Port Townsend Writers’ Conference Schedule and Afternoon Workshops

Faculty readings take place at the Joseph F. Wheeler Theater; workshops and lectures take place at the Schoolhouse building; meals take place at the Fort Worden Commons.

 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

3:30-5:30—Check-in outside the Centrum office building

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Orientation and welcome gathering at Building 262

 

Friday, July 10, 2015

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-10:30—Morning Exercises

  • Ellie Mathews (Room I)

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room H)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Erin Belieu

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
    “Writing the Short-Short”
    In Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time,” the narrator discusses a tyranny of rhyme forcing poets into some of their greatest lines. But prose writers have less experience with formal constraints, like rhyme, to put pressure on lines and as a means to consider form in general. In this class, we’ll examine the form of the short-short story, how it often works (and doesn’t), as well as how formal constraint can change the way we approach line and story. Because there’s so little space in a short-short, evocative outlines, shadows, implication, and suggestion hover at the edges. Short-shorts tend to rely on surprise, a hard, tight turn at the end. They can feel elliptical or fragmented, and are not always concerned with depth and complexity of character as much as with emotional gravity within a moment. Lydia Davis calls the short-short “a nervous form of story.” Charles Baxter says the short-short needs “surprise, a quick turning of the wrist toward texture, something suddenly broken or quickly repaired.” Mark Strand says, “Its end is erasure.”
  • Ellie Mathews (Room F)
    “Memoir: Finding the Heart of Your Story”
    Reporting on things that have happened to us may not be enough to hold a reader’s interest. Telling about what we have become as the result of those things happening is what makes a story. But where to start? Given that our lives are continuums (and often untidy and full of loose threads) the memoirist must learn to tease out a beginning, middle and end to create the bones of a narrative. Through example and discussion we will focus on exactly that.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Open-Mike (Building 262)

 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

8-9—Morning freewrite (Building 262)

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-10:30—Morning Exercises

  • Ellie Mathews (Room I)

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room H)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Tom Aslin: “Tapping Into the Subconscious—the Sound and the Rhythm: The Emotional Honesty in the Poetry of Richard Hugo and His Teaching”

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
    “A Close Reading of Alice Munro’s Short Story ‘Runaway’”
    In Alice Munro’s “Runaway,” Mrs. Jamieson writes to Carla that “when two human beings divided by hostility are both, at the same time, mystified—no, frightened—by the same apparition, there is a bond that springs up between them, and they find themselves united in the most unexpected way. United in their humanity” Mrs. Jamieson doesn’t realize that Carla is soon going to discover an erosion of humanity, “little dirty bones in the grass. The skull with perhaps some shreds of bloodied skin clinging to it. A skull that she could hold like a teacup in one hand.” In our close reading of this narrative of control and escape, we’ll approach a finished story as writers, examining craft, style, and technique, the elements of fiction. We’ll consider choices the writer made and how those choices served to shape, limit, and inform the writing. Rather than reading from any theoretical point of view, we’ll read as practitioners trying to understand how a story was put together, and, by extension, how fiction is, has been, or might be made. Our approach should be guided by a struggle to see beyond what the story is, leading us to an examination of how the story was made. You’ll need to read “Runaway” before class—copies will be available at the coffee table in the schoolhouse—and be prepared for discussion.
  • Christopher Clow (Room I)
    “How To Write a Contemporary War Story”
    Writers have engaged war in many different ways, dating back to the Illiad. War as hell. War as glory. War as farce. War as a personal journey. Every war leaves its mark on the generations who lived through it, and live in the world shaped by it, and the recent American wars in the greater Middle East are no exception. In this class, we will look at readings from Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds, Hassan Blasim’s The Corpse Exhibition, David Abrams’ Fobbit, and Joydeep Roy-Battacharya’s The Watch, to see how fiction writers have integrated authentic details from all sides of the conflict to create an authentic feel for their work.
  • DD Wigley (Room F)
    “Playwriting 101”
    A story told on a stage is unlike any other written form. A play is the starting point of a collaborative creative process; if it reaches its desired ending point, it is not just read or heard, but embodied. A play is immediate and instinctive. This workshop offers an opportunity to try your mind and hand at playwriting. We will each write our own one act play – during class! After a brief discussion of some key considerations in writing stories for the stage, you will determine your main characters, choose between two settings, and begin writing from a guided, timed series of prompts. One hour later, you’ll have a short one act play in four scenes, and a working title, too. Hopefully, if enough of us are interested, we will meet another time TBD to hear our plays read aloud, by each other or by local Port Townsend actors.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Open-Mike (Building 262)

