A Bit About the What’s, Why’s, Where’s & How’s of ABRACADABRA’s Approach

ABRACADABRA Studio of Poetics is old school in methodology and practice. Yes, Old School is an overused descriptor in today’s topical context and ABRACADABRA resurrects its authenticity — the focus here is to write poems better and appreciate the composition and language of poetry.

ABRACADABRA’s wall-mounted pencil sharpener symbolizes ABRACADABRA’s dedication to scribal practices. ABRACADABRA also believes in erasure.

ABRACADABRA instruction is personal, direct and premised on each poet’s active practice.

ABRACADABRA pedagogy is based on discovery. Discovery is facilitated by models and examples, prompts and exercises, individual tutorial discussion and dialogue, and small group conversations about the craft and practice of poetry.

ABRACADABRA Studio of Poetics is a physical space, a person-to-person place for poetry, as well as a working writer’s studio. It’s neither virtual domain nor on-line group.

ABRACADABRA offers Studio members a modest poetry reference library, chairs, tables and exhibit space. ABRACABADRA is a few short blocks from the Toledo-Lucas County Public Main Library, its spacious lounges and excellent collection of poetry.

ABRACADABRA is located in downtown Toledo, on the second floor above Gathered Gallery & Studios. Accessed via the gallery, ABRACADABRA shares the corridor with the studios of painters, flameworkers and musicians. Across from the Mud Hens ball park, there are numerous coffee shops, restaurants, bars and shops in the immediate area.

ABRACADABRA Studio of Poetics is a place expressly for the poem. Individual self-promotion of one’s poetry is not a focus. ABRACADABRA is not a publisher of poetry. ABRACADABRA is not an open mic.  ABRACADABRA is not a drop-in workshop. ABRACADABRA is not a literary marketplace.

ABRACADABRA is dedicated to the text and its development. In a noisy world, ABRACADABRA emphasizes the silent act and pleasure of writing a poem.

ABRACADABRA exalts the surprises, harmonies, pleasures and engagements discovered in the fecund process of writing a poem.

ABRACADABRA instruction is not intended to prepare for or improve test performance, enhance SAT or ACT scores, or qualify individuals for academic or curricular credit. ABRACADABRA Studio of Poetics is not a classroom.

ABRACADABRA welcomes aspiring and dedicated poets of all ages and levels of experience. The need to write poems is there throughout one’s life.

ABRACADABRA Studio of Poetics is dedicated to the paired goals of improvement for each poet and empowering Toledo’s practicing community of poets.


Instruction: Schedule & Costs

ABRACADABRA Studio of Poetics is open two days a week, 6-9 PM, Tuesday & Wednesday, late October through mid-December. In Winter/Spring 2015, the Studio reopens late February through April 2015. Fall 2014 offers poets the following workshop/conversation, in addition to individually-scheduled tutorials. ABRACADABRA offers two compact instructional cycles p/year. Fall 2014 is the first cycle of 2014-2015.

Individual poetry tutorials or specialized instructional opportunities are arranged by contacting Joel Lipman at: poemvelope@gmail.com.

Fees for ABRACADABRA courses and tutorials as indicated below.


Fall, 2014, ABRACADABRA Studio of Poetics Schedule

P0et’s Workshop/Conversation: Meeting alternate weeks, the poet’s workshop/conversation runs Tuesdays, 6-8:30 PM, beginning October 28, and meeting the following 4 evenings: October 28. November 11, November 25, & December 9. A second workshop session begins February 2015. Studio members can attend the weekly session and make use of ABRACADABRA facilities; instruction is structured around participant’s original poems and involves group and individual exercises, discussion and supportive critique of participants’ drafts and poems. The workshop/conversation is for poets who seek a small, critical and inquiring community composed of readers who are practicing writers. Practicing poets, as well as high school, home schooled, and older beginners and senior poets welcome. COST: $50, new Studio members; $25, continuing Studio members.

Fall 2014: Beyond the Linear Poem: Poetry as Visual Language: On alternate Wednesdays, from 6-8 PM, there’ll be a conversation at ABRACADABRA on visual poetics and the page (October 29, November 12, 2 additional sessions to be arranged). The focus and discussion will be on examples and innovators of the visible poem, considering poets and movements that have championed the visual richness of language. In a digital age a poet’s premises about typography and form need historical reconsideration. So before moving beyond the paper page we’ll look at some masters of the visual poem — William Blake, Appolinaire, e.e. cummings, Kenneth Patchen, d.a. levy, Bern Porter, Tom Phillips and a few other poets and printers who address the eye and explore the page as a canvas and surface for a poem’s lyric, imagistic and graphic composition. This periodic Wednesday session is a special opportunity for Studio members or attendees interested in better understanding the poetics and practice of visual poetry. COST: $5 per session; pay as you go.

Continuing: Individual Lessons in Writing Poetry: 30-minute sessions, as scheduled. Instruction varies depending upon the individual’s experience and goals; characteristically focused on approaches to craft utilizing prompts, exercises and dedicated practice, with the objective of improving one’s mastery of language leading to the writing of meaningful original poems. COST: $25 per 1/2 hour lesson.

Continuing: On the Walls: Visual Literacy, Spatial Poetics & the Page: ABRACADABRA Studio of Poetics promotes fresh ideas for poetic practice with a dedicated focus on visual language, compositional use of space, the spatial line and the page as field of action. The Studio will continually exhibit visual poetry, poetry broadsides, artist’s books and typographic poems that encourage and promote active looking and visual literacy.

Contracted: External Residencies & Consultancies in Poetry: For individual schools and sch0ol systems, businesses, publishers, organizations and community groups. By arrangement, ABRACADABRA Studio of Poetics can arrange poetry readings, develop presentations or workshops on the practice of poetry, create specialized in-service poetry programs, schedule school residencies and develop literary and poetry programs addressing educational, literary, or institutional needs and professional opportunities.


Classroom Technology

We’re here to write, converse and debate, think things out a bit and offer peer critiques in a studio dedicated to poetics, positive encouragement and producing poems. At ABRACADABRA we’ll be attentively  scribal, textual, visual, modestly oral, and surely creative in our poetry. To keep our minds on the work of the poems at hand, to de-buzz and simplify things, turn off pocket technologies and electronics at the door. There will be no recording or videoing of ABRACADABRA’s workshops.

The truly useful poets’ workshop requires bonds of intimacy and trust around the table. What goes on in the workshop stays in the workshop. ABRACADABRA isn’t a “drop in” facility; rather it is a studio dedicated to the writerly needs of its growing number of member poets.

ABRACADABRA is a new concept for Toledo. ABRACADABRA will evolve and change as the studio’s community of participant poets moves beyond its constraints, generating and discovering opportunities and spin off projects. ABRACADABRA desires to be a dynamic part of a larger literary community and encourages its members to develop projects and initiatives outside the studio.


Group Size & Scale

ABRACADABRA is a studio of poetics and a studio by useful standards, practical matters and an artist’s nature has self-determined limits and inherent restrictions. Small is good. Few is fine. Practice and dedication is expansive.

ABRACADABRA’s conversational topics will vary term by term. A proliferation of offerings or expanding the size of individual groups is unlikely.

Spacewise, ABRACADABRA is a decidedly human scaled environment.

ABRACADABRA Conversations and Workshops are by and for Studio members present at the discussions. Other than the drafts of poems, notes and memories of participants no video or voice records will be kept.