Port Townsend Writers’ Conference Schedule and Afternoon Workshops

 

Sunday, July 16

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 Alexandra Teague

8:30—Welcome gathering: wine and conversation. Join us! (Building 262)

Monday, July 17

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning Workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Kate Trueblood (Room J)
  • Alexandra Teague (Room F)
  • Dana Levin (Room O)
  • Sam Ligon (Room N)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)
  • Melissa Febos (Room M)
  • Priscilla Long (Room D)
  • Mark Doty (Room L)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Dan Chaon (Room D)

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Dana Levin (Room H)

2-3:30—Afternoon Workshops

  • Kate Lebo (Room F)
    “What We Talk About When We Talk About Food Writing”
    It’s a genre that includes Marcel Proust and MFK Fisher, Eddie Huang and Ernest Hemingway, Ruth Reichl and Everyday with Rachael Ray, church cookbooks and the Larousse Gastronomique. We know lots of people like to read and write about food, and practically everyone loves to eat. But what food writing is, exactly, is not always clear. It can be journalism, editorial, personal essay, recipe, poetry, fiction, memoir, a grocery list, and more. In this class, we’ll sample a wide range of literary food writing, probe the genre’s clichés and explore its possibilities, and get a better grip on all the ways writers let their stomachs guide them into meaningful, exciting work.
  • Emily Kendal Frey (Room H)
    “Writing From Dreams: Collaborating With the Hidden Mind”
    A good poem draws on many resources, one of them being the unconscious. Poets will collaborate with the individual and collective unconscious dream-mind to draw on various images, memories, and expectations. Investigative writing exercises will act as the catalyst to push our work to new places and create poems that encapsulate this spirit of awakening.
  • Maya Jewell Zeller (Room O)
    “Crossover Artists: Poets Writing Nonfiction”
    In this workshop, we’ll look at blurred genre and lyric nonfiction excerpts that act a lot like poems: essays formed from linked prose poems, numbered sequences and lists, and obsessive serial forms and structures that explore an “aboutness” more than they follow a traditional plot arc. We’ll read and talk about works by writers like Traci Brimhall, Eula Biss, Maggie Nelson, and Anne Carson, and we’ll practice strategies for beginning an essay from poetic techniques like image or the musical cadences of speech.
  • Laura Read (Room L)
    “Life Imitates Art”
    In this class, we will study ekphrastic poems by various poets, including Kim Addonizio and Maya Jewell Zeller, and write poems in this tradition, poems whose subject matter is influenced by the works of art that inspire them. Then, after finding a subject matter we want to work with, we will work with it obsessively, like Monet painting the cathedral at Rouen in every light, by doing a series of exercises intended to help us translate the concepts of different visual art movements and techniques into the written word, producing literary Monets or Picassos, self-portraits, and frescoes.
  • Gary Copeland Lilley (Room J)
    “The Dead Poem Society”
    It’s about resurrecting them. That’s right, you know those dead poems I’m talking about. We all have them. Perhaps you have triaged them as needing life support, but those ghost poems keep nagging at you. Join Gary Copeland Lilley at a workshop about revision, and a re-visioning of the poem from the central images and essential details. Join others and become the poem-whisperer that you need to be. Check out the crafting skills that will sharpen images, enhance the rhythm and musicality, and doing it all without blowing up your original draft. Absolutely true, this ain’t snake-oil, this is putting a heartbeat into the poem using those words that you’ve already written. Yes, you can make your dead poems come alive.
  • Kristen Millares Young (Room N)
    “Better Storytelling Through Research”
    “Research is the highest form of adoration.” ―Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
    We research to build the authority to astonish readers. The pivot from plot to epiphany compels us to keep reading, and that which has been felt is hard to forget. To infuse writing with lyric accuracy, study the world but remember to worship the story. So immerse yourself in as many sources as possible, and stay open to surprise. Jot everything down at the moment that it occurs to you. But when it is time to write your novel, memoir, essay or poem, put your notes aside. Research guides the story, but it does not control the writing. Let small details bear the weight of your knowledge. Research carries a story like water a boat. Keep it moving. Stay afloat. In this class, we will produce new writing based on techniques practiced by Joan Didion, Karen Tei Yamashita, Eula Biss, and Elizabeth Alexander.
  • Shawn Vestal (Room O)
    “When Stories Don’t ‘Make Sense’”
    Many stories are set in other places, other times, other worlds, while still retaining a basic relationship to logic of this world: cause and effect, emotional realism, and plot mechanics that follow the traditional arc of conflict and resolution. But some stories operate outside the logic of the world—and our typical notions of story logic—and create new ways of building drama, connecting events, and finding meaning. In this class, we will read and discuss stories built on surreal or absurd logical foundations, examine the way the authors built the logical patterns that underlie them, and discuss the effect of such patterns. We will examine Franz Kafka’s “A Country Doctor,” Donald Barthelme’s “The School,” and Italo Calvino’s “Games Without End.”5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Erin Belieu; Kate Trueblood

