As part of the Carter Arts and Lecture Series and Georgia Poetry Circuit, Bainbridge State College recently welcomed acclaimed poet C.G. Hanzlicek to the campus for a craft workshop targeting aspiring writers and a poetry reading.
Student Government Association President, Alea Simmons, introduced Hanzlicek to the guests as the author of nine books of poetry, including The Cave and The Lives of Birds, from which he read select poems.
During the craft workshop, Hanzlicek was asked if he had a favorite poem.
He said, “You can’t look at it that way. Different poems mean different things to you. I’ve been writing for 50 years and I see my writing as though they are my children. It’s hard to pick a favorite.”
The poet spoke to the aspiring writers about his writing process. He explained that writing for him begins as a single image with no direction.
“Your writing can change in tone as you work,” said Hanzlicek. “Sometimes you are caught by surprise with how it can change. My writing will shift because of things that will come from my memory. That way you can feel the energy as you read the poem.”
According to Hanzlicek, the revision process is an important step in the process.
He suggested that the aspiring writers let their first drafts sit and come back to them later, but warns that revisions can drastically change the poem or other writing.
“You can also kill a poem by revising. It can become so different that it becomes abandoned. If you reach this dead-end, go back and use it for something else later. If it is a good piece, you’ll remember and come back to it later,” he advised.
Other writing process tips he gave were reading everything they could and being culturally aware of other writing.
Many of the writers had questions related to writer’s block and how to overcome it. Hanzlicek told them that he has always been a writer who wrote in “spurts.” He explained to students that there were times when he would not write for a long time and then suddenly be inspired by the world around him.
“If I’m not sitting here, I won’t be ready when the poem arrives,” said Hanzlicek. “Writing can be very discouraging and lonely, but I’ve never wanted to stop writing. There’s a certain pleasure holding a book you’ve written. It gets easier as you go along. Even when you are rejected, keep going.”
The next co-sponsored Georgia Poetry Circuit and Carter Arts and Lecture Series event will be Feb. 2, with acclaimed poet Sholeh Wolpé. Also, the next Carter Arts and Lecture Series event will be Feb. 19, with Blues group- Fairfield Four. The events are free and open to the public. More details to follow.