 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

8:45-3:30—Free day

3:30-5:30—Check-in and welcome gathering outside the Centrum office building

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Orientation at the Joseph F. Wheeler Theater

7:15—Reading by Gary Copeland Lilley

8:30—Wine and conversation. Join us! (Building 262)

 

Monday, July 13, 2015

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-10:30—Morning Exercises

  • Ellie Mathews (Room I)

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room H)
  • Skip Horack (Room I)
  • Lisa Norris (Room N)
  • Luis Urrea (Room K)
  • Joseph Stroud (Room M)
  • Pam Houston (Room O)
  • Claire Davis (Room L)
  • Jimmy Kimbrell (Room C)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Kim Addonizio
1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Skip Horack

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
    “Circular Conflict in Fiction—the Conflict That Keeps Giving”
    In an interview with Willow Springs, Tess Gallagher quoted Raymond Carver as saying: “If there’s nothing going wrong, there’s no story.” We know that conflict drives fiction, but some conflicts shape story and characters more than others. Some conflicts preclude the possibility of a right answer or action, meaning characters will have a deepening problem no matter how they respond to the situation at hand. In this class, we’ll look at circular conflicts in two stories, Larry Brown’s “Facing the Music,” and Tobias Wolff’s “Say Yes,” paying particular attention to how the conflicts feed themselves and gain momentum as the stories unfold, not only creating tension and shape for the stories, but also revealing characters in significant depth and complexity.
  • Judith Glass Collins (Wheeler Theater)
    “Capturing the Dialogue and Finding the Action: Beginning a Play”
    Plays require a setting, characters, and conflict to set the stage. Through dialogue and action, the story comes to life. In this workshop, several exercises will be introduced to spark the imagination into finding (or developing) two characters, putting those characters into a setting, and creating a struggle between them. Dialogue will be developed through simple role-playing exercises. Each character will have a goal that he/she tries to achieve and obstacles to overcome. Simple actions will be introduced that enhance the drama of the scene. By the end of the afternoon session, each participant will have at least one scene. Time permitting, participants may hear their scenes read by others in the group. The emphasis will be on hearing the scenes and not on critiquing them. The goal is to begin a play, and be inspired to finish it.
  • Tom Miller (Room M)
    “Travel Writing”
    We’ll discuss: The false notion that there are no unwritten-about places. How to write an essay without once using Google. That elegant travel writing can be about economics, sports, music, or botany, as long as it’s grounded in a sense of place. That subtext is more important than text. Further topics: Breaking through the fear of offending. How to be a carnivorous writer. The first-person silent. Finally: Our favorite travel writers and why they are. Locales that lend themselves to being written about. Words to avoid (quaint, nestled, colorful). Words to use (absolute, curious, ice-cream). And we’ll consider our own writing.
  • Tom Aslin (Room J)
    “Writing the Villanelle”
    The villanelle, a French form, is comprised of 5 three-line stanzas and a quatrain. The first stanza reveals two refrains that are repeated, in some fashion, through-out the rest of the poem. Even a strict rhyme scheme can be imposed. Principally we have known the villanelle through English through the efforts of E.A. Robinson, Dylan Thomas, Theodore Roethke, and more recently through Elizabeth Bishop and others. We will look at several of poems from these folks along with examples by David Wagoner, Joan Swift, Stanley Plumly and others. Strategies for writing one, along with theories of what might work, and my own prejudices will be discussed. The object, in part, is to let the pressure of complying to an arbitrary form help you write a good poem, possibly your best yet. Your own attempts will come after you leave this class, though I hope our discussion and the poems we read will allow you to write a poem or a draft of a poem toward the end of class. With this in mind an in-class assignment will be given, in a fashion of that was favored by Roethke and Hugo in their workshops.
  • Maya Zeller (Room L)
    “That Rank Flavor of Blood: Animals in the Poetry By Which We Live”
    In his seven-part poem, “The Bear,” Galway Kinnell’s speaker sets forth “on the bear tracks” with “the chilly, enduring odor of bear” guiding him. In Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s “Song,” it is severed head of a goat that sings. Horses haunt the poems of James Wright and Sara Eliza Johnson, leading us among and between the living and the dead. Sheep, chickens, ravens, fish, bees, whales: what is it about the animal that so compels us? Does the animal show us what it means to be human, or what it means to be animal? In this generative workshop, we’ll read work that engages with “the animal,” and we’ll compose lines full of specific creatures. You will write two new poems.

