Surviving My First Workshop

After reading the various poems by Dickinson, Williams and Armantrout on I got a clear sense of the kind of structure I could go for. I wanted to create something impactful, and have many separate stanzas in it. I started pulling my thoughts together by sitting on memorial lawn on campus. The grass was dead and their was landscaping going on. I then walked around and imagined myself as the only real thing existing. I was able to separate myself from the world and look at things from a new perspective. I knew my poem was finished once I could find a sentence to end on that directly connected to the main title “This Land is Dead”. When we did the workshop, most students’ poems were lighthearted or inspirational. Everyone was surprised when mine took a dark and despairing turn, but I liked that it was very different from the others that people shared. Most of the comments or suggestions people had were that the poem made them feel sad and helpless, which is what I wanted. They also said I should extend the poem more, and expand more of the visual language potential. I learned in the workshop that people in this setting of showing each other their work tend to be very open and helpful. A lot of ideas I have for my second draft stemmed from student’s comments, next time I want to ask for even more suggestions.

Practice Makes Poetry

Finding My Voice.

1134_rarmantroutOf all the poets, I found Rae Armantrout’s form of writing to most interesting to me. Especially with her poem “Negotiations”, she very carefully structures the sections of oh her writing. I like how she only uses 3-4 lines before indenting a space between each section. Each word is very powerful, and the lines she singles out hit me hard as a reader. In her poem “Lie” she uses the spaces between each statement. “I’d like to hold these”, then she goes to the next line with “in reserve”. She then clearly separates this statement with the next “Protect our identity” by using a “2” between the lines. I attempted to “imitate” her form of writing in my own poem “”This Land is Dead”. I separate each thought I write down, and leave single worded lines where its necessary, like how I separated “lifeless” from the rest of the lines in that stanza.

this grass is dead


the bushes cut

these roots broken

growth has been shut