Archive for the ‘Open Mics’ Category

Get Serious About Your Poetry in 2011

January 25, 2011

You write poetry. Maybe you even get brave and go to poetry open mics. Maybe you even get up the courage to actually get up and read. You like to write your poetry, but you feel a bit like Emily Dickinson, a hidden poet.

Well in 2011, come out as a poet and join a critique group. My Saratoga Poetry Focus Group has been running continuously for 21 years and counting. Our maximum of six poets per monthly meeting gets 30-45 minutes to read their poems, hear their poems read to them, get round-table critique for each poem, ask questions of the group, even tell the group what kind of critique they want. For example, when, like now, I am working on my poetry books, I ask for a 1-5 number on each poem I read only once. 1 is best trashed; 2 needs a lot of work; 3 needs work; 4 almost finished; and 5 finished. I can plow through lots of poems this way and get a feel for the response, especially with five people writing their numbers on each poem.

Some people ask questions about where to start getting published, where to find a printer, how to create a chap book, how to get a mainstream pubisher interested in pubishing them.

If you are local to Saratoga Springs, New York, give me a call and let me know where you are with your poetry and how the Saratoga Poetry Focus
Group may be able to help you move forward in the direction of your goals. Contact: Barbara Garro at


Poets Need a Poetry Group

May 19, 2010

For over twenty years, I have run a writing group. Currently, I run the Saratoga Poetry Focus Group, which meets every third Wednesday from nine to noon with from four to six poets who get from 30 to 45 minutes each to read their poems, hear their poems read to them and get a round table commentary about what works and suggestions for improvements.

We met today with four poets for three hours and I heard really good poetry from three good poets and got feedback on my own poetry. Currently, I am working on five full books of poetry, so I asked for just numbers 1-5 for a big stack of my poems that I read only once while the group had copies in front of them. 5 means finished, 4 almost finished, 3 needs work, 2 needs a lot of work, and 1 is crap that does not deserve my time.

Why do poets need a poetry group? Because poets need feedback on the poems they are writing to understand how others perceive them. While writing in a vacuum may have worked for Emily Dickinson, know that she chose her reclusive life.

Not a groupie? Don’t want to join a regular group? Then, be brave enough to get yourself out to open microphone  poetry readings and learn what poems work for people by assessing their reactions when you read your poetry.