I returned from the Key West Literary Seminar this weekend with two notebooks filled with poem drafts, ideas, notes, reading suggestions and more. It was wonderful to be able to attend two food writing seminars and in-between, an advanced poetry workshop with Jane Hirshfield.
For me, a poet who attends short writing programs about every two years since graduate school, it is hard to say if the best part was attending Jane’s workshop, allowing myself more time to write or meeting other writers. While the food writing seminars were interesting, I snuck in extra writing and workshopping time between the sessions that related most to my writing projects.
The first question I received from other writers after I returned was, “Should I do it next year?” Overall, I’m happy that I dedicated time, energy and money to the program. (Speaking of money, they do offer generous financial assistance, which made it possible for me to attend.) If you are considering it, be sure to look carefully at the theme that organizes the future sessions. The food theme, which I enjoy as a food blogger myself, was sometimes more dominant than the literary aspects of the conversations. That said, I learned a lot, especially during the workshop. As would be true with any program, be sure to choose a workshop leaders whose work and approach you admire.
I’ve admired poet Jane Hirshfield since I first started reading poetry. If you are looking to work with her or hear her read, she suggested following her page on the Steven Barclay Agency site. For more on the seminar, including future broadcasts of readings and discussions, see Littoral, the Key West Literary Seminar’s blog. Next year the theme will be, “Yet Another World,” with authors like Margaret Atwood, William Gibson and Joyce Carol Oats.
In this first month of a new year my resolution is to dedicate myself to drafting and revising poems Jane Hirshfield’s simple and poignant advice to “write better.” I look forward to sharing more about the seminar in future posts.