Online Poetry Workshops

_____ Online poetry workshops come in two basic types: "serious" and "friendly" or, if you prefer, "expert" and "educational". If you don't know the difference between synesthesia and anaesthesia or you think T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" is free verse friendlies are where you will want to participate and expert venues are where you may wish to "lurk and learn".

_____ Nota bene: All workshops have their own peculiar guidelines, including limits on the number of poems one can post and expectations that one will reciprocate by writing critiques. Read these guidelines carefully before posting to any of these venues--especially the three serious ones.
Poetry Free-For-All While PFFA is a tiered workshop, its idea of a neophyte is what most would consider a very experienced poet. PFFA is probably the best source of critique on the web, but it is also as far from a "friendly" as one could imagine. Lurk, don't leap. Do check out their "Blurbs of Wisdom", though. It may be the best learning resource on the web.
Eratosphere Eratosphere focuses on metrical poetry but its Non-Metrical forum is quite respectable. Its discussion forums may be the most active among the three serious venues. Eratosphere is also the least exclusive insofar as aspiring students are concerned.
Alsop Review Gazebo The "Gaz" is neither the conversational magnet that Eratosphere is nor the Learning Centre that PFFA is but it serves as a fine compromise venue. Gazebo makes no accomodation for novices, though. Still, it may be the best source of poetry among the web-based workshops.
Poets.org Poets.org is one of two "superfriendlies" that are open to all, do not participate in the novice-only Interboard Poetry Community contest, and yet have some very knowledgeable critics. Indeed, Poets.org has three of the finest critiquers in the online world so this may be the best spot for an acolyte hoping to attract the attention of an expert critic. Sponsored as it is by the Academy of American Poets, Poets.org offers educational resources second only to PFFA's "Blurbs of Wisdom".
The Critical Poet TCP has one of the most knowledgeable critics on the web among its staff members. It doesn't have the learning resources that Poets.org offers but it has a more relaxed, homey atmosphere.
Zoetrope Zoetrope is Francis Ford Coppola's workshop site. Originally designed primarily for scriptwriting criticism, it has added other fora, including one for poetry, since its inception. As with Poetry Circle, Zoetrope's principle drawing card is its unique format. Unlike the venues that follow, Zoetrope is not an IBPC participant.
Poetry Circle Poetry Circle includes some very competent critics and a setup that is entirely unique among online workshops.
Desert Moon Review Among the friendlies, DMR probably offers the best critique and poetry. It could use more traffic, though.
The Waters The Waters is the prototype friendly: soft-edged critique in a supportive, cozy environment.
The Wild Poetry Forum The Wild is similar to The Waters but with more members.

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