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Join my poetry editing workshop on Wednesday, May 29th, 2024, at The O’Neal Library

“I write in loosely held journals that are full of phrases, stick figures, and stray thoughts . . . to see how best to shape seeds into poems.”

Abayo Animashaun

“I often think about the subject months, or sometimes my whole life; but it takes a trigger,” and then “What comes, comes all at once.”

CMarie Furman

“I riffed, following the language where it led.”

Joe Wilkins

How do you write? Do you give yourself over to a flood of memories? Do you play with associations? How does the poem start? With a word? A rhythm? A fraying string which you must follow?

I have been finding a string to pull at lately. I unravel and unravel, seeking the source. I pull, and the string gives, but I never get to the end of it, which might keep me in the game longer. Then I have enough string but I scarcely know what to do with it. I make a knot. I make a different knot. The draft is a bunch of knots. Then I set about untying the knot. The same knot I’ve untied so many times. Yet it doesn’t grow old. It doesn’t get frayed.

It used to be a beat, a rhythm to which I had to put words—something of a song, an earworm if you like.

My tongue doing the work, my memory, my fingers searching. Doing the work. Doing the work. It repeats and falls flat. It gets up and tries to be true. It is truest when it can stand up, feel the music, feel itself undone but standing. When it surprises. When it is a reflection, a mirror, a question, the one asking and the one answering. When it is a thing of its own, I no longer own it.

But the in-between? What happens there? It is different for each poem, but I will try to give you some tools. Tools that I’ve used, and some that others use. I will create a space for you to think of your tool set. The rest is up to you. The poem is yours to serve. Now, let’s do the work.

Elevate your poetic output by learning essential editing skills. Join my workshop at The O’Neal Library in Mountain Brook Birmingham on Wednesday, May 29th. Register here.

This workshop will guide you through the process, so bring your pieces with you: anything from fresh first drafts to poetry that needs that last polish. Once you’ve registered your place, I will contact you for the (optional) chance to send in poems for a live edit during the session.

Miriam Calleja

Author Miriam Calleja

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