3:30-5:15—Exploring Fort Worden. Meet at the Schoolhouse steps

  • Wendy Call
    “Sensing Place”
    When your writing has a “sense of place,” what exactly does it have? We will trace the concept of “sense of place” back more than two centuries, drawing on the ideas of anthropologists, architects, geologists, sociologists, and theologians. With stories of the  “Cistern Chapel” as our backdrop, we’ll explore the role of sensory detail in creating a sense of place. Writing exercises will harness our corporeal senses to the practice of place-making on the page. Note: this workshop involves a hike up the hill!

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Lisa Norris; Pam Houston

9:00—The Nine O’Clock Open-Mike Readings (Building 262)

 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-10:30—Morning Exercises

  • Ellie Mathews (Room I)

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room H)
  • Skip Horack (Room I)
  • Lisa Norris (Room N)
  • Luis Urrea (Room K)
  • Joseph Stroud (Room M)
  • Pam Houston (Room O)
  • Claire Davis (Room L)
  • Jimmy Kimbrell (Room C)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Lisa Norris
1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Sam Ligon

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Richard Widerkehr (Room I)
    “Poetic Diction: Words You Can Fit in a Wheel Barrrow, Words You Can’t”
    Our choice of words—slang or formal, concrete or abstract, plain or figurative—can be a way into talking about voice, audience, and poetic temperament.  Using some examples of contemporary and past poems, we’ll discuss mixing high and low diction, making leaps, and living at one end of the spectrum or the other. We’ll do some in-class writing from prompts.
  • Tom Miller (Room M)
    “Travel Writing”
    We’ll discuss: The false notion that there are no unwritten-about places. How to write an essay without once using Google. That elegant travel writing can be about economics, sports, music, or botany, as long as it’s grounded in a sense of place. That subtext is more important than text. Further topics: Breaking through the fear of offending. How to be a carnivorous writer. The first-person silent. Finally: Our favorite travel writers and why they are. Locales that lend themselves to being written about. Words to avoid (quaint, nestled, colorful). Words to use (absolute, curious, ice-cream). And we’ll consider our own writing.
  • Tom Aslin (Room K)
    “Writing the Villanelle”
    The villanelle, a French form, is comprised of 5 three-line stanzas and a quatrain. The first stanza reveals two refrains that are repeated, in some fashion, through-out the rest of the poem. Even a strict rhyme scheme can be imposed. Principally we have known the villanelle through English through the efforts of E.A. Robinson, Dylan Thomas, Theodore Roethke, and more recently through Elizabeth Bishop and others. We will look at several of poems from these folks along with examples by David Wagoner, Joan Swift, Stanley Plumly and others. Strategies for writing one, along with theories of what might work, and my own prejudices will be discussed. The object, in part, is to let the pressure of complying to an arbitrary form help you write a good poem, possibly your best yet. Your own attempts will come after you leave this class, though I hope our discussion and the poems we read will allow you to write a poem or a draft of a poem toward the end of class. With this in mind an in-class assignment will be given, in a fashion of that was favored by Roethke and Hugo in their workshops.
  • Maya Zeller (Room O)
    “That Rank Flavor of Blood: Animals in the Poetry By Which We Live”
    In his seven-part poem, “The Bear,” Galway Kinnell’s speaker sets forth “on the bear tracks” with “the chilly, enduring odor of bear” guiding him. In Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s “Song,” it is severed head of a goat that sings. Horses haunt the poems of James Wright and Sara Eliza Johnson, leading us among and between the living and the dead. Sheep, chickens, ravens, fish, bees, whales: what is it about the animal that so compels us? Does the animal show us what it means to be human, or what it means to be animal? In this generative workshop, we’ll read work that engages with “the animal,” and we’ll compose lines full of specific creatures. You will write two new poems.
