Jennifer Hill is a poet, playwright, performer, and arts educator. She is the author of six books of poetry, and two books of prose,
and is an multidisciplinary artist who explores the fascinating connections between writing and movement. For the past 18 years
she has worked in the Arts-in-Education program with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, where she shares creative writing
and movement residencies in schools, senior centers, and community organizations.
I love working with people, hearing their stories, and encouraging them to find their voice. I love big questions, and metaphors, and seeking answers but not finding easy ones. When I teach, I find the best moments are the spontaneous ones — the moments born from a comment, or a question, a “mistake,” or an ah-ha! sparked from exploration. Whether working with people to share stories, or in the creation of a visual poetry piece, shadow puppetry, a memoir, or circus performances, there is a level of connection that happens through the arts. It is work that keeps me coming back because it is always changing and always engaging.
In a lesson that includes visual poetry and creative movement, I explore with students how difficult it can be to be open, to let yourself be vulnerable and at risk. It’s hard to be ready to fail, especially when you’re young, and learning who you are, but it’s even difficult as we age and are subjected to droning messages of perfection. In creative aging residencies I’ve explored with participants the idea of the changing self-portrait through the decades, as well as creating short multi-voice performances based on life stories. I teach all age groups, and have worked in a variety of settings from schools to nursing homes.