Our Virtual Global Village and Lifeline

It takes a virtual global village for words to become a worthy poem. Ours extended from Australia, Nova Scotia and Montreal, Canada, to Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area — our mentors and Publisher — besides our scattered band of poets.

We must also mention the broader world’s contribution: almost all of our poems started from on-line writing prompts — especially Poetic Asides PAD Challenges (Poem A Day) in April and November 2009, and the April Haiku Challenges at Forward Motion. How they ended up were very different, but that spark and the need to write daily (or as close as we could come to it), shoved our inner critics away and we wrote.

Each of us also worked with local critique groups, who helped hone our words, thoughts, and shared their reactions. Each poem is stronger for that lifeline. One of mine in particular, written when my brother was dying, led to an hour-long discussion with my local group, and several rewrites on my part. So, thank you “P-42″ for being there for me, and Scott at Tsunami Bookstore, for hosting not only this poetry group, but all the other community events to support local artists, writers, and musicians. I did my first Open Mic at Tsunami, with an encouraging crowd.

We all applied these insights as we worked with each other. One of the best things a colleague said about one of my poems was that part of it didn’t make sense. After I got over the initial shock, I realized I was too close to it to see what was wrong. That one is not only stronger for the criticism, but is much closer to what I intended to write.

Over the next few months, we will share what we’ve learned about critique groups (on-line and in-person), tips for setting schedules, levels of review, how to ask for what you want in a review, how to give and receive feedback, how we’ve provided each other with encouragement and strategic kicks when needed, and how to work towards goals.

We have many other topics planned, since we come from such diverse backgrounds and interests. We hope you enjoy meeting us, will join in the discussion as we all grow, and encourage you to find your voice and courage to try, just as we did, and are still doing.

We’re very excited that our collaboration has led to this beautiful book, Lifelines, which is now available at Amazon.com (see sidebar). We’re working on ideas to include our local bookstores, too.

If you read our book, we’d love to have you post a review on Amazon.com, and to send us a copy for our blog.  Thank you!