Poets from the Saturday Workshop on Skype
The writing workshop—writers either avoid them or are addicted to them. Maybe that’s because they work. The Saturday Poetry Workshop has been going on for twenty-two years. It was started by Sarah Maclay and others at the Church in Ocean Park. When Sarah left, Bob Foster and I took over. Then we moved to Beyond Baroque in Venice a few years later. After Beyond Baroque kicked us out because they wanted their bookstore “free” on Saturday afternoons, we met at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf once again in Ocean Park. After Covid-19 kicked us out of every real space, we began meeting on Skype. And now that we have poets from beyond the L.A. area, it looks like we will be on Skype for the foreseeable future. I (sometimes known by my new pseudonym “Alejo Rovira Goldner”) am usually joined by Will Slattery and Robin Wyatt Dunn and Raven Kras and Bill Cushing and Laurel Wembley and Michael Greene and Constant Williams in the enterprise of trying to make our poems better. Not all of us can be here today, but I hope that those who are able to come will give you a taste of the kind of writing they do and, above all, why workshops work.

Today (November 14) also marks the first time the Second Sunday Poetry Series has appeared since early March of last year. So much has happened and changed since then. Hibernation and isolation have been the norm, but now as society opens up a bit, it’s time to give the spoken word an airing and a chance to breathe. 

'No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief.'
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chief
Woe, wórld-sorrow; on an áge-old anvil wince and sing —
Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked 'No ling-
ering! Let me be fell: force I must be brief."'

    O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind: all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.

© 2021 Poets from the Saturday Workshop on Skype; Gerard Manley Hopkins
Poets from the Saturday Workshop on Skype was a Featured Poet at the month 2021 Second Sunday Poetry Series