Saturday, April 09, 2011

Writing Love in Community

Every month the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum hosts a bilingual poetry workshop at the Sin Fronteras Café, an inworld space. Last month María Miranda Maloney moderated the workshop. It was wonderful—the discussions, the writing, the community formed by the participants: very conducive to exercising creativity. I am very happy that I moderated this month’s workshop, for it was another way of being active in and enjoying this community.

This evening we talked about Love Poems. We first had a discussion on writing such poems. We asked ourselves several questions: What do we mean with “love poem”? What are the challenges we face when writing love poems? What is love? How do we make such an abstract word concrete? How does one write about love without falling into the use of clichés? How do we define, express and manifest love in a poem? We then read a love poem by Pablo Neruda, after which we engaged in a writing exercise: We wrote a poem where two characters discuss love.

Tonight, I heard amazing love poems from the poets participating in the workshop. No two were alike. Not one used clichés. Each one touched a different chord.

As a follow-up activity, one that will lead us to continue our negotiations with what was thought, discussed, read and produced tonight, we will revise our poems, and this time, the characters in them will be a landlord and us. This is one of the writing experiments by Bernadette Mayer: Write a work that intersperses love with landlords. The Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum writing community gets together once a month, but we are committed writers and members of the writing and LVM community every day.

6 comments:

mmaloney2 said...

Laura,

I really enjoyed last night's workshop. I have always been hesitant to write a "love poem", to carry it through without falling into the mundane. Love is so dimensional and layered, and therein is the key-- it's a sort of peeling, peeling away words until one finds the words that bare it all.

And yes, I love this community. It has added another dimension to my writing, to the way I perceive life and language. This community is really a "thinking out of the box". Gracias.

mmaloney2 said...

Laura,

I really enjoyed last night's workshop. I have always been hesitant to write a "love poem", to carry it through without falling into the mundane. Love is so dimensional and layered, and therein is the key-- it's a sort of peeling, peeling away words until one finds the words that bare it all.

And yes, this is a community. It has added another dimension to my writing, to the way I perceive life and language. This community is really a "thinking out of the box". Gracias.

Smithsonian Latino Center said...

Laura--many thanks for leading the workshop on Friday. I wasn't a workshop participant this time, but I took plenty of pictures and enjoyed the conversation both in English and in Spanish!

Gracias! Hope you do more of these!

melissa

SLC Magic said...

I concur. It was a great experience. Each time I participate, I grow as a writer. It's fascinating to hear other styles, perspectives and language (as Maria said). I am consistenly blown away by the talented people who attend. Everyone wrote so beautifully. Thank you for your patience with my technical difficulties and for relaying my words to the group. Laura and Maria, sigue, sigue!

Laura Cesarco Eglin said...

THank you todas!!!! Leading the workshop this time was a big honor for me.
I love these workshops. They are so enriching because we get to discuss, read, write, listen to others. It's as if while at the Smithsonian LVM workshops we are being active poets, poets at our best, which includes what I think is a crucial part of being a poet--participating in the writing community, being generous in it, being open to learn from others, to give.

¡Que siga la poesía en este grupo lindísimo!

Linda Romero said...

Thank you all for including me in these workshops! I'm a relatively new poet, and really appreciate and learn from the workshop experience. I look forward to getting to know the other participants and being challenged in my writing.

Awesomeness!! :D