to examine both content and technique in Williams’ collage of natural, personal, and historical information of the city with the same name. Using this example as inspiration, students write their own pieces based on a city or landscape of their choice.

Grades: 6-12
Curricular tie-ins: English, social studies, visual arts
Options: 8-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)
A Dialogue Across Time (Poetry or Prose)
By Penny Harter

Exploring ancestors and imagining the descendants yet to arrive, students embark upon an exploration of self through family. Students write a creative piece based upon research and imagination.

Grades: 4-12
Curricular tie-ins: English, social studies
Options: 4-day, 8-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)
Honoring the Earth: Nature Writing (Poetry or Prose)
By Penny Harter

This residency focuses on poets, essayists and fiction writers who emphasize the natural world in their work. These works provide inspiration for creative writing that fuses creativity with scientific knowledge.

Grades: 2-12
Curricular tie-ins: English, science, visual arts; Professional Development
Options: 4-day, 8-day, 12-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)
Literary Magazine (Poetry or Prose)
By Meredith Sue Willis

Beginning with creative writing lessons focusing on vivid language, personal experience, and revision, this residency engages students in the producing an class anthology of creative work. Students collaborate on anthology layout, cover design, and publishing.

Grades: 2-12
Curricular tie-ins: English, visual arts
Options: 8-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)
Writing to Art (Poetry or Prose)
By Penny Harter

Students respond to a work of visual art creating “word pictures” and using sensory images to describe aspects of the artwork. Residency can be tailored to address specific artworks, or themes.

Grades 2-12
Curricular tie-ins: English, science, visual arts
Options: 4-day
(Additional costs, including travel, may apply)

  • 4-day residency -$1,450.00
  • 8-day residency – $2,875.00
  • 12-day residency – $4,350.00
  • Travel expenses $0.26/mile x # of miles traveled by artist to and from the school For distances traveled over 50 miles – additional $10.00/day
  • For distances traveled over 100 miles – additional $20.00/day
  • For distances traveled over 150 miles – additional $30.00/day

Getting Started

You can apply by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Grants are limited, so apply early. or contact the education office with any questions at (973) 514-1787, ext 21.

School-Wide Creative Arts Initiative

Supplement your school curriculum and provide a creative outlet in the classroom for youngsters to explore and understand their unique experiences and stories.
How it Works

  • Planning Meeting between Writers Theatre and select school administration and faculty.
  • Writers Theatre designs a program to meet classroom and/or school goals.

Getting Started

Contact the Writers Theatre Education Office (973)514-1787 X21 or email us at education@wtnj.org to schedule an assessment meeting at your school.

Young Playwrights Workshop and Festival

A unique and comprehensive experience in which students develop a deeper understanding of the play development process and the intangible aesthetics of creating art.
How it Works

  • An Artistic Team from Writers Theatre meets with 3 classes for a total of 6 sessions (1.5 hours each) to write original one-act plays.
  • Plays are improvised and discussed as students practice giving and receiving effective feedback.
  • Staged-reading performance of select works by the Artistic Team.


  • $4,400
  • Alternate rates available for condensed programs

Getting Started

Contact the Writers Theatre Education Office (973)514-1787 X21 or education@wtnj.org for more information.

Arts-N-Fusion Symposium

Student groups from different parts of New Jersey may apply to participate in this writing workshop. Students will work in small groups comprised of students from different schools to create and perform original scenes and plays.

  • $60 per student. Grants available for qualifying schools!

Getting Started

Contact the Writers Theatre Education Office (973)514-1787 X21 or education@wtnj.org for more information.

Teachers who write teach writing better.

Writers Theatre is approved by the NJ Department of Education to provide Professional Development Credits. Our Programs include hands-on workshops where teachers can grow more comfortable with, skillful in, and knowledgeable about playwriting, poetry, prose, or creative writing in general.

  • Basic Workshop — a 1.5
  • to 3-hour session
  • Full-day Workshop — a 6-hour project-driven workshop
  • Seminar — multiple artist and/or multiple session seminar

Class Size

  • 25 teachers maximum Program Includes
  • Hands-on workshop with a professional teaching artist
  • Teaching Materials (hand-outs and lesson plans)
  • Certificate of Professional Development Credit Hours


  • Prices start at $250 per hour

Getting Started
Contact the Writers Theatre Education Office for more information (973)514-1787 X21 or email us at education@wtnj.org.