  • S. Erin Batiste (Room J)
    “To Be Young, Gifted, And Black—Writing Women and Race in Theater”
    What does it mean to write woman, race, and other in theater? In this workshop we will look at examples of how black American women deal with bringing common themes, issues, struggles, and celebrations from the page onto the stage. We will take away narrative styles and dramatic devices that we can all use in our work. We will also leave with the understanding that while time, race, and gender can help inform and illustrate—literature is the common language where we can all pull up a seat and engage. Readings include Ntozake Shange; Lorraine Hansberry, for whom the workshop is titled after; Lynn Nottage; and Suzan-Lori Parks; along with a specially themed outfit styled by S. Erin Batiste. All are welcome.
  • Nina Mukerjee Furstenau (Room L)
    “A Likely Story: Fun-With-Food Workshop”
    For almost all people, food is journey to identity. More than sustenance, food holds memory, desire, reward from frustration, and link to place; food can represent how we live and who we are; food holds story. In this workshop, shirtsleeves are rolled up and elbows are on the table as you find your place in this rich, diverse field of writing. We will take a look at what is evocative and engages readers. You will shape your piece by answering the burning question, “why are you telling me this,” with work that is situated within the wider culture. Note to students: I didn’t start out to be a food writer, I wanted to write about culture and about the boundaries of culture. What I found was that often these invisible lines were met and crossed over the dinner table, at the farmer’s field, and in the kitchen. Now, I read a recipe and see great expanses of land, cultivars of grain and vegetable, stunning lengths of history, and someone who feeds me, the dance behind the routine of cooking, the pop of memory, and the sizzle of love. Food is my tether to heritage. Find out how it is yours, too.
  • DD Wigley (Room F)
    “Playwriting 101”
    A story told on a stage is unlike any other written form. A play is the starting point of a collaborative creative process; if it reaches its desired ending point, it is not just read or heard, but embodied. A play is immediate and instinctive. This workshop offers an opportunity to try your mind and hand at playwriting. We will each write our own one act play – during class! After a brief discussion of some key considerations in writing stories for the stage, you will determine your main characters, choose between two settings, and begin writing from a guided, timed series of prompts. One hour later, you’ll have a short one act play in four scenes, and a working title, too. Hopefully, if enough of us are interested, we will meet another time TBD to hear our plays read aloud, by each other or by local Port Townsend actors.

3:30-5:15—Exploring Fort Worden. Meet at the Schoolhouse steps

  • Wendy Call
    “Place and Memory”
    When your writing has a “sense of place,” what exactly does it have? We will explore the site-specific poetry-sculpture installation “Memory’s Vault.” Then we’ll explore how place makes memory and memory makes place, using a series of writing prompts to unlock memories of long-ago places. Note: this workshop involves a hike up the hill!

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Skip Horack; Luis Urrea

9:00—The Nine O’Clock Open-Mike Readings (Building 262)

 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-10:30—Morning Exercises

  • Ellie Mathews (Room I)

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room H)
  • Skip Horack (Room I)
  • Lisa Norris (Room N)
  • Luis Urrea (Room K)
  • Joseph Stroud (Room M)
  • Pam Houston (Room O)
  • Claire Davis (Room L)
  • Jimmy Kimbrell (Room C)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Gary Copeland Lilley
1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Tom Miller

