What happens during The Work poetry writing workshop? Information for newcomers

Excited to try your hand at a generative writing workshop but feeling a bit nervous about what to expect? The following is excerpted from a recent email response I sent to a writer who enquired about what they might expect from The Work poetry writing workshop:

My workshops tend to attract 4-6 poets per session. We sometimes begin by hearing one poem from those who care to share one. I do this because poetry is an oral tradition, and because hearing a few poems before we begin can help put us in the right frame of mind to begin creating something from nothing.

We then spend the next hour or so engaged in three separate timed writing exercises. I send out handouts with example poems that will be used during the writing period. Beside or beneath each poem is a series of writing prompts inspired by the poem. Each prompt has some relationship to either the content, style, or technique found in the example. I provide more than one prompt because I realize that not everyone will relate to or be interested in each one. 

I like to give people options, and to send them away with writing prompts for a rainy day. Many writers tell me that they sometimes have trouble maintaining their writing practice when they are not in the workshop. If you hold on to the handouts, you will begin to acquire a collection of prompts for those times when you may want to write yet feel uninspired. 

You also always have the option of freewriting something based on whatever struck you in the poem. 

The last hour of the workshop is spent hearing at least one poem from each writer, then sharing constructive feedback on their drafts. Because all of the poems we are discussing are first drafts, this is not a hard critique. You do not need to have any particular skills or educational background to participate. I simply ask each poet to respond as a reader and a human being, in order to let each writer know what she has accomplished so far, how/what the poem is communicating, and a few ideas for what might be done in the future should the writer choose to revise the piece.

Looking to follow your bliss in 2023? Take a poetry or memoir writing workshop with Christopher Luna.

Have a friend who might benefit from a creative writing workshop? Purchase one for them for the holidays.

I lead creative writing workshops and classes year-round. I am also accepting new coaching clients and manuscripts for editing. If you are looking for writing coaching, editing/manuscript review, or information about poetry and memoir classes, send me an email via printedmattervancouver@gmail.com.

You can read all about it on the Printed Matter Vancouver website:


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