Writers Theatre is registered with the Department of Education as an approved provider of Professional Development Credits for teachers. Provider Registration #1620 — Writers Theatre of New Jersey

Teaching Artist Bios

Our Teaching Artists are the heart and soul of our educational programs.  They help students to find their passions, explore their creative selves, and ultimately help guide them through the process of discovery that accompanies the creation of art.  Here’s a little about our WTNJ Teaching Artists:

Daniel Aubrey is the author of several professional produced plays and a member of the Dramatist Guild of America. He has served as producing director for the non-profit professional Foundation Theatre; spearheaded the development of the first professional theater company in Trenton, NJ; managed productions at La Mama Experimental Theatre Center in New York City; and is a recipient of a New Jersey Governors Award for Distinguished Serve to Arts Education in Theater.

Shelley Benaroya is a published writer and poet who has taught creative writing and composition for 15 years inside and outside the public school system. As a teaching artist, certified English teacher, and college instructor, she has helped students – young and old – discover the joys of writing and the power of language. Her awards include poetry and teaching fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Her work has appeared in such journals as Thirteenth Moon, Diner, Dream International Quarterly, The Edison Literary Review, Maelstrom, Mobius, Mad Poets Review, US 1 Worksheets, New Voices, JBIS (Journal of British Interplanetary Society), and The Village Idiot.

In addition to her role as founding director of the Writing Center for Creative Aging, Ms. Benaroya has served these past 15 years as an artist-in-education for the New Jersey Writers Project. She joined the roster of teaching artists at NJPAC in 2005. She has worked as an arts education administrator, writer, editor, and public relations executive for such companies as the AIE Consortium, CES Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Highgate Pictures, The Rowland Company, and NBC news.

Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin is an award winning actor, poet / spoken word -recording artist. Via her own production company Talking Poems and Storytelling Productions, Gha’il performs her one-woman show with live musical accompaniment throughout the tri-state area and the country bringing to light the inner complexities of every day characters with raw simplicity and humor. From classrooms to college campuses, nightlife venues to Lincoln Center, The Schomberg, The Knitting Factory and Symphony Space of New York she motivates, uplifts and inspires audiences with words and phrases that stick to your ribs. Talking Poems specializes in creating personalized custom-made poetry (celebrating the greatness within) for every occasion, including weddings, anniversaries and memorial heirlooms for home-going celebrations. Also director and facilitator of various creative workshops and performances, she allows participants of all ages to “project their inner voices”.

Gha’il is both the visual image and voice of spoken word in collaboration with filmmaker Al Santana in the WBGH Lab Series film titled Reparation Blues, PBS and WLIW. She is also the voice on radio airwaves with her poem titled She got burned, a PSA promoting domestic violence awareness through Safe Horizons of New York. Her debut CD Spiritual Eclipse/ Sacred Moments on a String of Words is a collage of music and spoken-word, a portrait of self-discovery, self-love and renewal…she is the recipient of the 2010 Soul Purpose Award and currently on the public speaking circuit, raising her voice to ignite “self-empowerment and creativity”.

“She’s authentic, talented, mesmerizing and a breath of fresh air.” — Les Brown, author and speaker

Eloise Bruce is the author of Rattle ( CavenKerry Press 2004) and her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. She is a member of Cool Women a performance and critic group and is included in their five anthologies and two CD’s. She has been a featured reader at the Dodge Poetry Festival. She holds an MFA in directing from the University of Alabama, an M Ed in Secondary English from Mercer University, and a BFA in Theater from Wesleyan College. She has attended a Sarah Lawrence College’s Writer’s Workshop and has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Eloise received a NJSCA Fellowship in Poetry for 1998 and been on staff and a member of the advisory broad for the The Frost Place Center for the Arts. During the following theater employment, she adapted over 20 works of children’s literature for the stage: Creative Theater, Artistic Director; Idaho Theater for Youth, Artistic Director; Director , Idaho Shakespeare Festival; and Asolo Theater in Sarasota, Florida, Education Director.

Dominique Cieri is a playwright, teaching artist, member of the Dramatists Guild, and recipient of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Playwriting Fellowship 2003 and 2009. She is a graduate of Rose Bruford College in Kent, England, and is the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, SUNY, Albany. Ms. Cieri is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Goddard College, Vermont. Ms. Cieri’s plays include Davie Award winner Pitz & Joe at Geva Theatre, N. Y., also produced in Los Angeles, and Chicago, and optioned for film. Other plays include: For Dear Life, finalist for Charlotte New American Plays Festival, Last Kiss, developed at Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, Centenary Stage’s Women Playwrights Series, and North Carolina’s Festival of New Works, in 2004. Count Down was produced in 2005, with Off World Theatre and The Artists Collective for Social Change at the Puffin Cultural Forum, in New Jersey, and in 2006, in New York, at the Bank Street Theatre.

