Kimberly "Kai" Coggin

Kimberly "Kai" Coggin

Central Region
Hot Springs, Arkansas
[email protected]

I am a former teacher, so I know how important it is for students to be ENGAGED in learning. My approach to an AIE residency will be to come in to supplement poetry or creative writing instruction with an in-depth, relevant and fun selection of well-known and obscure poets for stu-dents to study, hand-picked by me to pair with each age group.

Students will learn how to effectively READ and FEEL POETRY, how to unpack the poems for style, devices, meaning, and truth. They will also CREATE POETRY in a safe and judgment-free environment where their fledgling skills will be nourished and built up. We will read together and write together. Students will create chapbooks of their original work. By the end of the residency, the established trust between us will foster performance and recital of poems.

I will also share personal stories, anecdotes, processes about being a full-time poet and writer. I will be creating a website that students can go to to submit their poems to me for feedback, to help with publication submissions, get poetry writing prompts and ideas, develop writing skills that go deeper and beyond the surface level skills that I will touch on in the residency. From my experience, I know that out of every 100 students there are at least ten budding writers or artists. I want to be a bridge for those budding talents, to know they have a mentor in their state that can answer questions, can give advice, and can foster the creativity that is developing within them.


Kai Coggin is full-time poet and freelance writer born in Bangkok, Thailand, raised in Southwest Houston, and currently a blip in the 3 million acre Ouachita National Forest in Hot Springs, Ar-kansas. She is a former 9th and 10th grade English teacher, who took her students outside for poetry and drum circles on the lawn, and built a life-size balcony and meter-stick-aluminum-foil-wrapped swords in her classroom for Romeo and Juliet. People wondered… but the students learned… and loved her. Kai believes that learning is a personal journey for everyone, that cannot be constricted and confined by the classifications and labels of standardized testing. She strives to, someday, change the paradigm of education as a whole. In Houston, despite (or because of) her radical methods, she was recognized as Teacher of the Year, District Secondary Teacher of the Year, and competed for Regional Teacher of the Year against 5, out of 85,000 teachers. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Poetry and Creative Writing from Texas A&M University, and an honorary degree from the school of Hard Knocks. Kai knows that words hold the potential to create monumental and global change, and she uses her words like a sword of Beauty.

Kai writes poems on love, spiritual striving, body image, injustice, metaphysics and beauty. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Lavender Review, Broad!, The Tattooed Buddha, Split This Rock, Yellow Chair Review, SunStruck Magazine, Drunk Monkeys, Snapdragon, ANIMA, Elephant Journal, and many other literary journals and interna-tional anthologies. Coggin is the author of two full-length collections, PERISCOPE HEART (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014) and WINGSPAN (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016). Her poetry has twice been nominated for The Pushcart Prize, Bettering American Poetry 2015, and Best of the Net 2016. She teaches an adult creative writing class called Words & Wine, and is also a Teaching Artist with the Arkansas Arts Council and Arkansas learning Through The Arts (ALTTA), specializing in bringing poetry and creative writing to youth.

AIE Program

Preferred Age Level: all ages
Geographic Availability: Central Arkansas
Time Availability: open
Special Needs: projector/promethean board/computer