The Writing Center for Creative Aging: Who We Are

“The poem is on its way in search of people. For its complete fulfillment, it has to find an audience. It has to be invited into some other person’s mind or heart. Once the poet lets go of his poem, it is no longer his. It belongs to anyone who wants it. It is a gift.”

Stanley Kunitz

“Little did I know when I began teaching poetry to older adults who never thought of themselves as poets, much less storytellers, that I’d find myself invited into so many hearts and minds—through poems and stories in search of me.”

Shelley Benaroya

Shelley Benaroya,

Founding Director & Teaching Artist for The Writing Center for Creative Aging

Shelley BenaroyaShelley Benaroya is a published writer and poet who has taught creative writing and composition for more than 20 years. As a teaching artist, certified English teacher, and college instructor, she has helped students—young and old—discover the poet, the storyteller, within.

Among her awards are poetry and teaching fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Shelley is a National Center for Creative Aging-trained teaching artist. In 2012, she was one of a dozen tri-state teaching artists selected to complete NCCA’s “Arts & Aging Core Training” held at the Arts Council of Princeton.Jim and Shelley

Her work has appeared in Diner, Dream International Quarterly, Ekphrasis, The Edison Literary Review, Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, The Lyric, Mad Poets Review, Mobius, Thirteenth Moon, U.S. I Worksheets, and elsewhere. In 2017, she received the Ekphrasis Prize and a Pushcart Prize nomination.

In addition to her role at the Writing Center for Creative Aging, Shelley has—since 2000—been an artist-in-education for the New Jersey Writers Project, sponsored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Writers Theatre of New Jersey. She joined the roster of teaching artists at NJPAC in 2005.

Merle and ShelleyShe has worked as an arts education administrator, writer, editor, and public relations executive for such companies as the AIE Consortium, CES Publishing, Simon & Shuster, Highgate Pictures, The Rowland Company, and NBC News.