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A Guide for Teens, Teachers, and Writers of All Ages

“Join Heller on her quest to help save the world, one poet at a time.”
— from the foreword by Susan G. Wooldridge

Write a Poem, Save Your Life helps writers of all ages and experience levels navigate their way through all aspects of life. With writing prompts, tools, encouragement, and moving student examples, Meredith Heller gently guides us in the art of using poetry to figure out who we are and what matters to us and to heal the deeper issues many of us face, such as depression, addiction, health and body image issues, low self-esteem, trauma, gender and sexual identity issues, and home and family problems. Along the way, we learn that writing poems helps us believe in ourselves, make positive life choices, and find direction, purpose, and meaning.


“Writing advice both practical and inspirational.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Newcomers to poetry writing will find this approach much more accessible than the usual poetry writing handbook, requiring no prior familiarity with poetry . . . ”
Midwest Book Review

“From her own humble beginnings, Meredith Heller gorgeously invites us into the creative process of becoming human by learning to attend to and celebrate the full range of our life experiences through the extraordinary alchemy of poetic writing.”
— SARK, artist, author, and inspirationalist, PlanetSARK.com

“Poetry isn’t just art; it’s essential medicine. . . . In this stunning ode to everyone’s inner poet, Meredith Heller offers a timely and extraordinary gift to anyone seeking to explore poetic writing.”
— Danielle Dulsky, author of The Holy Wild, Woman Most Wild, and Seasons of Moon and Flame

“A scrumptious poet’s guide to opening ourselves to the world of the creative process. . . . Heller affirms the way we see and express, as if she were sitting on our shoulders urging us to bloom. Her playful, deep, curious questions will stir a soul and prime the pump of creativity.”
— Wendi R. Kaplan, Poet Laureate of Alexandria, Virginia, 2016–2019

“A big, heady book filled with lots of tangible, specific strategies to make your poetry come alive. . . . If you love poetry, this book is for you. If you don’t love poetry, this book is even more for you.”
— Matthew Dicks, author of Storyworthy and Moth GrandSLAM winner

“This book is perfect for anyone who dreams of writing poetry. In these pages you will find everything you need: tools, examples, prompts, suggestions, and most important, inspiration from a teacher and writer for whom poetry has been a salvation.”
— Jane Anne Staw, author of Small: The Little We Need for Happiness

“Poetry is language that whispers and shouts and dreams, rants and chants. In Write a Poem, Save Your Life, Meredith Heller provides an abundant variety of invitations and open-ended questions so we can translate the truths and textures of our lives into poems. Write a Poem, Save Your Life is a guide for teens, teachers, and writers of all ages to write their way into greater clarity and wholeness. Brava.”
— Ruth Gendler, author of The Book of Qualities and Notes on the Need for Beauty

“For anyone who has ever declared, ‘I have nothing to say,’ Meredith Heller invites you to embark on a brave adventure into the magic of poetry and the tools for finding your truth, lifting your voice, singing your personal song.”
— Sophy Burnham, author of For Writers Only and A Book of Angels

“What an inspiring guide to writing poetry! Meredith Heller weaves her teaching, her prompts, and heartfelt poems into a book that calls all of us to find and celebrate our words. Write a Poem, Save Your Life teaches us that through poetry our difficulties can be endured, the unspeakable can be spoken, and both truth and beauty can be shared.”
— Sandra Marinella, author of The Story You Need to Tell

“In her generous, soulful book, Meredith Heller reminds us that happiness is an ‘inside job,’ that the deepest sense of belonging is to ourselves, and that our own poems can be trusted to take us there. With moving personal stories and inspired student poems, Heller invites us to a banquet of step-by-step tutorials in such life-changing, neglected arts as shape-shifting, ranting and raving, inner shamanism, and so many other ‘writes’ of passage. I invite young people (and anyone else who’d like to write themselves home) to dive into this curriculum of wonders; it may very well save your life.”
— Prartho Sereno, prize-winning poet, Poet Laureate Emerita of Marin County, California, and founder of the Poetic Pilgrimage: Poem-Making as Spiritual Practice

“Meredith Heller has written her book Write a Poem, Save Your Life with both passion and compassion. She invites everyone to the party, telling us that each of us has a poem and each of us can write it. She follows this up with coaching that is both careful and enthusiastic. Read this book, and you will learn to believe in yourself.”
— Kevin Fisher-Paulson, author of A Song for Lost Angels and How We Keep Spinning. . . !

“We need poetry in our schools and our lives. Academia places far too much emphasis on ‘brain only,’ but other modes of learning are essential to well-being. Write a Poem, Save Your Life teaches the reader, step by step, how to use poetry to talk about life’s struggles, pain, joy, and transformation. It’s the perfect resource.”
— Kristi Hugstad, author of Beneath the Surface and Be You, Only Better

“Without rigid rules or tedious tenses, the poet Meredith Heller has written an important, readable book; it is especially useful for adolescents — during their ups and downs. Fortunately, Heller invites everyone to participate in the art/therapy of making poems, to work to formulate their feelings, and to create something that matters.”
— David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American Foundation

“In Meredith Heller’s bold new book, she shows us how poetry offers a powerful tool for processing and sharing the joys and pains of being human, as evidenced by her own experiences. Her writing invitations are specific and helpful starting points, as are the examples shared by her students. Poets and writers of all ages and experience levels will benefit from her seasoned, savvy, sage advice!”
— Rebecca Pollack, creative writing teacher, Marin School of the Arts, Novato, California