On March 17, members of SFU’s 2011 Writer’s Studio joined the Writers Caravan in their first encounter. We spoke about the role of questioning in writing. We began with a working definition of poetry as being “questions without answers,” this taken from the wonderful, “Poetry Everywhere” from T&W Books, 2005.
Off the top we each listed 10 questions, small or serious, rhetorical or otherwise. We shared our favourites and then wrote about a question we heard or liked. Next we read two poems that use questions in different ways, Robert Frost’s “A Question,” and Charles Bukowski’s “Question and Answer.” Both were written by men, who in their respective eras, were known for realistic depictions of daily life and the use of vernacular. Both men dealt with depression on a personal level, as well. We discussed what makes the poems effective and what links them.
Next we thought of a question we were forbidden or discouraged from asking as a child and we wrote about that without including the question in the piece. The table discussion was animated as we shouted out our guesses, sometimes striking the mark and other times missing. The Writer’s Studio women who joined us were a fantastic group, not just because of their adaptability to writing in our fast-and-furious social setting and their willingness to share their work, but also for their thoughtfulness in what they shared.
Another exercise we did was to write about a question we wish someone would ask us and then answered it for ourselves. What came up more than once: “Can I help?”
On April 15, 2011 The Writer’s Studio is hosting a Writers Caravan reading at Take 5 Cafe on Hastings and Granville as part of the the SFU TWS reading series. The readings of the works-in-progress begun at this encounter and others begin at 7pm.