Words of Appreciation

Dr. Eelaine F. Delancey from Drexel University Wrote:

Pat McLean-RaShine is a triple-threat: she is an artist whose creative powers are formidable and still growing; she is a “born-organizer”; and, she is a woman of considerable integrity who does what she promises with efficiency and daunting competence.

I met McLean during the first of 2005. Since that time we have collaborated on three projects. As a part of the first project, McLean-RaShine (ITCOP?) came to my classroom at Drexel and conducted poetry workshop in a course that I was teaching. In the end of term evaluation, students who were about to graduate said that McLean’s appearance and teaching made this one of the “best courses” they had taken at Drexel. Our second effort took place during April--Poetry Month 2005

During this month McLean-RaShine (ITCOP?) conducted workshops on Drexel’s campus. This workshop was sponsored by BMa: The Sonia Sanchez Literary Review and took place in the English & Philosophy Seminar Room in MacAlister Hall. Desiring to be consistent with the mandate of the journal and the life’s work of Sonia Sanchez, its namesake. I expressed my desire to have a diverse community. This time, I wanted a diverse community in this workshop. As a result, this workshop, which took place during the entire month, was unique in that it was open to both Drexel students and members of the community. This diversity accounted for some of the most powerful and wonderful moments. Since we did not screen anyone we did not know the “histories” of our students and did not ask.

On the first night the first students to arrive were all members of the same family; father and daughter would come first and later bring the mother. As it turned out, they were unique harbingers of other students who had seen the flyers that McLean-RaShine had placed virtually everywhere! The father—not certain about poetry, but sure in his love for an apparently withdrawn daughter, brought her to every session. An older woman, who saw the flyer at Robin’s Bookstore, was the second student. Another mature woman who saw the flyer at the Farmer’s Market was the fourth student. Soon after she arrived, a young teacher from “Teach America” who taught at a school in the far Northeast came and brought the youngest members of the workshop. I offer these details to demonstrate McLean-RaShine’s ability to reach out to the community and have its members respond to her “call.”

Once the workshop began, McLean-RaShine made clear that this was a workshop with a difference. That is, as was evident as soon as she started distributing the study packets, McLean had a clear vision of her objectives. This was a poetry writing workshop, of course, but, it was one in which the focus was on developing poets who wrote with an awareness of basic writing principles.

As the workshop progressed that first evening, I saw the competence of a teacher and the creativity of a poet. This was consistent throughout the month long workshop. What was evident was this was a new breed of Philly poet. Throughout that month, I observed McLean-RaShine coax and engender, and praise while offering constructive critiques.

Though the general evaluation forms for that workshop contained praise, the one that we valued most was from the mother of a young woman who concerned us. She wrote that the “workshop had brought her daughter out from her withdrawn state.” Another evaluator wrote that she was at first confused by the term “Poetry Pulls Pain” and dismissed it as simply a gimmick. She wanted to tell us that she had changed her mind and now truly understood that “Poetry Does Pull Pain”! While all of this is certainly true, I believe that the poetry facilitator made the difference.

Thus, I am happy to write in support of Patricia McLean-RaShine because I know that she wields considerable influence as a poet, teacher, and facilitator.
As you can see, I am impressed because of the ACTION of this poet and community worker!! She is sensational.


Debra A. Powell-Wright; Author and Poet wrote:

In the language of lyricists like Erykah Badu, Pat McLean-RaShine is my sistah. She is a mother, sister, grandmother, aunt who wears her womanhood from the inside out. We met over eight years ago at a poetry writing workshop at Temple University’s Pan African Studies Community Education Program (PASCEP). Even without words, Pat exuded tremendous strength of character and an exuberant personality. The combination made her a leader on her own terms. Having had the courage to share her personal experiences through creativity—the trials and the triumphs—made her approachable. Having had the wisdom to believe that she could make a difference made her a s-hero. And having had the faith to pursue her dreams made her a role model for women and girls who may not have the words or the opportunity to allow their voices to be heard.

Pat founded In The Company of Poets, a poetry performance ensemble, which uses spoken word to examine the motivations of the human spirit, to embrace African American culture, and to empower women and girls of all nationalities. As much as she is proud of the success and achievements of In The Company of Poets, Pat is most humbled by and appreciative of the response that she has received for Tomorrow’s Girls. A six-week, rites-of-passage summer program for girls ages 8-13 that Pat founded four years ago in her small apartment, with donations and her own out-of-pocket funds, Tomorrow’s Girls has provided a creative, social, academic, nurturing, and safe environment for the girls to explore their potential for success in their future. This past summer Pat was awarded the Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant to conduct the program in conjunction with PASCEP Program (where she is now a volunteer instructor) and the Dunbar Elementary School. As a result of the program’s success, the girls from this past summer’s program will present a poetic and musical production called, “One Little Girl Can Change The World,” at the African American Museum of Philadelphia. In fact, at the request of the Women and Girls’ Caucus of the National Women’s Studies Association, the Tomorrow’s Girls program is under consideration for presentation of a workshop and performance at their annual conference in Oakland, California in June.

Pat is a woman undeterred by present circumstances in her drive to accomplish future goals. She will continue her “each one, reach one” mission because it speaks to her spirit. I bear witness and have heard other sistahs shout and sing Pat’s praises. She has not only inspired me to talk through my own tears, but also those of countless other women and girls who did not believe in their own potential to face life’s challenges with strength, courage, and wisdom.

Pat is a you-can-do-it-if-you-put-your-mind-to-it woman. If you rub shoulders with her, you’ll find that she’s infectious. And to that I say, thank you, my sistah.



