By Sarah Senese ’23

Jane Hilberry, professor of creativity and innovation, led the second-ever block of her Contemporary Poetry: Investigation and Innovation class in Block 3. Hilberry, who has been a professor of English specializing in poetry and creative writing  at CC, has turned her expertise to a different but, as she would put it, equally important department — Creativity & Innovation.

Hilberry sought to join the two things she loves and believes in most: poetry and creativity. Upon their arrival to class, 18 students were all given a brand new, shiny sketchbook, courtesy of the Creativity & Innovation at CC, and told that they were encouraged to sketch, collage, draw, paint, and express what they felt during class whenever they wanted. The back of the classroom was lined with every art supply one could think of, and the students were eager to begin.

Jane Hilberry’s approach is to show students that there’s more than one way to analyze poetry other than analytically. Poetry, like all other forms of art, is one that can be manipulated and viewed through a number of lenses. Hilberry wants to instill in her students that, even though they’ve always been taught to respond analytically to writing, they can respond in any creative way that speaks to them, resonates with them, and inspires them.

When asked what she hoped her students would take from the class, Hilberry conveys the importance of leading students “to a more embodied multi-dimensional knowledge of what they were studying.”

Students Alonso Rios ’23 and Mariel Zech ’23 are full of gratitude towards Hilberry when reflecting on their Block 3 experience. “She helped us realize that poetry can be more engaging than just when responded to with more writing. She taught us so much about poetry in a way we never could have imagined, and we’re so grateful to her.”

Hilberry and her 18 poetry students learned not only about contemporary poets and their importance in the world of creative writing, but about their own creative processes and approaches to understanding art. Although it may not have been her immediate intention, Hilberry inspires her students to dig deeper — not just to understand poetry, but also to understand themselves.

You can find Jane Hilberry in the innovation space at 232 E. Cache La Poudre St. during Creative Mondays, 3-5 p.m., making art and responding to poetry.