Those of you who got the autographed copies of their poetry books, count yourselves blessed. I sure did.
The way I did the poetry class was that we read poems written by famous poets and by "real" people, and then did exercises and wrote poems in the same style. I thought it was important that they know that any person you meet can be a writer, they don't have to be famous. They always asked where a poem came from, and if it was one of you guys it always seemed more special.
They loved the Death Song that kat sent me ages ago from "Howdy, Honey, Howdy", and Micca's poem "Question Time", but the real turning point was all due to our Leej. I found an old poem of his and asked to use it in class. Went well. He sent a second that just floored them. The woman who read that day (we take turns reading) just set the page down and said "Wow." They had to write about "Regret" that day, and no one wanted to do it. It's too hard, too ugly, no one likes to think about that. We talked a lot that day and they finally came to the understanding that somtimes it IS hard and ugly, no fooling, but if you can make someone else say "Wow" when they read it, you might be on to something.
Anyway, the regret poems were written and included, and the last day of class I get a bunch of giggling girls outside the office with a stack of those books. They went and autographed them (cuz that's what authors do, duh....) and asked me to send them to their writer friends.... So, enjoy!