by Ayo Khensu-Ra
As I’ve noted before, the our class time has been much reduced thanks to three holidays in the early part of the semester. And in week four* we had our reading as chronicled so well by Michael…Finally we were back to a more regular class and it was much needed in the poetry group as we had only had one short session thus far. Kaylo and I are co-poetry editors and we’re joined by readers Monty and Kristine — Kristine being a late and much welcome addition to the group. We shuffled off to an empty classroom to get down to discussion. Class meets in a computer classroom which has its benefits but isn’t the most condusive to discussion. How much can I really write about talking? Probably not a whole lot. I will say that the discussion is one of the things I always find the most interesting and stimulating — talking about what works and what doesn’t in a given poem, hearing different perspectives, views I perhaps would not have come to. We got through several submissions and, excitingly, we got our first solid ‘yes’ of the semester. We did have some strong ‘maybes’ in our first session but in week five were the first we all really liked, the first pretty much assured to be going into the magazine. Of course, time was still short and while we got plenty done there was still much more to do…
And considering all there was to do, I was a tad worried during the week. It bears mentioning that we had to have a pretty good idea of what was going in by the end of class on Monday. An out-of-class meeting would’ve helped but that didn’t quite square with everyone’s schedules but Monty and I met before class and narrowed the field a bit. In class, we were joined by Steve who kindly offered to lend a hand (and read all the submissions in a day or so (90+). It was another good discussion, once again taking place in an empty room. There were plenty more ‘yeses,’ a lot of good poetry, a lot of agreement, some healthy disagreement and when time was up we had a pretty good idea of what was going in.
We also had an assignment to critique a short story and the whole class talked about the assignment and story itself (more the story than the assignment.) The class wheeled our chairs out from behind the desks and formed a circle — or perhaps more of an oval — to talk. The story was interesting from a technical standpoint, and engendered various reactions from the class.
*I am counting only weeks we have actually had class, perhaps it would be more precise to say class number five but I think week five sounds better.