9:00—Reading by Kate Lebo (Building 262); open-mike to follow.

Tuesday, July 18

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning Workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Kate Trueblood (Room J)
  • Alexandra Teague (Room F)
  • Dana Levin (Room O)
  • Sam Ligon (Room N)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)
  • Melissa Febos (Room M)
  • Priscilla Long (Room D)
  • Mark Doty (Room L)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Sayantani Dasgupta (Room D)

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Erin Belieu (Room H)

2-3:30—Afternoon Workshops

  • Kate Lebo (Room D)
    “What We Talk About When We Talk About Food Writing”
    It’s a genre that includes Marcel Proust and MFK Fisher, Eddie Huang and Ernest Hemingway, Ruth Reichl and Everyday with Rachael Ray, church cookbooks and the Larousse Gastronomique. We know lots of people like to read and write about food, and practically everyone loves to eat. But what food writing is, exactly, is not always clear. It can be journalism, editorial, personal essay, recipe, poetry, fiction, memoir, a grocery list, and more. In this class, we’ll sample a wide range of literary food writing, probe the genre’s clichés and explore its possibilities, and get a better grip on all the ways writers let their stomachs guide them into meaningful, exciting work.
  • Emily Kendall Frey (Room F)
    “Writing From Dreams: Collaborating with the Hidden Mind”
    A good poem draws on many resources, one of them being the unconscious. Poets will collaborate with the individual and collective unconscious dream-mind to draw on various images, memories, and expectations. Investigative writing exercises will act as the catalyst to push our work to new places and create poems that encapsulate this spirit of awakening.
  • Susan Landgraf (Room H)
    “Try to keep what you write short. Try to keep your writing short. Keep what you write short. Keep your writing short. Write short.”
    Consider a car engine with too many parts. Not such a good idea to take a car with that engine on the road. Same with writing. You’ll write a poem, flash fiction piece, or quick essay. Then we’ll look After we look at Danny Heitman’s piece and work by E. B. White, among others, to get a feel for the art of brevity, you’ll re-look at your piece and be merciless in the cutting.
  • Maya Jewell Zeller (Room M)
    “Crossover Artists: Poets Writing Nonfiction”
    In this workshop, we’ll look at blurred genre and lyric nonfiction excerpts that act a lot like poems: essays formed from linked prose poems, numbered sequences and lists, and obsessive serial forms and structures that explore an “aboutness” more than they follow a traditional plot arc. We’ll read and talk about works by writers like Traci Brimhall, Eula Biss, Maggie Nelson, and Anne Carson, and we’ll practice strategies for beginning an essay from poetic techniques like image or the musical cadences of speech.
  • Laura Read (Room O)
    “Life Imitates Art”
    In this class, we will study ekphrastic poems by various poets, including Kim Addonizio and Maya Jewell Zeller, and write poems in this tradition, poems whose subject matter is influenced by the works of art that inspire them. Then, after finding a subject matter we want to work with, we will work with it obsessively, like Monet painting the cathedral at Rouen in every light, by doing a series of exercises intended to help us translate the concepts of different visual art movements and techniques into the written word, producing literary Monets or Picassos, self-portraits, and frescoes.
  • Shawn Vestal (Room N)
    “When Stories Don’t ‘Make Sense’”
