23 January 2008

Boot Camping in recovery

The other day I travelled outside of Toronto to conduct a five-hour Poetry Boot Camp at a women's shelter with a small group of AA members in recovery. It was an incredible experience for me, and they seemed to get a lot out of it, too (I hope so, because I was the one being paid!).

I initially felt very self-conscious, as I was likely the only male in the building, and all eyes were on me as I trundled down the hallway with a banker's box full of poetry books. But this group was welcoming and open.

We wrote about 10 poems, Boot Camp-style, then spent the last hour doing a critiquing session on a poem by each of them. I was surprised at how many of the women wrote about addiction, often metaphorically. It hadn't occurred to me that that would be the case. There was AA vocab going around, and also regular old words that have a different meaning in that context. I learned an awful lot. These women wrote some powerful work, and every one of them — even those who'd never written a poem before — were courageous enough to share what they'd written.

Always a fantastic experience to a lead a workshop in a completely different kind of setting. I hope I'll be invited back.

Over and out.

1 Comments:

At January 28, 2008 6:08 am , Blogger Quit Bloglin' Me said...

"Always a fantastic experience to a lead a workshop in a completely different kind of setting. I hope I'll be invited back."

Having attended one of your boot camps, Stu, I can't see why you wouldn't be.

And holy crap, every time I come here your list of recent publications is longer than ever. Way to go!

 

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