About us

The Poetry Lab is a place in your community to write, workshop, read & collaborate. We try to bring a poetry education to the people by reaching out to writers who don't feel at home in the academic world. We hold sessions the 1st & 3rd Thursday of every month from 7 to 10 PM at WE Labs in Downtown Long Beach. All sessions are free and open to the public. For more information, please read on. For questions, please contact us here.

Each session of The Poetry Lab has a specific purpose. The agenda varies between craft talks, publication seminars, poetry readings, and critical workshops, but we especially love generative workshops in which everyone goes home with a new piece of writing in hand. We also invite writers from near and far to give talks and lead sessions as visiting authors.

We welcome writers/students/members in all stages of their writing lives. Beginning writers often benefit from the ranges in age and experience level of members. Established writers renew their enthusiasm for the craft and the community.

Our goal is simple: to build community with each other as we become better writers. We hope to reach those who are traditionally under-served/left out/discouraged, as well as those who have had the privilege of  higher education, but are seeking a permanent community/scene/network. The bonds built at The Poetry Lab strengthen the writing communities of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Orange County by encouraging collaborations between writers, sponsoring new projects, and supporting all efforts in the community.

We also love a good dance party. 





Our Story

Co-founded by friends Markus D. Manley and Danielle Mitchell, The Poetry Lab began on February 14, 2013 as an open, ongoing community event offered by Markus' Work Evolution Laboratories (WE Labs). 

Danielle, Markus, and Bodhi brainstorming Poetry Lab in January 2013.

Danielle, Markus, and Bodhi brainstorming Poetry Lab in January 2013.

Through several brainstorming meetings, sushi rolls, and sake bombs The Poetry Lab was created as a place for writers to gather and to grow. Initiated by a shared love of the poetry community in Long Beach and the bond of friendship, Danielle and Markus both worked to enliven the poetry scene. They wanted to offer a unique exchange between writers. A chance to build community and better one's writing at the same time. Though Markus wasn't a writer himself, he had a great admiration and respect for writers and had worked on poetry promoting projects in the past. He was dedicated to all kinds of arts and tech and he is remembered as the guy who would always do whatever he could to see our community thrive.

In March of 2014, Markus unexpectedly passed away from complications of an autoimmune disorder. His loss is greatly felt in us all. We miss him: his mentorship, his support, and his friendship, every day.

It was the vision of Markus that brought The Poetry Lab into being and it is with his spirit of collaboration that we continue. We are grateful to have each other and gladly open our doors to any and all writers interested in delving deeper into their writing lives.

Everyone is welcome at The Poetry Lab.

More About Markus                                                                             MORE ABOUT DANIELLE

 Markus is survived by his wonderful mother, Mary Charles, sister, Lauren, and darling nephews, cousins, and the LB community. Read more at the OC Register.

Markus was a creative entrepreneur who insisted on innovation and community effort. Read more at Longbeachize.

"Though he is currently the owner and Co-Founder of Long Beach’s first co-working space, WE Labs, Markus has made a name for himself as one of the city’s great cultural advocates—someone who believes in fostering collaboration among musicians, writers, videographers, graphic designers and traditional visual artists..."

Read more at the LBPost.


Danielle Mitchell is author of the chapbook Makes the Daughter-in-Law Cry (Tebot Bach), winner of the 2015 Clockwise Prize. She is also the recipient of the 2015 Editor’s Prize from Mary and the 2014 Editor’s Choice Award from The Mas Tequila Review. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Eleven Eleven, Harpur Palate, New Orleans Review, decomP, Stirring, and Connotation Press. Danielle is an alumna of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and a graduate of the University of Redlands with a B.A. in Creative Writing and Women's Studies. She is the founding director of The Poetry Lab and has lived in Long Beach since 2010. Learn more about her work at poetryofdanielle.com.


"Google Cento" and "Bedroom Interview" in Four Way Review

"Encyclopedia Eradica" in Cease, Cows

"A Poet's Revolt: Brief Guide to the Prose Poem" at DIY MFA


WE Labs Member Spotlight, Danielle Mitchell

Stranded Artist Finds a Home Again at WE Labs

Photo by WE Labs Member, Sean Laughlin 

Photo by WE Labs Member, Sean Laughlin 

In addition to The Poetry Lab, Markus helped create an art gallery, a tour management company, an event production and consulting firm, and RU Long Beach, a collection of artists that hosted events to bring local artists under one roof. He worked tirelessly to see the arts thrive. He loved music and food. His laugh and his enthusiasm were infectious.