Clearing the Spring, Tending the Fountain

Spring & Fountain Registration Information

Online registration for Spring & Fountain 3-week and 6-week sessions is now open! You can find all locations, dates, times and links to register here. Participants can also register for the all-day poetry retreat, The Common Gathering, which will be held in Princeton on Saturday, May 9th and feature poet Patricia Smith. Tuition is waived for all Spring & Fountain programs.  A small registration fee applies.  Please join our mailing list to receive information about this year’s offerings.  

About Clearing the Spring, Tending the Fountain

“Clearing the Spring, Tending the Fountain” gets its title from the understanding that the spring of our imaginative and creative lives requires tending.  We believe that the pleasure of engaging with poetry is vitally important, and that teachers—now more than ever—will benefit from renewing their connection to poetry, nurturing their creative lives and supporting their imaginations.

What Happens at Spring & Fountain Sessions

Neither academic seminars nor writing workshops, Spring & Fountain sessions are deceptively simple, yet deeply rewarding.  With the guidance of an experienced Dodge Poet, members of the group read poems aloud to one another, immerse themselves in deep listening and have lively discussions about their personal connections to the poems and immediate responses to the readings.  Connecting with poems as an aural/oral art allows participants to re-experience the joy of being read aloud to,  engage in meaningful conversations with like-minded colleagues, and re-discover how important personal connection is in experiencing   poetry as a living art form.

All NJ Teachers are Welcome

Any teacher (pre-K through college) who lives or works in New Jersey is eligible to participate, provided they teach at an accredited educational institution.  The friendly and supportive atmosphere of these groups is welcoming to poetry “newbies,” and is equally stimulating for those who have read a great deal of poetry. 

Writing is not a requirement.  

Dates and Locations

You can find all dates and locations here

Throughout March and April, Spring & Fountain sessions will be held in a variety of locations across New Jersey, either after school in the evenings or on Saturday mornings. Participants choose a 3-session or a 6-session series.  Attendees of Spring & Fountain are eligible to join the all-day poetry retreat “The Common Gathering” on May 9th, and to invite a colleague who may be new to poetry. 

In addition to these locations, the Dodge Poetry Program will be holding Spring & Fountain sessions during staff development days in schools and/or districts in New Jersey that are otherwise underserved or underrepresented. 

The Common Gathering:   May 9th Princeton, NJ

On Saturday, May 9th, participants from all Spring & Fountain sessions will join Dodge Poets for a day-long “poetry retreat” full of readings, conversations and writing activities.  We are excited to announce that our featured poet is Patricia Smith, who was featured at the 2008 and 2012 Festivals and is a four-time National Poetry Slam Champion. 


The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program is registered with the New Jersey Department of Education as a Professional Development Provider.  Upon completion of the required hours, as described below, registered participants receive the following number of hours:

  • 7 PDH will be awarded for attendance at all 3 sessions of a 3-session series.
  • 14 PDH will be awarded for attendance at all 6 sessions of a 6-session series.
  • An additional 6 PDH will be awarded for all-day attendance at The Common Gathering on May 9, 2015.
In This Section

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha'nt be gone long.—You come too.

            --Robert Frost, “The Pasture”


Clearing the Spring, Tending the Fountain gets its title from the understanding that, like the spring in Robert Frost’s “The Pasture,” the spring of our imaginative and creative centers requires tending. This can be particularly true for teachers with the increasing pressures put on them in these challenging times.

Since 1992, the Dodge Poetry Program has offered Spring & Fountain to New Jersey teachers of all grade levels and subject areas.