top of page


Lighthouse Writers Workshop &

Since 2009, Joy has taught a wide variety of creative writing and poetry workshops at Denver's Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Some of these include the popular Writing 101: Gotta Start Somewhere,  Spark and ReSpark: A Creative Refresh, Writing and Personal Transformation, The Art of Slow Writing, Poetry 101, The Poetry of Play and Pleasure, The Poetry of Affection, Poetry as a Way of Seeing, and The Poetry of Spirituality. She's also offered four-week workshops on poets Denise Levertov, Christian Wiman, William Stafford, and Naomi Shihab Nye, as well as Daily Zoom classes on using writing for healing and balance. 

Through, the longest-running online writing school in the country, Joy has taught several poetry classes, including The Joy of Poetry, The Spirituality of Poetry, The Healing Power of Poetry, and The Poetry of Play.  

In addition to her regular workshops, Joy facilitates many of Lighthouse's community outreach programs. She teaches the Denver Central, Arvada, and Belmar Library's Hard Times writing workshops, designed for people experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges, and other "hard times," as well as Writing to Be Free, a workshop for women transitioning out of incarceration. 

She was the recipient of Lighthouse's 2019 Beacon Award for Teaching Excellence. 

Writing Therapy

In the past, Joy has worked as a licensed professional counselor, registered poetry therapist, and approved mentor/supervisor through the National (now International) Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy. She was the recipient of the National Association for Poetry Therapy's Distinguished Service Award, and currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Poetry Therapy.  

Joy updated and revised the third edition of Biblio/Poetry Therapy: The Interactive Process by Arleen Hynes and Mary Hynes-Berry, one of the seminal textbooks in the field. For several years, along with her supervisor Kay Adams, she co-led week-long journal/poetry therapy trainings, as well as co-taught writing and healing coursework in the masters of liberal studies program at the University of Denver. 

About Joy Roulier Sawyer


Joy is the author  of two poetry collections, Lifeguards and Tongues of Men and Angels, as well as several nonfiction books. Her poetry, essays, and fiction appear in Books & Culture, Bohemian Chronicle, Lilliput Review, Mars Hill Review, New York Quarterly, Ruminate, St. Petersburg Review, Theology Today,  and many other journals and magazines. Joy holds an MA from New York University, where she was the recipient of the Herbert Rubin Award for Outstanding Creative Writing. A longtime instructor with Denver's Lighthouse Writers Workshop, she also teaches classes at, the longest-running writing school on the internet. To read comments from some of her many students, visit this site.

bottom of page