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
    “Who’s Story is This?”
    Fiction workshops can further our critical and creative development as writers, but they can also stunt our growth if we allow them to limit our consideration of what fiction is or might be. Legitimate critical workshop questions can begin to distort and disfigure the way we think about fiction if they become the only lens through which we consider a story—What’s at stake? Why now? Whose story is this?—because some stories operate outside the bounds of these questions. Sometimes in workshops, we’ll hear accusations of point of view “violations,” as though shifts in perspective must follow rules established very early in a story. In this class, we’ll read and discuss stories that play with shifting perspectives, Dan Leone’s “The Weather” and Raymond Carver’s “Why Don’t You Dance,”  as a means of examining how POV rules can lead to discovery and limitation regarding the kinds of stories we write.
  • Judith Glass Collins (Wheeler Theater)
    “Capturing the Dialogue and Finding the Action: Beginning a Play”
    Plays require a setting, characters, and conflict to set the stage. Through dialogue and action, the story comes to life. In this workshop, several exercises will be introduced to spark the imagination into finding (or developing) two characters, putting those characters into a setting, and creating a struggle between them. Dialogue will be developed through simple role-playing exercises. Each character will have a goal that he/she tries to achieve and obstacles to overcome. Simple actions will be introduced that enhance the drama of the scene. By the end of the afternoon session, each participant will have at least one scene. Time permitting, participants may hear their scenes read by others in the group. The emphasis will be on hearing the scenes and not on critiquing them. The goal is to begin a play, and be inspired to finish it.
  • Tom Miller (Room L)
    “Travel Writing”
    We’ll discuss: The false notion that there are no unwritten-about places. How to write an essay without once using Google. That elegant travel writing can be about economics, sports, music, or botany, as long as it’s grounded in a sense of place. That subtext is more important than text. Further topics: Breaking through the fear of offending. How to be a carnivorous writer. The first-person silent. Finally: Our favorite travel writers and why they are. Locales that lend themselves to being written about. Words to avoid (quaint, nestled, colorful). Words to use (absolute, curious, ice-cream). And we’ll consider our own writing.
  • Tom Aslin (Room O)
    “Writing the Sestina”
    Writing a sestina is more demanding than it might seem. Of Medieval origin it is a thirty-nine line poem, which has six six-line stanzas before ending with a three-line stanza. The six end words of the first stanza are used again in all the succeeding stanzas but in different order, though always at the end of the line. All six are used again in the last (three-line) stanza. We will use ONE poem as a template. We will discuss strategies that can keep this kind of poem from becoming bland or patently silly. As with the villanelle, you most likely won’t be able to write even a rough draft of a poem in this form in the time we have, so another assignment, an in-class writing assignment, will be offered. We will look at examples of sestinas by poets as varied as Bishop, Justice, Plumly, Walter Pavlich, and Deborah Digges.
  • Maya Zeller (Room K)
    “How Can You Not Want Me: Direct Address, Metaphor, and the Natural World”
    How can we honor the complexity of the natural image? How can the natural image inform our art? And what voice should the poem assume? In Melissa Kwasny’s “Tobacco,” the plant speaks to us, asking “How can you not want me?” In Sappho’s fragment 105 (a), the human speaks: “You: an Achilles’ apple/ blushing sweet on a high branch.” In H.D.’s “Oread,” an indeterminate voice addresses the sea–or forest– as if it can hear and act upon commands (“whirl up, sea–whirl your pointed pines”). In Dorianne Laux’s “A Short History of the Apple,” the fruit becomes the vehicle of a textured and varied metaphor addressing a variety of tenors. In this class, we’ll engage specific, local examples of the natural world (of Fort Worden: madrona, sweet pea, North Beach, salal), getting to know them beyond their mere names and visual images, and we’ll decide whether the natural image is the speaker, the listener, or a third party. You will generate at least one new poem.
  • Patty Cogen and Marcia Perlstein (Room F)
    “Journal Writing as Self Therapy”
    Journaling is popular form of self discovery. It provides a safe space to mine one’s rich inner life. To aid and abet this process we will use prompts, questions and copious handouts. Join us in this afternoon journey to discover new perspectives on knotty issues as well as unsuspected triumphs.
  • Ellie Mathews (Room M)
    “Memoir: The Narrator in Your Mirror”
    Memoir is not fiction, but it often reads like a novel—with you playing the starring role. Name in lights! You’ll want your readers to be cheering for you, which necessitates writing yourself as a believable, sympathetic, three-dimensional character while telling the truth and revealing enough of yourself for the reader to feel engaged and involved with you are. Considerations of privacy and vulnerability will be discussed.
  • Laura Read (Room N)
    “My Name is Inigo Montoya: Writing the Poem of Revenge”
    In the work of Sharon Olds and Tony Hoagland, the speakers are often seeking revenge against an ex-lover or family member, which serves as the springboard into the poem. As the poem unfolds, the tone often shifts from anger to epiphany. In the work of Irish poet Eavan Boland, we see revenge from a broader viewpoint: the speaker seeks revenge for crimes done against her country throughout history. In this workshop, we will study several “revenge” poems in which the speakers explore their anger at individuals in their lives and also at culture and history.  Then we will locate a specific moment in our personal history, and one in our cultural history, and rewrite those moments as revenge poems, poems that begin in anger but end with the speaker discovering his or her own complicity.

