Workshop Rules

  1. You cannot just blurt out “this fucking sucks” without some kind of clarification
  1. Don’t assume everyone knows what the hell you’re talking about
  1. If you have more than one dead grandmother, talk about them in order…or something
  1. Nodding with that god awful knowing look on your face is not a contribution
  1. Spit it out…most of us have shit to do
  1. It’s awesome that you took the time to rewrite some else’s poem…now, go write your own fucking poem
  1. Your nose ring is interesting…I’ve seen bulls with the same accouterment
  1. Just how many (dead) grandmothers do you have–see rule 3 for Christ’s sake
  1. What else is there but love and death? You tell us…try, for the love of all things we confess to heaven and screw up on earth, try
  1. During the break, don’t say what you really thought…unless you want to run the fucking workshop
  1. Your epigraph said it all…then you made the mistake (not uncommon) of adding some remarks below it
  1. Just because no one gets your poem doesn’t mean it’s not good, but we have to start somewhere
  1. Your stanza breaks are awesome…let’s have more of them, please, experiment with the whitespace
  1. Your enjambments worked until you read the poem enjambed…did the light come on?
  1. Speaking of…only Rea Armantrout is Rea Armantrout…
  1. So, you’ve told us what inspired the poem, where’s the rest
  1. If you loved him to death–well, that could be interesting
  1. Your antecedent doesn’t have to make sense, but maybe it should be, let’s say, obvious
  1. Smokers on that side, everyone else on this side
  1. If you find yourself beginning your response with, “I was trying to…”–well, write that poem instead
  1. The truth of an event is one thing, what’s possible in the universe is quite another
  1. Your confidence is overwhelming the group
  1. Poetry is offensive…if you’re offended, our work is done
  1. Don’t feel insulted if we ask what your poem is about…most of the time we’re making this shit up as we go along

Addendum to “Workshop Rules”—FREE!  

  1. The dark antics and calamities of your life that you feel most deeply and believe are meant to be taken serious…well, they are serious…and subjects of our derision…otherwise, the life you’ve chosen, the incessant need to render the unimaginable into a shimmer of something we may have to squint to see just how brilliant it really is, will likely remain ineffable even to yourself, your work occluded and misunderstood in this rigged and uncertain game…and despite the ephemeral joy and disappointments from which none of us really recovers, we’re sure you’ll make something. Pencil shavings, for example.

© 2015 mk sukach

About Author

M. K. Sukach is the author of Hypothetically Speaking, Something Impossible Happens, and Impression of a Life. His poetry and reviews appear in a number of journals to include BlazeVox, Sharkpack Poetry Review, The Journal, Connotation Press, Spoon River Poetry Review, Construction Magazine, Yemassee, and others. He is a retired Air Force officer and currently lives in Virginia with his wife, Chris, and dog, Scribble.