- November 2-4,
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
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
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
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. (firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
1 hour break
½ hour to
prepare for Second MS.
6:00 PM Second MS.
7:30 – 9:30
PM Dinner together: questions, discussion.
Sunday, November 4: 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM
1 hour break for
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.
email@example.com for more information