3:30-5:15—Exploring Fort Worden. Meet at the Schoolhouse steps

  • Wendy Call
    “Living in Place”
    When your writing has a “sense of place,” what exactly does it have? We will trace the concept of “sense of place” back more than two centuries, drawing on the ideas of anthropologists, architects, geologists, sociologists, and theologians.Inspired by the beach and the Marine Science Center, we will delve into the deep meaning of landscape: How people (re)create place and how place (re)creates people. We’ll use careful observation to develop dialogue and strong characterization. Note: this workshop involves a hike down to the beach/Marine Science Center!

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Participant Readings downtown at the Northwind Arts Center and in Building 262

9:00—The Nine O’Clock Open-Mike Readings (Building 262)

 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-10:30—Morning Exercises

  • Ellie Mathews (Room I)

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room H)
  • Skip Horack (Room I)
  • Lisa Norris (Room N)
  • Luis Urrea (Room K)
  • Joseph Stroud (Room M)
  • Pam Houston (Room O)
  • Claire Davis (Room L)
  • Jimmy Kimbrell (Room C)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Tom Aslin: “The Maturation of a Great Poet: The Threading and Rethreading of the Needle in the Poems of Stanley Plumly”
1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Luis Urrea

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Allison Green (Room I)
    “Travel Memoir: Take Your Readers on a Journey”
    Whether your travels have taken you to the fjords of Norway or the brewpubs of Portland, you have taken a journey that can be fascinating for readers. The trick is to engage them on all levels: with description, emotional urgency, and thematic resonance. We’ll look at how these levels operate in some well-known travel memoirs, and you’ll map the ways you might address these levels in an essay or book about a trip you’ve taken.
  • Tom Miller (Room M)
    “Travel Writing”
    We’ll discuss: The false notion that there are no unwritten-about places. How to write an essay without once using Google. That elegant travel writing can be about economics, sports, music, or botany, as long as it’s grounded in a sense of place. That subtext is more important than text. Further topics: Breaking through the fear of offending. How to be a carnivorous writer. The first-person silent. Finally: Our favorite travel writers and why they are. Locales that lend themselves to being written about. Words to avoid (quaint, nestled, colorful). Words to use (absolute, curious, ice-cream). And we’ll consider our own writing.
  • Wendy Call (Room L)
    “Mapping Your Place”
    We’ll explore maps of Fort Worden old and new, each creating our own map of this place. Whether it’s your first visit to this peninsula we now call “Fort Worden” or your hundredth, come and explore what this place means to you—and what you mean to it. Our writing exercises will be inspired by maps that we create together.
  • Tom Aslin (Room J)
    “Techniques of Richard Hugo”
    In “Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg” Richard Hugo writes: Say your life broke down. The last good kiss / you had was years ago. And later adds: The old man, twenty / when the jail was built, still laughs / although his lips collapse. Then famously says: Someday soon, / he says, I’ll go to sleep and not wake up. / You tell him no. You’re talking to yourself. We will examine a number of poems by Hugo as well as his rhythms, his unique use of 2nd person, and what seem to be obvious truths (in the work) that are a mix of fact and fiction yoked to his unique, emotional honesty, to his syntactical inversions and hard-driving rhythms. During class we will write our own poems, letting Hugo’s obsessions and obsessive ear be a guiding force as we tap into are own sounds and rhythms. Hugo liked to warn poets that if you make your music conform to truth you are making the writing of a good poem more difficult. He encourages us to write instead with this in mind: “…all truth must conform to music (The Triggering Town, p.3).
