Featured Event

When

Sunday, October 8 @ 7:00pm

Where

Howler
7-11 Dawson St Brunswick

Price

$18.50/$15.40

Has an Open Mic?

No

Melbourne Spoken Word brings you the return of Australian Poetry Slam Champ, Arielle Cottingham. Supported by a sample of local Melbourne spoken word and poetry, including Waffle Irongirl, Quinn Ea

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Words
Comment — September 20

Workshop critiques: fitness coaching for your poetry

By Esme Foong

Do you have a fitness coach?  Well good on you. I don’t.  Probably why a flight of stairs leaves me huffing and puffing.

But if I did, I imagine it would function for my health the way critique workshops function in my writing life.  

A critique workshop is where a group of artists meet regularly to share their work with each other and give feedback.  This group can consist of peers or might be facilitated by a teacher/leader.  Groups can be as broad as a meeting of mixed artists, to something as specific as a group of speculative flash fiction writers wishing to publish in journals.  I’ve experienced the full range and gotten benefit from every meeting.  Melbourne Spoken Word’s free Sunday workshop, We Work This Shop, is a poetry/spoken word specific one to try.

Generally, a critique workshop has the following structure:

Warmup: the purpose is to pull people out of their daily lives and get them in the mood for their art.  In some groups, this is social, for example updating each other on recent progress.  In others, this might be a free-write or specific writing exercise. Sharing & Critique: participants take turns to share their work, other group members take turns to provide feedback.

Now I don’t want to lecture you to join a critique workshop anymore than I want you to evangelise to me on fitness.  But if you are interested in giving it a go here are some tips (not rules!) to getting the best out of a critique workshop.

RECEIVING CRITIQUE Don’t apologise for your work: Your co-participants are about to invest their time and consideration into helping improve and progress your work.  Show this investment due respect.   If you have to, provide information about what stage you’re at, “This is a first draft/ I haven’t written the ending” etc.  But disparaging your work skews people’s evaluation before you’ve even started – you won’t get the objective feedback you’re seeking.  I