Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend the Wild Writers Literary Festival, where I attended a poetry workshop, attended a few panels, and mostly soaked up a day spent with my mother and other book lovers.
First thing in the morning I was part of Amanda Jernigan’s “The Poetry of Change” workshop. We opened with the Odyssey, discussed Shakespeare, and shared poems that had impact on us. I shared Atwood’s “Their Attitudes Differ” while others shared sonnets, nursery rhymes, and other classics. It was very interesting to go around the table and have poets of all ages recite the poem that had influenced them, changed their way of thinking, or spurred them to write.
We discussed change in poetry, how change can be reflected in the text, and ways to induce change in readers. I found this interesting, but went down my own path of contemplation in regard to translation, and the meaning that can be lost or gained after a poem is translated. Many of our most valuable texts are translations, the Bible, the Greek classics, etc, and their passages construct meaning in our contemporary world. I followed this rabbit down its hole for most of the day, which I think means the workshop was a success, as it got me thinking.
Later, I attended a panel on moving from publishing in literary journals to small press. This was interesting, but because I’ve yet to publish anything really, it was more food for thought than actually something I could put into practice.
The last panel I attended was “Falling in Love with Poetry” where writers discussed their first forays and loves in poetry, the poetry that changed and influenced them. This panel was an interesting balance to my morning workshop, and I was able to see the similarities in the passion of published and aspiring poets.
Overall, it was an interesting day, and had me thinking critically about my own work, which is always a positive.
Last weekend I went to the KW Poetry Slam organized event in which a group of poets came together and shared their own work as well as work they admired. I initially thought it would be awkward and weird, just like I feel slam can sometimes be, but with an attendance of only ten poets, the setting was welcoming and intimate and much more conducive to sharing.
I went in not planning on sharing anything, I hadn’t even brought a notebook or pen – but as the circle opened up I felt more confident and pulled up some of the work I had stored on my phone.
Both the praise and the constructive criticism I received really helped me find a way to shape the pieces I had shard. As well, hearing other people read their work and be open to multiple interpretations and suggestions was really rewarding.
I think with a larger crowd the event would not have been as successful as that would have removed some of the intimacy from the readings.
Hosted by the KW Poetry Slam
Saturday April 20th, 7pm
Words Worth Books, 100 King Street South, Waterloo
Bring poems to read/perform in a casual, no-mic setting.