It's going very well, thank you.
Oh, you wanted more details than that. Well, okay. :) So every day we have class from 10 to 12 and 12:30 to 2:30 (it was originally scheduled for 10 to 2, but Carl felt that was a heck of a long stretch to have class without a lunch break, so we have a half-hour for lunch). It seems to work pretty well. We start out by discussing some specific poetic issues, starting with one or more poems from the packet we got on the first night; we've talked about poems by Jarrell, Creeley, Laura Jensen, Marilyn Hacker, Martha Collins, Langston Hughes, & Brigit Kelly; for tomorrow we're reading Komunyakaa and Frost. Somewhere in there Carl gives us a writing/revision prompt or exercise, which is optional. (I actually haven't done any of them yet, but I want to do all of them & do plan to try them!) Then we have a short break, and come back & workshop 3 poems. After our lunch break we workshop 2 more poems, take a short break, and come back for a looser discussion of "the writing life" issues -- more general issues & questions we may have. Today, for example, we talked about putting manuscripts together. (You guys, I am really nervous about trying to do this! I know that's silly.)
Then we have free time in the afternoon for writing, reading, napping, exploring the town, going to the beach, whatever; and at 8 there is generally a reading and an artist slide talk. Last night was Carl's reading, which was a bit too short (better to leave us wanting more, I suppose!), and a slide talk by painter Andrew Mockler, which was quite interesting. I don't know much about art, so it is always interesting to hear visual artists talk about their process. There are always, it seems, useful parallels to be drawn with the writing process.
Last night a small group of us ended up at the Squealing Pig for drinks and conversation. What I love about being here is that we can talk about the silliest, dumbest stuff, and then all of a sudden the conversation shifts back over to poetry for a while. It's like poetry is a part of regular life and not some special thing you have to set aside for an appropriate time, you know? What a concept.
Today I visited (ahem) a couple of bookstores, including the used bookstore. I don't know why I feel it is my personal mission to support independent bookstores wherever I go. One of these days the floor of my house is going to collapse under the weight of all those books. I did buy Annie Dillard's new novel, which is set in Provincetown, and I also found (used) a complete volume of Cavafy, who people keep quoting at me so maybe it's time to actually read him.
Plus, it was nice just walking down Commercial Street. Here at the Work Center you can feel a little bit set apart from the bustle of the town, which is lovely sometimes and peaceful, but it's also nice to get your feet wet in the flow of the crowd, as it were. It is Bear Week in Provincetown; I'd never been here during Bear Week before. I guess there are a few more bears here than usual, but I'm not sure I would have noticed if someone hadn't mentioned it, honestly.
Tonight Gail Mazur reads, and a slide talk by Marian Roth, who does pinhole photography. Should be fascinating.
[Photo above: Race Point Beach]