I’m a member of a virtual poetry workshop. We meet Saturday mornings at 8 am PST on webcam via Tinychat. It’s one hour of line-by-line feedback, laughter and pobiz discussion. Less the pobiz discussion. There are 5 members, but only 3 have virtually met: Evelyn, Jonterri and me. Even though I tell them my birth name, they still refer to me as Viz and that’s ok. I try to keep my identity on the web semi-secret (ip addresses tell the truth) because I’m an educator. My students tried their best to Google me and only found a few references to my young organizing days. Yay me for beating Eric Schmidt at his own game!
Each Friday, we email each other a submission set. The next morning, scraping the sleep out of our eyes, we read our poems, try to figure out appropriate line breaks, titles and offer encouragement. I’ve been in several poetry workshop groups and collectives. This is by far the best. Even when I show up without poems, just with ruminations Ev humors me. She’s tired of that so I must produce a set again.
I’ve only sent out two subs in the last 10 weeks but I’m new to this game. It’s a gamble, but it’s also a bit fun. Where’s the fun? Not in rejection but in assembling suites(or sets) of poems each week. Ev and Jay are quick to point out what works and what doesn’t, what fits and what juts out. It’s taught me a fine lesson in grouping poems.
I hope we never part. I hope we grow into annual retreats, quarterly workshops, and monthly goals. But even if we just stay 3 women meeting on the Internet until we’re all grey at the edges – it will be worth it.