Last week Meg and I drove out to San Angelo, Texas. My friend Laurence Musgrove had invited me out to Angelo State to give a talk to a poetry class and conduct a blackout poetry workshop. The idea was to have a kind of “warm up” presentation to get ideas for any book tour I might do. This is the first time I had done anything like this, and how it went far exceeded my expectations. The students were great: they were engaged, eager, and they asked awesome questions. (Laurence posted a great Flickr set of the workshop – the photos in this post are his.)
Below I’ve posted the complete slideshow:
Here I am hating on Microsoft Word:
Here’s how the workshop went:
- I taped newspaper broadsheets to the walls and gave everyone a marker
- We formed a line, and I started by circling one anchor word or phrase
- The next person in line was instructed to build off that anchor phrase
- We kept going until poems emerged
The challenge, as always, was to get the students circling concrete nouns and verbs — words that put images in the head.
This combo made us all chuckle:
We only had a half hour or so, so we didn’t get any finished poems, but I promised everybody I’d go home and see what I could get out of the work we started. I’ll post the results here when I get a chance.
Thanks to Laurence, Angelo State, and all the great students!
I’m hoping we can do more of these workshops after the book comes out.