GABRIELE BRANT FREEMAN delivered her workshop, “Writing Poetry with Friends: Collaboration as Inspiration” to some very excited participants. The workshop, held on Saturday, August 17, 2013 from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Kinston Community Arts Council, explored how a poet can get inspiration by getting “out of his/her own head” through collaborative writing. Participants participated in collaborative writing exercises based upon prompts that Freeman provided. Each participant initiated their own thread and passed it on to the other participants for several rounds.
In the end, they were surprised by the results. Some threads maintained the same subject and tone while others lead to places that the original poet had never imagined. Overall, the participants were intrigued and thrilled by the results and the possibilities of this technique to inspire and inform their own writing. So thrilled were they, that all agreed to get back together to share their new revisions and creations for a culminating project. One participant raved, “I never had this much fun writing in a long time. It’s great to have some feedback and the energy from other writers.”
Although the participants just so happened to be all female, they came from a wide range of writing backgrounds, experiences, and ages. Nevertheless, each one came away with a smile on her face after the event and vowed to meet again for another round of sharing. A junior at Kinston High School, Phebe Cantey, who was the youngest participant at 16 said, “I didn’t know what to expect but I was surprised at how comfortable I felt with everybody. Ms. Freeman was cool. Poets, rock!” Participants were so enthralled that they wrote all the way through lunch.
After the workshop, Freeman answered questions and read some of her work. She shared her experiences with poems she initiated on social media sites in which members of her online community contributed. She writes poems based on that collaboration that may or may not resemble any of the contributions. According to Freeman, the end result oftentimes does not resemble her initial idea or prompt. But that’s the beauty of this technique called the Exquisite Corpse, it’s serendipitous! (Exquisite Corpse traces its roots to the Parisian Surrealist Movement.)
About the Poet: A native of Southern California, Gabrielle Freeman has lived and worked across the United States, and she now resides in Eastern North Carolina with her family. Currently, she teaches composition at ECU. She earned her MFA in poetry through Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Gabrielle’s poetry can be found in many journals including Clockhouse Review, Chagrin River Review, The Emerson Review, Red Rock Review, and Shenandoah.
This workshop was hosted by New Voices New Visions (NVNV) in cooperation with the North Carolina Writers’ Network (NCWN) and the Kinston Community Arts Council at 400 N. Queen Street in Kinston.
If you are an experienced writer of any genre who is interested in facilitating a workshop contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Exquisite Corpse (nisaworkingwithwords.wordpress.com)
- Poetry and its Importance (anamasion.wordpress.com)