The philosophy behind workshop is that writers will learn to be better writers by working with other writers who are engaged in similar efforts (writing poetry is one) and who share similar goals. Together, this community of writers reads, critiques, praises, and questions each others' work. The shared goal is understanding what makes a poem (or other piece of writing) work and why, and if it doesn't work, to help the writer understand what might be revised so that it will work.
Workshop is not a scientific process. It's messy. Sometimes at the beginning it's uncomfortable. There are no real rules except that all members of the workshop community must respect the process and each other. Growth for any one writer occurs gradually. The workshop process intends for its members to see what others are doing, to see what works for them or what doesn't work for them. Also, when poets can see how their poem is received by the group, either rightly or wrongly interpreted, they may gain some insight into the effectiveness of their work.
For this class, students should prepare for workshop in the following ways:
* Read Being
* Review and understand the evaluation method for workshop participation
* Understand the idea of community and respect for the process
After having said there are no real rules, there are a few procedural rules that need to be followed for workshop to be effective. Here they are:
The rules are important to follow. The last two are especially important for any real progress to be made. At some point, the group needs to become a community of writers who honestly do care about the work each other does.