Sunday, August 3, 2008
Friday I attended an all-day workshop with Dorianne Laux and Joe Millar. It's been several years since I've gone to a workshop, but I jumped at this opportunity to meet and spend some time with these two poets. The day was organized by Nancy Hechinger who knows both poets from her MFA program at Pacific University. I thought we were meeting in some kind of local cultural center, but the location turned out to be Nancy's incredibly beautiful house. I could not have asked for a nicer, more perfect setting for a day of poetry.
There were just nine of us, so it was a cozy group. We introduced ourselves as we sat in a circle in the living room. Then Dorianne and Joe led us through a warm-up activity called a "glimpsed memory." We did it orally as a kind of story-telling activity with each new teller beginning with the last line of the previous person's story. We were given 20 minutes to produce a draft of our poems and sent off to various locations to write. Then we shared the drafts and some commentary.
Next came a delicious lunch—pasta salad, cherry tomato and mozzarella salad, roast chicken, and coconut cupcakes. The weather was cooperative, so we ate outside.
After lunch we did one more writing activity based on an object or picture we'd been asked to bring. Dorianne and Joe inserted a number of requirements which I always find challenging and fun. This time we wrote for 40 minutes before getting back together.
I returned home with drafts of two new poems and that nice feeling that comes after a day spent doing what you most enjoy doing.