Some Illinois poets use community to hone their skills
Some poets continually look outside of themselves to enrich their writings. A few poetry groups in northern Illinois are nurturing this desire by offering workshops.
Christina Lundberg is a writing teacher, essayist and poet. She said she was looking for a poetry group to join after being part of a writing group in Naperville.
“So when I saw”[The] Drink & Draft Poetry Roadshow, “I loved the quality of the logo. And so, I thought, ‘Hmm, these could be serious writers, they could be,’ ”she said. “So I contacted and when they started connecting online I thought it was perfect.”
Lundberg started writing as a child and said she wanted to keep improving. She said growing up is part of the process of evolving as a human being and attending poetry workshops helps her progress.
Eric Bodewell is a teacher and co-facilitator of the workshop she attends. He said he was part of a group called Open Sky Poets, which disbanded, so he contacted another former member of that group of poet Jenn May and suggested setting up educational workshops. The idea behind this creative space was for poets to get feedback – and more.
“We really wanted to have something where we could help people get ahead with their writing,” Bodewell suggested, “besides the community and the review, which I think the review is great. But it’s not necessarily focused on you know, improving those skills necessarily. I’m just commenting. ”
Bodewell and May hosted an event at a cafe in February 2020. Then COVID-19 hit. The workshops have gone virtual, but the label of the traveling workshop has remained the same. May described the concept behind the name.
“We really wanted to foster a sense of community,” said May. “And the best way to do that is to get people to have a drink together, right?” We tend to, to confess the most, we tend to move more, we tend to share more.
Lundberg said she loves the workshops because everyone who takes part wants to help each other. Plus, she says, Bodewell’s lesson plan is well thought out.
“The poetry exercises he brings are relevant, engaging, playful and fun,” she added. “So like, even though I’ve done tons of poetry exercises, I still like the ones he brings.”
She said attendees are kind but honest when giving feedback to their peers.
Atrocious Poets is another group that offers workshops. This group is from Woodstock, Illinois. Jessica Campbell is one of the directors of this group. She said their workshops are great for both novice and seasoned poets.
“If you are new to writing and just trying to write poetry for the first time – being part of a group of people who have been doing it for a long time – can give you a different perspective,” she explained, “can really help you. help you feel more comfortable with what you do and share what you do. ”
She said experienced writers can better understand their own work when teaching others.
May said long-time writers can get stuck at times and these workshops can help them get out of that hole.
“And I think another thing for poets who are seasoned or who have even published,” she said, “is that we challenge them not to necessarily use forms of writing with which they are comfortable with. ”
This could include sonnets and other types of structured worms.
Dawn Zehr is another director of Atrocious Poets. She said the pandemic has sparked a strong need for creativity, and these workshops are supporting it.
“And this generative and creative energy can help us not only understand ourselves and our place in the world and what is going on around us,” she explained, “but can help us navigate a variety of issues. ’emotions.
Zehr also said that these workshops have allowed her to appreciate how her writing lands with audiences and help her understand whether what she is trying to communicate is or is not. Zehr said they were forcing her to change the direction in which her poem was going to make audiences connect.
Lundberg also said that while she didn’t share her poetry with others, she didn’t know if she was achieving the goal by delivering her message. She said these workshops helped her discover new things and hone her craft.
Both workshops are taking place virtually because of COVID-19. Bodewell said his online workshop has caught the attention of writers in California, England and even Bangladesh. Visit the Atrocious Poets or The Drink & Draft Poetry Roadshow Facebook pages for event times.
- Yvonne Boose is currently a staff member of Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can read more about Report for America at wnij.org.