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The 44 Poetry Class
(Level 1)

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The  44 Poetry Class is a collaboration between the Community Literature Initiative and the Sims Library of Poetry focused on teaching writers how to improve their poetry and giving them space to write and recite. This class is for beginner poets, who are looking to enhance their craft.


Winter/Spring Schedule

6/17 | Indigenous Poets: Joy Harjo & Natalie Diaz

Summer of Poetic Forms

July 1 | Ghazal

July 15 | Zuihitsu

August 5 | Haibun

August 19 | Golden Shovel


Classes take place on Zoom, every 1st and 3rd Saturday morning. To sign up for the class, click the button below. You can choose to pay monthly ($44/month) or yearly ($528/year).


By signing up for the class and paying the tuition, you will be a 44 donor/member of the Sims Library of Poetry and you will receive other perks, including a bi-monthly printed newsletter.

Cost of class: $44/month or $528/year

"Within a year of being in the 44 Class I am now a published poet and I have done my first reading where other poets shouted “One of us!” when I confessed to my nervousness. My creative self has found a sacred home through the 44 Class. Twice a month I look forward to the deep dive into poetry given with such care by the teachers.  The lessons have inspired some of my best writing which seems to flow because of the confidence and support given by all the individuals in the class.  It is truly a community that I feel blessed to be able to help support with immense gratitude for all that I have received." ~ Gia Civerolo

I joined the Poetry 44 Class in October 2021.  That may have been one of the best decisions I've made in a very long time.  The lessons that I have learned in the 44 Class have catapulted my creativity and how I write to heights, I never could have imagined.  I now grasp style, form, and other aspects of sharing my poems deliberately.  I say "deliberately" because I can write with intent so that my readers will receive what I am sharing in the way that I want it to be accepted.  I was not writing in this manner before the 44 class.  Because of the 44 Class, I use the forms and styles of poetry to make sense.  In other words, I understand how to expand and embrace my gift in writing.  Every Saturday morning, I am excited because I know it is time for my class.  That's how strongly I feel about this class.  Hiram Sims, Karo Ska, Kuahmel Allah, and the entire Sims Library staff feel like an extended family.  The 44 Class has allowed me to attend Poetry Readings, Open Mic Nights, and even share some of my original poems.  Participating in this class has been an experience of a lifetime.  I have the confidence to believe that my poetry will take me places that I never thought I could go. ~ Tonia McMillian

Our 44 Teachers


Born and raised in various parts of South Los Angeles, Hiram Sims is a poet, author and Creative Writing Professor teaching at The Los Angeles Film School, USC, and with The Community Literature Initiative. He graduated from the University of Southern California and received a B.A. in English: Creative Writing and a Masters of Professional Writing in Poetry. He has published three collections of poetry, including Poems of a Young, Troubled Mind (2007), Write or Die: An Anthology of Poetry from the Urban Poet's Workshop (2008), and PHOTOETRY: Poetry and Photography from South Central (2013).

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Karo Ska (she/they) is a South Asian & Eastern European non-binary femme poet, living on unceded Tongva Land. They migrated here in 1996 from Warsaw, Poland. Some of their other work appears in Dryland Lit, Resurrection Magazine, the Intercultural Press, Altadena Poetry Review, Cultural Daily, Marías at Sampaguitas, and Ayaskala Magazine. They are a 3-time 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee and were a semi-finalist in the Jack Grapes Poetry Prize. Their first chapbook, gathering grandmothers' bones was released on February 29th, 2020. They are currently working on their first full-length collection, loving my salt-drenched bones. They are also the host of the Los Angeles Poet Society's SoapBox Open Mic. For updates, follow them on Instagram @karoo_skaa.


Valerie Nies is a writer, comedian, and gluten enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She is a published poet with work appearing in Olney Magazine, Hash Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Rue Scribe, Pine Hills Review, among many other outlets. Her chapbook, Imaginary Frenemies, was released in 2021, and she was recently nominated for a Best of the Net award for a pandemic pantoum. Valerie has also written for humor sites McSweeney's and Reductress, and her sketches have been featured on Jezebel, Bitch, Salon, and Huffington Post. She has won multiple screenplay awards for sitcom pilots and spec scripts that never aired, performed stand-up at the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival and the Big-Little Comedy Festival, and hosted the frequently sold-out stand-up show Smile More in Austin, Texas for 4 years. She also teaches a stand-up comedy class virtually through Ether Comedy. She can be found scanning WebMD or on social media @valerieknees.

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