RULES OF THE WORKSHOP
1.) POETRY ONLY — Tony Stanza is not a venue to discuss your favorite writing prompt, poet, literary magazine, or Radiohead album. Posting promotions or advertisements of any kind, even if poetry-related, will result in immediate loss of membership. With the exception of your introduction, all posts to Tony Stanza must be original poems of your own devising, with the title in the subject line and the poem in the body ... no more or less.
2.) INTRODUCTIONS — Upon joining the workshop, new members are strongly encouraged (but not required) to post a brief introduction or bio, no more than 200 words in length. In this introductory post, new members are also encouraged to offer one finished original poem that they feel is indicative of their usual style. This allows current and prospective members to learn something about the other participants in the workshop.
3.) NO DISCLAIMERS — Please don't preface your post with a qualifying statement like "ok this is just a first draft and I'm not sure the cupcake metaphor in line twelve is working and I haven't even finished it yet so if it's confusing that's why." If you can't resist making some kind of disclaimer or explanation, please do so briefly in the comments section of your post. That way readers can develop an unfiltered opinion of their own before considering your reservations.
4.) 3 TO 1 RULE — You should critique at least three poems for every one you post. A "critique" is an extended, engaged evaluation of someone's poem in the comments of his or her post, not an unequivocal "awesome!" or "perfect!" or "total shit!," which would get you in trouble anyway through rule five ...
5.) FIGHT FAIR — Many serious writers are a little masochistic—not to mention sadistic—about criticism. Sometimes a harsh critique is desired, deserved, or otherwise necessary. But even if you feel that a poem sucks, there will always be some part of it that makes you wince less than the rest. So every critique must include an element of positive criticism, and all criticism must be constructive. If you're an asshole, you'll lose your membership.
6.) GRIN AND BEAR IT — If you receive criticism that you feel is inaccurate, unfair, or not constructive, just ignore it. If necessary, the moderators will deal with it. It's OK to ask questions of the critic to get a better idea of how s/he developed the unsavory opinion, but otherwise defending your poem is discouraged. Similarly, if a poet responds angrily to your criticism of his/her poem and you feel that your critique was legitimate, ignore the response. We don't want stupid arguments consuming the discussion.
7.) GOOD POETS WRITE BAD POEMS — Remember this is a workshop. It may be tempting, for the sake of making friends or garnering respect, to post your best work: a poem that you feel is complete. Don't do that. That's what the introduction is for. The point is to bring in poems that are giving us trouble, or poems that we are unsure about.
8.) MEMBER-LOCKING POSTS — Posting your poems as "public" helps to attract new workshop members, and is therefore encouraged. However, because in a few editors' minds this workshop could count as "previous publication," member-locking your posts is permitted, and even suggested once a poem is ready for publication. We ask that whenever possible, members keep their poems open to the public at first, and then go back to lock the entry when they start sending the poem out to magazines.
9.) REVISIONS — If you drastically revise a previously critiqued poem, you may submit it again. Otherwise please don't.
10.) LJ-CUT — As a courtesy to others, If your poem exceeds 20 lines, lj-cut everything after line 20. Please do not lj-cut the whole poem, however, unless you feel that the sensitivity of the subject matter makes it necessary. This way members can get a taste of the poem, then decide if they want to read the rest. For the record, no subject matter is off-limits.
11.) TAGGING — Introductory posts should be tagged as "introduction" using the livejournal tag feature. All other posts should be tagged as "critique," and all posts should be tagged with your livejournal alias (e.g. "seanbishop"). This makes it easy for prospective members to get a feel for who is in the workshop, the skill level necessary to join the workshop, and the variety of poetry under critique. Please note that If you don't tag your posts, a moderator will do so unless you request otherwise.