  • Maya Zeller (Room N)
    “How Can You Not Want Me: Direct Address, Metaphor, and the Natural World”
    How can we honor the complexity of the natural image? How can the natural image inform our art? And what voice should the poem assume? In Melissa Kwasny’s “Tobacco,” the plant speaks to us, asking “How can you not want me?” In Sappho’s fragment 105 (a), the human speaks: “You: an Achilles’ apple/ blushing sweet on a high branch.” In H.D.’s “Oread,” an indeterminate voice addresses the sea–or forest– as if it can hear and act upon commands (“whirl up, sea–whirl your pointed pines”). In Dorianne Laux’s “A Short History of the Apple,” the fruit becomes the vehicle of a textured and varied metaphor addressing a variety of tenors. In this class, we’ll engage specific, local examples of the natural world (of Fort Worden: madrona, sweet pea, North Beach, salal), getting to know them beyond their mere names and visual images, and we’ll decide whether the natural image is the speaker, the listener, or a third party. You will generate at least one new poem.
  • S. Erin Batiste (Room F)
    “To Be Young, Gifted, And Black—Writing Women and Race in Theater”
    What does it mean to write woman, race, and other in theater? In this workshop we will look at examples of how black American women deal with bringing common themes, issues, struggles, and celebrations from the page onto the stage. We will take away narrative styles and dramatic devices that we can all use in our work. We will also leave with the understanding that while time, race, and gender can help inform and illustrate—literature is the common language where we can all pull up a seat and engage. Readings include Ntozake Shange; Lorraine Hansberry, for whom the workshop is titled after; Lynn Nottage; and Suzan-Lori Parks; along with a specially themed outfit styled by S. Erin Batiste. All are welcome.
  • DD Wigley (Room H)
    “Playwriting 201”
    Maybe you have a short work – of fiction, nonfiction, even poetry – and you’ve wondered if the story might be better served in performance. Maybe you even have a play already written. But maybe you don’t know much about the mechanics, the nuts and bolts, of writing for the stage, much less of scripts. This workshop may answer some of your questions. We will discuss what should and should not be in a script, what does and does not work onstage, and what piques the interest of theatre directors and artistic staff. We’ll also look at actual scripts, and consider how to adapt a story in another form to a play format. If time allows, we’ll finish by writing a scene from an interesting and provocative prompt.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Claire Davis; Kim Addonizio

9:00—The Nine O’Clock Open-Mike Readings (Building 262)

 

Friday, July 17, 2015

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-10:30—Morning Exercises

  • Ellie Mathews (Room I)

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room H)
  • Skip Horack (Room I)
  • Lisa Norris (Room N)
  • Luis Urrea (Room K)
  • Joseph Stroud (Room M)
  • Pam Houston (Room O)
  • Claire Davis (Room L)
  • Jimmy Kimbrell (Room C)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Joseph Stroud
1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Pam Houston

