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Auburn Sky GonzalesMy workshop experience was phenomenal. My peers’ writing inspired me. I pushed boundaries and experimented with different styles of poetry guided by assignments on imagery, narrative, and sound. Just being in a class where everyone wanted to be there holds power in itself, and that everyone’s writing was so great made class interesting and made for great examples for Mark Leidner’s lessons. Mark was a wonderful workshop leader. He stayed engaged with all of our poems and gave us feedback that developed us as writers. His focus on imagery helped me better understand that old saying, “show not tell.” I left him a poem to look at and the next day I got it back with comments, and he discussed it with me individually as well.

The writing community was like nothing I’ve experienced before. It made me think, if all the rest of my peers are this good, I must be good too because I’m here. Hearing peer writing exposed me to different styles and hearing their writing processes helped me form a better one for myself. In workshop, each writer brought their style and their comments allowed me to fill in holes in mine. Our strengths synergized in workshop.

Every time I write I’ll take what I’ve learned. The staff was top notch. The readings were inspiring. I loved hearing good writing at the evening readings. Just hearing it makes me a better writer. The writers who read showed me what to work with. I’d think, “try like so and so, read like so and so.”

I also participated in craft sessions with Lauren and Mark. Both taught me good lessons for writing. I learned a “cure” for writer’s block. The bookmaking studio course was awesome and creative. I can do it! Thanks.

—Auburn Sky Gonzales, ’10 participant
San Antonio, TX