Her Essays on Arts and Education have been published in the New York Times, and Teaching Artist Journal with choreographer Catlin Cobb, most recently, “A Soldier of Service: Teaching At-Risk, Juvenile Justice, and the Holocaust.” Dominique teaches the adaptation of nonfiction based on the Holocaust, for the stage at Yavneh Academy. She has been designing and teaching playwriting and theatre workshops the past seventeen years for numerous arts organizations, including, Theatre for a New Audience, Writers Theatre of New Jersey, The Juvenile Justice Commission, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Young Audiences, and Artist Teacher Institute with Arts Horizons.

Darcy Cummings has a B.A. degree in English from Rowan University, an M.A. in literature from the University of Pennsylvania, an M. A. from the Writing Seminars (Poetry) at Johns Hopkins, and is completing an MFA in Prose (Personal Essay, Memoir) at Rutgers University. She has taught writing at area colleges and universities, including Rowan, Stockton, and Penn, and for eighteen years with the New Jersey Writers Project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She currently teaches Creative Writing at Rutgers, Camden. Special teaching interests: the teaching of writing, contemporary poetry, memoir, non-fiction, and detective fiction.

Her poems have been published in Poetry Northwest, Carolina Quarterly, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Natural Bridge, Runes, and other periodicals in the U. S. and England and in the anthologies Editors’ Choice, Orpheus & Co (contemporary poems on classical myths), and The Next Parish Over (contemporary Irish-American writing). She has received fellowships from Yaddo, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Geraldine Dodge Foundation for residencies at the Virginia Center For The Creative Arts. Her chapbook, Singing a Mass for the Dead, was published in 1996, and her book, The Artist As Alice: From A Photographer’s Life, which won the Bright Hills Press Book Competition, was published in 2006.

David Dannenfelser received a BA in Special Education from William Paterson College, an MA in Educational Theatre from New York University, and an MFA in Directing and Playwriting from Sarah Lawrence College. He now teaches Playwriting, Directing and Acting at Wells College and has been an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He has taught acting and improvisation for Rutgers University (Mason Gross School of the Arts), Montclair State University, The Oberlin College Theatre Institute, Theatre For a New Audience in NYC, The Mustard Seed Theatre Lab also in NYC, and The Classic School in NJ. David has also taught courses in playwriting for The NY Shakespeare Festival’s Playwriting program in residence at The Joseph Papp Public Theatre and for Playwright’s Theatre of NJ. He has also been an adjunct professor at Muhlenberg and Morris County College.

David has directed numerous plays and received a Directing Fellowship from The Pennsylvania Stage Company (LORT) for the 1994/95 season, where he directed fully staged productions of Patient A, by Lee Blessing and two one-act plays by Eugene O’Neill, Fog & Thirst. David returned to PA Stage in the 1996/97 season to direct the premiere of Fish or Cut Bait by John Holleman.

David has written, directed and produced his plays: The On Being Series and Sid Berkeley Radio Slave, at Here in NYC, The Keeper, a full-length radio play performed live at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre and broadcast over WBAI in NYC, and The Boy Who Lost His Sock, a full-length children’s play adapted from a story by Patrick Gallagher and produced by The Youth Theatre of NJ in Sparta, NJ & The Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY. He recently produced his new play, The Medicine Show (A Play With Music) at the 2007 NYC Fringe Festival. His play, Gargoyles was selected as a semi-finalist in the 2009 New Play Festival at Centre Stage, a professional theatre in South Carolina. David has had numerous workshops and readings of his one-acts and full-length plays and is presently working on a book of short plays for use in the study of acting. A complete anthology of plays is available upon request. David is a member of The Dramatists Guild, Inc.

Paula Davidoff is a writer and storyteller who has taught in the New Jersey Writer’s Project since 1997. Her interactive workshops often include storytelling and creative drama as part of the writing process.

Paula has worked extensively in alternative educational settings, teaching residency programs in juvenile detention centers and alternative high schools. She is currently the director of a storytelling-based literacy program in the Morris School District and co-director, with playwright Carolyn Hunt, of Girls Surviving, a troupe of teen girls who tell their own stories through writing and performance.

In addition to her work with the NJWP, Paula teaches writing and storytelling programs for students and teachers in association with the Arts Council of the Morris Area, Young Audiences of New Jersey, and Storytelling Arts, Inc. She received her BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD and her MA in literacy education from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. She has studied storytelling with Susan Danoff, Laura Simms, and Diane Wolkstein.

