Friday, November 5, 2010

The Unofficial Potluck Poet's Dinner

On October 15th, many of the Poetry MFA's met at Christina Rothenbeck's apartment for an entertaining evening of good food, light conversation, and vigorous writing. A community of writers who came together in the hope of breaking in some of the new poets, as well as, gathering resources in a productive and exciting way. This was the first of the Potluck Poet's Dinners, but it certainly will not be the last. The evening eased into action with the ceremonial breaking of cornbread with chili, chips, and salsa: a regular potluck feast to help set the informal tone of the evening’s events. Charity, Micah, Tori, Christina, and Lisa brought in poems to read and discuss, and it was a rather pleasant and calm gathering of minds to talk loosely about the craft and tools of poetry. The one first year who was able to make it, Melissa Atkinson, who was inducted into the group with open arms, also read one of her newer poems. The process was light, helpful, and often very humorous (the evening grew giddier as the night went on). Though other new poets could not make it to the event, another dinner coming up soon will hopefully allow everyone to come together for second and third years to get to know the first years (and vice versa).
Christina put together a writing exercise where a notebook was passed around and each person in the group wrote a stanza of the poem. There was no particular theme or thread involved, and it was just a free form exercise where anyone could really do or say anything they felt. The poem was a success: a rather twisting narrative of odd juxtapositions strung together until the meaning of the poem was completely obscured—all that was left was the rather hysterical overview of a mixed bag of images and sounds. The end product was a collaborative effort and a great way to end the evening.
The first of the Poet's Dinners was such a success that everyone was asking about the next dinner by the end of the night. It was a great way for writers to break up their class and workload, and for them to really unwind with the one thing they all have in common, the love and aspiration of writing. WVU's strong community of creative writers had just gotten stronger.

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