The Whately Cultural Council and our Friends of the Library sponsored a Poetry Workshop with Lesléa Newman http://www.lesleakids.com/ this morning, and I can’t think of a better way to have spent a Saturday morning. A dozen people came from here and there: one mother and daughter, but most of us strangers to each other, at least for those first ten minutes. One woman wrote folding her pages in half: maybe to orientate herself toward thinking within the narrowed margins of a poem. The man beside me wrote short poems in a small notebook. Another man had a gorgeous big journal that looked bound in antique leather.
Lesléa, the author of Write from the Heart and dozens of other books, read a few poems or gave us poems to read, and these words from Pablo Neruda, Dennis Haseley, Joan Larkin and others served as gentle guides, reminders of great language, as we dove into our unconscious using Lesléa’s prompts. We read if we chose, and people had astute things to say. I was reminded of how much writing can happen in a short time as Lesléa instructed us to begin and keep writing in short dashes. Nothing I wrote was wonderful, but why would it be? It was clear to me though that I’d uncovered a few important seeds. It was clear I could go on and write more through the afternoon.
Here’s a picture of Carla Jean, whose typewriter-on-fire tattoo we admired, me, and Lesléa before we shoved back the tables pressed together and went back to our days, feeling richer than when we’d begun. I just stopped to take the picture of the bluets and moss on the slope before the library. Now I’m on the porch. Thinking about timing myself and going for more ten minute spurts I can tear apart and peer into at leisure. Workshops like this are fun for the company as well as reminders it can be good to shake up your habits now and then.