    Many stories are set in other places, other times, other worlds, while still retaining a basic relationship to logic of this world: cause and effect, emotional realism and plot mechanics that follow the traditional arc of conflict and resolution. But some stories operate outside the logic of the world – and our typical notions of story logic—and create new ways of building drama, connecting events and finding meaning. In this class, we will read and discuss stories built on surreal or absurd logical foundations, examine the way the authors built the logical patterns that underlie them, and discuss the effect of such patterns. We will read Franz Kafka’s “A Country Doctor,” Donald Barthelme’s “The School,” and Lydia Davis’s “I’m Pretty Comfortable, But I Could Be More Comfortable.”
  • Colette Tennant (Room L)
    “Writing Poems of Faith, Doubt, & Wonder”
    The Roman poet Ovid wrote about the humanity’s creation: “…Prometheus, blending them with streams of rain, molded them into an image of the all-controlling gods. While other animals look downwards at the ground, he gave human beings an upturned aspect, commanding them to look towards the skies, and, upright, raise their face to the stars.” This workshop will focus on writing poems based on raising our face to the stars. Too many writers shy away from anything close to this topic because the idea of it reminds them of something between church bulletin poetry and Mother’s Day cards. But writers since Homer have wrangled with our relationship to what lies beyond what we can see, and feel, and taste. We will use prompts from writers as disparate as Homer, Milton, Pattiann Rogers, Mary Oliver, Faith Shearin, and Li-Young Lee, and we will also write poems inventing new saints for whatever quirky thing needs a saint.
  • Nina Mukerjee Furstenau (Room K)
    “Using the Senses to Write Foodstory & Place”
    Loading stories with precision descriptions is not enough, good story grabs your gut, tightens your throat, makes your heart race and your lungs pump, brings tears to your eyes or an explosion of laughter to your lips, as it says In the Writer’s Journey. That reaction, right there, is directly tied to sensory writing. Combine that with the fact that food is place and you get a powerful one-two punch in your work that resonates across cultures.
  • Gary Copeland Lilley (Room J )
    “The Dead Poem Society”
    It’s about resurrecting them. That’s right, you know those dead poems I’m talking about. We all have them. Perhaps you have triaged them as needing life support, but those ghost poems keep nagging at you. Join Gary Copeland Lilley at a workshop about revision, and a re-visioning of the poem from the central images and essential details. Join others and become the poem-whisperer that you need to be. Check out the crafting skills that will sharpen images, enhance the rhythm and musicality, and doing it all without blowing up your original draft. Absolutely true, this ain’t snake-oil, this is putting a heartbeat into the poem using those words that you’ve already written. Yes, you can make your dead poems come alive.

5:30-6:15—Readings by Sam Ligon; Dana Levin

9:00—Reading by Donna Miscolta (Building 262); open-mike to follow.

Wednesday, July 19

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning Workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Kate Trueblood (Room J)
  • Alexandra Teague (Room F)
  • Dana Levin (Room O)
  • Sam Ligon (Room N)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)
  • Melissa Febos (Room M)
  • Priscilla Long (Room D)
  • Mark Doty (Room L)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Sam Ligon (Room D)

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Alexandra Teague (Room H)

