Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Writers' Groups

Meeting new writers is always a gamble, right? Some groups work well; others feel like a forced march barefoot through mud. I have a warm, smart, helpful group of fellow fiction writers who have taught me a great many things, and I'm more than ever grateful for them. We have leadership, an accomplished writer and teacher who keeps things from spinning out of control. It is possible, desirable, to exert a little control over the creative process. We have a few set procedures: use of prompts, either in group or between meetings; critique of a volunteer's current work; and a regular check-in for writing news. This little system keeps us focused. Would that I could find a poetry group with such endurance and dedication to the writing.

It's not that I haven't tried. I found a meeting place, advertised on line, showed up as promised and we had exactly one meeting. When it became obvious that, as facilitator, I suggested that people actually write poems and share them, the group dissolved like salt in hot water. Then the venue closed (Coffee shops do that.), and I used my line-item budget veto to save the cost of posting on line for new members. So, my poetry pals are still long distance, and I miss them. I'll keep my options open. Go walk the dog and keep writing. Sooner or later, other poets will pop up and I'll get to talk about line breaks and images and rhythms. Sigh!

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