Goodbye CPIT; and OMG, I wrote that?!

As the sharp-eyed among you will notice, the Upcoming Workshops list has gone. That’s because the funding for Community Education at CPIT was ‘reviewed’, and cut by 50%. As a result, the ACE department was disbanded at the end of 2010, and so my poetry courses no longer have a home.

On the plus side – yay, I get Saturday mornings back! But it’s a bit of a blow, all the same. The courses had developed really well, and we had a quite tight-knit core group of POET101 addicts. Some bloody good poems were coming out of the exercises, and I had the immeasurable privilege of watching people blossom in both skill and confidence. I kept waiting for someone to catch on to how much fun I was having, and make me stop. (Curses! Foiled again!)

Jokes aside, thank you to all my students. It was a blast, and I learnt as much from you as you could have from me. I hope to be able to offer the courses again somehow – finding a room where the hire doesn’t wipe out any chance of remuneration for the tutor would be a start …

I mentioned in my previous post that I’d come across an old poetry magazine with comments pencilled into the margin, and had the weird experience of suddenly realising that I was the one who’d written them. And I remember it really clearly – the magazine was Spin, issue March 1998. It was the first literary journal I bought, after making that terrifying decision to start taking writing poetry seriously. I remember I spent hours in UBS, flicking through pages of magazines with weird names like Sport and Landfall and Spin, before deciding that this one looked friendliest, and that I’d buy a copy to study. I spent hours going through it, reading all the poems and trying to decide if they were any good or not, and why the ones I thought were rubbish may have been considered worthy of publication. There are names of people who seem to have vanished from the poetry scene, as well as plenty who are now prominent participants. And some who have become dear friends. (Hi Lynn!) Magazines like this are time-capsules really.

I’m not going to tell you who wrote poems that I made comments about. Looking back over them, it’s roughly 50/50 things that I still agree with/things that I don’t still agree with. But in the interests of honesty, I will hereby confess two comments that I still agree with (one bad comment, one good), and two that I no longer agree with (again, one bad, one good).

  • “Utter self-absorbed crap” is perhaps a little more harshly phrased than I would these days permit myself. (Or perhaps not, rereading the poem in question.)
  • “Good. Interesting images – I think I’ll steal some.” is attached to a poem that I still quite enjoy, which is nice. And I’ve made similarly positive comments about another poem by this poet, which suggests that I managed to be reasonably consistent. Don’t think I have used any of the imagery though. (Not yet, at least …)
  • “You thought about this a lot, did you? Precious, twee, twit.” An interesting one. I can see why I thought that at the time. It’s a poem that works quite subtlely, and I didn’t know anywhere near enough then to be able to appreciate some of the technical things it’s doing. Plus the fact that it’s based on a central image that was quite problematic for me in those days.
  • “Effective!” attached to a poem that now leaves me completely unmoved. One of those poems that works really well if it’s the first time you’ve seen it, but which lacks sufficient depth to survive revisiting. All surface. A bit of a one-trick poem. A poem to impress people who haven’t read widely, perhaps? Heaven knows I’ve written quite a few myself.

So there you go. A wee twirl down Memory Lane. Which, by the by, is the name of a place we considered buying a section …

click to view larger map

8 Replies to “Goodbye CPIT; and OMG, I wrote that?!”

  1. I wonder if you would be able to work out something for your classes through the Public Library? the room we used for our book launch didn’t cost us a thing.

    1. Unfortunately all the library branches have their own sets of rules. The one that seems common to all is that free room hire only applies if no-one is being paid anything. I count as a “self-employed tutor”, so that starts me at $10-something an hour. It’s balancing fee for tutor + room hire + keeping it affordable enough so that people who aren’t on high wages (i.e. poets) can come. Makes me realise just how much of an absolute bargain the CPIT courses were. The first few I did with Frankie were priced at (I think) $15 – for ten sessions of four hours each!! Even last year I was able to offer 18 hours of class time for $30. (I think … the other advantage was that I didn’t have to remember such things. Sigh!)

  2. Hey Joanna, I’m really sorry to hear your courses will not be available this year. I did one of your poetry courses last year and it was some of the best times I’d had in a classroom. Absolutely LOVED it!! I was hoping to do another one or even two but it looks like that won’t be an option. And I’m not sure how I found this site, I think I googled my name some time ago and this came up. I found it quite cool that you’d posted both my cinquains (reading them again was hilarious) and so I’d saved the page. Anyway I will keep an ear out should you decide to run any more classes!! All be best.

    1. Hi Christine,

      glad you enjoyed the course – although I do vaguely remember you saying something along the lines of ‘never seeing any of us again” …
      Wish I could offer classes, but CPIT has canned the entire ACE department. Feel free to phone them and ask for the classes to be reinstated – maybe if enough people ask, they’ll find a way of fitting us back in?

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