Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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About On the Verge

About On the Verge

Workshop Coordinator: Brie Gervais, FCRH '06

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"One writes out of one thing only - one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give."
            - James Baldwin

The Workshop Session

Any willing author brings a poetry or prose piece that he/she feels needs improvement and would appreciate insight on. Please bring enough typed copies to accommodate everyone in the group.

The piece is read, silently, by each person in the group and then out loud by the author and perhaps again by another workshop member. Group reading is intended to emphasize the importance that voice and tone bring to each piece of writing and as an opportunity to practice the skill. If a member should wish to bring in a longer prose piece, it can be distributed at one session, read over the week and discussed at the next session.

After the reading, members are asked to offer positive and negative responses to the piece. What did you really like about it? Was anything in particular striking about the piece (word choice, style, etc.)? Did It make you feel anything? Wonder? Question? What do you think it is about? Where is the core? Does it flow? In what ways could this piece be stronger? Would you add works? Delete words? Rearrange stanzas or paragraph order? Change the format - for more emphasis?

Responses are not to be directed towards the author, but towards the group about the piece. Suggestions can be made about the strong points in the piece, towards areas that could use improvement, and on how to make those improvements. Members of the group are invited to write comments on their copy to hand back to the author, and, in turn, the author is invited to make additional comments and give feedback to the group.

Repetition is encouraged!! Bring back the same piece to workshop again, to show improvements, ask for more opinions, or just to show off a finished piece!

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