© Orla Donoghue
At a great writing course many years ago given by the Director, Novelist and Screenwriter Ferdia Mac Anna he mentioned how many writers end up doing the “procrastination shuffle.” I am particularly guilty of this and there are times when I will do anything rather than sit down, open my laptop and start writing. It’s just so much easier to turn on the TV or spend time on Twitter than open a blank Word document.
There are great writing classes all over Dublin where I live but I knew if I signed up for them during the Winter I’d probably end up missing some and never finishing the course. I was looking to find my way back into writing where I could get detailed feedback and edits on my work and also write some new material. Some writing competitions offer an editing service and I’ve tried many but have always been disappointed. The editing was more like a proofread and at the end I would be no wiser on how to make any improvements.
I searched for online courses and found the Creative Writing Ink courses run by Olive O’Brien. I signed up for the 6-week Lost and Found Poetry Workshop with Poet Eileen Casey. At the start of each week Eileen emailed the course materials and the exercises and it’s recommended that you complete each set of exercises on a weekly basis. I spent most of the week working on the poems so would end up emailing Eileen the finished exercises on a Saturday or Sunday. Eileen always had the work reviewed and sent back to me before the next week started.
It was the most amazing six weeks and I wrote poems on a diverse range of topics I would never have thought to write about, and I spent time reading some beautiful poems by established poets, including some of Eileen’s own incredible poetry. For anyone considering the workshop, I won’t spoil it by giving away the content as each week is such a surprise.
What distinguishes this course from others I’ve tried is the course content and detailed feedback and edits from Eileen. The comments and edits were all constructive and helped me to see how each poem could be improved and rewritten. There were edits at a line level as well as overall comments on Eileen’s own thoughts on the poems. The exercises are designed so that you can revisit them again so they will always provide inspiration for writing new poems.
I had written a handful of poems before doing this course but the course is suitable for a beginner like myself or for more experienced poets. Eileen also gives courses on creative writing and memoir writing and I hope to sign up for another course in April. The next Lost and Found Poetry Workshop begins on the 13 April and costs €150. I highly recommend it.