Prep and Perf is short for Preparation and Performance, a two-hour workshop geared toward helping writers to become comfortable with presenting themselves and their work in public. Whether it is a presentation at a school, a poetry reading or a book tour, there are several tips that can make a writer more comfortable in front of an audience.

In the first part of the workshop, I offer advice as to how to prepare for a presentation, leaving time for authors to develop their main points. The second half of the class focuses on performance tips, with individual coaching. Each writer must bring a piece of his or her writing to the workshop.

I have presented “Prep and Perf” at Vassar.


The Young Writer is a series of five weekly two-hour classes for writers aged 10-11. The intention is to explore the tools and process of writing, from the first inkling of a piece through its development, revision, completion and, possibly, submission. Writers are encouraged to bring an unfinished piece to work on, as our emphasis is on completing a work.

Each class consists of inner exercises, writing time and discussions of work that include examples of good writing, as well as that backbone of the writing life, a good cup of tea.

Please email for further information.


My poetry workshop is popular with teachers and students alike. It is a rare child who does not complete a poem with pride and enthusiasm by the end of the workshop. Because it is BOCES approved, all four Learning Standards are fulfilled.

“Irene O’Garden is a master teaching artist whose creative use of poetry theatre techniques inspires students to achieve at their highest level. Ms. O’Garden’s workshops are filled with intelligence, warmth, humor and learning.” — Sunna Rasch, Executive Director, Periwinkle National Theatre

“Irene O’Garden is a brilliant poet and teacher of poetry. She is also a mesmerizing performer. She teaches children to listen to poetry, discuss it and write it. When she dramatically reads the children’s own creations, the children are thrilled and filled with pride.” — Jean Marzollo, author of 100 children’s books, including the popular “I Spy” series

“Irene is both a wonderful poet and a gifted performer. My students were completely captivated by her and even the most reluctant writer was inspired to join in the group writing session. We all had a great time!” — Ann Strohmeier, Trinity School, NYC

My presentation is easily adaptable for grades 1 through 5. During a typical visit, I will read from my engaging collection Voices of Animals, display my published and handmade books, and answer questions about all aspects of writing and publishing. Students then write their own poems, using my animal poems as inspiration.

A unique feature of my workshop is the Grand Finale. With gusto, I read each child’s freshly minted poem to the classroom. This creates tremendous delight and pride in the young writers.

Please email for further information.

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