I just returned from a most incredible week of poetry. I was one of twelve poets selected by famous poet and author Marge Piercy for a week-long intensive workshop in her hometown of Wellfleet (Cape Cod), Massachusetts. She selected twelve applicants from all over the U.S.and Canada to meet with her daily, critique our poetry, share the products of writing assignments, and learn from her wisdom. I was the lone male of the group, but I didn't once feel uncomfortable with that - in fact, I felt lucky being in the company of such fascinating and talented women. Marge is a feisty person who offers incisive and frank critique, and I enjoyed getting to know and learn from her. I even got to be her "chauffeur", driving her home three times after our sessions during the week. It was a great opportunity to chat one-on-one, in addition to the individual critique session we each had with her. I cranked out seven poems during the very productive week, and we had a reading at the Wellfleet Library Thursday evening, which was well-attended (practically standing room only) and a big success. I also met Marge's husband Ira Wood, who is also a writer as well as a public radio host - he hosted a beach bonfire on Wednesday evening - very nice guy. Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the Friday evening soiree at Marge and Ira's house (had to get back home in time for a wedding).
I loved Cape Cod, though I didn't explore the area as much as I thought I would. (I spent most afternoons working hard on my poetry.) My favorite visit was probably to the Edward Gorey House in Yarmouthport, a summer home he lived in till his death in 2000. It's now a museum with much Goreybilia, a gift shop, and a large black-and-white cat who looks like he just stepped out of the pages of one of Gorey's books, thus inspiring a poem. I journeyed to Provincetown one day, too, but didn't stay long because it was during a short but intense East Coast heat wave - even though it was cooler on the Cape, it was still 90 degrees and oppressively humid (after not getting out of the 60's earlier in the week). I also enjoyed the seafood on the Cape (needless to say), and though I was frugal and "ate in" most of the week, I still went out a few times with my new workshop friends for lobster, pizza, drinks, and such. All in all, it was a terrific week. My only regret was that my wife couldn't join me. (I may share some of the poetry I wrote this week in a future post.)