In anticipation of the 28th Annual Antioch Writers Workshop (July 6-12), we've asked some of this summer's faculty to talk about why they're excited, what participants can expect from this summer's workshop, and to give some writing advice. This installment features Afternoon Poetry Seminar Instructor, Cathryn Essinger.
Why are you excited about being part of this summer’s Antioch Writers’ Workshop?
I am excited about teaching at Antioch this summer, because I know what a big difference this workshop can make in a young writer’s life. I attended Antioch’s first writers’ workshop in 1986, and I have come back again and again summer, sometimes as a participant, occasionally as a teacher, but most often just to listen and to support other creative writers. Antioch has become a touchstone in my life. This is where I found my first writing community. If I am not in Yellow Springs in July, I want someone to send out a search party!
What can participants look forward to in working with you?
I think I run a pretty traditional workshop where everyone talks and gets as much feedback as possible on their own work. That said, I think it’s important to remember that once a poem is on the table, even though the author’s name is still on it, it belong to the reader. I also believe that writers often learn more from critiquing one another’s work than from having their own work analyzed. A workshop critique may or may not change that particular poem, but it does change the way writers approach their next piece. It’s also important to come with an open mind and the desire to help other writers improve their work. I’d like to think that workshops give every writer a little push into their writing future.
In the spirit of the 28th annual Antioch Writers Workshop, what is the best advice you can give to writers in 28 words or less?
Be good to yourself—no guilt! But, do something every day to remind yourself that you are a writer, someone who sees the world with a writer’s eyes.