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
    “A Close Reading of James Baldwin’s Story ‘Sonny’s Blues’”
    Near the end of James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues,” our narrator realizes that “while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.” In our close reading of this tale of suffering and triumph, alienation and connection, we’ll be approaching a finished story as writers, examining craft, style, and technique, the elements of fiction. We’ll consider choices the writer made and how those choices served to shape, limit, and inform the writing. Rather than reading from any theoretical point of view, we’ll read as practitioners trying to understand how a story was put together, and, by extension, how fiction is, has been, or might be made. Our approach should be guided by a struggle to see beyond what the story is, leading us, instead, to an examination of how the story was made. You’ll need to read “Sonny’s Blues” before class—copies of which will be available at the coffee table in the schoolhouse—and be prepared for discussion.
  • Judith Glass Collins (Wheeler Theater)
    “Capturing the Dialogue and Finding the Action: Beginning a Play”
    Plays require a setting, characters, and conflict to set the stage. Through dialogue and action, the story comes to life. In this workshop, several exercises will be introduced to spark the imagination into finding (or developing) two characters, putting those characters into a setting, and creating a struggle between them. Dialogue will be developed through simple role-playing exercises. Each character will have a goal that he/she tries to achieve and obstacles to overcome. Simple actions will be introduced that enhance the drama of the scene. By the end of the afternoon session, each participant will have at least one scene. Time permitting, participants may hear their scenes read by others in the group. The emphasis will be on hearing the scenes and not on critiquing them. The goal is to begin a play, and be inspired to finish it.
  • Tom Miller (Room L)
    “Travel Writing”
    We’ll discuss: The false notion that there are no unwritten-about places. How to write an essay without once using Google. That elegant travel writing can be about economics, sports, music, or botany, as long as it’s grounded in a sense of place. That subtext is more important than text. Further topics: Breaking through the fear of offending. How to be a carnivorous writer. The first-person silent. Finally: Our favorite travel writers and why they are. Locales that lend themselves to being written about. Words to avoid (quaint, nestled, colorful). Words to use (absolute, curious, ice-cream). And we’ll consider our own writing.
  • Tom Aslin (Room K)
    “Techniques of Raymond Carver”
    There is nuance to be found in Raymond Carver’s poems and small surprises, even in poems that appear plain spoken or on the surface simple. We should be careful where we step here. It took a sophisticated mind to make such writing seem so simple. Many poems show a shadowy, and at times, threatening side to a life. Others are celebratory, even in the face of dire circumstances, in the face of his and our shared mortality. In one poem Carver writes, Someone must do something but the speaker reaches for and finds his wallet empty. In another poem while the speaker is driving and drinking with his brother, his brother nudges him: Any minute now, Carver writes, something will happen. With Carver small things matter because small things add up. There is a nuanced foreboding in many of the poems. And there is wonder. And there is power in what seem the simplest statements: We turned out the light and got into out beds and became quiet. The quiet that comes to a house where nobody can sleep. Bring pen and paper. We will try our hand at writing our own nuanced poems.
  • Ellie Mathews (Room O)
    “Memoir: Juggling What Comes First/What Comes Next”
    We can’t get away from the fact that there are two time periods in memoir: when stuff happened and when we write about it. In addition to recalling the details of what actually occurred,  we can also reveal and examine how we’ve come to feel about the whole shebang in the here and now. Making use of the dual time periods adds depth to the narrative and can simplify the process of wrestling chronology into submission.

3:30-5:15—Exploring Fort Worden. Meet at the Schoolhouse steps

  • Wendy Call
    “Re-making Place”
    We’ll delve into the layers of meaning that comprise a place—both the built and natural environments. We’ll explore life at Fort Worden before 1850. Our writing exercises will explore how a place’s history (and meaning) can be revised, rewritten, and re-remembered—and how a sense of history can strengthen our writing, regardless of the topic. Note: this workshop involves a short walk to Alexander’s Castle.

4-5 pm—Reading and Q&A with poet Richard Widerkehr at Building 262

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by special guest Melissa Febos; Erin Belieu

9:00—The Nine O’Clock Open-Mike Readings (Building 262)

 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-10:30—Morning Exercises

  • Ellie Mathews (Room I)

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room H)
  • Skip Horack (Room I)
  • Lisa Norris (Room N)
  • Luis Urrea (Room K)
  • Joseph Stroud (Room M)
  • Pam Houston (Room O)
  • Claire Davis (Room L)
  • Jimmy Kimbrell (Room C)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Faculty Booksigning

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—An Evening with Joseph Stroud

8:30—The Eight-Thirty Open-Mike Readings and Pie & Whiskey Night (Building 262)

 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9—Airport shuttle leaves

Dorm check out by 11:00 am

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