On October 28, about 24 students and 4 coaches met at Lord Beaverbrook High School for the first in a series of workshops being offered over the course of this school year (see our Schedule for a complete list of events).
The workshop focused on giving the poets an opportunity to meet, share, collaborate, and socialize with poets from other schools. In the icebreaker activity, they produced some wonderful group performances in response to 4 different topics (1. “A no good, terrible, horrible, very bad day”; 2. “If I was a teacher”; 3. “Writing a poem is harder than . . .”; and 4. “When we were young and foolish”), and they did it in about 10 minutes (5 minutes of individual writing time to produce 4 lines of poetry and 5 minutes of collaboration time to determine reading order and/or create lines to help transitions).
We also did some work with a sharing and revising process that saw the poets read a piece of their work to a group, who recorded lines that they felt were powerful or amazing. After the group was done writing, they gave their lists of great lines to the poet and then told the poet the lines they could remember. This provided poets with helpful information about their poems. First, lines that were not mentioned were to be evaluated very carefully as the poet decided whether to keep them or cut them, or to revise them or leave them. Second, lines that were written down were viewed as lines that held promise, but should be targeted for improvement. Third, lines that were remembered and repeated from memory back to the poet were treated as miraculous gifts to humanity that should not be messed with in any way.
Meanwhile, another group of poets spent time discussing and sharing their writing processes with one another, before writing a short piece, and sharing it using the same process stated above. This group watched Erin Dingle’s performance of “Freeze Tag” and then did a timed writing exercise based on the topic: “Someone you would like to help.”
Oh, and there was also lots of snacks. Glorious, heavenly snacks!
The next writers’ workshop (November 29 at Bishop Grandin High School from 1 to 5 pm) will be a drop-in style event (you don’t have to stay for the full 4 hours, but you can if you want). The title for the next workshop is “Be Unique Concrete While You Flee from Cliche,” with the sub-title: “How to Avoid the Poison of Atrociously Mixed Metaphors.” More information will be posted about this workshop a couple of weeks in advance.
The cost for the all workshops is only a bit of your time and possibly some transit fare or gas money (because you have to get yourself to the workshop). Not only that, but these workshops are offered to any aspiring school-aged poets, whether your school has a poetry club/team or not. So come out and join us for some fun, poetry, and snacks!
Glorious, heavenly snacks!