Emari DiGiorgio Legend has it, Emari DiGiorgio’s long hair must remain un-cut until she removes the ancient curse placed on her bloodline by aligning her hips in Warrior I while reciting The Inferno from memory. She teaches at The Richard Stockton College of NJ and is a NJ State Council on the Arts Poet-in-the-Schools. Emari is a recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Residency in June 2009, a 2007 NJ State Council on the Arts Poetry Fellowship, and the Ellen LaForge Memorial Poetry Prize in 2006. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Feminist Studies, US 1 Worksheets, The Marlboro Review, So to Speak, The Grolier Poetry Annual, The Georgetown Review, The Edison Literary Review, Buffalo Carp, Whiskey Island, The Barn Owl Review, HerMark 2009, Switched-on Gutenberg, and the Paterson Literary Review. Emari also teaches a monthly creative writing workshop at the South Jersey chapter of Gilda’s Club, a cancer resource center.

Lamont Dixon, from Philadelphia, has been a prominent presence in the poetry scene for many years. As a performance poet and teaching artist, Lamont demonstrates what he describes as “vibepoetics” – the eclectic mixing of multiple artists disciplines to provide dramatic language arts education. His training includes the Philadelphia University of the Arts, Freedom Theater and Temple University’s Full Circle Improv Troupe. His poetry has been published in African Voices, New Poet’s Revolution, and Essence magazine. He also appears on many CDs including: Awaiting the Spirit, the Po-Jazz Connection and African Rhythm Tongues. Lamont was also co-executive producer for the Philadelphia segment of HBOs Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam. His latest book is Come Ride My Poems. His performances include: Turkey Hill Ice Cream Arts Festival, Chrysler National African-American Cultural Expo, Philadelphia Welcome America Poetry Series, New York’s Nuyorican’s Poet’s Cafe, Zanzibar Blue Jazz Club, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Music City’s Jazz & Arts Festival, ’05 W. Oak Lane Jazz Festival, and much more. Lamont is a teaching artist with Perkins Center for the Arts, Rowan University, and NJ & PA State Council for the Arts.

Dahlia Elsayed is a writer and visual artist who has been teaching in the tri-state area for over a decade. Her teaching areas include poetry short story, graphic novels, and genres that combine the visual arts with the literary. She received her MFA from Columbia University and her BA from Barnard College. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards most recently a Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship grant.

Luray Gross, poet and storyteller, is the author of three collections of poetry: Forenoon was published in 1990 by The Attic Press in Westfield, NJ, and Elegant Reprieve won the 1995-96 Still Waters Press Poetry Chapbook Competition. The Perfection of Zeros, was published by Word Press in 2004.

She works as a Writer-in-Residence through the NJ State Council on the Arts and as a Visiting Poet for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and is an Teaching Artist with Storytelling Arts, Inc. of Kingston, NJ. With these organizations and on a free lance basis, she has presented workshops and performances for students K – 12, teachers, and the general public since 1989. Her experience includes four years as a teacher of high school English and ten as Adjunct Instructor of English at The College of New Jersey. She was also employed as a free lance journalist, writing for trade publications for five years.

Ms. Gross received her BA in English from Gettysburg College and her MA in English from Trenton State College. She was the recipient of a Fellowship in Poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In 2000, she was named a Distinguished Teaching Artist by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and was the recipient of the Robert Fraser Open Poetry Competition Award from Bucks County(PA) Community College. She was the 2002 Poet Laureate of Bucks County and resident faculty at the 2006 Frost Place Festival and Conference on Poetry in Franconia, NH. Her poem “The Perfection of Zero” has been chosen by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book to be one of their four featured poems for the Public Poetry Project in 2008.

Therése Halscheid is the author of four poetry collections: Powertalk (1995), Without Home (Kells, 2001) and Uncommon Geography (Carpenter Gothic, 2006). Uncommon Geography received a 2007 Finalist Award from the Paterson Poetry Book Prize. She also won a chapbook award by Pudding House Publications, as part of their 2007 Greatest Hits series. Like record albums, Greatest Hits is a collection of twelve poems spanning the writing life of the poet, prefaced with a narrative that weaves the poet’s life with the body of work.

Therése was awarded a 2003 Fellowship for poetry from NJ State Council on the Arts. Widely published, she has received awards from literary journals, as well as a Geraldine R. Dodge Fellowship to Vermont Studio Center. Her writings, both poetry and prose, have appeared in magazines such as Natural Bridge, Rhino, Cold Mountain Review, Blueline, The Dos Passos Review.

