Poetry Workshop

Lan Su is filled with classical Chinese poetry—above and on the sides of entryways, inscribed on stone, on panels, and on central pillars in rooms. Every Lan Su building has a poetic name. Because poetry integrates the garden’s beauty, Lan Su is the perfect spot to surrender to creative writing on an April afternoon. Participate in a Poetry Workshop every Wednesday in April at 3 p.m. Discover an additional poetry series, workshops and more during Poetry Month at Lan Su »

April 5 — Carl Adamshick

 Moods and Modes

The first portion of the workshop will be discussing and reviewing samples of different poetic modes. Please bring your own favorite poem to share and discuss. The second half of class will be a workshop of newly generated work.

The workshop will be focused on understanding poems as modes of expression. Pindar praised athletes in an outrageously hyperbolized manner. His invention of the ode, simply understood as a poem of praise, is a form, a mode poets still utilize. One just needs to think of Neruda! Class will discuss, not poems of highly structured and formalized structure like sonnets, haiku, villanelle or pantoums, but poems with a mode and governing purpose like elegies, odes, aubades, blazons and epithalamiums. We will pick, choose and invent your own modes of expression and then ascribe different tones and feelings to each mode.

April 12 — Drew Myron 

Come to Your Senses

Writing comes alive with the detail our senses provide. Using the sense of smell as a trigger, we’ll focus on fresh writing with prompts and practices designed to energize and inspire.

From poetry to prose, fact to fiction, this 90-minute workshop will serve as a creative springboard in which you’ll generate new work, meet other writers, and share experiences that will help shape, shift and propel your own writing. This workshop is open to writers of all ages, experience & interests.

April 19 — Willa Schneberg

Writing the Letter Poem

Inside the Scholar’s Study poems and epistles were written with special brushes to those far away.

Today in the Scholar’s Study, we will glean how the letter is a cousin to the poem. Indeed, they both share the need to communicate to a reader in evocative language. But in the epistolary poem the writer might be a persona and the reader might be “real,” invented, historic, an animal or a place. Masters in this genre: the Medieval Chinese poet Cao Zhi, Elizabeth Bishop, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes and Bernadette Mayer will guide us in our process. 90 Minutes, generative, handouts will be provided.  

April 26 — Maggie Chula

Persona Poetry: Step Out of Your Self

Persona is Latin for “mask.” A persona poem allows the writer to don a mask and assume the identity of the speaker. Writing in the voice and point of view of a person you’ve never met is both challenging and freeing. It allows you to use your imagination, offering you an opportunity to step out of your social, political and personal beliefs and enter the world of another person. Inspired by photographs and a variety of persona poems by other poets, you’ll create a character that will surprise and delight you. Everyone is welcome.


Included with Lan Su  membership or admission; no registration is required. 


About the Presenters


Carl Adamshick is the author of Curses and Wishes, which won the Walt Whitman award from the Academy of American Poets and Saint Friend, published with McSweeney’s. Both titles received an Oregon Book Award. He has taught at Catlin Gabel and lectured at Stanford University and the American International School in Vienna, as well as being a writer in-residence at the William Stafford Archive at Lewis and Clark College. He is a founder and editor at Tavern Books, a non-profit press dedicated to poetry and the preservation of books.


Drew Myron is a former newspaper reporter and editor who has covered news, arts, entertainment and travel for AOL, Northwest Best Places and other publications. For over 15 years, she’s headed a marketing communications company. Drew is the author of Thin Skin, a book of photos and poems.


Willa Schneberg has authored five poetry collections: In The Margins of The World, recipient of the Oregon Book Award in Poetry, Box Poems, Storytelling In Cambodia, and the letterpress chapbook The Books of Esther produced in conjunction with her interdisciplinary exhibit at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education Rending the Garment.

She has read at the Library of Congress, her poems were heard on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, and she has been a fellow at Yaddo and MacDowell.

Willa read and taught a workshop as part of the recent visual art exhibit “Cambodian Resiliency” at the ArtReach Gallery, sponsored by the First Congregational UCC of Portland. She is also the curator of the current exhibition “Ritual Unmoored: Six Jewish Ceramists,” that will be on view at the PSU Broadway Gallery through Sept. 15, 2017.

She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice and a visual artist. Willa lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon.


Maggie Chula lived in Kyoto, Japan for twelve years where she taught English and creative writing at Doshisha Women’s College. She also studied the traditional arts of woodblock printing and flower arrangement. Writing haiku, tanka, and haibun for more than thirty years, she travels internationally to promote these forms through presentations and workshops. She has published eight books, most recently a lyric collection, Daffodils at Twilight. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Kyoto Journal, Poet Lore, Americas Review, Windfall, Sufi journal, Cloudbank, and Briarcliff Review, as well as in haiku journals around the world. Grants from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Regional Arts Culture Council have supported her writing as well as fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and Playa.


Plan Your Visit

Lan Su Chinese Garden offers infinite paths to discovery, whether you are a visitor simply taking in the beauty of the garden for the first time or a member who comes back day after day to sip tea in the teahouse.  One visit just isn’t enough to take in the depth and abundance of experiences. Lan Su is ever-changing—by the minute, by the hour, and with the seasons. Learn more and plan your visit today.

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Ongoing Programs

Lan Su Chinese Garden offers infinite paths to discovery, whether you are a visitor simply taking in the beauty of the garden for the first  time, or a member who comes back day after day to sip tea in the Teahouse. Most activities are included with your purchase of membership or admission. Visitors can join in an instructor-led tai chi session, take a guided tour of the garden with a staff horticulturalist, enjoy live music performances at the Teahouse, or learn to play Chinese games like mahjong and wei chi.

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