So I did go north to, essentially, Pacific Grove, for that workshop. And I used every suggestion I could get from my friends and most of the ones I rely on. The students at Asilomar were a lovely group who’d been meeting off and on for more than 30 years. They knew a lot, but the ghazal seemed new. And the “talismanic word” exercise from a summer ago at Hamline really propelled some interesting dialogue.
We were together for a day and a half, including meals, so we got to talk a lot. One of the things that came up was the number of workshops all over the country. At least a few of these folks had been in others in different parts of the U.S.
That led us into writing poems about workshops (Billy Collins has a beauty) and overnight a few people kept working on theirs. The best one had a very cool image: in a AAA office, the woman had seen a map of America with a little light for every major tourist attraction. So the poet wanted another kind of map, one that had a light for every poetry writing workshop. She said that every time a group met, the light would go on. So that on some nights, the light from the map alone would be bright enough read by.
Lovely image from your workshop participant, Ron!
I'm glad to be reminded about the Talismanic Word idea. Delightful play with words is one of the perks we can enjoy as writers.
One thing I'll miss about print newspapers that appear to be going the way of the dinosaur is the ability to scan a page (especially the sports page) for wonderful headlines. There is something satisfying about rustling the morning newspaper and folding it inside out to do the crossword puzzle that can never be duplicated in the online environment.