2-3:30—Afternoon Workshops

  • Kate Lebo (Room K)
    “Food and the Essay”
    The best essays approach the unsayable or try to uncover ideas that would prefer to stay hidden. Food can appear, at first, like the wrong vehicle for this pursuit, given the general expectation that when one writes about food, one must render the subject deliciously. When we turn that expectation on its head—using food to reach for the unpalatable—food can help us break into subjects, stories, and memories in complicated, compelling ways. We’ll read essayists and memoirists who use food to approach hard truths and difficult topics, and we’ll generate our own writing that strikes the same balance.
  • Kami Westhoff and Elizabeth Vignali (Room H)
    “Why Write Collaboratively?”
    Most people think of writing as a solitary act, yet ultimately the goal of a writer is to connect with their reader. Through collaborative writing, a writer can connect in a more immediate, tangible way. There are nearly as many ways to collaborate as there are types of people, so anyone can find a collaborative process that works for them. In this workshop, we’ll examine a variety of collaborative projects, and engage in various collaborative exercises that encourage us to venture outside our comfort zones and ultimately enable us to grow as writers.
  • Emily Kendal Frey (Room M)
    “Remaking the Made: A Generative Workshop”
    This poetry workshop will focus on generating work. However, we will approach this task from a non-traditional place that acknowledges the breaks or cracks, the tender “unworking” places in a poem. Discussions will be centered around enhancing the workable and vital aspects of a new piece of writing in relationship to this “place of failure” so that we might write from that place/ reinvent it/go deeper into it/talk to it/polish it/set it free.
  • Susan Landgraf (Room F)
    “Looking for Epiphany”
    Czeslaw Milosz writes that, “Epiphany is an unveiling of reality…Epiphany thus interrupts the everyday flow of time and enters as one privilege moment when we intuitively grasp a deeper, more essential reality hidden in things or persons.” At one time, Milosz says, in a “polytheistic antiquity,” epiphanies existed everywhere, every moment with dryads, nymphs, and the gods that walked the earth looking like humans. Epiphanies still exist. We just need to keep our eyes open and be quiet to find them–that which exists that we didn’t see before. Milosz says that an artist needs to “capture and preserve one moment, which becomes, indeed, eternal.” We’ll look at a number of short poems, finding irises, moths, a spider web, black silk, and blue clay and deer, among other things in this field of epiphanies; brainstorm a list of things; and write an epiphany.
  • Susan J. Erickson (Room J)
    “Self-Portrait Poem Workshop”
    The image you see in the mirror is one “you” that could inspire a self-portrait poem. In this workshop, we will also look at and discuss a variety of alternative poetic “yous.” Contemporary poets have written self-portrait poems as places (a river, a city, a state), as objects (as slinky, as rain gauge), as personas such as Frida Kahlo, and other surprising riffs. So bring your imagination and your favorite writing materials.
  • Shawn Vestal (Room N)
    “Stories Within Stories”
    Stories are built upon other stories, and many short stories house shorter narratives within—stories that are framed by narrators, stories the characters tell or don’t tell about themselves, stories that inform the larger story and what it means to us as human beings. In this class, we will read and discuss examples of short stories that rely upon stories told—or looming untold—by the characters for energy, revelation and meaning: Barry Hannah’s “Water Liars,” Grace Paley’s “Distance,” and John Cheever’s “Reunion.”
  • Gary Copeland Lilley (Room O)
    “The Dead Poem Society”
    It’s about resurrecting them. That’s right, you know those dead poems I’m talking about. We all have them. Perhaps you have triaged them as needing life support, but those ghost poems keep nagging at you. Join Gary Copeland Lilley at a workshop about revision, and a re-visioning of the poem from the central images and essential details. Join others and become the poem-whisperer that you need to be. Check out the crafting skills that will sharpen images, enhance the rhythm and musicality, and doing it all without blowing up your original draft. Absolutely true, this ain’t snake-oil, this is putting a heartbeat into the poem using those words that you’ve already written. Yes, you can make your dead poems come alive.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Dan Chaon; Jourdan Imani Keith. (Downtown at the Northwind Arts Center, 701 Water Street.)

8:30—Mid-week gathering (Building 262). Join us for wine and conversation!

Thursday, July 20

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning Workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Kate Trueblood (Room J)
  • Alexandra Teague (Room F)
  • Dana Levin (Room O)
  • Sam Ligon (Room N)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)
  • Melissa Febos (Room M)
  • Priscilla Long (Room D)
  • Mark Doty (Room L)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Kate Trueblood (Room D)

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Priscilla Long (Room H)

