To Revision and Beyond! A Poetry Craft Series with Partridge Boswell

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Session 1 of 3

Important Note: This is a 3-workshop series with meetings on June 5, 12, and 19. If you’re interested in signing up for this workshop series, please sign up for this workshop only. We will automatically sign you up for sessions 2 and 3. Please be sure you can commit to attending all 3 sessions before signing up.

About the workshop series: A note from Partridge Boswell

You’ve written and rewritten your poem, maybe even workshopped it and incorporated the feedback of others to make it stronger—more poignant, innovative, or musical. Now that you’ve accepted the gift and branded the poem “finished” (or close enough): what now? Lock it in a drawer? Share it with a friend? Post it online? Submit to a journal? Yawp it to the whole world from your rooftop?

This workshop series will revise our perceptions of re-vision, daring to pose the questions: When is a poem truly finished? Is it possible to love revision as much as the original writing of a poem? Now that you’ve harnessed and honed the poem, experiencing personal fulfillment (if not enlightenment) via the creative act, how can the gift of a poem be re-given to others, continuing its journey from beyond to beyond?

Covering a checklist of revision tests or thresholds, our sessions will move from the final stages of “completing” (or as Auden says “abandoning”) a poem to pursuing its dissemination—culminating in the final test of tests (aside from submitting for publication): performing poems for a live audience!

Building on the premise that our strongest poems work well both on the page and stage—and that hearing our poems the way an audience hears them helps us to revise and think about them in new ways—this workshop will be partly generative and partly re-writing, with an energizing oral/performative component.

Participants submit two of their strongest finished poems to be presented in a “dress rehearsal” at the first workshop. Based on these readings, you’ll receive feedback and get to make your own determination whether your poems are indeed “finished” or need more revision—with the aim of making your best work even better. Meanwhile, in the wake of our first session, poets will either generate a brand-new poem or identify a new-ish poem that’s still at the first draft stage, which you’re willing to revise during the next couple of weeks in preparation to be read publicly. Our common grail? A reading at the Lamp Shop Lit Club as part of our final session!

During the three weeks, we’ll explore poetry’s oral traditions along with craft elements (e.g. music, modes, rhythm, meter) and what makes a poem suitable for the page or stage or both. Which may segue into talking about publication too, pending interest. The process of honing a “finished” poem will inevitably touch upon one of my favorite conundrums: How do we choose which poems to offer up in sacrifice to the workshop gods (in our regular workshops)? How do we know when we’ve exhausted our own energies of revision and how is this determination linked to the quality and utility of feedback we receive in workshop? So, one side-aim of this session will be how to get the most out of workshopping your poems.

Upon completing the final workshop (and Lamp Shop gig), poets will have three poems in the bag that are strong both on the page and stage, ready to be published or presented to a live audience—or both! Ideally, poets will also gain a better sense of audience and the diverse ways poetry may be imparted to others, more confidence in being a voice among voices, and a closer affinity for your own revision process—tools you can customize as you continue to write and revise.

About Partridge

Recipient of this year’s Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize for his poem “Flying home after the protest,” Partridge Boswell is the author of Some Far Country, winner of the Grolier Poetry Prize. His poems have recently surfaced in The Gettysburg Review, Salmagundi, The American Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. Co-founder of Bookstock literary festival and the poetry/music group Los Lorcas Trio, he originally hails from Synecdoche, New York and enjoys playing Sesquipedalian with his family.

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