Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Value of Workshop

When I first started writing, I would pour out a rough draft and declare the work "done." It wasn't hubris, or over-confidence, or a belief in my abilities- I simply couldn't imagine what else I could do with this or that poem to make it better.

If it was as good as I could make it, it was done. I continued on in this state (at least as far as poetry was concerned) thoughout high school and through most of college.

When I was home one summer, I stumbled upon an open mic reading in a coffee shop off Clinton Square in Syracuse. I count that night among the 2 or 3 best things to ever happen to me as a writer, and in the top 5 of things to happen to me as a person.

After the open mic, we'd circle the tables and have a workshop/ playshop. One person would call out a topic, and everyone would write frantically until someone else called "stop!" (or, often, "ding!"). Then we would share what we had written. You could tell when you'd found a good line or stanza by the ooos and I-like-thats that passed around the tables. That led easily to conversations about what was working and how to get the not-working parts up and running.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying, I've got a prose poem up at Hazel & Wren's Open Mic, and I (and all the other writers who have submitted poems and prose) would love your feedback.

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