Wisconsin Poetry News

AllWriters' Anniversary

by Kathrine Yets

This past January, AllWriters' Workshop and Workplace, founded and directed by author Kathie Giorgio, celebrated its 9th birthday. I have been going to AllWriters' for over a year now and found a home for myself and my poetry. I feel it would be selfish of me to not share my writing home with other poets and writers.

Friday Night Free for Alls are held onsite at Allwriters' each season, so people in the community can come check out what the Studio is all about. Food and home-made Sangria is offered, but the best treat is the chance to hear what our fellow writers have to offer. Each genre is represented, and we get to hear what Kathie is working on at the end of the night. The next Friday Night Free for All is April 11th at 7. Come see what our writers have to offer!

AllWriters' also has Celebrity Saturdays. I have yet to attend one of these events, since my pocketbook was extra thin during college, but I plan to this year, seeing as Kathie makes all of her classes so affordable. Poets appearing in Celebrity Saturdays in 2014 will be current poet laureate Max Garland, previous poet laureate Marilyn Taylor, and UW Waukesha emerita professor Margaret Rozga. On April 26th, Max Garland will teach his course called Poetry and Place, which will look into how “poets past and present have expressed their relationship to place, and how we might use the poetic imagination (the original GPS) to more meaningfully locate ourselves in the world.” Margaret Rozga's class is on July 19th and is called Poetry Play Date. In her class, she will begin with poetry observation exercises, then have sample poems and an in class workshop, so the writer could leave the class with a finished product. Marilyn Taylor's class Writing The Tough Ones: A Poetry Workshop is on August 9th, a one day intensive course that will help writers write a poem that's been lurking at the far reaches of [their] imagination, waiting for [them] to find its vocabulary, even a poem [they] know [they've] been running from, and [they're] not quite sure why. Celebrity Saturdays focusing on other genres are also offered. To get more informaiton on the events listed above, please visit the AllWriters' webpage and look under events: allwritersworkshop.com.

From my experience, the best AllWriters' Workshop and Workplace has to offer is their onsite courses, taught by Kathie Giorgio herself and a few courses taught by her husband Michael Giorgio. My first Wednesday night at AllWriters' Workplace & Workshop in Waukesha, I sat close to my poet friend Karen who let me tag along with her, so I could check out what AllWriters' was all about. “Welcome to AllWriters',” a woman with fierce red hair said to me, “My name is Kathie Giorgio. I am the director and founder of this Studio and proud to say we have been around for 8 years [now 9] and have students in 20 countries (and counting).” Kathie went on to tell me about her own publications— The Home for Wayward Clocks, Learning to Tell (A Life), Time (the sequel to Wayward Clocks just published this past year), and Enlarged Hearts (a collection of short stories, which also includes poetry). Kathie has also published her short stories and a few poems (10) in over one hundred literary magazines and anthologies. She later explained to me in an interview that she usually does not market her poetry but has always written poetry on the side.

The rest of the class introduced themselves too and told me their preferred genre. The class seemed to be divided evenly throughout the genres and many people crossed genres. I asked Kathie in the interview about how many poets are involved with AllWriters', and she said 25 in her on site classes, not including her coaching clients or students in other courses. “We always have a lot of poets. We have a lot of writers,” she wrote.

Once Kathie finished going around the table and heard everyone's goals, we began: One of the writers handed around a copy of her piece to each student, and we sat and listened to her read her piece aloud. When finished, we critiqued. And it went on from there to the next student. Kathie keeps her double spaced copy to hand back to the student the next week with more extensive critiques. With Kathie's help, many writers have published their work. When I interviewed Kathie in November, she said she was not sure how many people have published through AllWriters' but “as of this month, AllWriters’ writers have published 36 short stories, 10 short memoir pieces, 32 poems, and 7, count'em, SEVEN books in 2013! And 2013 isn’t over yet. Of the seven books, two were full-length poetry collections.” There are multiple AllWriters' successes every month, which Kathie proudly posts about on Facebook and now on the AllWriters' website as well.

I asked Kathie if there would be an onsite poetry specific course in the future, and she replied, “Right at the moment, the AllWriters’ classroom is busy every night of the week, except Friday, and on Wednesday afternoons too. We include poetry in the Monday Night Workshop, the Wednesday Afternoon Women Writers’ Workshop, and the Wednesday Night Workshop. I’d be happy to offer a genre specific poetry workshop, but right now, it would have to be an afternoon workshop, as the evenings are all taken up.” Recently, Kathie decided she would leave Thursdays open for introductory courses, so watch for a poetry introductory course!

AllWriters' does offer a few online poetry specific workshops, taught by Shaindel Beers, Maureen Alsop, and Emily Bright. “All AllWriters’ instructors must be currently and traditionally publishing in their field,” Kathie wrote to me. Each AllWriters' poetry instructor has published one or two collections over the years, including Beers' A Brief History of Time and The Children's War and Other Poems, Alsop's Mantic, Apparition Wren and a few chapbooks, and Bright's chapbook Glances Back. I have yet to take an online course but have heard it is enjoyably intense and the critiques are amazing. All courses can be viewed on the AllWriters' webpage.

If you are a writer and looking for a place to critique and be surrounded by fellow writers, AllWriters' is for you. I found a home here and am glad I got the chance to share my findings with you readers. If writers reading this are unable to come join us for whatever crazy excuse they can come up with, I will leave them with some writing advice from Kathie, “In first drafts, in staring at the page and preparing to write something new, turn your editor off. Write whatever comes to mind. If you hear yourself saying, 'Well, that’s a stupid idea,' then especially turn the editor off, take the 'stupid' and run with it. I’m 53 years old and I’ve never had writer’s block. Never. I don’t believe in it. I believe that when a writer is blocked, he or she has actually silenced him/herself by not allowing the imagination to flow freely and thus not letting the creative process do its work. Don’t talk yourself out of it. Just write.” If you change your mind and stop making excuses, fellow writer, welcome to AllWriters'.

Kathrine Yets is a graduate of UW-Whitewater.