Port Townsend Writers’ Conference Schedule and Afternoon Workshops

THE 2014 PORT TOWNSEND WRITERS’ CONFERENCE

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

Thursday, July 10

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 Diane Roberts

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

Friday, July 11

8-9—Morning freewrite (Room F)

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
  • Diane Roberts (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room J)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Erin Belieu: “One More Time With Feeling: What We Learn From a Chestnut.” (Room D)

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)

“Food and Family: Writing the Gastronomic Essay”
Food represents culture, religion and identity. It marks important moments of our lives, therefore food-related habits and memories are a rewarding and unending source to generate different kinds of writing. Food provides an insight into who we are. For example, how grandma hated wasting even a single grain of rice because she never forgot the hunger she lived through during the Second World War. Or the friend who never uses saffron yet displays a jar of it in her tiny kitchen to feel worldly and cosmopolitan. In this class, we will draft four different essays that will tie in memories of food and family, mine sensory details, and provide students with ample practice to nourish their readers.

  • David Thacker (Room O)

“‘This busy monster’: Writing Contemporary Sonnets”
As recent anthologies like The Penguin Book of the Sonnet and Norton’s The Making of a Sonnet have demonstrated, the sonnet has proven to be a resilient poetic form, able to bend and flex with changes in modern and contemporary poetry. Beginning with a quick review of the thinking behind the traditional basics, we’ll investigate how contemporary poets have added to, or taken away from, the tradition to adapt the sonnet to new times and aesthetics. Our aim is to generate new ways of thinking through and using the form. What are yet unknown possibilities for the sonnet? Let’s find out.

  • Sheila Bender (Room I)

“Point and Shoot: Flash Stories from Life”
There are strategies for writing short (250 to 750 words) that shine a bright light on personal experience. What you create in the flash format makes a huge impact. Flash pieces are complete in themselves but can also help you enrich lyric essays and memoir. We’ll study several models by various authors and try out their strategies to find out how to make them our own.

  • Sam Ligon (Room N)

“Negative Space in Fiction”
While we’ve all heard the writing advice to “show, don’t tell,” just as important to fiction is what we don’t show or tell—what we reveal through absence or omission. Musicians and composers use silence in song to create tension and meaning and contrast against sound. Painters use negative space around a subject to create contrast and to heighten color and composition in the subject itself. In fiction, what’s not revealed, and how it’s not revealed, often creates a tremendous gravity of absence, or a kind of shadow effect, that informs character and meaning in story. In “Death in the Afternoon,” Ernest Hemingway wrote that “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of the iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.” We’ll discuss Hemingway’s “iceberg principal,” or what Amy Hempel refers to as “negative space,” using two stories as examples of creating shape, meaning, and gravity through absence or omission—Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants,” and Hempel’s “Today Will Be a Quiet Day.”

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Kim Addonizio, Gary Copeland Lilley, and Sam Ligon

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

Saturday, July 12

8-9—Morning freewrite (Room F)

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
  • Diane Roberts (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room J)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Diane Roberts: “Writing a Picture”  (Room D)

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)

“Sacred Journeys: Five New Ideas for Spiritual Essays”
The spiritual essay can exist within the realm of organized religion as well as outside it. It can be written by anyone—atheists, agnostics, or the deeply devout. It can be about a moment of transformation, a sudden lack of faith, or even the writer’s personal definition of sin. Its essential purpose, however, remains the same: to explore timeless questions about our existence, wrestle with the conflicts within and understand the meaning of it all. In this class, we will read two essays that deal with unique yet specific questions, and then craft five new essays of our own that will hopefully, unlock answers on our spiritual quest.

  • David Thacker (Room O)

“Syntax: Musical Phrasing in Poetry”
When a poet senses something isn’t quite right in a draft, s/he often looks to the line as the source and solution to the problem. But revision at the line level is often inadequate—merely a treatment of the surface. Beneath the line, syntax flexes and bends its own musical muscle—sometimes in concert with the line, sometimes against it. And it is at this deeper flexing and bending that some of the most potent re-visioning can happen. To borrow a music metaphor from Ellen Bryant Voigt, while the line delivers local measure, the syntax delivers global phrasing. It is this broader, underlying phrasing—this deeper impulse—that we’ll concern ourselves with. In this workshop, we’ll conduct an investigation focused on large-scale musical phrasing contained in syntax with the aim of opening up possibilities for re-vision of our own poems. Bring a stuck poem with you, and we’ll see what happens.