2-3:30—Afternoon Workshops

  • Kate Lebo (Room D)
    “Food and the Essay”
    The best essays approach the unsayable or try to uncover ideas that would prefer to stay hidden. Food can appear, at first, like the wrong vehicle for this pursuit, given the general expectation that when one writes about food, one must render the subject deliciously. When we turn that expectation on its head—using food to reach for the unpalatable—food can help us break into subjects, stories, and memories in complicated, compelling ways. We’ll read essayists and memoirists who use food to approach hard truths and difficult topics, and we’ll generate our own writing that strikes the same balance.
  • Susan Landraf (Room F)
    “Writing Out of the Box”
    I will supply the crayons. You bring several sheets of paper and three questions. We’ll go from there.
  • Emily Kendal Frey (Room M)
    “Remaking the Made: A Generative Workshop”
    This poetry workshop will focus on generating work. However, we will approach this task from a non-traditional place that acknowledges the breaks or cracks, the tender “unworking” places in a poem. Discussions will be centered around enhancing the workable and vital aspects of a new piece of writing in relationship to this “place of failure” so that we might write from that place/reinvent it/go deeper into it/talk to it/polish it/set it free.
  • Kristen Millares Young (Room D)
    “Revising Your Novel: You Can, and You Must.”
    “Rewriting is very painful. You know it’s finished when you can’t do anything more to it, though it’s never exactly the way you want it.” –James Baldwin
    The real writing begins after the first draft. It’s tempting to get into line revisions right away, but such work will be wasted if you haven’t managed to move your characters through time. Pace your scenes. Read widely to study how others do it. Find readers you trust, and build room for feedback into your revision plan. The best commentary surfaces doubts you already had. It takes a while to absorb wisdom, so give yourself that space without recrimination. Fields must lie fallow to stay fertile. Once you have committed to another draft, come back to the manuscript every day. Stay close enough to your characters to feel their heat. When you’re exhausted and don’t know what else to do, print your book and read it aloud, revising whenever you stumble over a sentence. In every draft, distil. Do not mourn what you leave behind. Revision is a practice, and we are apprentices. Enjoy the work. In this class, we will learn how to chart and calibrate the emotional load on scenes so epiphanies feel earned.
  • Kami Westhoff and Elizabeth Vignali (Room O)
    “Why Write Collaboratively?”
    Most people think of writing as a solitary act, yet ultimately the goal of a writer is to connect with their reader. Through collaborative writing, a writer can connect in a more immediate, tangible way. There are nearly as many ways to collaborate as there are types of people, so anyone can find a collaborative process that works for them. In this workshop, we’ll examine a variety of collaborative projects, and engage in various collaborative exercises that encourage us to venture outside our comfort zones and ultimately enable us to grow as writers.
  • Maya Zeller (Room L)
    “Telling Secrets: The Power of Intimacy in Epistolary and Other Kinds of Direct Address”
    “Shall I tell you the secret/and if I do, will you get me/out of this bird suit?,” asks the speaker in Margaret Atwood’s “Siren Song.” The intimacy of direct address—whether via a persona and implied listener as in Atwood, or via epistolary as in Hugo’s letters, or via response as in Layli Long Soldier’s “Whereas”—creates an invitation to the reader, as well, as we eavesdrop on or witness the conversation. In this workshop, we’ll read and practice ways to construct that conversation and to engage within borders of trust on the page.
  • Laura Read (Room K)
    “History Has Its Eyes on You”
    In this class, we will read and discuss poems by Kathryn Nuernberger and Natasha Tretheway that connect the individual speaker’s personal experience with a historical event. Then we will look at three interesting, relatively unknown stories from history, and do an exercise in which your own narrative becomes a part of one of these larger narratives. These narratives may also intersect with our current historical moment.
  • Jourdan Imani Keith (Room J)
    “Trouble The Waters”
    Many women, people of color, and LGBTQ folks find that our relationship with the rest of the natural world and environmental concerns seem to be other than those expressed by the mainstream environmental movement. But a shift is occurring, as demonstrated by such books as Lauret Savoy’s “Trace,” as well as personal essays published in Orion magazine and others. Your culture history, personal life and environmental headlines are the tributaries for this creative non-fiction workshop. You will have a personal essay in the flash non-fiction style when we are done.
  • Shawn Vestal (Room N)
    “Stories Within Stories”
    Stories are built upon other stories, and many short stories house shorter narratives within—stories that are framed by narrators, stories the characters tell or don’t tell about themselves, stories that inform the larger story and what it means to us as human beings. In this class, we will read and discuss examples of short stories that rely upon stories told – or looming untold – by the characters for energy, revelation and meaning: Barry Hannah’s “Water Liars,” Grace Paley’s “Distance,” and John Cheever’s “Reunion.”
  • Theresa Barker (Room H)
    “Saying the Hard Stuff Aloud:  Documentary Poetics”
    You’ve noticed the injustices in the world, the inequities, and the truths that must be spoken. How can you explore critical human and social issues in a way that expresses both the raw material and the strong emotions that will convey these truths? Documentary poetics gives us a powerful and uniquely expressive path to do so. In this generative workshop, we will develop our own documentary poetics works, inspired by work from Mark Nowak’s “Coal Mountain Elementary,” Juliana Spahr’s “That Winter the Wolf Came,” and Kathleen Flenniken’s “Plume.” Even if you’re not a poet, this study area can be a powerful inspiration for your own work!
  • Gary Copeland Lilley (Room O)
    “The Dead Poem Society”
    It’s about resurrecting them. That’s right, you know those dead poems I’m talking about. We all have them. Perhaps you have triaged them as needing life support, but those ghost poems keep nagging at you. Join Gary Copeland Lilley at a workshop about revision, and a re-visioning of the poem from the central images and essential details. Join others and become the poem-whisperer that you need to be. Check out the crafting skills that will sharpen images, enhance the rhythm and musicality, and doing it all without blowing up your original draft. Absolutely true, this ain’t snake-oil, this is putting a heartbeat into the poem using those words that you’ve already written. Yes, you can make your dead poems come alive.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Melissa Febos; Shawn Vestal

