Company at the Desk: Writing in Response to Others’ Poems

My class in the SMU Theatre program

When I left theatre and began writing as my main creative focus, one of the things I missed was having a stage manager. When you’re in a play, the stage manager makes sure rehearsals (and then the show) start on time. As an actor, I knew when I was supposed to arrive. Even if I was cranky or distracted, I got to rehearsal and started working because people were counting on me to be there. But more importantly, I was in a collaborative environment–we’d work together to bring the play to life, and my ideas were augmented by everyone else’s.

Even though I typically write alone, I’ve found various ways to recreate that sense of collaboration. I’m teaching a couple of workshops in February where we’ll experiment with writing in response to others’ poems as a form of collaboration.

Poems from Poems: Call and Response

February 4, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Richard Hugo House  $96/$86.40 for Hugo House members

“Good poems are the best teachers. Perhaps they are the only teachers,” writes Mary Oliver in A Poetry Handbook. This workshop explores ways to let others’ poems not only teach you, but lead to new poems of your own. We’ll experiment with po-jacking, sonic translation, echo translation and other ways to use one poem as a jumping off point for another. Come prepared to write and stretch your craft – participants will leave the workshop with fresh drafts of new poems.

Registration is open online or via phone at (206) 322-7030.

I’ll teach a shorter, free version of this workshop on February 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lopez Island Library.

Let me know if you’d like more information about either class–I’d love to see you there.

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