Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bread Loaf: Choosing poems to workshop

The application to Bread Loaf, like most programs, asks for a sample of work. I chose a group of polished poems that fit together thematically and showed a variety of styles. I started with some published poems (outside recognition feels good and, hopefully, means at least a little something.) It was a challenge, but not as tricky as choosing poems for the workshop.

I could not choose poems based on who the workshop leader will be because I won't know until mid-July. If I knew, I could submit work that would most benefit from that author's approach and aesthetic.

I didn’t want to chose poems that need so much work that I’d be embarrassed to have them read and then sit through a discussion about them.

Submitting poems that I feel are done and refuse to edit would be a waste of everyone’s time.

The challenge was to put together 10 pages of poems that I’m proud of, but know need some work. I ended up choosing 7 shorter poems and 1 longer poem. They are from my poetry manuscript in progress, Elsewhere. Like most of my writing over the last few years, the overarching theme is illness and grief. Perhaps the next challenge will be to write something with some cheer.

How do you choose poems to workshop?

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