Suzi Q. Smith is a performer, writer, educator, activist, and community leader/servant. She began her professional career working in community engagement for a civil rights organization, spent a decade as an account executive in the corporate world, and another decade touring the U.S. as a performing artist while leading arts & arts policy organizations. She is a certified Change Leader with Colorado Creative Industries, a NOVA EDI Ambassador for the City of Denver, a TEDx Speaker, and a creative writing teacher with experience designing and facilitating courses from kindergarten to University, with government agencies, in corrections facilities and residential treatment centers, and more.
As an organizer, Suzi has worked with arts and cultural organizations for over 20 years, in Denver and around the U.S. Her commitment to intersectional racial justice, creating safe(r) spaces for all marginalized peoples, and creating communities of care as well as policies and practices for transformative justice and equity are all key initiatives. As an educator, she has worked extensively with youth, serving as a Teaching Artist with Youth On Record, and as a coach of Denver Minor Disturbance Youth Poetry Slam, resulting in two international championships. Further, she is Affiliate Faculty with Regis University’s Mile High MFA, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, and DU’s Prison Arts Initiative.
Online Course Offerings for 2022 Coming Soon!
You Should Probably Finish That Poetry Manuscript
Part 1 – 4 Weeks: In this workshop, participants will be given tools to develop their own unique editing practice. Our discussions, readings, in-class writing and review will be focused on strengthening our work. The guiding editing question is, “Did I say what I needed to say?” We will do some writing in class, though participants must come with drafts of existing poems. There will be exercises focused on formatting, poetic lineage, connotation vs. denotation, symbolism, themes, formatting, and close reading. This workshop is open to writers at all levels, no workshop experience necessary. Participants should be prepared to read approximately 20 pages of poetry each week, as each person will have the opportunity for full review with the group. This workshop will be collaborative, supportive, and inclusive.
Part 2 – 4 weeks: In this workshop, participants will be working toward creating a chapbook-length collection (16 – 36 pages) of poetry. Our discussions, readings, in-class writing and review will be focused on building a connected series. We will do some writing in class, though participants should be prepared to come with drafts of existing poems as well. We will discuss ordering, titling, formatting, and offer close readings of each others’ poems. This workshop is open to writers at all levels, no workshop experience necessary. Participants should be prepared to read approximately 20 pages of poetry each week, as each person will have the opportunity for full review with the group. This workshop will be collaborative, supportive, and inclusive. Workshop is limited to 8 participants.
There Will Probably Be Crying: A Writing Experience. 16-Week Workshop Series
In this workshop series, participants will explore their own stories, identities, experiences, ideas, and self-language through reading, writing, and in-depth discussion. We will engage in a wide range of texts and other media to evaluate approaches to create mental imagery, suggest mood, set tone as a means to convey our truths. This is an intensive generative workshop in which we will explore texts and engage in live virtual session discussions. We will write weekly and all participants will be invited to share (as desired, never mandatory) during live virtual sessions, as well as via document sharing.
We will write poetry, affirmations, stories, mantras – this part will be up to you. We will listen to some lovely playlists while we write. We might even talk about astrology. This workshop series will get deep and emotional experiences should be expected. Crying may also occur, which is a strong feature of most of my writing process and in many workshops. I no longer resist this, but I want you to be prepared. I will do my best to support you through the process as we move through it together.
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Suzi Q. Smith is available for creative writing workshops on a single, drop-in basis, as well as for ongoing series. These workshops facilitate the understanding and articulation of thoughts, ideas, identity, experience and emotion through the use of creative writing. Her lesson plans can be tailored to meet your specific needs for a single event or theme, creating a welcoming space for participants to explore.
In multi-week workshops, participants will explore their writing more in-depth. Participants engage in a wide range of texts and other media to evaluate approaches to create mental imagery, suggest mood, set tone and will use new approaches to use content-specific language, style, tone, and text structure to compose or adapt writing for different audiences and purposes. Through comprehensive discussion, writing, and workshopping, participants learn to use new tools to create, seek feedback, self-assess, and reflect on personal learning. Participants will evaluate explicit and implicit viewpoints, values, attitudes, and assumptions concealed in speech, writing, and illustration. In a group course, participants will also be guided to collaborate effectively as group members or leaders who listen actively and respectfully pose thoughtful questions, acknowledge the ideas of others, and contribute ideas to support the collective.
This course will define unconscious/implicit bias and its effects, establish common definitions of related concepts and ideologies, exploring personal identity, relationships, and cultural messages that shape our perceptions. Participants will use creative tools and review strategies to identify, address and counter biases.
Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Participants will explore definitions and ideologies including equity, diversity, inclusion, privilege, and marginalization that will increase their understanding of their own relationships to power and opportunities to influence. Participants will also learn practical techniques through discussion groups and activities that will enable them be more effective in supporting those with marginalized identities.
Connection & Communication
This course will demonstrate models of arts and creative communication techniques to build authentic connections in the workplace. Participants will use listening techniques, interactive exercises, and creative writing tools to develop new approaches to communication.
This course will help participants develop practical techniques to become more effective public speakers. Offered in group sessions or one-on-one coaching sessions, participants will learn to enhance their presentations and/or performances and build comfort and confidence delivering organized and effective oral presentations for diverse audiences and purposes.
Learn more about workshop and/or facilitation availability: