with Rick Black, an international prize-winning haiku poet

Take some of your most cherished and beloved memories — and turn them into haiku or short poems to share with others. When you’re feeling low and just need an extra boost, it will help remind you of your favorite times and people. An experienced poet will help you along the way to make these poems memorable for you and others.

Suggested Donation: $20


About Rick Black

A poet, book artist and photographer, Rick Black is the founder and owner of Turtle Light Press, a small publishing company that specializes in handcrafted books, fine art prints and note cards.

In recent years, Rick has won several awards for his own poetry as well as books that he has published. He has given readings at the Library of Congress and elsewhere around the country. He often takes bike rides in the region and can be spotted taking photographs in and around Arlington, Falls Church, and Washington, D.C.

As he has gotten to know the area, he has begun turning his digital photos into artistic paintings – luminous, colorful and playful. His images have been selected to adorn the rooms of the Hilton Garden Inn in Falls Church. He has exhibited widely in the mid-Atlantic region and his work can be found in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

For close to twenty years, he worked as a journalist, including a three-year stint in the Jerusalem bureau of The New York Times. He also has freelanced for numerous national newspapers and magazines, including The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, and other publications.

To see more of Rick’s books or his artistic photographs, please visit his website: www.turtlelightpress.com

with Ravenna Raven & Jenny Hegland

Join poets Ravenna Raven and Jenny Hegland for a 5-15 minute conversation as they write custom poems that are composed, typewritten, and given to each participant.

Participants can arrive anytime between 12:00 and 3:00pm and wait their turn for a conversation with one of the poets. Tea and water are always available in the Nook while you wait.


About the poets

Ravenna Raven is a poet, educator, and sewing artist living in Washington, D.C. She spent her childhood in a 250-year-old farmhouse in rural New Jersey, reading and writing stories to entertain herself. While studying poetry as a graduate student at the University of Maryland, she began developing and teaching courses for creative writing, reading development, and inquiry research. Ravenna is a listener poet with a nonprofit that promotes good listening in hospitals and healing spaces while supporting patient and staff wellbeing and the humanization of healthcare. Her upcoming projects will combine her love of language with a passion for sewing and garment design to create custom, one-of-a-kind wearable poems.

Jenny is a creative facilitator, coach, and social entrepreneur whose life’s work centers around community engagement, participatory leadership, and social justice. She moved to the greater DC area in 2018 after living in Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands) for three years, where she co-founded and led two disaster recovery nonprofits. Prior to that she worked in higher education for 10 years as a counselor, instructor, and partnership liaison. She holds a M.S. in counseling and a B.S. in communications.

This program has been cancelled. Please check back for future dates!

with Ravenna Raven

Join poet Ravenna Raven for a 5-15 minute conversation as they write custom poems that are composed, typewritten, and given to each participant.

Participants can arrive anytime between 12:00 and 3:00pm and wait their turn for a conversation with one of the poets. Tea and water are always available in the Nook while you wait.


About Ravenna Raven

Ravenna Raven is a poet, educator, and sewing artist living in Washington, D.C. She spent her childhood in a 250-year-old farmhouse in rural New Jersey, reading and writing stories to entertain herself. While studying poetry as a graduate student at the University of Maryland, she began developing and teaching courses for creative writing, reading development, and inquiry research. Ravenna is a listener poet with a nonprofit that promotes good listening in hospitals and healing spaces while supporting patient and staff wellbeing and the humanization of healthcare. Her upcoming projects will combine her love of language with a passion for sewing and garment design to create custom, one-of-a-kind wearable poems.

Participants are encouraged to attend all 4 classes, beginning on Wednesday, October 2nd.

Please click here to register for this series.

with Stacie Marinelli

October 30, 6:30-8:00pm – Poetry Performance!

Please join us in hearing and supporting the poetry developed throughout this month-long workshop by our fantastic participants. All are welcome. Free to attend.


Having cancer brings up so many new emotions and its trials test our stamina and strength. Writing about what we go through can release some of the trauma and allow us to view our path with new eyes. This is a four-session writing workshop for writers at all levels that will culminate in a reading of our work. Together we will share what we have to say about living with cancer from diagnosis to survivorship and generate new work through spontaneous writing using various prompts. Bring a notebook or laptop to the sessions.

Suggested Donation: $30 (includes all 4 classes)

Our programs are open to the community, and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.


About Stacie Marinelli

Stacie Marinelli is a local writer, researcher and storyteller who became involved with the Smith Center after her diagnosis of tongue & neck cancer in 2012. Words about the experience tumbled out in journal entries and poems which allowed her to better accept her cancer. She has blogged about her sense of community during cancer treatment and on being a peer mentor for the cancer-support group Imerman Angels. In Boston and DC, she led workshops on writing practice based on the books of Natalie Goldberg, on writing about one’s life as a heroic journey, and on creative memoir. She served as the managing editor of a New England storytelling newsletter for many years and her writing and editing work includes poems and articles published in anthologies and magazines.

Participants are encouraged to attend all 4 classes, beginning on Wednesday, October 2nd.

Please click here to register for this series.

with Stacie Marinelli

Having cancer brings up so many new emotions and its trials test our stamina and strength. Writing about what we go through can release some of the trauma and allow us to view our path with new eyes. This is a four-session writing workshop for writers at all levels that will culminate in a reading of our work. Together we will share what we have to say about living with cancer from diagnosis to survivorship and generate new work through spontaneous writing using various prompts. Bring a notebook or laptop to the sessions.

