Manuscript Review Workshop
Kingston , ON  -  November 2-4, 2012

E.  Alex Pierce is offering a manuscript review weekend workshop in Kingston. This is an intensive process designed to bring your developing poetry manuscript into shape and help you prepare it for presentation to a publisher.

Writers tend to focus on refining the work, and that is the first task.  A second aspect is presenting your book-length manuscript to an editor or publisher. What makes your manuscript unique, and why should it be published?

From Friday evening to Sunday afternoon we will work together over three works-in-process. Each writer will send her/his work to me and to the other participants ahead of time. We will each read all three manuscripts, and participants will make comments. I will send you a number of questions and tasks to consider as you read the work.  I will read each manuscript closely and provide an overview along with suggestions for culling and refining the work. We will discuss questions of tone, of order, of the voice of the manuscript, of the shape of the book and its dynamic.

The process is not unlike that of an intense and productive workshop, except that we will be working in a situation where the unit of composition is the book, rather than the individual poem, or even the poem sequence.  This is one of the leaps a poet must take in order to produce a book. How does one hold all of the contents in the mind at once and begin to see and understand the interplay of the various parts?

Reading and working on a number of manuscripts at once plunges the writer into the prospect of working on a large scale.  As we discuss each manuscript and its particular needs and attributes, a pattern of understanding begins to emerge.  Each poetry manuscript has its own process and there are no formulas for shaping the work.  Some questions arrive and find solutions only in the fire of the discussion in situ as we work together to delineate each writer’s voice and to find the best presentation for each book.

Each poet will receive a full half day of work on their manuscript. (See page 2 for workshop schedule.)

The last thing one discovers in composing a work is what to put first.

Blaise Pascal, 1670


What to send: a work-in progress of about 45 – 65 pages. The work should be as close to finished as you can make it now. The review process will help you decide what your manuscript needs, which direction to choose. You will need a title for the work (provisional is fine), and a table of contents; the ms pages need to be numbered. As soon as you’ve decided to do the workshop, write me about your ms and prepare it for sending by e-mail. ( )

I don’t need to see your ms before your decide to do this workshop, although you may wish to send me a few of your poems. A ms-in-progress and decision that this workshop is what you need will be enough. We can communicate by phone and e-mail if you have questions about the manuscript review process or any other aspect of the workshop.

Schedule for Kingston Workshop

Friday, November 2:  7:30 – 9:30 Meeting, discussion, and process planning. Reading of individual poems by participants. Questions.

Saturday, November 3:  9:30 AM – 1:00 PM First MS.

                                         1 hour break for lunch

                                          ½ hour to prepare for Second MS.

                                          2:30 PM– 6:00 PM Second MS.

                                          7:30 – 9:30 PM  Dinner together: questions, discussion.

Sunday, November 4:    9:30 AM – 1:00 PM Third MS.

                                        1 hour break for lunch

                                        2:00 PM – 5:00 PM Recap of questions for each participant. Discussion about presentation, unique qualities of each ms, where to send work, how to approach an editor both for refining the work and for publication.

Contact:  for more information

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