I said I would write about my on-line poetry class and today's your lucky day. First of all, it's a great concept for someone like me, writing in English, living in a place where English is not the native language, and resources for anglophone writers, let alone poets, are rare. I can't reasonably get to London, the closest/easiest place, on a regular basis (not yet anyway), so face-to-face options are out. The on-line format bridges all of these gaps and I think it can only get better (1) as technology improves and (2) the school gets more and more experience in doing this. We do an on-line chat through a secured space set up by The Poetry School, not a lot of bells and whistles with the interface, but it works. Assignments are posted and forums run on the PS site, and I have to admit I haven't done much on the forums - but neither has anyone else. I think this is a question of time because who frankly who has it? Not me...It would be nice in theory but in practice, I'm squeezing every hour for all of its potential writing time, especially on the weeks when we have an assignment to do. That's a poem in a week - the assignment is put up and we have a week to complete it and upload. Writing weeks alternate with chat weeks and I really like/need that break. The chats are fortnightly on a weeknight evening and this is where it gets really ticks all the boxes: I attend the class from the comfort of my own home, and no one can see me so I can wear my pyjamas if I want (and believe me, I want), and no one can hear me either so I can call out to the kids that it's time to brush their teeth or get in bed etc, or will somebody please come and make me a cup of tea. For all I know the entire class is in pyjamas to which I can only say: bring it on! Sure, we the participants probably don't know each other as well as we might if it were face to face, but on the other hand I'm there every two weeks from Belgium with people from all over England and one from Ireland, and have not once been late. Anyone who knows me in the real world will appreciate that.
That's all I have time for now but next up I'll talk about the substantive experience. Anyone out there doing something similar? Would love to hear from you.