She has been a visiting writer in schools for NJ State Council on the Arts since 1998 and has taught writing courses in varied settings in NJ and elsewhere. As well as writing experiences in the States, she has taught in England and Russia. In 1998, she led a group of women writers to South Africa to meet South African writers.

For the past decade, the author has been house-sitting, while traveling widely to write. This mobility, along with simple living, has helped her to sustain her writing life. Many poems chronicle travels across varied terrain. She photographs her travels, and her one woman exhibition of poetry and photography, Visual Diaries, has shown in galleries.

Penny Harter has worked as a teaching artist, visiting elementary and secondary schools all over New Jersey for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts AIE program, the New Jersey Writers Project, and the Dodge Foundation. Her poems and short fiction appear in numerous anthologies and magazines worldwide, and her autobiographical essay appears in Contemporary Authors. A teacher of high school English for many years, her essays on teaching writing appear in several volumes published by Teachers & Writers Collaborative. In January, 2009, she moved from Summit (Union County) to Mays Landing (Atlantic County).

Her more recent books include Recycling Starlight (2010), The Night Marsh (2008), Along River Road (2005), Buried in the Sky (2001), and Lizard Light: Poems From the Earth (1998), and she has given readings, talks, and workshops coast-to-coast, as well as in Canada and Japan. Her illustrated children’s alphabestiary, The Beastie Book, was published by Shenanigan Books in December, 2009, and a 25th anniversary edition of The Haiku Handbook, co-written with her late husband, the poet and translator William J. Higginson, also came out from Kodansha International in 2009.

She has received three fellowships in poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a teaching award from the Dodge Foundation, and the Mary Carolyn Davies Memorial Award from Poetry Society of America. She also was named the first recipient of the William O. Douglas Nature Writing Award. A Dodge poet, she was invited to read at the 2010 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, and she recently received a fellowship from Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) for a residency there in January, 2011.

Anndee Hochman is the author of Anatomies: A Novella and Stories (Picador USA) and Everyday Acts & Small Subversions: Women Reinventing Family, Community and Home (The Eighth Mountain Press). She writes regularly for The Philadelphia Inquirer; her articles, essays, book reviews and short fiction have also appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Health, Working Mother, OUT, Glimmer Train Stories, Boston Review and elsewhere. Since 1992, Hochman has engaged and inspired writers of all ages—both emerging and experienced—through poetry and memoir workshops in schools, after-school programs, community centers and a small village on Mexico’s Pacific coast. She has worked with children, teens, adults and seniors and is comfortable teaching gifted/talented, at-risk, and incarcerated youth. She speaks conversational Spanish and has taught in bilingual settings. Hochman has received grants for fiction and creative non-fiction from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Astraea Foundation and the Leeway Foundation. She lives in Philadelphia.

Rolaine Hochstein has been a teaching artist since 1986. She has published two novels and over thirty short stories, including “Don’t Tell the Cuzzins,” which appears in the current issue of Glimmer Train. Her stories have won two O. Henry Prizes, the Pushcart prize and the Seaton Prize of the Kansas Arts Council. Her non-fiction books include The Seventeen Guide to Knowing Yourself and The Seventeen Guide to You and Other People (both written with Daniel A. Sugarman, Ph.D.). She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Gregory Holtz is a writer/actor with an extensive background in theater, film and tv/video. A native of Chester PA, Gregory received a B.F.A from Howard University’s Dept. of Drama in 1977. Among his professional acting credits are Jonin’ (off- Broadway), Michael Jackson’s Bad (music video), America’s Most Wanted (television) and Heavy (feature film). His writing credits include Black Codes from the Underground, (a Lincoln Center Director’s Lab production 1999), Chicken Special (a screenplay) and Lifeline (premiered in New York 2007). In 2008 Gregory was a Cultural Envoy to South Africa teaching playwriting while also developing his new play South Africans-Americans at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre which will go into production in the spring of 2011.

Gregory has served as a Teaching Artist for numerous arts organizations including, New Jersey State Council for the Arts, Playwright’s Theater of New Jersey, NJPAC, the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Playwriting in the Schools Program, Arts Genesis, VSA, Community Works, Mind Builders-Positive Youth Troupe, New York University’s Creative Arts Team, The Children’s Art Carnival, and Theater for the Forgotten’s Changing Scenes. He has also taught Drama in the Newark Public Schools and currently holds a Standard Certification as a Teacher of Theater in New Jersey.

Finally Gregory proudly serves as the Artistic Director of the Real Life Theater Ministries, Inc.

