Meet Teaching Artist Allie Rigby

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Headshot of Teaching Artist Allie Rigby

Allie Rigby is a San Francisco Bay Area poet and outdoor educator with roots in the chaparral suburbs of southern California. In 2020, Allie was granted a Literary Arts Residency through the Shuffle Collective, which further inspired her to pursue her MA in creative writing at San Francisco State University. Her writing is published in the Manzano Mountain ReviewParenthesisPostScript MagazineCholla NeedlesVisitantLiving on Earth Radio, and more. In any workshop, Allie enters the space as both the student and the teacher. It's important to her to offer a space that is welcoming, warm, and stimulating. Allie loves when people lose track of time during workshops because they are so immersed in each other's work, dialogue, and ideas. If you’re looking to expand your craft, play with prompts, and be introduced to a variety of poets and authors, Allie’s classes may be a great fit.

To see Allie's current class list, visit her artist bio page.




When did you start teaching? What path—career or otherwise—brought you here?

I began teaching in the fall of 2014, fresh out of college as an outdoor educator. For over eight years, I've facilitated elementary students in the San Francisco Bay Area on their "outdoor ed" journey. That rooted me in so much of my teaching philosophy: I really want students to feel welcome and encouraged to take this workshop time for their own growth and creative needs. I began leading writing workshops in 2019 in Point Reyes and, soon after, started an MA in English: creative writing to pursue that curiosity more deeply.


How would you describe your teaching style?

My teaching style is student-centered and highly flexible. It is most important that participants feels safe and encouraged to explore the poetry, prompts, and invitations to share their own work at their own pace.


When it comes to imagining and creating classes, where do your ideas come from? What in particular inspires you?

As a highly sensitive person and introvert, I need solo time to recharge. Shout-out to my fellow HSPs out there! A lot of my ideas for classes come from time in nature with a good book and wide open spaces that honor my slow processing style and allow space for inward and outward exploration. Which is not to say that my ideas only come from my own brain and only that—far from it! I am indebted and grateful to the deeply interconnected network of supportive writers. We show up for each other and learn from each other. So that inspires me as well. In general, I need a lot of "decompress" time to invite that space for creativity, so I try to reflect that in the overall structure of my courses too.


What's the ideal environment for your classroom? What atmosphere are you hoping to establish?

I am hoping to offer a place where each week, people can arrive exactly "as they are" emotionally and otherwise. I love establishing nurturing, calming environments sprinkled with moments of comedic relief and play and be met with a mindfulness exercise and check-in before we begin reviewing a few poems by our selected author.


Regardless of what your class is specifically focusing on, what's the main goal you have for your students?

I want my students to feel more confident in their approach to reading, writing, and sharing their poetry. I would love for each student to call themselves a writer without hesitation by the end of this class.


What are goals you have for yourself? These could be teaching goals, writing goals, career goals, community goals, etc.

Right now, I am focusing on completing graduate school in the spring of 2022. My short-term career goal is to finish that MA! I hope this creates opportunities to continue a career around writing and facilitating creative spaces that help enact positive change. I also really want to honor my goal around meeting my introvert needs in 2022. I've only recently started saying "no" to social events I truly have no emotional energy for, and it's been so empowering! I finally have more energy to create, read, and imagine again.


What have been some of your own favorite educational experiences?

I love educational experiences that lead to people feeling more deeply connected to each other, to their writing, and to their physical space. One of my all-time favorite educational experiences occurred while teaching at Walker Creek Ranch. I remember watching 5th-graders yell and "whoop" on the top of a windy mountain called Walker Peak and then share the most incredible written reflections from that "All Day Adventure." They would also share compliments with each other, and it was really humbling to witness such transformation over the course of a few days.


To you personally, what is the most important part of the literary arts?

Community is everything. You need community for the arts to hold weight, to have collective voice, and to enact actual change.