It's also easier to make radical changes, I've found, to work that's either really fresh or been around long enough to know it needs improvement (and if it's been around that long, it's probably got more problems than I want to deal with).
This is a great strategy if my goal for workshop is to improve individual poems and identify early stumbling blocks common in my work.
Here's the philosophical conundrum: The best part of workshop is looking at all the awesome things everyone else is doing--so if everyone else is turning in awesome work that is doing awesome things, am I being selfish by not turning in as-awesome work that is not doing as-awesome things? Two caveats:
Sometimes it's boring to workshop already mostly finished really good work.
And sometimes the work we thought was really good and mostly finished it turns out might have still been really good, but still needs a lot of work. Sometimes workshopping really good poems can help you turn them amazing.
Maybe each workshop has different standards and expectations for the kind of work being brought in, but do y'all have any opinions in general on what the workshop is for?