Friday, 20 March 2020

Hi Everyone,

Hope you’re all keeping well in these strange times.

I’m sure it probably won’t come as a surprise by now to hear that, due to covid 19, the stanza will temporarily be moving from in-person stanza meetings to an email/online system for sharing poems and feedback.

As the current self-isolation period for over 70s and vulnerable is 3 months/12 weeks, I have scheduled the dates below for the next three ‘virtual swap’ meetings. (More details about how these will work is below.)

Friday, 3 April 2020 – virtual swap meeting

Friday, 8 May 2020 – virtual swap meeting

Friday, 19 June – virtual swap meeting

‘Virtual Swap’ meeting format

These will (initially at least, but see below for other possibilities later) be by email as this is a technology we’re all already familiar with.

I will send round an email asking who would like to register for each ‘virtual swap’ around 10-14 days before the meeting date, with a deadline for replying.

I will then divide those who’ve registered into groups of 3-5 for swapping poems and feedback.

I will let people know which group they’re in for that ‘virtual swap’ meeting date.

Groups will of course be able to arrange how they swap poems and feedback themselves but my suggested structure is:

The Thursday/Friday of the meeting date people email a copy of their poem to the rest of their group of 3-5. The group uses the weekend to read and sort their feedback on the poems, emailing that feedback back by the Tuesday after the meeting date. (I’d suggest using a reply all system within the group because it means you can also potentially respond to other people’s feedback.)

The April meeting date

Can everyone who would like to take part in the April 3 virtual swap meeting (as above), please email me directly (no need to do reply all) by the end of Monday, 30 March to let me know that you want to take part.

In addition, for those who prefer more face-to-face contact

I’m starting the virtual swap with small groups, using email, because I think it’s the simplest way and the one that most people should be able to use already.

However, I’m aware that it’s not the same as sharing poems or giving feedback, face-to-face so…

If there are any people who would prefer, if it’s possible, to be in a group that uses video conferencing (Zoom, Skype…) instead of email, please let me know when you email me, along with your preferred/suggested way of doing that videoconferencing.

At this stage, please only put yourself forward for a videoconferencing method if you’re already fairly up with technologies for doing this, or would have the time and space before the meeting date to read up on the group’s videoconferencing method/go and find youtube tutorials etc so that you can do this.

(If any group does this and finds it works well, then later there may be possibilities for widening this to larger groups, with those already using it able to teach others less up on the technology.)

Keeping in touch

I know many of you usually see each other out and about between stanza meetings, so just to encourage you to email each other and keep in touch that way while this is all going on.

I’m not always the fastest at responding but you can get me by email or on what’s app.

Keeping Busy

I have put a new monthly poetry prompt up on the stanza prompts page – photo inspiration this time (but also the past months’ prompts too): http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?page_id=10228

Kathy Fish and Nancy Stohlmann are giving flash prompts (but may be useful for poetry) here: https://flashfictionretreats.com/blog/

Arvon/ Tania Hershman has a free 5-day short story challenge: https://www.arvon.org/5-day-short-story-challenge/

And if anyone has a short poem (maximum 12 lines) or flash (maximum 100 words) that they’d like me to combine with a photo for LitWorld2: Pic Pocket a Poem/Snap Up a Flash – submissions

Looking Forward

However, hard social distancing and self-isolation might feel right now, they will be over before we know it, and in-person meetings will resume as soon as possible!

Love and inspiration to you all, take care,

🙂 Sarah x