Safely rescued from the battlefield of boring routine, I placed my brown boot-covered feet onto the holy ground of Girls Write Now and immediately felt at home. The week before the first GWN workshop on Narrative Poetry seemed to run longer than a school assembly. Each morning I would wake up and say to myself, “Get the day over with, so Saturday’s workshop can get here!” — and I must say the workshop exceeded every expectation written in the notebook of my mind.
At the beginning of the workshop, two magically talented fortune tellers graced the room, holding the answer to my quest to find out who my mentor was. Turns out these fortune tellers were the REAL deal, since they matched me with the perfect mentor!
Then the serious writing began. Each mentor and mentee jotted down a quick story, drawing inspiration from their lives, history, and well-known tales. The Craft Talk with Dorothea Lasky encouraged my tentative approach to narrative poetry. Reading her bio, I was amazed and felt so blessed to be able to sit and absorb every word she said. Three published poetry books, a professor at such distinguished universities, and one of the coolest people I have ever met, Lasky, sporting a fashionable cheetah jacket and fish necklace, captured my attention from start to finish—I probably smiled the whole time she talked! One tip she shared with the group was that she sometimes takes an already written poem and puts her own spin on it. This excited me because I had never done it before, but now I’m eager to try it out!
From Dorothea Lasky’s examples of Narrative Poetry and the share and discovery that followed, I learned that narrative poetry poetically describes a story. I transformed my quick story into a narrative poem by dissecting important sentences and turning them into poetic lines. After this my mentor Tracy and I formed a group with another mentor-mentee pair. Earlier in the workshop everybody had put a few details of a story on a piece of paper, and now we got to choose a slip out of a bag and use it as a prompt. On our slip was a homesick character who cried herself to sleep, so we each took to our notebooks and poetically narrated this event. Each of our poems had a sad tone, but we also managed to use our own techniques to creatively describe the character’s feelings.
By the end of the session, sitting in my pink notebook were two narrative poems I could proudly call my own, all because of the guidance given to me throughout the workshop. With this being my first year at Girls Write Now, I am so happy to be a part of this vibrant community that I can call home. Now I’m really looking forward to the rest of my year at GWN!