Post Poetry Class Blues

Hi all!
My post today has some mixed poetry-related questions.

I’m already starting to feel sad that the semester is coming to an end. I’m currently in workshop and Doggett’s Understanding Poetry class. I’m going from two poetry classes to none next semester–a lit and fiction workshop. While I’m excited for my new classes, I’m really worried I’ll be crying over the lack of poetry in my life. Do you guys have any suggestions for keeping up with poetry even if you’re not taking any poetry classes? I’d love to stay involved in the poetry world–but I’m so busy it’s hard to keep up even now. I try to go to Poet’s Society but lately I’ve been too busy studying to attend. My friend and I are starting to collaborate on slam poems–which I’m really excited about.

What do you guys do to stay involved in poetry?

I’m also wondering if you all have any advice for someone going from strictly poetry classes to strictly literature and fiction. My brain has been so poetry focused I’m worried that my classes next semester are going to throw off my writing groove.

My last question is have any of you guys performed at Mics and Mochas? I’m thinking about doing some poetry one night but I’ve heard it’s a tough crowd for poetry.

Thanks for your help!
Arianna

3 Replies to “Post Poetry Class Blues”

  1. Hi Arianna,
    I understand what you’re going through. I will be taking fiction and non-fiction next semester and I’m worried about losing touch with my poetry. However, I look forward to implementing my poetry into my fiction and non-fiction (as a sort of rebellion) and trying to persuade others to be more open minded and experimental when it comes to writing. I suggest following some poetry blogs, or just hitting up a bookstore and buying one book with poems that you love and reading it whenever you are feeling poetic. Tumblr is a great platform for poets to share work and read work and sometimes even get feedback (if you draw in the right crowds). And lastly, if you journal, with each journal entry you can try to follow with a poem. I have not performed at Mics and Mochas :/ but good luck!

  2. Hi Arianna! For me, the difference between poetry and fiction/nonfiction is the line breaks and the “concentration” of words. With fiction and nonfiction I find it’s easier to spread out what I want to say, whereas with poetry everything feels condensed. I think for next semester, you should try to take advantage of how fiction uses the space on the page differently, I think it will be freeing. As for style, personally I use the same language I use in poetry in my fiction and nonfiction work. Get excited for your classes though! It’s a different medium full of possibilities and qualities that are not too different from poetry, so it will not be completely foreign to you!

    I agree with Carolina, Tumblr is a great way to find new poetry. I also follow The Paris Review on Instagram, and they post lovely poems at least once a week. I also read The New Yorker fairly regularly for inspiration, maybe a poem will catch your eye there!

  3. I think that the best way of staying involved in poetry is to keep writing poetry. I’m going to go through the same thing, Arianna. Next semester I won’t be taking a poetry workshop, which sucks because poetry is hella rad. The advice that I have for someone going from poetry to fiction is to keep your poetic mentality. Most people believe that poetry and fiction are complete opposite, but I believe that they are very similar. For example, fiction can be very poetic. Fiction can have repetition, metaphors, and white space just like poetry does. White space might be weird to picture in fiction but it is there. In the weird, philosophical, 420 legalize it kind of sense, the white space in poetry is what is not said, what is between the lines. In the ‘normal’ sense, white space can be something like an ellipsis. The ellipsis can be considered white space because it slows down the tempo of fiction and it creates silence like white space in poetry. One person that I think used white space like this in fiction is James Joyce–his stories are filled with ellipses.

    Also joining clubs like Guerrilla and hanging out and writing poems with friends could be helpful.

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