The main thing is to write for the joy of it,
cultivate a work lust….
For me the heart of workshop work is listening. This includes listening to whatever poems we’re reading, student and published; and reading aloud to hear the tone, the music of the line, the rhythms and emotions of the poem as a whole. I urge students to listen to the poem they’ve written as the best source of clues to the next draft, rather than to insist on their own intentions. I urge all of us to listen for where that poem wants to go, rather than rewriting it as our own poem. The point is to let the poem lead, and to surprise us while we follow wherever it wants to go.
This is some of the deepest and most satisfying work of all, when you discover the various shapes the book can take, how many different stories it might tell, what the poems mean to you. It’s the time when you weave the poems’ inner and outer lives together by finding the connections between your own thoughts and feelings and the public poems you make with them. It’s a thrilling and harrowing process, one I’ve been grateful to be a part of many times.
I’ve taught a wide range of classes and workshops at every level from beginner to graduate school. Special interests include:
♦ music of the free verse line
♦ meter and traditional forms
♦ comparative translation
♦ specific poets
♦ poetry and painting
♦ poetry and science
♦ poetry and music
I’m open to a wide range of one-on-one and small group work. I’m happy to work in person with those who live in the Boston area, and via email with those who live elsewhere. Please feel free to suggest topics, and contact me for further information about possibilities and fees here.