Choose one workshop from each time slot for Day 2 and Day 3.
SATURDAY - July 13, 2019
9:00 - 12:00
In this generative poetry workshop, we will consier how some contemporary Indigenous poets use landscape and thought to give form and pattern to their contemporary work. We will attempt to write poems shaped by our own systems of thought, tensions, and presence.
Zero to Hero: Archetypes for Character Development
Your story surely has a protagonist, the hero of the story, but does it also have a mentor, ally, herald, trickster, shapeshifter, guardian or shadow? Who would Bilbo be without his mentor, Gandolf? Harry Potter without his shadow, Lord Voldemort? Scout without her ally, Jem? And is your hero pulling their own weight or are they floundering through your tale without agency? In this 3-hour course, we will explore the eight archetypes that American Mythologist, Joseph Campbell, made famous in his academic work on the hero’s journey. Knowing your character’s archetype helps to inform their motivation and goals, so they can interact authentically and purposefully within the narrative. We will look at examples of each archetype in literature and reflect on how we can use archetypes to further develop our own literary characters. This course is for fiction writers of all levels.
Memoir, History, and Our Lives
A well told story has the ability to transport us into the heart and mind of another human being. Neuroscientists have concluded that our brains on story are different than when receiving any other kind of information, including facts and data. Stories harvested from life can be more powerful than anything we could imagine. Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie is a collection of stories that grew out being part of the counter-culture in Northern New Mexico. Growing up Jewish in New York gave me a set of beliefs that were upended when I found sanctuary with a Palestinian family during a war. The result of that experience, Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land: Journeys in Palestine and Israel is a historical narrative that carries the weight of history. Our earliest perceptions of the world begin with our family of origin, but all of us have been impacted by world events. Many of us have visceral memories of the day President Kennedy was shot. Or Martin Luther King. Or 9-11. A birth. Or the loss of a loved one. Tension between outside events and our personal cauldron create unique and powerful narratives. Beginning writers and storytellers are welcome in this workshop, as are experienced writers and storytellers. This 3-hour workshop which will include prompts and guided exercises, can be a catalyst for a longer piece.
Hermit Crab Essays
Do you have a personal essay to write but find the content unwieldy? Where to begin, what details to put in or leave out, and how can I make writing this piece fun? This workshop on the Hermit Crab Essay offers solutions to these challenges. The Hermit Crab Essay was a term coined by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola. These essays adopt an existing form (like a letter, a “to-do” list, a recipe, to name a few) to help the writer bypass preconceived notions of what their story is, therefore allowing it to become. We will examine examples of hermit crab essays, discuss some fundamentals of the writing process, and then have our hand at writing one. Please come prepared with some essay ideas.
The VERB. Its Uses and its Magic!
want to see the thirst
Inside the syllables
I want to touch the fire
in the sound:
I want to feel the darkness
of the cry. I want
words as rough
as virgin rocks. "-Verb."
- Pablo Neruda
A 3 hour workshop focusing our use of verbs in our poetry and prose. Bring 3-5 poems or pages of prose. Materials will be sent to all participants in the workshop. We will discuss a host of poems and prose, and then concentrate on looking at the work of participants, suggesting ways to lift the work off the page by -- the use of verbs!! For all levels of experience.
12-1 Using Art as Inspiration for Poetry - the Ekphrasis tradition - Steven Schneider
1-2 The Stuff Nobody Teaches You - How to Work With a Writer; How to Read for an Audience - Allegra Huston
2:00 - 5:00
Experiments in Form for Prose Writers
In this workshop, we'll talk about shaking up the forms used in our writing. We'll investigate the idea that our content is like a hermit crab, willing to move from form to form until it finds the right container. We'll talk (briefly) about brevity, assembling units of writing together, and how we can liven things up by looking to other genres and mediums for ideas. There will be short written experiments.
I will teach a hands-on workshop in writing history: that is, claiming the authority to write the story of a person, place or thing. This could be entirely imaginary, or based on facts. For example, we will start with writing a brief (one paragraph) biography of a spoon, told from the spoon's point of view; the writer's first decision is whether to call the spoon she, he or it. We will continue to choosing a subject, preferably not a relative or friend, but a thing or place or person that has always to some degree fascinated and mystified us. Our challenge will be to find the appropriate tone of voice, vocabulary, setting and dialogue. Sine this is a short workshop, I will encourage participants to go on writing this story on their own, sending the results to me for comment. My example will be Gertrude Stein's "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas". I will bring a short excerpt.
The Way They Were - Writing Characters in Memoir
“I write to discover what I know.” ― Flannery O'Connor
How do we get the people we know onto the page? When writing memoir, it’s all too easy to take our characters for granted because we know them. Complexity develops in characters as we discover them, moment by moment. This workshop will provide tools and writing exercises to help memoir writers reach beyond the familiar and craft characters in vivid and memorable detail. Come ready to write! Experienced and aspiring writers welcome.
