A Writing Group

If you're a writer going it alone, not affiliated with a university or writing program then a writing group could be right for you. In a writing group you meet other writers who are serious about their craft, who want to work with you side by side to achieve your goals. The Poetry Lab is exactly that. It is a place where writers gather to share stories, tips, and techniques. It is a place to learn and experiment. Above all, we encourage each other to keep reading and to keep writing. 


The Poetry Lab works tirelessly with authors from around the country to bring poets into Long Beach. Visiting Writer Workshops are held during regular session hours on the 1st and/or 3rd Thursday of every month. We invite both Local and out-of-town writers to teach a session on a topic of their choosing. Working with authors is a great opportunity to better your work, explore new ideas, and to build bonds. All of our Visiting Writer Workshops are offer a great chance to network with other writers.

Upcoming in 2018:

  • Julayne Lee
  • Ben Trigg

Past Visiting Authors:

  • Nate Pritts, Matt Hart, Chad Sweeney (2013)
  • Eric Morago (2013)
  • Peggy Dobreer (2014)
  • Daniel McGinn (2014)
  • F. Douglas Brown, Geffrey Davis (2014)
  • Brent Calderwood, Stephen S. Mills, Matthew Hittinger (February 2015)
  • Raundi K. Moore (March 2015)
  • Rick Lupert (April 2015) 
  • Mahogany L. Browne (July 2015)
  • Stephanie Ford (October 2015)
  • Cathy Linh Che (October 2015)
  • Lauren Eggert-Crowe (April 2016)
  • F. Douglas Brown (May 2016)
  • Marcus Omari (July 2016)
  • Ashaki M. Jackson (August 2016)
  • K. Andrew Turner (October 2016)
  • James Meetze (January 2017)
  • Sarah Thursday (Feb 2017)
  • Brendan Constantine (March 2017)
  • Nicelle Davis (July 2017)
  • Chiwan Choi (August 2017)
  • Natalie J. Graham (October 2017)
  • Lynne Thompson (October 2017)
  • Eric Morago (November 2017)


For more opportunities to work with Visiting Writers check out our annual Stranded Artist event, an all-day workshop lead by an award-winning poet. Past artists include Cathy Linh Che, Geffrey Davis, F. Douglas Browne, Nate Pritts, Chad Sweeney, and Matt Hart!


Occasionally, Poetry Lab sessions are devoted to critiquing previously written work. Our workshop structure is especially designed for our writing group and is geared toward writers who have never experienced a workshop before; however, it is a critique workshop and all writers can expect rigor. To learn more about poetry workshops, please the right-hands column. To find out details on our upcoming workshops explore upcoming events below.


A poetry workshop is a group of writers working together to read, critique, praise, and offer feedback on each other's writing. We do this one poem at a time. Everyone has an equal opportunity to have their work read and discussed by the group. 


The Poetry Lab actively supports writers at all stages of their writing lives. At our workshop you can expect a friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere. The night is organized around these four goals: Celebrate, Recognize, Question, and Praise. While you'll need to attend a session to get the full affect, you should expect to come away from a night at our workshop with a positive outlook on your work and motivation to take it to the next level. 


This is a very important distinction in a poetry workshop. Critique is a detailed analysis and assessment of something. Criticism is the act of passing judgement based on the merits of something, usually based on bias or mistaken information. It is faultfinding for faultfinding's sake and it is not what we do in a poetry workshop. I repeat: a critical workshop is not a faultfinding mission. Our goals are to engage with the poem, to focus our energy on the craft of the work, and to move towards a more cohesive version of the poem that will better service the reader by being bringing the poet's vision to light. 



Many Poetry Lab meetings are either a seminar or a craft talk. In a seminar, group participation is not just welcome, it is expected! Seminars consist of writing prompts and exploratory exercises as well as group projects, games, challenges, and poem sharing. 

Our version of a craft talk is half-lecture, half-interactive conversation on a predetermined topic. One of our members who has researched the topic leads the discussion and answers questions that arise along the way. Everyone contributes their ideas, studies, and thoughts to the conversation. Craft talks usually end in a writing prompt that encourages you to "try it for yourself."

Seminars and craft talks are free and open to everyone. No prerequisites are required to attend, we just ask that you are serious about your writing. To respect yourself as a writer and the writing of others. 

In 2015, we will have special sessions on the Ghazal, Narrative Voice, Erasure, Invented Forms, Serial poems and many others!