For my thirtieth birthday, my lovely husband bought me a ten week poetry course at the fabulous London Poetry School. Expecting a course where I would read other people’s poetry and learn about the great art through them, I was more than a little freaked out to find that I was expected to bring my own work to be read and critiqued. Eek!
It turned out to be a fantastic experience all round, with my first two attempts getting some very positive feedback, with comments like “You *have* to get that published!”. I respected the people in the group, who were not only great budding writers, but also incredible characters – all worthy of a novel written in their honour! Liane was a great teacher and a really inspirational person. But, of course, the inner monologue kicked in and, before the end of the course, having received no real criticism at all, I started to believe that the reason no one was telling me where my poems where going wrong was because they were just so, so awful that they were humouring me, the youngest in the group. So it was a real relief to take a poem in to the final session, a poem I felt wasn’t complete, wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be, and have people give me some really constructive criticism. The bigger relief, I think, was that it didn’t kill me, didn’t cause me to jack in this writing lark for good, didn’t leave me sobbing in a heap… In fact, I felt more empowered and positive about my writing than I ever have.
The photo above is a poem in the act of being drafted and redrafted. I’m going to hold off on reproducing it in its finished form, until I hear back from the publishers. (Not really, but I can dream).