I have been a member of a variety of writing groups for the last ten years. I was a member of an university associated writing group with a semi open door policy, a ‘secret writing group’, groups with a strong sense of hierarchy, groups that sprouted naturally out of per-existing classes, and formal structured groups. Also for the last four years, I have been part of a writing group that I am incredibly proud of.
This group is composed of only four people. Although we are very open to other occasional members, the core has remained the same. All four of us went to graduate school together. We are all women. We are all primarily poets. We all admire and look forward to reading each others writing.
After trying so many different groups over so many different years I was impressed and surprised to find a group that really worked. When I was a part of other groups, I always felt like they were not really for me. I would get good feed back, and have interesting discussions, but there was nothing deeper. Even though we read each others work week after week, I did not feel like our feedback to each other deepened over time. With my current group I feel like over the years we have learned each others strengths and weaknesses, and give feedback accordingly.
When I left New York I worried about the group ending, but even though I live in Washington, another member lives in Texas, and two still live in New York, we are stronger then ever. Now our group just meets through Skype. I think the reason our group has survived geography shifts and full time job related obstacles is because the combination of people really works. Through this group, I truly believe my writing has improved, and I have also been blessed with the opportunity to read many splendid poems.