I started this my last workshop with a q&a rant because I figured "what the heck? I've already quit." Diverse as we are (everybody stayed), we are talking like grown ups about things like, yes, rapine.
My rant included:
-- This is a college-level course at a major research university. All workshops at this institution are 100-level (true).
-- Within this academic setting, I attempt to create a course which can read writing about any topic written in any way, and offer you support as you work on your writing. We don't shock easy, we're grown-ups.
-- Critique will be similar to that in college-level studio arts courses. I.e., if we think it's bad, we will tell you, and why, and in excruciating detail.
-- If you can't discuss it, don't bring it to class. Bring some cheesemo exercise poem. If you have to explain, you aren't ready to discuss.
-- Not only am I not a therapist, I have no people skills. Thus:
-- This workshop is not about you, what you know, me, what I know.
-- You are not teaching. You will not be able to teach this course after completing it.
-- We're readers, not recruits. We don't agree with you or each other. For example, I am prejudiced against privileging victimhood/twelve stepping, religious witnessing in poems, new age/psychology, misogyny, and hundreds of other ideas and practices. Doesn't mean you can't write poems on these topics; doesn't mean we don't understand your writing if it is on these topics; probably means I won't like it very much, and will give a very close reading.
Well, figured it was better to go out in a blaze of glory.
P.S. This was in person, not online, so I was able to say it smiling, take lots of questions, and use the questions to explain my syllabus and outline.