  • Thomas Aslin (Room M)

“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.

  • Sheila Bender (Room I)

“Shaping Personal Experience for the Page”

What do we learn from drafting (and revising) the personal essay? How can we approach writing the personal essay without feeling like we are divulging information that is too personal or is self-indulgent? How do we write so our perceptions and concerns are “universal”? Why is writing the personal essay important to us as writers no matter what other genres we write in? Join us in studying and experimenting with strategies for writing effective personal essays.

  • Midge Raymond (Room N)

“Getting Into Character”

In both fiction and nonfiction, good characterization is what brings readers into our stories. In this workshop, we’ll discuss strategies for bringing characters to life, whether they are fictional or whether they’re real people appearing on the page for the first time. Using examples, we’ll discuss how character relates to such aspects of story as dialogue, setting, and plot, and we’ll also spend time writing, with exercises designed to develop and flesh out your characters.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Reading by Erin Belieu

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

Sunday, July 13

8-9—Morning freewrite (Room F)

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 Emily Rapp

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

Monday, July 14

7-8—Morning freewrite (Building 262)

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
  • Diane Roberts (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room J)
  • Dana Levin (Room N)
  • Mark Bibbins (Room M)
  • Emily Rapp (Room L)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Robert Lopez (Room O)
  • Jennine Capó Crucet (Room D)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Kim Addonizio: “Surprise Me: Inviting the Unexpected” (Room D)

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)

“Your Life in Parts: Writing the Segmented Essay”
The segmented essay allows the author to step outside conventional narrative patterns of time and place. A segmented essay works in segments or parts that build off of each other. They are interspersed with white space, which functions as an essential design and foundation element, and therefore, segmented essays do not require traditional transitions. The segments may include personal story, research, change in authorial voice and perspective, shifts of time, etc. While all these disparate segments (including the silences and white spaces) must have their individual character and arc intact, they must also all work together. In this class, we will look at the form through the writings of accomplished essayists and work on fleshing out a segmented essay of our own.

  • Midge Raymond (Room O)

“Setting the Scene”
Place plays an important role in any story, from offering insight into characters to creating a mood. This workshop will help you get a sense of the where in your writing, from researching places to incorporating details and dialogue. We’ll look at classic and contemporary examples of how writers use setting to flesh out stories—and a variety of writing prompts will teach you how to pay attention to place in your work.

  • 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, whom the workshop is titled after; Lynn Nottage; and Suzan-Lori Parks; along with a specially themed outfit styled by S. Erin Batiste.

  • Susan Landgraf (Room M)

“Caged”
What does it mean to be caged? Caged mouse? Panther? Soul? What does language have to do with it? And where does a heart go? Of course, there is a difference between being on the outside looking in at whatever is caged and from being on the inside looking out. But language—our choice of words— affects the way we respond to either state. We’ll look at a mouse story, some photographs, and poems, particularly “The Panther” by Rilke, and discuss not only what and how we view things but the choice of words we use to describe what and how we see. Consider Robert Hass’s translation of the third and fourth lines of “The Panther”: “It seems to him there are/a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.”  Compare this to Robert Bly’s third and fourth lines: “The world is made of bars, a hundred thousand/bars, and behind the bars, nothing.” Then we’ll write.

  • Sheila Bender (Room I)

“Tell It Slant: Using Creative Nonfiction Strategies to Write About Painful Experiences”
Writing is healing because it allows us to face our life situations and learn from them. But how do we use the writing craft to encounter and explore difficult situations? What is it about writing that helps us grow? Join us in a writing from prompts that allow you to explore subjects you might not have been able to tackle head on  and see how the writing you create brings you to your most original and deepest self.

  • David Thacker (Room N)

“Death is a Thief/Death is a Banana: Metaphor From the Ground Up”
In “More than Cool Reason,” George Lakoff and Mark Turner identify two ways poets innovate through metaphor: by playing linguistically with common conceptual metaphors (like “death is a thief”) and by inventing new conceptual metaphors (like “death is a banana”). In this workshop, we’ll seek to demystify the process of making metaphor by examining poems by Sylvia Plath and Les Murray (and probably some others) to see how masters use common and new conceptual metaphors as the central/driving elements of poems. We’ll then put what we discover to work starting our own poems driven by metaphor.

