amongst books

amongst books

Thursday, August 24, 2006

rob mclennan's fall poetry workshop

is open for registration once more. This time it will take place over 8 non consecutive weeks, which I really like because it gives you time to work on your stuff in between classes.

I recommend this workshop highly. rob is good at freeing your mind of traditional constraints that hold you back from writing. A former prof of mine told me about five years ago that there was something holding me back in my writing, that I needed to let myself go. rob has been able to help me to do that through his workshop.

He introduces various contemporary poets that are under the radar, not taught in typical poetry classes. He facilitates discussions on poetics. He's also a brilliant editor, getting you to question the necessity of words and making suggestions to make your poems more original, to make your readers think and not skip over your words. And then there are the fellow workshop participants. You don't know who you'll meet. All ages, all stages of writing. Some folks haven't read a single poem in their lives. Others have read a lot of traditional stuff, while others are experimental in their work. rob is a patient instructor, adept at dealing with all this mishmosh, not dismissing anyone's questions out of hand. After class, there's the trips to the Carleton Tavern for more conversation about poetry and the poetry of beer, perhaps. You never know who will show up. Could be Joe Blades visiting from New Brunswick, or Stephen Brockwell, or Steve Zytveld of the Dusty Owl. Whoever it is, chances are it will lead to even more interesting discussions into the late hours.

This sounds completely cheesy, but to me, rob's workshop and the beery after bits, feel like the real deal. I've always read about the get-togethers writers have, like Byron, Percy and Mary Shelley in Lake Geneva. This is how books like Frankenstein get written. (Don't mind me, I'm going thru a gothic phase) This is how collaborations get started. Take the workshop. I'm taking it again! Wouldn't it be fun to hang out and swap muses?

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