This is an exercise that has been around for a long time, but if you haven’t tried it, here’s your chance. Just start with “I remember” and let the memories flow. Every time you get stuck, start again with “I remember.” You might just have a lot of random memories on the page, but one or two of them could be the inspiration for a new poem! Give it a try, and don’t forget to share on this blogsite.
I have been leading a poetry critique group through the Palm Springs Writer’s Guild for over a year now. We really help each other and are extremely hands-on. We suggest different wording, moving stanzas, cutting lines and extraneous words, etc. There are only six of us so we are able to really workshop. This group also keeps us writing as we are forced to have a new poem to workshop every month. But, there are some who feel interfering too much in another’s work is tantamount to cheating, that taking ideas from others results in your poem not really being your work if others have helped you. My goodness, think of how much Gertrude Stein helped Hemingway and Fitzgerald. For that matter, Fitzgerald told Hemingway to do away with the original opening chapter of The Sun Also Rises. All I know it I am so thankful for my fellow group members’ suggestions.
What do you think? What do you think is the function of a critique group? A little help? A lot of help? Should there be parameters as to how much you suggest to a fellow poet regarding their work?