The Dysfunctional Workshop: Dramatis Personae
Paula Tico: Even in your poem about your dead cat she felt you failed to see the complicity of or to indict global capitalism for its insidious influence on the pet food industry.
Dick Tum: He cannot critique a poem without dragging out an old saw. He folds his arms, leans back in his chair and intones “I think it was Coleridge who said, ‘best words in the best order’, and in this poem…,” or “William Carlos Williams famously had it, ‘No ideas but in things’, and your poem is full of…”
Polly Wanzakraker: She practically sits on the workshop leader’s shoulder and repeats verbatim what he/she has just said.
Ed Itur: He always reads with a red pen in his hand. The only thing he has to say about your poem is that you spelled ‘feign’ wrong or your last line is a sentence fragment.
Buzz Cutt: When he clears his throat to speak you can hear a chainsaw starting up. His terse solution for every poem is to shave off the first 10 lines and to hack off the last 5 while you’re at it.
Di Gress: She’ll tease out one line after another that reminds her of a story or any topic she happens to be thinking about, which leads to that, then this, then that again…
Otis Grande: Praising you past embarrassment, he loves your poem, he loves everything you have written and everything you will ever write.
Ben Daredundat: He can always find one of his poems that your poem reminds him of and he’ll quote long passages of his poem to prove the point.
Art Istek: With his head down, scribbling furiously, he says little during workshop. Afterwards he hands back your poem almost blotted out with arrows and diagrams, the margins filled with elaborate graffiti. You save the copy in case he becomes famous one day.
[Feel free to add your own characters.]