2017 High School Writers’ Conference

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July 9-15, 2017
Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA

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Since 1974, Centrum’s high-school writing workshops have been at the center of creative-writing education in the Pacific Northwest. Nearly all working writers in the Puget Sound area and beyond point to early inspiration and craft instruction at Centrum as foundational experiences to their writing lives.

Centrum’s 2017 High-School Writers’ Conference brings ardent student writers together with acclaimed faculty for a week of immersion, inspiration, and instruction in creative writing.

Core morning workshops, afternoon workshops in special topics, guided freewrites, open-mike sessions, a vibrant readings and lectures series, and guided outdoor time and space designed for rest and relaxation helps to round out this essential experience for high-school writers.

Whether a student is seeking an environment to create new work, looking for revision workshops for works-in-progress, or simply wants to renew and recharge in the creative life, Centrum’s 2017 High-School Writers’ Conference offers the craft and connections to make artistic breakthroughs. Classes are taught by contemporary writers who are also great teachers of writing.

Core morning workshops put students together in a small class of twelve with one core faculty member in fiction or poetry. Class sessions happen from Monday through Friday. The Conference’s afternoon-workshop offerings in special topics are guided by by visiting writers and editors in-residence.

Who Should Attend

The Centrum High-School Writers’ Conference is open to students who will be entering grades 9-12 in Fall 2017 at all levels of writing experience–from beginner to advanced–as well as seniors who have just graduated and are seeking an intensive creative-writing experience.

Location

Centrum is located at Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA. Perched on the Northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, Fort Worden offers 450 acres of sandy beaches, wooded hills, wetlands, and a historic campus, with stunning views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic and Cascade ranges. Renovated Fort buildings, including classrooms, dormitories, performance and studio spaces, serve as students’ homes during their time at Centrum. Dorm wings are supervised by experienced dorm counselors.

Cost

Tuition, room and board for the week ranges from $700 to $1,400 per participant. Scholarships are available. Scholarship notifications on a rolling basis, within three weeks of your application!

 

THE DAILY SCHEDULE

Workshops and lectures take place at the Schoolhouse building; meals take place at the Fort Worden Commons; evening gatherings happen in the Seminar Building.

Sunday, July 9
3:30-5:30—Check-in and welcome gathering outside the Centrum office building.
5:30-6:15—Dinner
7:00—Orientation and introductions
8:00—Reading by Alexandra Teague

Monday, July 10
8:15-8:45—Breakfast
9-11:30—Morning Workshops
Alexandra Teague (Room F)
Sam Ligon (Room D)
Gary Copeland Lilley (Room H)
11:45-12:30—Lunch
1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Gary Copeland Lilley
2-3:30 pm—Afternoon Workshops
Heather McRae-Woolf (Room F)
Kate Lebo (Room A)
Dawn Pichon Barron (Room D)
Elizabeth Thorpe (Room H)
3:30-5:30 pm—Free time or optional friendly afternoon games in the sunshine
5:30-6:15—Dinner
7:00—Readings by Dawn Pichon Barron and Kate Lebo
7:30—Evening Gathering and Open-Mike

Tuesday, July 11
8:15-8:45—Breakfast
9-11:30—Morning Workshops
Alexandra Teague (Room F)
Sam Ligon (Room D)
Gary Copeland Lilley (Room H)
11:45-12:30—Lunch
1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Kate Lebo
2-3:30 pm—Afternoon Workshops
Heather McRae-Woolf (Room F)
Kate Lebo (Room A)
Dawn Pichon Barron (Room D)
Elizabeth Thorpe (Room H)
3:30-5:30 pm—Free time or optional friendly afternoon games in the sunshine
5:30-6:15—Dinner
7:00—Readings by Gary Copeland Lilley and Katherine Charters
7:30—Evening Gathering and Open-Mike

Wednesday, July 12
8:15-8:45—Breakfast
9-11:30—Morning Workshops
Alexandra Teague (Room F)
Sam Ligon (Room D)
Gary Copeland Lilley (Room H)
11:45-12:30—Lunch
1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Alexandra Teague
2-3:30 pm—Afternoon Workshops
Heather McRae-Woolf (Room F)
Kate Lebo (Room A)
Dawn Pichon Barron (Room D)
Elizabeth Thorpe (Room H)
3:30-5:30 pm—Free time or optional friendly afternoon games in the sunshine
5:30-6:15—Dinner
7:00—Readings by Heather McRae-Woolf and Sam Ligon
7:30—Evening Gathering and Open-Mike

Thursday, July 13
8:15-8:45—Breakfast
9-11:30—Morning Workshops
Alexandra Teague (Room F)
Sam Ligon (Room D)
Gary Copeland Lilley (Room H)
11:45-12:30—Lunch
1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Sam Ligon
2-3:30 pm—Afternoon Workshops
Heather McRae-Woolf (Room F)
Kate Lebo (Room A)
Dawn Pichon Barron (Room D)
Elizabeth Thorpe (Room H)
3:30-5:30 pm—Free time or optional friendly afternoon games in the sunshine
5:30-6:15—Dinner
7:00—Readings by Elizabeth Thorpe and Eric Greenwell
7:30—Evening Gathering and Open-Mike