9:00—Reading by Thomas Aslin (Building 262); open-mike to follow.

Friday, July 21

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning Workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Kate Trueblood (Room J)
  • Alexandra Teague (Room F)
  • Dana Levin (Room O)
  • Sam Ligon (Room N)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)
  • Melissa Febos (Room M)
  • Priscilla Long (Room D)
  • Mark Doty (Room L)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Melissa Febos (Room D)

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Kate Lebo (Room D)
    “The Memory Buffet: Using Food to Create Hybrid Literary Forms”
    Cookbooks appear so approachable, so consumable, so full of instructional wisdom we crave. It’s only natural they’ve been co-opted by dissidents to make revolutionary texts for at least 100 years. In this class, we’ll read selections from “The Futurist Cookbook,” “The Anarchist Cookbook”, and “food writing” from Jiao Tong, Martha Ronk, and Gerturde Stein to learn how we too can borrow culinary forms to create hybrid texts. Then we’ll start our own cross-genre projects using food as an organizing principle.
  • Kami Westoff (Room L)
    “For Mature Audiences Only”
    Many children’s books examine global hopes and fears: from the almost obsessive assurance of unconditional love to the more subtle insinuations of morality and righteousness, these stories touch us in ways that follow us throughout our lives. In this class, we will explore a variety of these stories with a focus on theme, character desire and fear, and ideals of morality and seek to translate them into material for a more mature audience.
  • Shawn Vestal (Room N)
    “Raymond Carver, Gordon Lish and the Editing Process: How Much is Too Much?”
    The relationship between Raymond Carver and his early editor, Gordon Lish, has been the subject of much discussion and debate. In this class we will read and discuss two versions of Carver’s story, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”—Carver’s draft of the story, which was titled “Beginners,” and Lish’s edits, which the New Yorker published in 2007. For this class, you will read Carver’s first story and the story as edited by Lish, and come prepared to discuss them. Among the issues we will discuss: What values underlie the editing choices? What is the effect of Lish’s editorial intervention—how does it alter the nature of the story, and does it improve the story? What do you think is the proper balance between writer and editor?
  • Richard Widerkehr; Jordan Hartt (Room F)
    “Plot, Music, Structure, and Image In Shakespeare”
    The goal of this workshop is to complete a draft of a new poem or short prose piece inspired by the work of William Somebody…? We can’t remember his last name. Anyhoo, we’ll look at how the elements of his work play out, so to speak, in four different works: Sonnet 30, Sonnet 73, “Measure for Measure,” and “Othello.” We’ll look at voice/language, character/story, and thought/theme, and how these can be applied to creating a new piece: a draft of which we’ll finish in the workshop itself. Analysis of these four works will be followed by robust conversation and discussion (hopefully more Falstaff and less Richard III), writing time, and, if time allows, some sharing of what we’ve generated.
  • Gary Copeland Lilley (Room H)
    “The Dead Poem Society”
    It’s about resurrecting them. That’s right, you know those dead poems I’m talking about. We all have them. Perhaps you have triaged them as needing life support, but those ghost poems keep nagging at you. Join Gary Copeland Lilley at a workshop about revision, and a re-visioning of the poem from the central images and essential details. Join others and become the poem-whisperer that you need to be. Check out the crafting skills that will sharpen images, enhance the rhythm and musicality, and doing it all without blowing up your original draft. Absolutely true, this ain’t snake-oil, this is putting a heartbeat into the poem using those words that you’ve already written. Yes, you can make your dead poems come alive.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Priscilla Long; Emily Kendal Frey

