As I’ve said before, I thrive on poetry workshops as a kickstart to new writing (to say nothing of the excellent published poetry I’ve read in the process). Then how come I’ve only recently begun to avail myself of all that’s on offer from The Poetry School? There are face-to-face, downloadable and online courses to choose from. And there’s CAMPUS, the Poetry School’s social network , currently boasting 1,744 members engaged in poetry conversations through groups ranging from ‘What are you Reading?’ to ‘Web Curios’; from ‘News, Events and Happenings’ to ‘Competitions, Submissions and Challenges.’
There are no travel or accommodation costs to factor in, and ‘a night in’ doesn’t get much better than the free open workshops I’ve participated in to date. Bookings are on a first-come-first-served basis, so signing up to CAMPUS and their email updates is a help there. Assignments are posted to participants who then have 5-7 days to draft their poems before uploading them to the group a few days before the two-hour online workshop, facilitated by a group chat facility. A transcript of the online chat session is made available a couple of days later so you can ponder over critiquing comments. Writing in response to an assignment with a near deadline often works well for me: there’s little time for procrastination.
My first such was Kim Moore’s Put a Poet in Your Pocket, last May. It was refreshing (if a challenge in itself) to ‘live with’ my chosen published poem for a few days with ‘strict’ instructions to write down nothing in the way of ideas/notes before drafting my own poem in response. Seven months later, I’m mightily pleased that the resulting poem has found a good home.
I rarely experiment with set forms, so Mosaics from the Broken Mirror – Writing and Revising the Ghazal was a real departure from the norm. Jason Schneiderman’s excellent essays and the exemplar poems in the assignment made worthwhile reading. And, who knows, I might someday produce a pleasing poem from the draft that currently hibernates in my WIP sub folder.
Tonight, I’ve another ‘night in’ planned, as participants of The List Cause open workshop will be entering the group chat room at 7PM for a two-hour workshopping session of each other’s list poems with tutor Beverley Nadin. Bring it on, I say!
Oh, and that’s not all – I’ve signed up for Harry Giles’ open workshop: Beyond English – Poems in Constructed Languages. So this weekend I’ll be googling Nadsat, Riddleyspeak, Klingon, Zaum and Lapine…