Since so many of our members seek critique groups, I was delighted to stumble upon what appeared to be a “secret society” of such groups right here in Portland. In fact, it’s not a secret society but a highly organized, grassroots, community-based organization of serious writers who joined together to form People’s Ink to hone their writing with mutual support and comradery of weekly, genre-specific critique groups.
Writer Sean Talbot profiled People’s Ink in Noise & Color, describing organizer Richard Pope as appearing “European. Writely. Like he belongs in a 19th century whiskey parlor underneath a top hat.” Perhaps not surprising, then, that the organization seems like a “secret society,” when it’s very much the opposite. The group calls itself “Portland’s largest free, independent and open writing community.” Pope explained that he hopes that People’s Ink fills a need for local writers who would be developing their craft in university programs were it not for their prohibitive costs.
People’s Ink critique groups meet on Tuesday evenings a location disclosed to those who apply on its website to join the community. Willamette Writers now has its own Critique Group Coordinator, member Doug Lavan, who helps our writers connect with People’s Ink and other critique groups around Portland. Members can send inquiries about open groups to Doug via the office at wilwrite[at]willamettewriters.org.