Kudos

From Kelley Jean White, M.D.

Many years ago, in Philadelphia, a newly divorced physician and mother of three young children, I walked into Tina Barr's class at my children's school along with a dozen or so private and public high school students and a handful of adults clutching some works torn from a notebook that were shaped a bit like a poem. Tina led the discussion, and I listened, amazed that strangers, even strangers from another generation, read emotions--fear, regret, loneliness-- into my simple description of a man and a sweater--emotions I didn't know I had. And there were things I needed to express--but not to my two young children.  After one class I was hooked.  I enrolled in Tina's poetry workshops. Tina eventually moved away, but she has continued to be my teacher. At a reading when she passed through Philadelphia again I happened to sit near a shelf that held a copy of POETS' MARKET. . .and started submitting. I've definitely gone past my secret heart's goal of publishing a half dozen poems in 6 years, a book by the time I turned fifty. . .More, actually, quite a number of books and chapbooks, amazing friends among fellow poets literally all around the world. Involvement in medical humanities, even a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship in poetry AND the priceless moment when my mother heard Garrison Keillor say 'and now, a poem by Kelley Jean White' on the Writer's Almanac. It all began with Tina. I cannot thank her enough.
 
Major Jackson (acclaimed author of four books of poems, the most recent from Norton), on Poetry Magazine Blog
 
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2007/11/first-loves

Rhodes College Students

Aisha Sharif, author of To Keep From Undressing.  "Thank you so much for your support of my book and my writing career! Without you, I don't believe I would have believed I could develop my writing into something serious.  I appreciate how you always made me feel I could write about my father and race, never making me feel odd or strange. . . . The poem "When I was 13," was actually written in your poetry workshop and I remember you said that I "broke through" the wall I'd been hiding behind. 

Katherine Watkins, winner of the Milken Educator Award, a national competition, Memphis, TN.
"Thank you again for everything you've done for me over the years. You are the greatest teacher and mentor I ever had. Without the role you played in my life, none of what's happening to me right now would have ever been a possibility." 

From Rebecca Beach, Ph.D.
"You have been a wonderful friend and mentor to me.  I would not be celebrating this doctoral degree today if I'd never walked into your poetry class all those years ago in Palmer Hall and caught some of your wonder and joy from studying words."

From Jackie McCrary
"You were hands-down my favorite professor."


From Ty Stumpf, Chair of the Humanities Department at Central Carolina Community College

"As you may recall, I was in your NC Writer's Network poetry class this past November.  I wanted to thank you and let you know that one of my poems we worked on, "First Allowance," was recently published in Prime Number Magazine. You can find the poem here: http://www.primenumbermagazine.com/Issue_97_Stumpf.html
Thanks for your insight and guidance with my writing.  I sincerely appreciate it."


Poetry Students, Asheville Graduate Center, University of NC at Asheville, Great Smokies Writing Program

"I recently attended a well-known Poetry Festival in another State.  Quite something to be among famous poets.  However, when I returned, I was struck by the quality instruction I have received in the Great Smokies Writing Program and how grateful I am for the opportunities it affords me to develop as a writer.  Having completed a weeklong class at the festival, I realized that the instruction I have received and the subsequent relationships I have developed in the writing community here far exceed the quality of instruction I experienced there. . . . I wanted you to know how much I value the Great Smokies Writing Program."  A.W., Asheville

"I just learned that Finishing Line Press in Georgetown, KY, is going to publish a book with 25 of my poems.  Approximately 15 of these poems have appeared in various quarterlies and journals. . . . You'll recognize a couple of them from your class.  You are the best poet and teacher I've ever had the privilege of working with."  M.R., Asheville, NC


"I submitted my chapbook, WHOSE NAMES HAVE SLIPPED AWAY, which you so generously edited, to Finishing Line Press last October. I heard earlier this week that they do want to publish it!  You helped me so much with your editing. I feel so generously supported." K.N. Fairview, NC

"I just wanted to thank you for a great and inspiring class. You Rock."  B.C., Asheville, NC


"I want to let you know that I got an acceptance from Tar River Poetry for the poem "Unsummoned" that I workshopped with you and the group."  K.N., Fairview, NC

"Thanks again for a wonderfully-inspired class, for your great generosity of spirit and for your encouragements all around.  I'm a journalist and a copywriter by trade so I stumbled into poetry, mainly by way of Mary Oliver.  I thank you for seeing the bright side of our work and I agree with you that there were, without a doubt, some staggeringly good pieces that came out of your workshop."  J.F., Asheville


"I realized that in the last class I was in, three of my poems were accepted (in literary journals) that were conceived in your class." P.B. Cedar Mountain, NC


"Just wanted you to know ... you've been one of my great teachers." K.J., Hendersonville, NC.


"Although my schedule has now become very hectic, ... I'm glad I signed up for this class with all of you.  I learn so much from your comments and those of my classmates and feel like it's one of the centering activities in the midst of turmoil.  I'm so grateful I met you years ago ... thank you for creating a safe environment to learn and share.  C.S. Asheville, NC


"It was great to be working with you again. You really end up making the class be for all, stimulating all kinds of ideas. I like the careful reading of different poets so much. You are a gifted teacher. You see the poem within the poem, and lead students toward the best in their work, unstinting and gentle at the same time. Brilliant with the red pencil.  I know how to work on (poems) better than I did before.  Please know how much I admire you and treasure your interest and support."  C.S., Spruce Pine, NC


"Such a varied and interesting group of people you draw.  The grouping of poems we read was extraordinary and, with the assignment, I felt myself going deeper before I even picked up my pencil."  J.R., Black Mountain, NC.

"The class--your examples, assignments, guidance of conversation, and teaching--is fabulous." P.G. Asheville, NC

"You are a fabulous teacher.  I very much appreciate your encouragement and nurturing feedback.  This is my first writing class and it has been a grand experience."  K.M., Asheville, NC

"Tina, you are teaching beautifully! Your sensitivity, compassion, empathy, experience and humor glow like the full moon! You are the best poetry teacher I have ever had!" W.K., Asheville, NC


"I'm taking a poetry writing class through UNCA's Great Smokies Writing program. My classmates, all older than me, are intellectually well heeled. I have to reach back to college for the literary, historical, astronomical, and mythological references that are current for them. For me it's good stretchy stuff!" S.E.M. Asheville, NC


"So enjoyed the class today and seeing old friends.  Thanks again, Tina, for the opportunity to grow and learn in such an interesting and talented community." J.F. Asheville, NC                               
                         
Director, Black Mountain Center for the Arts, Black Mountain, NC

"Tina Barr has been involved with the Black Mountain Center for the Arts since her move to western North Carolina, as a presenter of poetry at our Brown Bag and Books series, along with her jazz pianist husband; and as a teacher for the Great Smokies Writing Program for one of our satellite classes.  She has brought an excitement about poetry to the Arts Center.  Her passion, talent and enthusiasm have been a tremendous asset to our  programming."

Independent and Tutorial Students


"The class was 'transformative.' "The class could not have been more meaningful, and
neither could your instruction."  J.F., Taylorsville, NC

 

The group ... is incomparable.  And so is the experience of working with you.   M.R., Asheville

"Your instruction and support have been wonderful.  I appreciate being able to work with this group . . . as it brought me back to a sense of competence and from a rather dark place where very little writing was happening. . . . You are an exceptional teacher." A. W., Asheville, NC

"Your spring workshop is still reverberating in my head. It, and you, were wonderful! I really enjoyed the company too!"  F.R., Asheville, NC


"I wish you could know how you have changed my life.  I am so grateful."  M.E.B., Dallas, Texas

 

 

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