The Grades Are In. I Passed!

Long time (and suffering) readers of mine may recall that I enrolled in a Poetry Workshop class a year or so ago.  I was all excited at the time and promised many updates.  This I did not do.  It had more to do with the fact that I wasn’t sure how to convey the class without breaking confidences or making people uncomfortable.  So, I didn’t.


I also didn’t complete my coursework on time.  Depression reared its ugly and merciless head and I was hard-pressed to revise poems I’d struggled to write for the workshop.  Truth is, I’ve been hard-pressed to write much of anything this past year.  Well, anything I want to let other people read.  Lots of bad or pointless crap fills my notebook.


So, I had a deadline to get the Incomplete taken care of and I did.  I turned in my poetry portfolio last week and found out that I’d gotten an A- for the term.  What’s more, I’d earned an A-/B+ on my Poetry Review, which is a high class book report of sorts.


One of my goals in taking the course was to be a better reader of poetry, to better understand what works, what doesn’t and how to appreciate poetry beyond visceral reactions.  If I loved a poem, I wanted to know ‘why’ I loved that poem, and if one put me off, why did it.  How to appreciate poems I don’t immediately swoon over, and how to take apart a poem and see how it ticks.  This review was a huge part of it.  I was pleased with it at the time, and am gratified that the work I put into it resulted in a grade commiserate with my feelings for it.   You can read it by clicking here. (opens a PDF file)


The book I chose is called “Blue Front” by Martha Collins.  Terrific book, wonderful book, incredible book.  Yet, that hardly explains why I loved it.  The review does and shows you some of that as well.


I may post my portfolio at some point in the near future.  Then again, I may not. I would like to thank the teacher and my classmates for their interest and honesty in their feedback in my work.  Their thoughts, insights and unwillingness to allow me to ‘settle’ were and are of immeasurable value.

6 thoughts on “The Grades Are In. I Passed!

  1. Wow. I gobbled your review all up. I loved both it and the book you talked about. I’m not surprised you passed. :) And I should mention bad & pointless crap fills all our notebooks – it certainly fills mine. But the thing is, it often comes back around – whatever made me write it in the first place suddenly shows up again and I remember why & who & what & suddenly it’s not so bad anymore. Even if I only use one line, or if I rewrite one line. Never throw that stuff away.

    • I have thrown away lots of notebooks over the years and now really regret it. Angsty and maudlin as it was, it had nuggets of truth and sweat.

      That book is terrific. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Thanks so much for reading.

  2. Congratulations, Mark!!!
    I know how hard you worked on this and what you worked your way through. You’re one of my inspirations on so many levels. ~ jh

  3. Yay Mark! That is wonderfully exciting. Congratulations! It appears that we finished the semester together and I love celebrating the synchronicity of that. Looking forward to more poetry, in life, in words, outside of classes…

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