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performable crit:
Students had, as usual, already read and written notes on all the poems to be workshopped. So I got them into groups of two or three, assigned each group another student's poem, and gave them fifteen minutes to devise a performance around this work that would bring forward some aspect of their critical observations. They were allowed to make new versions of their assigned poem - to excerpt from it, to rearrange it, to make cuts or repetitions or extensions. They could perform together or have one group member perform. They had performance objects available to them that their lecturer had asked them to bring along.

The results were wonderful. I was unsure whether they would have enough performance vocabulary be able to communicate their critiques in this way, but almost every piece was incisive, two or three of the six startlingly so. The performance mode turned their feedback into a genuinely constructive - as in productive, creative - act - an act of the imagination & one of many possible - rather than a reduction or a correction.
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