Suggested Donation: $30 (includes all 4 classes)

Our programs are open to the community, and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.


About Stacie Marinelli

Stacie Marinelli is a local writer, researcher and storyteller who became involved with the Smith Center after her diagnosis of tongue & neck cancer in 2012. Words about the experience tumbled out in journal entries and poems which allowed her to better accept her cancer. She has blogged about her sense of community during cancer treatment and on being a peer mentor for the cancer-support group Imerman Angels. In Boston and DC, she led workshops on writing practice based on the books of Natalie Goldberg, on writing about one’s life as a heroic journey, and on creative memoir. She served as the managing editor of a New England storytelling newsletter for many years and her writing and editing work includes poems and articles published in anthologies and magazines.

with Ravenna Raven & Jenny Hegland

Join poets Ravenna Raven and Jenny Hegland for a 5-15 minute conversation as they write custom poems that are composed, typewritten, and given to each participant.

Participants can arrive anytime between 1:00 and 4:45pm and wait their turn for a conversation with one of the poets. Tea and water are always available in the Nook while you wait.


About the poets

Ravenna Raven has lived in D.C. for the past decade teaching reading, writing, and yoga to students of all ages and learning how to sew and alter custom garments. Ravenna holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from the George Washington University and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Maryland.

Jenny is a creative facilitator, coach, and social entrepreneur whose life’s work centers around community engagement, participatory leadership, and social justice. She moved to the greater DC area in 2018 after living in Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands) for three years, where she co-founded and led two disaster recovery nonprofits. Prior to that she worked in higher education for 10 years as a counselor, instructor, and partnership liaison. She holds a M.S. in counseling and a B.S. in communications.

Participants are encouraged to attend all 4 classes, beginning on Wednesday, October 2nd.

Please click here to register for this series.

with Stacie Marinelli

Having cancer brings up so many new emotions and its trials test our stamina and strength. Writing about what we go through can release some of the trauma and allow us to view our path with new eyes. This is a four-session writing workshop for writers at all levels that will culminate in a reading of our work. Together we will share what we have to say about living with cancer from diagnosis to survivorship and generate new work through spontaneous writing using various prompts. Bring a notebook or laptop to the sessions.

Suggested Donation: $30 (includes all 4 classes)

Our programs are open to the community, and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.


About Stacie Marinelli

Stacie Marinelli is a local writer, researcher and storyteller who became involved with the Smith Center after her diagnosis of tongue & neck cancer in 2012. Words about the experience tumbled out in journal entries and poems which allowed her to better accept her cancer. She has blogged about her sense of community during cancer treatment and on being a peer mentor for the cancer-support group Imerman Angels. In Boston and DC, she led workshops on writing practice based on the books of Natalie Goldberg, on writing about one’s life as a heroic journey, and on creative memoir. She served as the managing editor of a New England storytelling newsletter for many years and her writing and editing work includes poems and articles published in anthologies and magazines.

Participants are encouraged to attend all 4 classes, beginning on Wednesday, October 2nd.

with Stacie Marinelli

Having cancer brings up so many new emotions and its trials test our stamina and strength. Writing about what we go through can release some of the trauma and allow us to view our path with new eyes. This is a four-session writing workshop for writers at all levels that will culminate in a reading of our work. Together we will share what we have to say about living with cancer from diagnosis to survivorship and generate new work through spontaneous writing using various prompts. Bring a notebook or laptop to the sessions.

Suggested Donation: $30 (includes all 4 classes)

Our programs are open to the community, and tailored to meet the needs of people affected by cancer. Classes and workshops are free or low cost on a pay-as-you-can basis, ensuring that our programs are accessible to everyone.


About Stacie Marinelli

Stacie Marinelli is a local writer, researcher and storyteller who became involved with the Smith Center after her diagnosis of tongue & neck cancer in 2012. Words about the experience tumbled out in journal entries and poems which allowed her to better accept her cancer. She has blogged about her sense of community during cancer treatment and on being a peer mentor for the cancer-support group Imerman Angels. In Boston and DC, she led workshops on writing practice based on the books of Natalie Goldberg, on writing about one’s life as a heroic journey, and on creative memoir. She served as the managing editor of a New England storytelling newsletter for many years and her writing and editing work includes poems and articles published in anthologies and magazines.

With Ravenna Raven and Jenny Hegland

Poets Ravenna Raven and Jenny Hegland will be on site from 1 – 5 p.m. on Tuesday, August 20th writing custom poems for anyone who’s interested in talking with them.  Conversations typically last 5-15 minutes. Poems are then composed, typewritten, and given to each individual who participates.”

More about Ravenna and Jenny

Ravenna Raven has lived in D.C. for the past decade teaching reading, writing, and yoga to students of all ages and learning how to sew and alter custom garments. Ravenna holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from the George Washington University and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Maryland.
Jenny is a creative facilitator, coach, and social entrepreneur whose life’s work centers around community engagement, participatory leadership, and social justice. She moved to the greater DC area in 2018 after living in Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands) for three years, where she co-founded and led two disaster recovery nonprofits. Prior to that she worked in higher education for 10 years as a counselor, instructor, and partnership liaison. She holds a M.S. in counseling and a B.S. in communications.