Why You Should Workshop Your Poetry

Posted June 20, 2017 by Ely in Writing / 1 Comment

I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but I’m slowly trying to get myself back into writing and blogging about my writing. I want to do a post in a few weeks talking about that process, but for now, I have this post for you. Today I’ll be talking about why you should workshop your poetry, as well as my experiences workshopping my poetry and a little sneak peek of some of my poems. There’s a lot to get through, so let’s start.

Why Should You Workshop Your Poetry?

It’s simple, really. For the same reason you should workshop your novels or short stories, or even have someone read over an essay. There are going to be things they pick up that you don’t. More specifically…

Everyone has different experiences

Everyone experiences life differently, which I think is one of the most beautiful things. In terms of poetry though, it means people are going to get different things out of your work. While poetry is about how you see the world, I personally find it very interesting to hear what other people see. You may never use their comments in redrafting, but they could say something that changes how you see that poem.

It helps you become more confident

I don’t think there’s any better feeling than showing some your work and have them reply with ‘oh my god, I love it’. I first experienced this with my novels—I have an incredible friend named Sarah who has stuck with through multiple writings of my novel, Tied Together. Without her support and comments, I would have never gotten past the first chapter of my official first draft. She gave me the confidence to push on. She’s pretty much the best.

It creates and strengths friendships

Sarah is only one example of this. The best example I have though is definitely Inge. Inge and I were friends, and then we became critique partners. Now I’d consider her one of the best people I know. Honestly, I could write an entire blog dedicated to the respect and love I have for Inge. Instead, I’ll just tell you that sharing something as close to your heart as writing will definitely strengthen the relationships you have with people. Unless, of course, you are writing about how terrible they are. In that case, I’d suggest you find a different beta reader.

So those are my top three reasons why you should workshop your poetry, now let’s move onto my recent experiences.

My Poetry Workshopping Experience

I’d never shown anyone my poetry until May this year. I joined an online poetry class and we had to workshop each other’s pieces. I was terrified. Writing poetry just feels so much more personal to me than writing novels. I showed a piece to Michelle, Angel and my boyfriend before I shared it with the class. I trust those three with my life, and I know they’d support me through anything. It was even scary to share it with them.

The people in my class were lovely, and definitely helped me think about my poetry in a new way. I started writing poems about things I hadn’t had the confidence to before. Even just reading their pieces made me think of experiences and feelings that I had that were similar. Even though the class is over, we have a Facebook page that we still post our poetry on for one another to read and comment on. It’s incredibly helpful.

My Poetry

Here comes the scary bit of this post. I’m going to share a little bit of my poetry. Apart from one poem (the first one), these are all just excerpts. I’d love to know your opinions on them, and if anyone wants to become workshop buddies, please let me know!

So there they are. As always, thanks to Mich for reading through them and supporting me—you’re my fave. Thank you to anyone who made it through this post! And I’ll see you all tomorrow!

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One response to “Why You Should Workshop Your Poetry

  1. This is so helpful, Ely. I only have my brother to read my poetry. His English is not as strong, but he tends to read it aloud. It’s mostly a very embarrassing process for me, because I don’t really think out loud much. It’s mostly nonverbal. Your poetry is amazing and so raw. Love it.
    PS: if you want a critique partner, I would love to swap poems. I don’t have a lot, but I’m trying to build up a portfolio. Maybe, at some point when I write novels, we can swap those too? Only if you’re comfortable with this, obviously.
    *Hugs you tight*