October has started out on a high note — On Friday, October 4, I presented a brief poetry workshop to area high school teachers. When I say brief, I mean brief – the workshop was only about an hour and a half long. During the workshop, I talked about different forms of poetry including the pantoum, the ghazal, the sestina, and the villanelle. (I mentioned the sonnet — but since most people know of the sonnet, I didn’t want to dwell on Bill Shakespeare’s favorite form!).
Then, I explained why I teach form in both my Writing About Literature and Creative Writing classes. I know that while many writers find writing within a specific form a bit stifling — students (such as many business, computer and engineering majors) are often relieved to find rules in place for poetry. They are happy that they don’t have to analyze all this “free verse jazz” as one of my students once called the open forms that many of us use in writing.
This workshop also reminded me of some favorite contemporary poets who experiment with form including Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Shaindel Beers and Sandra Beasley. I really need to revisit their work more often.
In other poetry news, I received two acceptances in the inbox this week, one for a poem and one for a poetry book review. Since both are online publications, I will post links when I know more. It’s just a bit nice to have a break in the rejection spell.
In general, we are experiencing gorgeous Autumn weather — the kind that makes me happy that I’m living in western Pennsylvania. Thus, I am declaring a school free weekend. I will return to reading student papers on Monday.