9:00—Reading by Jenifer Browne Lawrence (Building 262); open-mike to follow.

Saturday, July 22

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning Workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Kate Trueblood (Room J)
  • Alexandra Teague (Room F)
  • Dana Levin (Room O)
  • Sam Ligon (Room N)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)
  • Melissa Febos (Room M)
  • Priscilla Long (Room D)11:45-12:30—Lunch1-2—Faculty Book Signing (Room F)

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Gary Copeland Lilley; Sayantani Dasgupta

9:00—Pie & Whiskey Night (Building 262)

Sunday, July 23

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9—Airport shuttle leaves

Dorm check out by 11:00 am

 

Faculty Bios

Theresa Barker is a graduate of the Goddard MFA in Creative Writing program and she writes literary speculative fiction and poetry.  Her short stories have appeared in the anthology Shaking the Tree, Keen Science Fiction, and other publications. She co-curates a monthly reading series in Seattle for experimental and SF/F work.

Erin Belieu is the author of four books of poetry: “Infanta” (1995), selected by Hayden Carruth for the National Poetry Series; “One Above, One Below” (2000); “Black Box” (2006), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and “Slant Six” (2014). She teaches at Florida State University.

Dan Chaon is the acclaimed author of “Among the Missing,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and “You Remind Me of Me,” which was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications.

Sayantani Dasgupta is the author of the essay collections “The House of Nails” and “Oscillation. She serves as the nonfiction editor of Crab Creek Review. Work has appeared in many literary journals and magazines. She teaches creative writing and religious studies at the University of Idaho.

Susan J. Erickson’s debut full-length collection of poems in women’s voices, “Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine,” recently won the Brick Road Poetry Prize. Poems appear in Crab Creek Review, The James Franco Review, The Fourth River and The Tishman Review.

Melissa Febos is the author of “Whip Smart,” a memoir of her work as a professional dominatrix while she was studying at The New School. Her essays have won awards from Prairie Schooner and StoryQuarterly, among many other literary magazines and journals. She currently teaches at Monmouth University.

Emily Kendal Frey is the author of the poetry collections “The Grief Performance” and “Sorrow Arrow, “ Frances,” “The New Planet,” and “Airport.” Frey’s “The Grief Performance” was selected for the Cleveland State Poetry Center’s 2010 First Book Prize by Rae Armantrout. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Gary Copeland Lilley is the author of four collections of poetry: “Black Poem,” “Alpha Zulu,” “The Reprehensibles,” and “The Subsequent Blues.” Lilley has been a poet-in-residence at WritersCorps, Young Chicago Authors, and The Poetry Center of Chicago. He also received the DC Commission on the Arts Fellowship for Poetry.

Jourdan Imani Keith is a contributing writer for Orion Magazine. Her essays “Desegregating Wilderness” and “At Risk” appear in the 2015 Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology. A storyteller in the griot tradition, she has been awarded many fellowships and won many awards.

