Tonight was the potluck bbq (much fun) and student reading. The student reading was SO AMAZING. There were so many absolutely incredible pieces read -- I was just blown away by the overall quality of everyone's work, much of which was new work from this week. I read a new piece-in-progress, cobbled together from some of the first-drafty stuff I posted here -- as I read it tonight I realized it is much closer to finished than I thought; it felt really good coming out of my mouth, really strong. And a couple of people from other workshops, including one whose poem (and performance) was one of my favorites of the evening, came up to me to tell me how much they liked my reading and to say I read very well. I say that not to boast, but just to share what a good, good evening it has been. (The audience overall was very attentive and receptive and generous.)
All of the writing teachers attended the reading, which was just wonderful -- at the IU conference none of the faculty ever bothers to attend the student readings, at least not that I can recall. And let me tell you it is a lovely experience to read a piece you feel good about with Robin Becker and Olga Broumas in the front row, and Sonia Sanchez, D.A. Powell, and Katherine Vaz in the audience as well. Sonia Sanchez caught up with all the readers afterwards and hugged us all and thanked us, which was so sweet of her -- she just has a wonderful energy. And Doug Powell said he was so proud of all of us. "Did you cry? I cried." Hehehe. He's just a terrific teacher, and has been extremely generous with his time and attention, socializing with his students quite a bit and making us laugh a lot. I could not have picked a better teacher for what I needed to learn at this moment. This has been one of the best workshop experiences I have ever had.
Doug & a bunch of my class (maybe all of them, I don't know) were headed over to the Squealing Pig for a drink, but much as I hate to miss an opportunity to hang out with such neat people, I felt compelled to come back to my room and write -- so that's what I'm about to do right now. But I feel so wonderful about the reading that I had to check in quickly and share this feeling with some folks who might understand just how good a poetry high like this can feel. God, I am just on top of the world right now.
Coming later, maybe: thoughts on why a good workshop is like good (and slightly kinky) sex. *grin*