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Poetry clubs come in several varieties, from poetry critique workshops to themed poetry discussions. The main distinction between clubs will be whether the club is designed for writers or readers of poetry. Other factors could include what type of poetry is focused on or if the club meets in person or online.
Many poetry clubs are intended for those who write poetry and wish to share their creations with like-minded people. These clubs may or may not involve feedback and critique after a reading. While some poets are looking for constructive criticism, other poetry clubs will focus on just giving poets an environment to share their work.
Poetry clubs that offer critiques may have a workshop setting. Instead of reading the poetry out loud, authors may supply other club members with printed copies of their work to mark on and leave written comments. Some workshop poetry clubs will have guest attendees or a permanent workshop leader who has proven his or her expertise with poetry writing. These experts might function as a mentor for other aspiring poets.
Members of poetry clubs do not need to be poets themselves. Many poetry clubs meet for the sole purpose of reading their favorite poetry together, and then participating in a discussion on the themes, symbolism, and messages they find in the works. Similar to a book club, these groups might give members assigned reading to finish before each meeting.
Those looking into a reading poetry club might want to explore what kind of poetry the club chooses to read and study. Although some clubs might be open to all types of poetry, others might focus on a certain topic, such as love, death, or social commentary. Other clubs will only explore poetry from certain eras, countries, or cultures.
People living in small towns or rural areas might struggle with finding the poetry club that is right for them. Although they could create their own club if they can find enough interest, online clubs provide another option that does not depend on the location of its members. Many online clubs will have live meetings using web-cams or chat rooms, while others will have ongoing interaction through forums. Some clubs will offer a mixture of both.
Different types of poetry clubs will come with varying fees and dues. While clubs that bring in experts and offer classes might have a steeper price, clubs that are a meeting of friends who simply wish to share or read will most likely be free. As a club grows, dues or fundraisers might be added to cover the cost of securing a regular meeting space or providing refreshments.
@Pinkrelin, I know what you are talking about. It can definitely be difficult to find a group that fits your style and habits well. One I tried did occasional open mic nights, which made me very nervous! An online group might be better for you, as you'd be able to meet from where ever, even if you have to watch your child.
An online poetry club could be asynchronous as well, meaning that members don't have to be online at the same time. You could post something that you are working on, and others could comment on it at a different time. This would give you the feedback you are looking for, but eliminate the challenges of finding a time to meet that works well for everyone in the group.
This post is correct when it states that there are many different kinds of poetry clubs. I was trying to get back in the habit of writing on a more frequent basis, so I went looking for a poetry club to join.
I was able to find a number of them in my area listed on Meetup, since I live in a big city. However, choosing one that was right for me has been a challenge. One offers a great workshop setting and good feedback, but it meets on a weeknight which makes it difficult for me as a parent to make it to.
Another meets early in the morning on Saturdays, but offers no kind of feedback element; the goal of that one is just to write in response to prompts in the same room as other writers. Another was a combination of a reading/writing poetry club, but it met on an infrequent basis.
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