Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hillstead: Short Poem Workshop with Dick Allen

Dick Allen at Hillstead (an old article from the Metaphoratorium)
Not sure what the date on this should be...

after a reading years later
A grey day at best - it was the short pithy poetry that was bright and airy at the Oct 30th Short Poem Workshop at the Hillstead Museum.

The workshop opened right on time with a full line-up of 15 poets come to investigate the short poem.

To gear up for the day, there was strong coffee, followed by an opening reading by Mr. Allen. While we were all familiar with his long poem style - the short ones were a wonderful surprise. He read eight or nine and introduced each one with an explaintion of its derivation revealing all sorts of tips and tricks in the process.

Besides the reading, Mr. Allen shared handouts - sheets of those short poems and also sheets of some of his favorite classic short poems. Then the attending poets shared one of their own poems in a round robin reading. Each was primped and critiqued by both the group and the guru.

Halfway around the circle and it was time for lunch. There was homemade vegetable chili for sale out of a crockpot - just $3 a goodly bowl- hot, hot and scrumptious! To go with the chili was homemade bread and pesto spread. Apples and homemade chocolate chip cookies were available for desert. To go with these delights for the palate - there were delights for the mind - a table of poetry books for sale.

After lunch it was straight back to work, until each attending poet had benefited from a critique and encouragement. Then, there were more handouts - the characteristics of the sort poem, typical types of short poem, advice on tone, on submitting work for publication, all delivered with delightful humor. Then came an on-the-spot writing exercise and time to share the surprising results.

For myself, I found the advice helpful and the company interesting - and you just never know what you might find at one of these workshops. Besides the writing ideas, I heard a Tibetan Singing Bowl sing for the first time, brought and rung by Nadia Light who wanted to write about it. All in all, the atmosphere, the advice of a master poet and the good supportive company made for a wonderful day. I signed up the upcoming Gray Jacobik workshop at the same venue - but at the last minute found I couldn't go. SIGH.

For information on upcoming workshops write to Joy Pachla
---- Mar (Mistryel) Walker