I am taking the most delightful poetry workshop with my friend Elizabeth. Diane Frank, http://www.dianefrank.net/ The group comprises eight of us from all over the country, and we meet online to gather our weekly seed, share our drafts and comments with one another, and get feedback from Diane.
Worskshopping withpeers is important; other poets and writers provide a mirror for you to really see your work, often finding things you didn't realize were there. Others will bring lapses of diction, typos, and verb confusion to your attention. The biggest aid to me is when others point out where they are confused. Never Confuse Your Reader.
One does not grow without being willing to put your work out there and taking ctiticism. You may choose to agree or disagree. Good criticism is NOT a personal reflection; it is a means to make your work better. Some writers are tempted to totally rewrite your work, others offer suggestions and praise. Ultimately, it is up to you, the writer, to decide how to "solve" the writing.
If you are afraid to take a workshop, I highly suggest working with Diane. She does an online, 8 week class in the fall and one in the spring. (her summer workshop takes place in San Francsico for 4 days.) Each week she provides seeds which enable poets to stretch their writing muscles. She also gives gentle, yet accurate criticism on lines and word choices. She demonstrates where one should push the images.
Here is last week's poem: (Several particpants suggested major changes, but Diane liked it as is. I think I will sit on it for awhile and decide.)
In the airport gift shop the words death
and plane crash leap from newspaper headlines.
The opening lines of a novel I pick up announce,
“You are going to die.”
My travel companion recounts last night’s dream.
“You and I attended a poetry reading at a graveyard.
The poets perched their bodies on headstones.”
As a kid I pondered how the world could exist without me,
The infinite universe, my own private amusement park
I controlled by opening and closing my eyes.
Life is an airport hotel.
You fly to a new destination;
Someone else moves into your room.
Laura Moe ©2011