Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hey, buddy, can you spare a workshop idea?

I have an ongoing relationship with dandelions. The first poem I ever had accepted for print by someone who wasn't also grading my term papers was called "Dandelion". It was a lovely bit of syrup and I remember fondly the poem and the time in my evolution as a writer it represents (my "early Crayola" period). When I first started shopping around to lead poetry workshops with kids, that poem was one I turned to as an example - it was simple, suitable for audiences as young as 3rd grade, not entirely awful, and contained a few teachable elements - but I never thought of it having much use for workshops with adults, or even older kids.

This month (well, next month, actually), I'll be looking for ideas to jump start a new writers' group, and I like the idea of starting with a workshop based on dandelion poems. It's subject matter everyone can attach to, both visually and metaphorically, yet have a range of reactions to on either axis. That's key for me, because this group will contain writers at levels ranging from accomplished to novice.

The old blogroll will serve me well in this case; starting right at the top with Adele Kenny, there are a dozen good ideas easily accessible (in the IT sense, not the New Formalist or any other "school" sense). But I'm open to suggestions, too.

Do you have any workshop ideas that you've seen work with a widely divergent audience?

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