Workshop Guidelines

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Prof. Arielle Lemoyne
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Workshop Guidelines

Postby Prof. Arielle Lemoyne » Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:09 am

One of the extra credit options is to participate in poetry workshop on the forum! Here's a more detailed explanation of what that requires.

Part 1: Title a new thread with the month and your name (i.e. "September Workshop - Arielle"), and post a poem you have written - it can be the one you wrote for this month's assignment, one you've written previously on your own and want comments on, or one you just wrote for fun now and wanted to share.

Part 2: Your next task is to look for 1-2 other threads from that month, read the poems, and post at least 100 words of comments.

What sorts of comments should you be making?
  • It's often good to start out by explaining how you interpret the poem. I've found this to be a really good way to tell if I've successfully conveyed the meaning I had in mind.
    • This poem is about_____
  • Point out parts you think are strong and explain why
    • I thought ___ was really effective because _____
    • I really liked _____ because ____
  • Give suggestions on what you might change or ways to expand the poem
    • Have you thought about ____
    • I might try doing _____
    • What if you elaborated on____
You don't have to follow these phrases exactly - as long as you include some specific suggestions and make sure you're being supportive (saying something like "this line is bad", "well this whole poem needs a lot of work" or anything like that is just not what we're going for haha).

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Prof. Arielle Lemoyne
Cleansweep One
Posts: 504
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:15 pm

Re: Workshop Guidelines

Postby Prof. Arielle Lemoyne » Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:10 am

Let's go over a full example of the comments you might write. We'll use the first draft of one of the poems I wrote for my class a few years ago.


the first time Grammy asks who,
instead of how, I am
tears are clouding my eyes, blurring the
I think we should break up
messages that are slicing through my phone
and then my aunt yells at me
for not eating any turkey.
Dinner lasts only an hour
because everyone is so desperate to escape
the people we're supposed to love.


Commentator 1: This poem describes a scene of Thanksgiving gone horribly wrong. I love the topic choice because I think it's something that everyone can relate to. I think the shortness of it is very effective, but have you thought about including a few other details as well? for example, maybe some details about your reaction? are there other people in the scene? how do they feel about what's going on? I sense a sort of break between the line that ends in "turkey" and the line that starts with "dinner" - how do you think breaking it there into two stanzas might work?

Commentator 2: I really like the simplicity of the poem - it uses short phrases that still convey intense emotions. I might play around with the verbs a little - you have "are clouding" "are blurring" "are slicing" and also "asks" "yells" "lasts"...see how choosing one style for all of them would sound. I think the last three lines are especially strong, and I agree that they would be even more effective as their own stanza - it provides a conclusion that summarizes the first part of the poem.

Commentator 3: You have three main events in the poem that upset the speaker - her grandmother asking who she is, her boyfriend breaking up with her, and her aunt yelling at her. I think it's interesting how they're all related in that way - have you considered providing direct dialogue from the grandma and the aunt as you did with the boyfriend? I love the image of the messages "slicing" through the phone. Is there a similar interesting descriptor you could use to enhance the aunt "yells"? I like the idea of separating the last lines into their own stanza. You could think about elaborating a bit on each of the three events and making them into their own stanzas as well. But I do think the current style is very effective - the brief mention of each event has a jarring effect on the reader, which mirrors the way the speaker was feeling.

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