Poetry of Witness and the Activist Poet
In this generative workshop, we will rely on Carolyn Forche’s “Poetry of Witness” to explore how we can use the personal and the political to enter a poem’s “social” space. We will examine diverse voices in contemporary poetry and determine how we can not only bear witness to historical moments, but how we can also write inclusively and discover our own identity as activist poets.
Dimension in Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Memoir
In this course we'll examine the elements that make up a fully dimensional work of fiction, memoir, or creative nonfiction. Creating strong fiction requires attention not only to primary elements of plot and character, but to aspects such as style and tone, sense of place, sensory detail, thematic ideas, as well as literary devices like imagery and symbolism, metaphor, personification and foreshadowing. We'll work together in exploring how these elements support one another in a fully realized piece of writing.
SUNDAY - July 14, 2019
9:00 - 12:00
The Prose Poem
This workshop taught by Steven P. Schneider will explore the rich tradition and contemporary practice of The Prose Poem. Walt Whitman, over a century ago, wrote: “In my opinion the time has arrived to essentially break down the barriers of form between prose and poetry.” Today, the Prose Poem is one of the most popular forms of writing because of its hybrid nature, combining the lyrical intensity of poetry in a narrative prose form. Donald L. Soucy, writing in The Prose Poem: An International Journal,” has described it as “a flying trapeze act without a net!”
This workshop will introduce you to the distinguishing features of the Prose Poem as well as the seven major types of prose poems. We will also review anthologies and journals devoted to the Prose Poem with an eye towards publication. If you have an interest in prose or poetry and how the two may work together in a creative hybrid form, this workshop will be for you!
Each participant will bring in at least one previously published Prose Poem for our review as well as one or two of their own Prose Poems for workshop discussion. Previous workshop participants have gone on to publish their own Prose Poems and scholarly presentations! You will receive a bibliography on The Prose Poem to guide further exploration of this topic.
The Voice, the Body, the Words - Speaking Your Writing to Life
What would happen if we read our work as if talking to a therapist, or to a group of children, or by running in place? What’s the role of a whisper, or a pause? What does it mean to embody your words, both in the writing process itself and when we read before an audience?
In this fun and creative workshop, author and actor David Pérez will use improvisation, theater games, and vocal/body exercises to demonstrate how reading our work aloud – which all writers have to do at some point – is one of the best methods to uncover meaning and intent in our writing. Is the emphasis of a particular sentence in the verb? Can a scene written to be sad actually have some joy in it? Besides being the world’s greatest proofreader, hearing our writing out loud is one of the most effective ways to test our writing, to discover what happens when our body, voice and imagination are fully engaged in making the written word come alive. The workshop will also discuss the elements of a good public reading, from preparation to performance. As all writers know, a strong and entertaining reading is vital to getting your work out there. Indeed, it can make all the difference in the world. Bring a short, two-minute piece to read. Handouts will be provided. All genres and levels welcome.
Perfect Design: Structuring Your Poetry Manuscript for Journal or Book Publication Competition
You have a poetry manuscript that you’d like to submit to one of the book- publication prizes, or perhaps you just want to submit a winning manuscript to one of the journal competitions, but the odds of winning a competition with 300-2000 entries seem insurmountable. How do you increase your odds of making it to the finals of such competitions? What are strategies of selection and organization that you can apply to increase the odds of winning a publication prize in poetry? What are some classic faux pas? Are you building your manuscript around what Lucie Brock-Broido called your “mother wicked keepers?” Does your manuscript sag in the middle like an old mattress? Ought you to organize your manuscript in sections or one arc? Lise Goett has counseled dozens of poets on how to achieve the best results for reaching that select circle of finalists who are actually read by the final judge. Come participate in this hands-on workshop on strategies for increasing your odds of survival in the heap. Requirements: a ten-poem manuscript. Some light homework before the session may be assigned.
So You Wrote a Novel. Now What?
The publishing industry can feel like a huge unknown and there is nothing more miserable than feeling green and intimidated as you attempt to break through. Young adult author, editor, and agency associate at Folio Literary Management, Estelle Laure, will answer all your questions about the process and explore everything from query letters, proper manuscript formatting, and getting an agent, to the acquisitions process and etiquette and expectations once you have gotten in the door. This will be a safe place to boost your confidence through knowledge as you prepare to take your manuscript out into the world.
Writing and Illustrating Children's Books
In this workshop, we will explore the art of writing children’s picture books. We will generate new ideas and characters and explore timeless themes through in-class writing exercises. We’ll look at concept-books, fiction and non-fiction picture books. Through examples, we’ll hear and see the beauty of mirrored beginnings and endings, as well as the strength of repeated phrases. Together, we will read selected book(s) and map out story arcs that may appear simple and yet are the essential structure that holds a picture book together. We will also analyze picture book(s), a practice that will offer a deeper understanding of what makes a book successful as well as important take-aways for your own writing and story development. I will also walk you through the process of writing and illustrating one of my picture books – from rough manuscript, to submission to an agent or publisher, to the final printed book. In addition, I will share on-line resources I’ve collected for writing, editing and publishing picture books. If time allows, together we will workshop a student’s early idea or draft, as a collective learning experience. Bring a journal and lots of energy!