Sunday, April 6, 2014

Shirley Stevens at St. Davids: "Participating in the Poem" Workshop

Shirley Stevens will be leading a fascinating new workshop at St. Davids this year, called "Participating in the Poem." I asked her what was going to make this workshop different, and she graciously shared with me some thoughts on her workshop. We urge you to try this fun and interactive way to learn new things about poetry ... and yourself.
—Linda M. Au

When I lead workshops, poets ask me if I consider poetry an oral form or a written one. Of course, my answer is both.

The earliest poets memorized and recited their poems since there was no written form. It is important to pay attention to both sound and sense.

I have found that dialogue poems are fun to write and perform. Paul Fleischman's "Joyful Noise" won the Newberry Award for poems in which insects interact. I have written poems in which animals speak to one another, objects interact, and humans dialogue with one another.

Jana Carman and Patti Souder, who were in my St. Davids workshop, went on to write two books of Poems for Two Voices in which Biblical characters interact, These poems were performed by a drama troupe in an Off-Broadway Theater.

I hope that you will bring your poems to class. We will read poems aloud by modern poets. You will write poems in class and read them in small groups as well as to the class as a whole.

This class is for a range of writers from the beginning poet to the advanced. Prose writers often profit from practicing the art of poetry writing. There is definitely a carry off to polishing your prose. After this workshop I hope that you will look for opportunities to perform your poems, ranging from poetry readings to church performances. Poetry should not be limited to a static form on the page. It is meant
to be heard.
—Shirley Stevens

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