for the love of poetry

Last weekend, I held my first ever Basic Poetry Workshop. I taught the basics of writing poetry for beginners and I had a marvellous, marvellous time doing it. I did this for the No Box Transitions foundation to support their upcoming launch on July. I had seven participants who never had any formal training in poetry — two filmmakers, two songwriters — but they have always been curious about poetry and/or have written for personal reasons.

Despite not having finished a graduate course (I just have a bachelor’s degree) nor have I published my own collection (My book will be out either this month or next month; I have been published and anthologised, though), I felt that I had the necessary engagement with poetry since I was as young as nine years old to be able to share what I know about writing poems.

I had a wonderful time doing it and sharing what I know and, I was told, they had a wonderful time on the first two days of the workshop.

They had writing exercises and we discussed the pieces they made and quite a lot of them were very, very good. We discussed poems during the workshop to discover how the poet made us feel the way that we did when we read their work — both published and the work that they themselves have written.

The second day was even more exciting because after the first day, when they learned the essentials and the rudimentary parts of writing poems, they had an assignment. The works were incredible. They blew me away.

I wish I had pictures, but my entire focus was on the workshop and I was so in the moment that it never occurred to me to take photos. I was just there, trying to connect with the participants, and to share with them my love for poetry and to get them to use poetry to express their own distinct points-of-view.

I loved it. I loved the whole process of it and I felt very, very comfortable doing it. I really hope that I can take this experience and do this later on my own. No Box Transition did everything for me — find the participants, the venue, and even paid me a fee — and if I’m to do this on my own, I have to figure out how to do all of that for myself. But it is definitely something I would like to do on my own and more frequently. The number of participants, at seven, was just a good size, so I know that I really can’t do more than that in the future. Not more than ten, for sure.

Considering the quality of the work on the second day alone; I’m excited. These are poems that I would never have come across if I didn’t teach this class and it makes me feel so fulfilled as a person. It was the best pay check I’ve ever made in my life, really.

The third and last day is coming up this Saturday. If their work was so good already with just one day; I really am so excited for what will happen on Saturday when they had five days to really work on the pieces.

I’m living the life of a poet. It’s happening. I’m so happy.

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