I decided to call the Writing Studio STANZA, from the Italian for “room,” because I love the sense of the poem as having rooms within it, or of the poem itself as a room. Another important aspect of it celebrates that sense of support and resonance of actually being in the same room with others, writing and sharing work.
Each session includes a short talk/discussion on craft & process, generative exercises, and listening to each other’s work. The emphasis for the spring will be on new work, and exercises and discussion encourage delving into what may not yet be on the page.
This spring I’d like to experiment with different ways to use the workshop format including reversing the usual structure in which a writer reads their work and remains silent while the work is discussed, so that instead, the writer will read the work and then the participants will then ask questions of the writer. It’s not about “what did you really mean?” but rather asking questions that help the writer hear some of the fresh language that somehow has not yet made it into the poem.
Another variation will be that the writer will read a poem aloud several times and the other participants will listen closely, but offer minimal feedback. A large part of what is useful in having a poem “workshopped” is simply the act of reading it aloud, hearing it.
Participants wishing for more direct response or more detailed critiques on their work can schedule a 1:1 conference. Also, I encourage members of the studio to exchange work with each other for further response between sessions.
The studio framework is designed to be “free-standing,” and welcomes both steady and occasional participation. There’s a core group of writers who have been part of the studio since it began in 2010, but the group for any given week is almost never the same. The studio welcomes writers of all “levels.”
We focus primarily on poetry in the process & craft discussions, but writers in any genre are welcome.
Held at Emergence Healing Arts Center, in the Castro.
4052 18th St., at Hartford