Friday, July 14
8:15-8:45—Breakfast
9-11:30—Morning Workshops
Alexandra Teague (Room F)
Sam Ligon (Room D)
Gary Copeland Lilley (Room H)
11:45-12:30—Lunch
1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Eric Greenwell
2—5:30 Free time or optional friendly afternoon whiffleball
5:30-6:15—Dinner
7:00—Bonfire and Open Mike 

Saturday, July 15
8:15-8:45—Breakfast
Dorm check out by 11:00 am

 


Core Morning Faculty

Alexandra-TeagueAlexandra Teague 
“Next Year’s Words Await Another Voice”: Finding Each Poem’s Voice 

Poets are often concerned with finding their authentic or resonant voice, and this workshop will help you explore how voice works on the level of individual poems—the ways in which you can hone what Mark Doty, in The Art of Description, calls the “voiceprint” or “mind at work” within each poem. Through close reading of a range of poems—by Patricia Smith, Natalie Diaz, Laura Kasischke, Terrance Hayes, and others—and through writing exercises and workshopping, you’ll explore ways to bring your poems into conversation with other poets’ work and learn from their control of voice. You’ll also explore incorporating other voices into your poems—whether through outright persona or borrowed speech. Rather than finding a voice, this workshop offers the premise that the more valuable work is learning to find and shape the voice that—to borrow a line from T.S. Eliot—each poem’s or subject’s “words await.”

Alexandra Teague was born in Fort Worth, Texas, grew up in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and has since lived in Missouri, Montana, Florida (where she earned her MFA at the University of Florida), Hawaii, California, and Idaho. Her first book of poetry, Mortal Geography, (Persea 2010) won the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and the 2010 California Book Award. Her second book, The Wise and Foolish Builders, was published by Persea in April 2015. Her first novel, The Principles Behind Flotation, is forthcoming from Skyhorse in March 2017. Her poetry has also appeared in anthologies including Best American Poetry 2009 and New California Writing 2012 and 2013, as well as journals including The Missouri Review, New England Review, Threepenny Review, and The Southern Review. A  2006-2008 Stegner Fellow at Stanford, a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, and winner of the 2014 Jeffrey E. Smith Missouri Review Editors’ Prize, she is Associate Professor of Poetry at University of Idaho, faculty advisor for Fugue, and an editor for Broadsided Press. 

 

Sam Ligon
“Flash-fiction Boot Camp”

In the anthology Sudden Fiction, Robert Kelly refers to short-short fiction as “the insidious, sudden, alarming, stabbing, tantalizing, annihilating form… neither poetic prose nor prosy verse, but the energy and clarity typical of prose coincident in the scope and rhythm of the poem.” In the same anthology, Joyce Carol Oates writes that “[v]ery short fictions are nearly always experimental, exquisitely calibrated, reminiscent of Frost’s definition of a poem—a structure of words that consumes itself as it unfolds, like ice melting on a stove.” Very short fictions tend to rely on surprise, a hard turn at the end. They’re often elliptical or fragmented, shaped by tone and shadow. In this workshop, we’ll be exploring compression and limitation, evocation and implication, formal constraint and what might arise from line pressure and narrative restriction. We’ll  immerse ourselves in a fever of flash fiction reading and writing, composing and workshopping three short-short stories—an intensive in the annihilating form.

Samuel Ligon is the Artistic Director of the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference. He’s the author of two novels—Among the Dead and Dreaming and Safe in Heaven Dead—and two collections of stories, Wonderland, illustrated by Stephen Knezovich, and Drift and Swerve. His stories have appeared in Prairie Schooner, New England Review, New Ohio Review, Gulf Coast, and Okey-Panky, among other places, and his essays appear in The Inlander. Ligon edits the journal Willow Springs and teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane.

 

Gary Copeland LilleyGary Copeland Lilley
“The Word Written and Spoken”

Doesn’t a poet always have something to say? Isn’t that the prerequisite for writing? Yes, they do, and yes it is. Creating that credible voice, the spoken poem, is the goal. We will close-read selections from The Break Beat Poets, listen to spoken word performances from the young poets of Brave New Voices and such, to create that reflect the concerns and rhythms of young people. Think of the prose poem, personas, and the dramatic monologue as structures to deliver the word. We will shape and revise spoken word pieces which ring truths on the page and in the ear. Word!

Gary Copeland Lilley is the author of four poetry collections: Alpha Zulu (Ausable Press, 2008), Black Poem (Hollyridge Press, 2005), The Reprehensibles (Fractal Edge Press, 2004), and The Subsequent Blues (Four Way Books, 2004). He teaches workshops globally.

 

Support for Centrum’s High School Writers’ Conference is provided by:

  

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