On March 23, 2020, Susquehanna University pivoted to remote instruction in the face of a rising global pandemic. At that time, no one could foresee Covid-19’s long-lasting and widespread effects. While SU has successfully been back on campus for this academic year, it is worth recognizing how far students, faculty, and staff have come. Monica Prince offers a spoken-word reflection this anniversary video, "Better," composed by the university with photographic contributions from SU students.
Every class begins like this: “My name is Monica Prince and I’m going to be your favorite teacher.” Monica's teaching methods are based heavily on her slam poet persona—excessive hubris, high heels, and eye contact.
Her teaching philosophy is simple: let’s move mountains and break walls and light fires because the world is broken and if you’re taking my class, you’re looking for a toolbox and some super glue.
English composition and creative writing will not stop genocide, cure cancer, or bring our soldiers home. But the way Monica teaches these classes—with genuine interest in how her students define humanity, with constant questioning of that definition through poetry and prose—she turns ordinary students into self-aware learners who frame arguments, identify inconsistencies, and present solutions to the world’s problems. She's not always successful—not all her students want to improve the world; some don’t even want to come to class. And yet, the students who decide they don’t want to help fix what’s broken, at the very least they learn that about themselves. As it says in her syllabus, “Most importantly, you will be exposed to people, perspectives, and ideas that differ, align and drastically challenge your sense of self—and hopefully you will leave well-read, well-informed, and just plain well.”
Monica taught with Writers in the Schools (WITS) in different forms in three states from 2012-2017. In Georgia, from 2012-2014, she taught and facilitated the Early College Writers in the Schools Program, a WITS program that matched undergraduates with seventh graders. In Texas from 2014-2017, she taught creative writing and slam poetry with the summer Creative Writing Camp in Houston, co-sponsored by WITS Houston and Rice University's School Literacy and Culture department. In addition to that camp, Monica taught with the HYPE Freedom School in July 2016, a summer program for marginalized students to increase literacy and excitement about reading and culture. In Colorado, Monica taught with the WITS-affiliated nonprofit, Colorado Humanities and the Center for the Book. With this program, she taught creative writing to high school seniors, focusing on Pulitzer Prize-winning work about the American West.
All these teaching artist gigs contribute to Monica's work as a writer, performer, and teacher. She utilizes the co-teaching model from Creative Writing Camp in Houston in her poetry classes at Susquehanna University; she implements the concept of "mentor texts" from Colorado Humanities in her Senior Seminar courses; and she encourages master class workshops, inspired by her Early College work, with the Slam Club she advises and the Choreopoem course she exclusively teaches. Teaching has proved the second-most rewarding part of Monica's art (the first being, of course, actual writing).
Want Monica to come teach a class, run a workshop, or review a curriculum plan? Contact her:
Are you interested in writing poems, creating choreopoems, or learning how to perform poetry with Monica? She gives online and in-person workshops all over the country, and you're invited to join her! Check back regularly for more information about workshops she's hosting, or contact her directly to find out more!
Hosted (virtually) by White Whale Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA
Saturdays March 20, 27, April 3, 10, 2021 @ 10:00am-12:30pm ET
This is an erotic writing workshop for writers who have directly or indirectly experienced trauma, especially but not limited to sexual trauma.
Short version? We’re going to write about sex. Long version? We’re going to analyze Audre Lorde’s exploration of the erotic as power, consider the personal narratives that shape our use and misuse of the erotic, and create written pieces honoring the excellence the erotic requires of us. Ultimately, we’re going to discover the healing properties of erotic writing through generative exercises, and hopefully, find a little more freedom in ourselves.
Overall, the aim of this workshop is to learn to define the erotic as a source of power beyond working assumptions or sexual experiences."
Price: $300 with optional extras
Are you or someone you know a high school student interested in creative writing? Spend a week with Monica and other fabulous creative writing faculty at Susquehanna University with the Summer Writers Workshop, run every summer in July for the last few decades. In this camp, young writers from all over the country have the opportunity to write, revise, and perform their work, eventually publishing at least one piece in the SWW workshop anthology. Due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, this camp is now virtual, but we hope to welcome young writers back to campus in the coming years.