Susan Landgraf’s chapbook “Other Voices” came out in 2009. Her poems have appeared in nearly two hundred magazines, including Poet Lore, Ploughshares, and the Cincinnati Poetry Review. Honors include grants to travel and study in South Africa, Namibia, Peru, and Bolivia. She currently teaches at Highline Community College.

Kate Lebo is the author of “Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter” and “A Commonplace Book of Pie.” Her essay about listening through hearing loss, “The Loudproof Room,” originally published in the New England Review, was reprinted in the Best American Essays 2015 anthology.

Poet Dana Levin grew up in California’s Mojave Desert and earned a BA from Pitzer College and an MA from New York University. Levin’s collections of poetry include “In the Surgical Theatre” (1999), “Wedding Day” (2005), “Sky Burial” (2011)”, and “Banana Palace” (2016).

Samuel Ligon, the Artistic Director of the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, is the author of two story collections—“Drift and Swerve,” and “Wonderland”—and two novels: “Safe in Heaven Dead” and “Among the Dead and Dreaming.” Ligon teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, where he is the editor of Willow Springs.

Priscilla Long is a Seattle-based writer and poet, the author of five books and numerous publications in literary journals. She serves as founding and consulting editor of HistoryLink.org, the free online encyclopedia of Washington-state history, and writes science, poetry, history, creative nonfiction, and fiction.

Nina Mukerjee Furstenau’s first book, “Biting Through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland,” received the 2014 MFK Fisher Book Award. and 2014 Grand Prize Award from Les Dames d’Escoffier International for culture and culinary writing. Essays have appeared in such magazines as for Feast, Sauce, and Ploughshares.

Kathryn Trueblood’s most recent book, “Diary of a Slut” asks such tough questions as: when your daughter wants to pry into your past, how selective are you about your answers, and, how do you love the girl you once were? Work has appeared in many magazines. Trueblood teaches at Western Washington University.

Laura Read’s chapbook “The Chewbacca on Hollywood Boulevard Reminds Me of You” was the 2010 winner of the Floating Bridge Chapbook Award. Her collection “Instructions for My Mother’s Funeral” was the 2011 winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and was published in 2012 by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Alexandra Teague’s first book of poetry, “Mortal Geography,” won the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and the 2010 California Book Award. Her second collection, “The Wise and Foolish Builders,” came out in 2015. Her first novel, “The Principles Behind Flotation,” came out this past March. She teaches at the University of Idaho.

Kami Westhoff is the author of “Sleepwalker,” the winner of the 2016 Minerva Rising Dare to Be Chapbook Contest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in various journals including Meridian, Carve, Third Coast, The Pinch, Passages North, Redivider, Decomp, New South Review, and West Branch.

Elizabeth Vignali is an optician and writer in Bellingham, Washington. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including Willow Springs, Crab Creek Review, and Natural Bridge. Her chapbook, Object Permanence, is available from Finishing Line Press.

Richard Widerkehr has two book-length collections of poems: “The Way Home” and “Her Story of Fire,” along with two chapbooks and a novel, “Sedimental Journey.” Recent work has appeared in Rattle, Floating Bridge Review, Gravel, and other magazines. A new book, “In The Presence Of Absence,” will come out this fall.

Colette Tennant is an English professor at Corban University in Salem, Oregon, where she teaches creative writing and literature. She has taught at the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference for the past couple of years. Her first book of poems, Commotion of Wings, was published in 2010. Her second book of poems, Eden and After, came out in 2015.

Shawn Vestal’s debut novel, Daredevils, recently appeared from Penguin Press. His collection of short stories, Godforsaken Idaho, published in 2013, was named the winner of the PEN/​Robert W. Bingham Prize. Stories have appeared in many magazines and journals. Vestal teaches in the MFA program at Eastern Washington University.

Maya Jewell Zeller teaches poetry and poetics at Central Washington University. She is the author of the poetry collections Rust Fish and Yesterday, the Bees. Fiction editor for Crab Creek Review, Maya has also been a writer-in-residence in the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and an award recipient from the Sustainable Arts Foundation.

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