Carolyn Hunt is a playwright, director, teaching artist and member of the Dramatist Guild. Her plays include The Front Porch, which was performed for a statewide (NJ) symposium on Welfare Reform and, a new play, The Good Land, focused on religion, gender and politics in 17th century New England. Carolyn founded Common Thread Playback Theater, Inc. in 1994 and served as the company’s artistic director for six years. She has used playback techniques as a director and teacher in her work with juvenile offenders, senior citizens, educators, religious organizations and, most recently, a NJ Community Coalition on Race.

Her interest in helping people find their voices through theater led to collaboration in 2005 with Paula Davidoff in the formation of Girls Surviving, a troupe of young women who write plays based on their experiences and perform them to stimulate dialogue about issues important to teens. Carolyn has been affiliated with Writers Theatre of NJ as an actor, director, administrator of educational programs and teaching artist since it’s founding in 1986, and helped develop playwriting curricula used in educational settings throughout the state. She is the recipient of WTNJ’s outstanding teaching artist award (1995) and the Governor’s Award in Arts Education (2007). Carolyn graduated cum laude from Drew University in French and theater and also earned a Master of Letters from her alma mater.

Betty Bonham Lies has taught English and creative writing for many years, working with students from kindergarten to adults. Currently, she is a Distinguished Teaching Artist for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and a Dodge Poet for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. She was awarded the NJ Governor’s Award in Arts Education twice, and an Alumna award for distinguished achievement in arts education from Carleton College. She has won grants for writing and research from the NJ State Council on the Arts and the Dodge Foundation, as well as several from NEH and CBE. The author of two books of poetry, The Blue Laws and The Day After I Drowned, her poems have been widely published and anthologized. aAs well she has published four books of prose, the most recent of which is Earth’s Daughters, Stories of Women in Classical Mythology.

Diane Lockward is the author of three poetry books, most recently, Temptation by Water. Her previous books are What Feeds Us, which received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve’s Red Dress. Her poems have been included in such anthologies as Poetry Daily: 360 Poems from the World’s Most Popular Poetry Website and Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems for Hard Times, and have been published in such journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac. She lives in northern New Jersey and works as a poet-in-the-schools for both the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Aldona Middlesworth is a Dean’s Appointment Professor in the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University. She is a psychotherapist for the Philadelphia Consultation Center & Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis. Aldona is the copy editor of the biannual The Observer. She teaches poetry, prose, and playwriting to elementary and secondary school students throughout New Jersey as an Artist in Education with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. As an Artist/Educator with the New Jersey School for the Arts, she provides poetry communication skills residencies at southern New Jersey high Schools. She is a Dodge Poet and Poetry Writing Instructor with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, providing writing instruction in the classroom and poetry communication skills residencies to high school students throughout New Jersey. Her published TO KNOW EACH OTHER AND BE KNOWN is an anthology of poetry by women. Aldona holds a M.A. from Temple University and from the University of Houston. Her B.A. is from Indiana University. She has a Psychiatric Institute Certificate from the Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis.

Christopher Parker develops effective curriculum to help teachers and students find sound, form and meaning in language through poetry; and he has done so for more than thirty years. Chris’ programs may open new windows for children to mathematics, sports, ethics, metacognition and democracy. Parker helps teachers and students to: use tools such as found sounds, integers, movement, and symbolic languages like Mandarin; evoke cognitive skills like, critical and metaphoric thinking, emotional and aesthetic awareness; develop physical mastery to speak publicly, articulate cadence and meaning emphatically, perform affectively.

Chris has served as a poet-in-the-schools since 1979 and holds a MFA from Columbia University (‘81). Chris has shared poetry through many media including: journals (Poetry Northwest to Between C & D), popular periodicals (Working Mother to Rolling Stone), hard cover (Suburban Journals, Calcutta), radio (NPR), stage (Dodge Poetry Festivals to New Jersey Performing Arts Center), and conferences (American Philosophical Association to Rutgers).

Chris has been granted fellowships and awards for poetry, essays and filmmaking. He has produced baseball poetry and other festivals with venues such as Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center (2004-08). Chris has also worked empathically with people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other disabilities. Chris himself is a prosperous TBI survivor. Currently a doctoral candidate for an Ed.D. in pedagogy and philosophy for children, poet Parker has spoken on topics such as perception and metaphor; he has worked for HBO and Price Waterhouse.

Mr. Parker is the father of four daughters, is married and lives in Montclair. Chris writes poems almost every day, often scribing them on post cards and mailing them directly to readers, family and friends.

