What we're about

This is a motivated, supportive group that provides a safe space where you can workshop your in-progress poetry & prose. It is a great community to receive critique and feedback to assist the editing of your while preparing it to be public and/or performed.

Our creative writing events include workshops, open mics, salons, spoken word, and other one-off events in our collective quest to craft and share our words, poems, and ideas.

Upcoming events (4+)

Poem of the Week

Online event

Hosted by Kenneth Baker, each week we will focus on a different published poem by an established author. The goal is to practice our "listening" skills though absorbing the poem and then having different folks read it as they "hear" it. The intent is to learn both through an individual week-long study of a poem as well as a group discussion at the end of the week with the end-goal of informing our personal approaches to writing and editing our poetry.

Oakland Typewriter Poetry Workshop

Fairyland Hill

Hello East Bay Poetry Lovers,

This is a poetry workshop for you! We will meet on Fairyland Hill in front of the Children's Fairyland sign at Lake Merritt. The host, Keith Gaboury, will bring a couple of blankets for poets to sit on during the workshop. Please bring enough hard copies of your poem to pass out to everyone in attendance. If you have any additional questions or concerns, feel free to message Keith Gaboury on Meetup.

WORKSHOP GUIDLINES:

Within this safe space, we want to keep in mind the goal of the workshop while reviewing draft poems: encouragement and feedback.

#1 - Reading the poem
Start each new poem with participants first reading the poem to themselves. This provides folks a first read to absorb the larger context of the poem. Things like the form, subject, and the literary devices employed including meter, rhyme, and page layout.

#2 - Hearing the poem
The author will then read their poem if they choose. If not a member can step in and read it for them (most authors read their own). More detailed items uncover themselves with this read through. Things like voice, tone, and elements that might rely on the out-loud reading of the piece.

#3 - Comments and feedback
Please write comments that are both positive and provide constructive criticism to the poet. As commenters, let’s remember to trust that the author has absorbed the feedback and will use it as they see fit. We want to share comments that help the writer find places of refinement and/or growth within the poem.

#4 - Types of comments
Start with something positive. Something that moved you, grabbed your attention, or provided surprise. Feedback shouldn’t exist only to criticize. Its main purpose is to inform the author of how others receive the poem. And we do not to collectively edit it in real time.

When it comes to criticism, be kind. It can be very vulnerable to expose our creativity to feedback. Avoiding phrases like “you need to” and “you should” in exchange for “I noticed” or “your use of” can go a long way in shaping more helpful comments. For example, “You should never use passive voice in first person…” is a general statement disconnected from the poem. Whereas “It wasn’t clear to me in the 3rd stanza if the monkeys escaped with you or only wanted to” alerts the author to a possible ambiguity in the piece.

Some useful feedback sentence starters are:

A question I have…
I’m wondering…
I’m noticing…
What’s strong…
What stays with me…

POEMS ARE THE OWNERSHIP OF THE AUTHORS AND ARE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW. ANY USE OF THE POEM WITHIN THIS WORKSHOP DOES NOT GRANT PERMISSION OF USE OR ANY TRANSFER OF RIGHTS.

Poem of the Week

Online event

Hosted by Kenneth Baker, each week we will focus on a different published poem by an established author. The goal is to practice our "listening" skills though absorbing the poem and then having different folks read it as they "hear" it. The intent is to learn both through an individual week-long study of a poem as well as a group discussion at the end of the week with the end-goal of informing our personal approaches to writing and editing our poetry.

The Typewriter: Let's Workshop our Poetry...

Online event

*** We are now running both workshops on the same evening. Pleas only sign up for one of the other event. We are doing this in hopes of providing more available slots to our family of poets. ***

Hello Poets! This workshop has motivated, supportive group that provides a safe space for feedback. If attending, participation is required. This includes having your poem available to share on Google Docs as well as appearing on video via Zoom. There are some great tutorials online for Google Docs if needed.

Within this safe space we will want to keep in mind the goal of the workshop while reviewing draft poems: providing encouragement and feedback. We want to help the author understand how the poem is being received, where ambiguities exist, and in general give them considerations as they enter their next revision. Our purpose is not to solve the poem as if it were a puzzle, dig deep into the meaning/reasons behind it, nor suggest it be rewritten as something else.

WORKSHOP GUIDLINES:

#1 - Reading the poem
Start each new poem with participants first reading the poem to themselves. This first read is to absorb the larger context of the poem like form, subject, and the literary devices employed including meter, rhyme, and page layout. Do not enter comments yet.

#2 - Hearing the poem
The author will read their poem if they choose. If not a member can offer to read it for them. More detailed items uncover themselves with this read through. Things like voice, tone, and elements that might rely on the out-loud reading of the piece. Beg=in comments after this second read.

NOTE: Prior to commenting, ensure that you have placed yourself into the poem, its voice, its style, etc. That your comments have the interest of the poem at the forefront. There can be a natural habit of commenting on a poem from the perspective we had written it ourselves and this does a disservice to the poem.

#3 - Comments and feedback
Although we will also have active discussion, comments should be made on the Google Doc itself. Much like marking up handouts during an in-person event (oh, the good ‘ole days of 2019) these comments persist with the document for the author to access after the fact.

Let's trust that the author has absorbed the feedback and will use it as they see fit. We want to share comments that help the writer find places of refinement and/or growth within the poem.

#4 - Types of comments
Start with something positive. Something that moved you, grabbed your attention, or provided surprise. Feedback shouldn’t exist only to criticize. Its main purpose is to inform the author of how others receive the poem.

When it comes to criticism, be kind. Avoiding phrases like “you need to” and “you should” in exchange for “I noticed” or “your use of” can go a long way in shaping more helpful comments. For example, “You should never use passive voice in first person…” is a general statement disconnected from the poem. Whereas “It wasn’t clear to me in the 3rd stanza if the monkeys escaped with you or only wanted to” alerts the author to a possible ambiguity in the piece.

Some useful feedback sentence starters are:
A question I have…
I’m wondering…
I’m noticing…
What’s strong…
What stays with me…

#5 - A note about Google Docs
Using Google Docs is a two-step process. First upload the document and secondly change the Share to “Anyone with the link.” The allows for folks to view and comment directly on the doc itself.

But this is a persistent state and it continues to be available in this way. So after the session, change the permissions back to “owner” so no one will have access other than yourself. You can also download the document with comments to your computer and remove it from Google Docs.

POEMS ARE THE OWNERSHIP OF THE AUTHORS AND ARE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW. ANY USE OF THE POEM WITHIN THIS WORKSHOP DOES NOT GRANT PERMISSION OF USE OR ANY TRANSFER OF RIGHTS.

Past events (314)

Virtual Open Mic (audience event)

Online event

Photos (36)