I belong to a poetry-writing group that has met regularly for over a decade. We challenged each other with poems written from a prompt. The poetic responses were always surprising to hear, and to experience the subtle changes in each person's writing throughout those years was not only instructive, but delightful. Then the pandemic came along, and now the group hasn't met for about a year. But there's a plan in the works to start again soon, which I'm looking forward to.
Jim and I have written several books of collaborative poetry together, which I've published through Egress Studio Press. Writing collaboratively has opened my writing processes to being more inclusive and accepting of the thoughts and ideas that come my way, and has had a major impact on my poetry.
Another powerfully important writing experience I had was when I was accepted for a Willard R. Espy literary writing fellowship in 2003. I was offered an entire month to write, read, research, and just be inspired by my surroundings in Oysterville, WA. In the quiet solitude I found along the ocean beaches, and in the quiet space I was given to write in, I was able to draft and edit 60 poems during the month of October. I'm still feeling the impact of that experience.
In the future, I plan to write more about specific details of the natural world, as well as about the characters who are my ancestors.