Wanda S. Praisner has a BS in Early Childhood Education, magna cum laude, and an MS in Elementary Education from Wagner College, and did further study at Columbia University. She taught twenty-nine years in New York, New Jersey, and California, where she provided poetry workshops (pre-K to 8), and continuing education courses. Her work has won awards from The Atlanta Review, Coos Bay Writers, Newark Public Library, The Theatre Guild of NJ, Kalliope, and The Robert Frost Foundation. She was a finalist in the MARGIE “Strong Medicine” Contest, placed second in the Allen Ginsberg Competition, won The Devil’s Millhopper Kudzu Prize, the Maryland Poetry Review Egan Award, and First Prize in Poetry at the College of NJ Writers’ Conference. A recipient of a 1995-6 Poetry Fellowship from the NJ State Council on the Arts, and four from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, she was a featured reader at the Governor’s Conference on the Arts and at the Dodge Waterloo Poetry Festival. She has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize.

Her work has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Journal of NJ poets, Kalliope, Lullwater Review, MARGIE, New York Magazine, The Paterson Literary Review, Slant and US 1 Worksheets. She has been anthologized in Out of Season, Amagansett Press (1993), and The Breath of Parted Lips, Vol. II: Voices from the Robert Frost Place, CavanKerry Press (2004), and contributed to Teaching with Fire, Jossey-Bass Press (2003). Her book. A Fine and Bitter Snow, was published in 2003 by Palanquin Press (USCA). On the Bittersweet Avenues of Pomona won the Spire Press 2005 Chapbook Competition. She is a resident of Bedminster, NJ.

Madeline Tiger’s new collection of poetry, The Earth Which Is All, has just been released.

Her eighth collection was Birds of Sorrow and Joy: New and Selected Poems, 1970 – 2000. More recent poems appear in The Marlboro Review, Edison Review, Tiferet, Rhino, and U S 1. Her reviews appear in The Journal of NJ Poets, Home Planet News, Paterson Literary Review, American Book Review, and online in Sideareality, Jacket, and The Persimmon Tree. Her articles on teaching appear in publications of Teachers & Writers Collaborative. With poet Toi Derricotte she wrote Creative Writing: A Manual for Teachersin 1986; it was published by NJSCA, used widely, and reprinted several times. She has been awarded fellowships and prizes; e.g., from NJSCA, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Blue Mountain Center, Columbia University School of the Arts. In 1993 she received the first Artist/Teacher award from Writers Theatre of NJ.

Ms. Tiger has been teaching in the Writers-in-the-Schools Program since 1974, for the Dodge Foundation Poetry Programs since 1986, in various colleges and workshops, and teaching Memoir Writing at the Adult School of Montclair since 2005.

This spring she will receive the Lifetime Artist/Teacher Achievement Award of newly established consortium.

J. C. Todd has a career-long commitment to developing arts experiences within community structures. A teacher, poet, editor, and translator, she has offered school and community residencies for over 20 years and is an artist for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Artists and Communities project. She works with elementary and secondary students and teachers, and with special need students and elders. She is the author of What Space This Body (Wind Publications, 2008), Nightshade (2000) and Entering Pisces (1985), both from Pine Press. Her poems have appeared the new anthology of New Jersey poetry, What’s Your Exit? and in journals such as The American Poetry Review and The Paris Review. Awards include a New Jersey Governor’s Award for Arts Education, a New Jersey Distinguished Teaching Artist designation, a Leeway Foundation Award for poetry, a Fellowship in Poetry from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Pushcart Prize nominations, and international artist fellowships to arts colonies in Europe. She holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. In addition to NJWP residencies, she is a visiting lecturer in Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College and teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Rosemont College. But don’t think of her as an academic poet: she’s taught in schools of all sorts, and community centers, prisons, garages, and even open fields.

Christina Lilian Turczyn, formerly a Fulbright Scholar, received her B.A.in English from Cornell, and her Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Binghamton University, completing her dissertation under the direction of Ruth Stone. Her writing honors include an Intro Award from the Associated Writing Programs, first prize in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards (mentioned in the New York Times) the Rita Dove National Poetry Awards Honorable Mention, the Vanguard Voices of the Hudson Valley First Prize (Mohonk Mountain Stage Company in conjunction with the Unison Arts Center) and a featured reading (Poet Among Us) at the 2002 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, and has been performed by the Yara Arts Group of the La MaMa Experimental Theatre on Fifth Avenue, and in American Sign Language, both at Vassar and at Dutchess Community College.

