The LavaCon Content Strategy Conference | 27–30 October 2024 | Portland, OR
Carol Hattrup

My first publication in a national literary journal came many years ago at the same time I was living the dream of raising two children and three dogs in an old house, earning an MFA, and returning to work full-time in software. I’m not sure what I was thinking. But at the time, I couldn’t help noticing the similarities between crafting poetry and creating tech doc.

Since then, I’ve had poems published under a pseudonym in Avalon Literary Review, Boston Accent Lit, California Quarterly, Crack the Spine, Euphony, Figure 1, FRiGG, Ghost City Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, The MacGuffin, Midwest Quarterly, The New York Quarterly, Owen Wister Review, Pennsylvania English, Pudding Magazine, Quercus Review, Soundings East, South Dakota Review, Sweet Tree Review, The Virginia Normal, Westview, Zone 3, and many others. My essays have appeared in The International Journal of Ethics and Information Technology, in The Journal of Philosophy in the Contemporary World, and in an anthology published by Potomac Press.

I currently work at Netsmart, a healthcare software company, as a people & content manager in Client Learning. I’ve been in the software industry for many years – sometimes in technical documentation and sometimes in quality assurance. Long ago, I also taught elementary school, where I used poetry to connect with children from a wide variety of backgrounds and to engage them in learning.

They Already Sent a Poet, and It’s You!

In the film Contact, astronomer & astronaut Ellie Arroway, awestruck by what she’s witnessing as she travels among the stars, realizes the wonders of the cosmos would’ve been better described by poetry than science, admitting, “They should have sent a poet.”
So it’s fortunate that inside every technical writer a natural poet already lives. On a planet in critical need of the human connection forged through creativity, tech writers already have a unique set of skills that are perfect for composing compelling poems.
These skills are not only transferable between the two genres, but after I make you aware of them, you’ll never unsee them. I’m a Gemini, but no matter what part of the Zodiac you inhabit, you’ve already achieved crossover; when it comes to excellent writing, you are your own twin flame.
But don’t take my word for it. You’re going to walk away from this session with your own poem about LavaCon 2024! You may be selected to read your poem at the Storytelling event, but, in any case, you’ll have a unique conference keepsake & memory you can’t buy in a souvenir store.


In this workshop attendees will learn:

  • A brief & basic definition of what constitutes a good free-verse poem so we’re all on the same page, pun intended.
  • An understanding of the surprising similarities between poetry and tech writing, including, but not limited to, structure, brevity, word choice, iteration, attention to detail, and tone.
  • The ability to leverage your tech writing skills into poem writing skills, and the confidence that accompanies this beautifully creative feat of genius.
  • (If you’re in a hiring role) A new appreciation of creative writers who apply for tech content roles.


In addition to your poem, you’ll also take away resources for writing and editing two specific poetry structures you may not have realized you already know!

You’ll take away additional resources for continuing your exploration of your new life as a poet.