Rebecca Hoogs, ’97, Poet and Program Director of Seattle Writers in the Schools

hoogs pictureInspiration is very important to Rebecca Hoogs, a poet and the program director of the Seattle Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. WITS is “ a literary arts education program which matches public elementary, middle, and high schools (as well as a few hospitals) with Seattle-area creative writers for year-long artistic residencies” in order to inspire students to write. To Hoogs, “ The best part is that the program works for every
kid from the student who already loves writing and is so excited that they get to work with a ‘ real’ writer to the reluctant writer who gets turned on to language through the innovative, fun, and culturally relevant lessons and texts.”
Hoogs has to find a balance between a job that gives “ support to younger writers” and enables her to “ give meaningful employment to local adult writers, and which brings [her] into contact with the best poets working today” and having the time and energy to write poems. She is inspired to write through a unique process: “ I like to play games with myself, to set conditions or rules for myself that will force my writing to go in surprising directions. I like to gather materials from different sources.” Sometimes these sources motivate new poems, for example, one might be inspired from a combination of “ a 1940s manual on child-reading and the tone of an Amy Gerstler poem.” Hoogs also seeks inspiration from other poets in a group that meets weekly to work collaboratively to “ push each other beyond what we’ d do if left to our own devices.”
 
wits picture
 

She first fell in love with poetry at Colby, mentored by Peter Harris and Ira Sadoff. At Colby she also learned other skills: “ Colby taught me to speak up. Colby taught me that I was expected to have an opinion, a response, an idea and that I was expected to share… Colby also taught me the value of listening and collaboration, skills which are just as important as speaking up.” Today, her favorite aspect of poetry is how it “ makes [her] more alert to [her] own life.” Hoogs also says that she loves “ the way that poetry takes language – the material that all of us have access to – and tweaks it, makes it mean two (or more!) things at the same time.” She is currently working on her first full-length collection of poetry. “ I’d like to publish it and move on to the next one!” Hoogs says.

- Katerina Faust, ’ 14, William D. Adams Presidential Scholar

Click here to learn more about Seattle Writers in the Schools.