Her work has been published in Puerto Del Sol, the Paterson Literary Review, The Chronogram, and numerous other journals. Scholarly work has appeared in Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner, and New Methods of College Teaching, ed. Clyde Coreil, following a keynote address by Dr. Gardner. She is included in Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers, ed. Laurence Carr, and has work appearing in Celebrating William Carlos Williams and the Poetry of Place: North Jersey in Poetry, ed. Maria Mazziotti Gillan. Most recent work is published in Hudson Valley’s Chronogram. In 2008, her watercolors were included in “Botanicals, Still Life & Land Journeys,” an exhibit at the Betsy Jacaruso Studio and Gallery. In 2009-2010, Christina Turczyn was a student in Fairleigh Dickinson’s MBA Program. She has been included in Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World.

BJ Ward’s most recent book is Gravedigger’s Birthday (North Atlantic Books). His poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, NJN’s State of the Arts, and NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, as well as in publications such as Poetry, TriQuarterly, 5 AM, Mid-American Review, Puerto Del Sol, The Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Inside Jersey, The New York Times, and The Sun. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and two Distinguished Artist Fellowships from the NJ State Council on the Arts. For his teaching, he has received the Governor’s Award in Arts Education from the State of New Jersey and was named Teaching Artist of the Year by the New Jersey Writers Project. He has been on the faculty of The Frost Place Festival, the NJ Governor’s School for the Arts, and the Controlled Burn Seminar for Young Writers. He teaches year-round in the Creative Writing Program at Warren County Community College.

Meredith Sue Willis was an early writer-in-the-schools with Teachers & Writer Collaborative in New York City. She has also been associated with arts organizations in New Jersey, including the New Jersey Writers Project, and she was a Distinguished Teaching Artist for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts 2000-2003. She continues to work as a visiting writer in public schools in NJ, as well as teaching novel writing at New York University. The latest of her eighteen published books is a collection of short stories from Ohio University Press, Out of the Mountains: Appalachian Stories and a book on how to write a novel called Ten Strategies to Write Your Novel. Her books for children include Billie of Fish House Lane and Marco’s Monster, which was named an Instructor magazine best book. Willis has degrees from Barnard College and Columbia University as well as an honorary doctorate from West Virginia University. She is one of the founding members of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. She is married to Andrew B. Weinberger, a rheumatologist in private practice.

Arthur Wilson is currently co-publisher/editor of Attitude Magazine celebrating it’s 25th anniversary year, as well as an Arts & Education Academy Artists for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ, and has served as advisor/tutor for the Antioch University Masters’ Degree Program in Acting at the New Actor’s Workshop (New York) founded and directed by legendary actor/director Mike Nichols. Wilson is a residency and professional staff development artist for Young Audiences Of New Jersey; has joined the artist roster of Arts Horizons as a Poetry Workshop leader and Master Teacher with Special Education and Austism; in addtion, Mr. Wilson is a Member Of the Board for the New Dance Group Art Center in New York where his choreo-poem “Government Interference – But I’m Still Dancing On Eternity” premiered September 2007 and is bound for a Paris Production Spring 2008. His first complete book of poetry – Unfinished Screams is scheduled for publication in 2008 by Atlanta Press.

His work with the Artists Collective Of New Jersey has taken him into Juvenile Detention Centers and other community organizations in New Jersey. Telling Our Stories – an Oral History Project with Newark Seniors of Navada Street continues in its’ second year sponsored by Playwrights Theater Of New Jeresy’s Education Department. Mr. Wilson is coordinating this project with the Mayor’s Office Of Newark. Biographical references have appeared in Who’s Who In America; The International Registry Of Distinguished Leadership; and Who’s Who In the World over the last decade. He is currently working on his first spoken word CD also titled Unfinished Screams with legendary mbira musician Kevin Hylton.

Holly Woodward writes stories, verse, essays and plays. In collaboration with a Honduran artist, she wrote a book of Mayan myths for children. Holly’s stories and poems have been published in many magazines. Woodward spent a year as the only American doctoral fellow at Moscow University; she also studied for two semesters at Saint Petersburg University. She served as writer in residence at Saint Albans, Washington National Cathedral, where she taught creative writing to high school students. Holly led a special love poetry workshop to writers drawn from Chicago’s public schools. She has taught English at Manhattan’s Convent of the Sacred Heart and at other institutions. As a college senior, she volunteered to initiate and teach a creative writing program for teens in a psychiatric institute; the experience was so rewarding, she has taught, often as a volunteer, in many settings. In her spare time, Holly enjoys bookmaking, collage and watercolor. With Michele Bernstein, founder of the Journal Center, she teaches a workshop using surrealist games in writing and art.