December , 2003

Dear Sir or Madam:

The People’s Emergency Center provides emergency shelter, transitional housing and comprehensive social services for homeless women, teens, and their children. The needs of PEC families are tremendous; many are victims of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse; domestic violence; drug addiction; violent crime; mental/behavioral health issues; and intergenerational poverty.

In 2002 PEC, learning that she is a Philadelphia based poet that utilizes the technique of Spoken Word to deliver words of inspiration and healing,partnered with with Ms. Pat Mclean to facilitate several adult and teen workshops. The workshops began with the poet's explanation and demonstration of the techniques and structure of the written and spoken word. The participants were then given the opportunity each week to express their thoughts and feelings using poetry. They were taught that their words have power and how to use their words in a positive manner. At the end of the workshop series the participants were given a book of the poetry that they created. The members of the poetry ensemble did a wonderful job of making the women feel empowered. They related to them on their level and treated them with a great deal of dignity and respect. They showed the women that they have talents and skills.

It is with great pleasure that I offer this letter of support for Ms. Pat Mclean. Her workshops have become an important addition to our educational program and we look forward to our continued collaboration.

Sincerely yours,

April Sims
Adult Education Coordinator


Dear Ms. McLean and Ms. Powell

PEC and the Teen Group would like to thank you very much for helping us with our program last week. The poetry workshops that you facilitated was an eye-opening experience for many of our teens and seemed to spark a lot of excitement and creativity concerning poetry. In the future, we plan to have teens to continue t create their own poems in their own journals, and I’m sure they will make extensive use of the poetic forms they learned with you. In addition, the teens had a great time during the workshop and found it not only informative, but fun as well.

We really appreciate you taking the time to come to PEC and thank you again for your wonderful presentation.


Ruth T. Jones
Teen Coordinator


The Kelly Writers House
May 2001

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to you on behalf of the spoken word group, IN THE COMPANY OF POETS. I recently had the pleasure of working with them as visiting writers to Write On, an after school creative writing program that I coordinate at the Kelly Writers House. In Write On this past year, approximately 25 Lea Elementary seventh graders worked with Pen students coaches on creative writing projects for two six week sessions.

During the spring session, we invited local writers to come talk to the students about their writing lives. I learned of In The Company of Poets through a favorable review of them that I came across in and online poetry calendar. Their presentation at the Writers House captivated the audience of seventh graders, college students, and a few people a little older like me. They performed their own original pieces. Between each piece a member of the group introduced a poetry type or concept such as (simile, haiku, sestina). The members of the group also spoke of their own motivations for writing and performing.

We were pleased to have IN THE COMPANY OF POETS return for our April celebration, not only to hear students perform, but also to perform impromptu themselves to an enthusiastic full house of students and their families. A few parents came up to me after their performance and asked about how they could join writing groups at the Writers House or attend future events.

The members of IN THE COMPANY OF POETS impressed me with their sincere interest in connecting children and adults to the empowering potential of language. I recommend then highly.


Paige Mention


January, 2001

On behalf of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, I want to express my sincere appreciation for your outstanding presentation at our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Event. The delivery of you and your fellow poets, In The Company of Poets, was very, very powerful. You could see that the audience was hanging on your every word.

Several members of the audience, as well as the Planning Committee have expressed interest in hearing more of your work and will be recommending your group to speak at other programs.

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your work with us in such an enlightening way. I hope you will have some inner satisfaction in knowing that through your efforts, you made our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Event a big success.


Ernestine Williams
Multicultural Outreach Coordinator


An Affiliate of the Pennsylvania Poetry Society
February, 2001

Ladies & Gentlemen:

Every once in a while, I feel the need to drop a line about an incredible new poet or performance group. This is one of those times.

I receive many recommendations for poets to feature at Mad Poets reading & events, and I always appreciate the suggestions; it is not possible for all of us to be everywhere, and hear every group or poet who is performing in the area. Last night at the Hunt Club Mansion, to celebrate Black History Month, we featured In The Company of Poets. My single regret of the evening is that I didn’t have a packed house for them. It was a spectacular performance.

They just started performing as a group in November 2000, but you would never know it. Individually, they each have forceful, heartfelt words and a strong stage presence, as well as the gift of delivering a poem. It was not a reading; it was a festival of song and words that involved every member of the audience. Our audience at the Hunt Club last evening was very vocal with their praise, and the open reading was delayed because of the line to buy their chapbook of collected poems and the inspired conversations that arose following their performance.

If you have not already done so, please consider booking IN THE COMPANY OF POETS; or, in the alternative, contact them for listings of upcoming performances, so you can catch their program.

My best personal regards

Eileen M. D’Angelo
Mad Poets Society


Pan-African Studies
Community Education Program

To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to you on behalf of the poetry performance duo, IN THE COMPANY OF POETS. It’s members Pat McLean-RaShine and Debra Powell-Wright, have been volunteer faculty members of the Pan-African Studies Community Education Program (PASCEP), for the past three years. Facilitating poetry and spoken word performance workshops for adult and youth participants.

Their contributions to our program have been outstanding. Their workshops geared towards connecting children and adults to the empowering potential of language have been nothing less then admirable. Along with teaching poetic style and structure, their heartfelt love for words as well as the gift of delivering them turns each of their workshops into a festival of song & words that involves every member of the class.

They each are characteristic of a person who dedicates precious time, skills and knowledge to others. People-oriented, they have consistently shown themselves to be committed to our students, their needs and their goals.

They are a treasured part of our organization.

Sincerely Yours

Willie Rogers
Assistant Director of Curriculum
Pan-African Studies Community Education Program