Adult Poetry Writing Workshop | South Pasadena Public Library

South Pasadena Poet Laureate Ron Koertge will introduce lesser known poetic forms he describes as “exotic and attractive”. Registration is required.

PHOTO: Anna Fratto | News | South Pasadena Public Library

April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, the South Pasadena Public Library invites adults to join a poetry writing workshop led by award-winning author and South Pasadena Poet Laureate Ron Koertge on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room located at 1115 El Centro Street, South Pasadena, California. Registration is required; visit to make a reservation.

Whether you are new to poetry or have a long-standing passion for it, this workshop encourages participants to explore their creative side as Koertge introduces lesser known poetic forms he describes as “exotic and attractive”. Koertge explains that “everybody knows the sonnet, how it marches along and sings at the end of the lines. Sonnets also make the writer fit everything into 14 lines.” The forms that participants will practice in this workshop—the villanelle, the sestina, the ghazal, and the pantoum—are more unusual, and, Koertge says, “are for people who like puzzles and who like to experiment with thinking inside a unique and attractive box.”

Take advantage of this opportunity to delve deeper into poetry this National Poetry Month, under the guidance of an award-winning poet, who will help participants to get a head start working with each of these four forms.

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The Poet Laureate of the City of South Pasadena is an honorary position given to a South Pasadena resident poet who serves as the city’s official ambassador for the literary arts. The position was established on July 6, 2018 by the City Council. The Poet Laureate seeks to raise awareness of poetry and literature in the community and to help inspire residents of all ages to appreciate the joy and power to be found in reading and writing.

South Pasadena Poet Laureate Ronald Koertge is a three-time finalist and two-time winner of the PEN Literary Award for Children’s Literature and the author of 10 acclaimed poetry collections, including Yellow Moving Van and Olympusville, and 12 novels. His honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a California Arts Council grant, and inclusion in numerous anthologies such as Best American Poetry, Poetry 180, and Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column.

His prose poem “Negative Space” was the basis of the 2018 Academy Award-nominated animated short film directed by Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter. Koertge has also shared his wisdom with students over many decades as a distinguished college writing instructor.

This workshop is funded by a generous donation from the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, Inc.

The South Pasadena Public Library is located at 1100 Oxley Street in South Pasadena. The Library Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street. Visit the Library website at for information about services and programs. The Library is open Monday, Friday, Saturday 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Upon request made no later than four (4) business days before the event, the City will provide a reasonable accommodation for a qualified person with disability to have equal access to the event. Please call (626) 403-7312 or fill out the City’s request form available at and email the form to Human Resources at