Write a poem in one sentence with simple syntax and a minimum of rhetorical flourish. Add a parenthetical phrase and an independent clause utilizing semi-colons or em-dashes. Keep the poem going: employ comma splices to extend your narrative, description or rhythm. Trust the sentence. These were the instructions for yesterday’s discussion at Alan Basting’s Creative Writing Workshop held at the LAC Community Center and Gallery. Marvin, Ken, Kathleen, Anita, Barb and Jean enjoyed a morning taking turns listening to each others’ efforts at poetry, commenting and discussing the content and mechanics.
Ken was the first to read his poem about wind chimes and their “murderous cacophony”. Apparently he or someone he knows has an aversion to their “dingle dangle” sounds! Jean read her poem about finding her muse and Marvin read his about growing old. Everyone had positive and constructive comments for each other. Marvin commented that “poems are a response to an experience – if done honestly—it’s a good poem.” Alan, a retired university professor of writing headed up the discussions, pointing out technical details such as how shorter lines in a poem demand attention, build tension and add surprises. Unpredictability is fun for a reader. Longer lines of poetry can be more melodic. His newest book of poetry, Nothing Very Sudden Happens Here, was available for purchase at the workshop. Two more sessions remain, free of charge, but rsvps are appreciated.