Workshop Community

One of my favorite parts of workshop is the community that gets built around that particular class. It’s an opportunity to see what other people are doing/trying out/thieving from other people. And because trust is so vital in a workshop (because offering up your baby to be critiqued is often painful), I find my peers in  upper-level workshops to be much closer than other classes. I think it’s important to be constantly in conversation with not only your texts, but those of your peers, and more established writers. I found our discussion on meter last class incredibly interesting and something I hadn’t really considered before. It’s also just great to see people get excited about poetry and see all the variety brought to the table–long-lined poems, short-lined poems, form poems, sectioned, white space, funky punctuation, etc.

After the poetic whirlwind, I noticed a lot of double colons and semi-colons in recent workshop poems and some poems shifting away from the left margin. I love that we’re constantly absorbing and taking things away from each other. It got me thinking about what I want to work on myself. For example, Romy’s short lined, compact poem makes me want to try and write one of those, Erin’s dirge made me start thinking about the form of elegies/dirges/etc., and Savannah’s resonant & lovely images have me thinking about the richness of my own images and how to better those.

How do you feel about the idea of workshop community? What things do you want to try after seeing what other people are doing?

2 Replies to “Workshop Community”

  1. Amy,
    I think having a tight-knit writing community is invaluable for all writers, and we’re blessed to have such a strong program at Geneseo. Though we’ve only just passed week four of this semester I already feel I am a stronger poet. As someone largely inexperienced with contemporary poetry and far more comfortable with prose, being able to read and reflect upon the poetry of my peers is the most useful tool available to me for improving my skill. I also agree that the people in workshop communities form essential symbiotic relationships.

  2. Hi Amy!
    I agree with you about the closeness of the advance workshops. I know that the first few times I ever submitted poems for workshop it was incredibly nerve-wracking (and has only gotten marginally less so since then). I’ve noticed that I leave our workshops being so inspired and with so many ideas. The double semi-colons are something that I’ve started using a lot more, and that I need to keep myself from using in every poem now.
    Something else I’ve been inspired to try is more imagery, as I know my poems tend to lack that. I’ve been verbing my nouns more, as well, which is definitely from the influence of you and the other seasoned poets in the group 🙂
    I really do just love the dynamic in our group and the whole Geneseo Creative writing community as well, and definitely think it’s an essential piece of improving our writing.

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