  • Kathryn Trueblood (Room I)

“Writing Sex (Love Optional)”
Why is sex one of the most difficult subjects to write about? The writer may feel embarrassed for one, and because the language for sex has been so commercialized, it’s very nearly used up. So how do we minimize the risk of sounding cliché and get beyond the ballad of the bed? In this workshop, we will try to capture a few of the many nuances of literary eroticism by drawing from banned and controversial books, and you’ll leave with a few solid scene starts.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Reading by Dana Levin

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

Tuesday, July 15
8-9—Morning freewrite (Room F)

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
  • Diane Roberts (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room J)
  • Dana Levin (Room N)
  • Mark Bibbins (Room M)
  • Emily Rapp (Room L)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Robert Lopez (Room O)
  • Jennine Capó Crucet (Room D)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Nonfiction Craft Lecture by Emily Rapp (Room D)

1-1:50—Afternoon Poetry Craft Lecture by Thomas Aslin: “Love the Mysterious: Remember the World of Ghosts and Small Gestures” (Room F)

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)

“Food and Family: Writing the Gastronomic Essay”
Food represents culture, religion and identity. It marks important moments of our lives, therefore food-related habits and memories are a rewarding and unending source to generate different kinds of writing. Food provides an insight into who we are. For example, how grandma hated wasting even a single grain of rice because she never forgot the hunger she lived through during the Second World War. Or the friend who never uses saffron yet displays a jar of it in her tiny kitchen to feel worldly and cosmopolitan. In this class, we will draft four different essays that will tie in memories of food and family, mine sensory details, and provide students with ample practice to nourish their readers.

  • David Thacker (Room O)

“‘This busy monster’: Writing Contemporary Sonnets”
As recent anthologies like The Penguin Book of the Sonnet and Norton’s The Making of a Sonnet have demonstrated, the sonnet has proven to be a resilient poetic form, able to bend and flex with changes in modern and contemporary poetry. Beginning with a quick review of the thinking behind the traditional basics, we’ll investigate how contemporary poets have added to, or taken away from, the tradition to adapt the sonnet to new times and aesthetics. Our aim is to generate new ways of thinking through and using the form. What are yet unknown possibilities for the sonnet? Let’s find out.

  • Ciara Shuttleworth (Room M)

“Immediacy and Physicality”
If we look at poetry from a Ginsbergian standpoint, immediacy is everything. Allen Ginsberg coined the term, “first thought, best thought,” a quotation often used synonymously with the Beat Poets. Ginsberg, Kerouac, and the others may have written their first drafts in this fashion…but all took their work through extensive editing prior to publication. This session will focus on creating first drafts with spontaneity, using breathing, meditation, and confession as techniques to press physicality to paper.

  • Kathryn Trueblood (Room I)

“Beginnings and Endings”
Are you stuck on a story’s beginning or dissatisfied with its ending? As writers, we feel so much pressure about introductions and conclusions, it’s hard to get them right. They bear the weight of our expectations, and like disobedient children, shirk the responsibility and flee the burden. Bring the first and last pages of a manuscript you’re working on and we’ll “talk story,” until we’ve tried some useful strategies for getting past the hurdles of self-consciousness.

  • Colette Tennant (Room K)

“Let’s Get Gothic”
Family secrets tucked away in a forgotten trunk, dingy dungeons, divided identities, a scream in the night, mad women in the attic—oh the oxymoronic joy of Gothic literature. When we enter this fictional world, we enjoy being scared. Too often writers delegate Gothic literature to prose writers, but the Gothic genre offers poets a scary-rich resource as well. In this workshop, we will briefly review the definition of Gothic. We will also read and discuss a few model Gothic poems. Then using prompts, we will use the bulk of the workshop to launch into writing our own Gothic poems. Beware—they might include shocking lineages, transformations, ghosting, murder, and other mayhem.

  • Ellen Graham (Room L)

“Performing Your Work”
Writers are, by nature, solitary creatures. So the prospect of standing in front of an audience to read your work can be daunting. But whether it’s your first reading or your tenth tour to promote your work, you want to be confident and connect with your audience. Have you ever been in the audience of a reading and watched an author slink up to the stage, head down and look like they’re shrinking? Have you ever heard a piece and thought, I think I like that piece but I wish they read better? Or have you been that reader? Have you ever started reading your piece and found that you suddenly had no voice? Or that it sounds like you inhaled helium? That your carefully rehearsed five minutes was done in three? That you wished the earth would swallow you whole?

This workshop is designed to give an author five easy steps to being an effective reader. You will learn how to manage stage fright, how to free your natural voice, how to use those butterflies in your stomach and how to wow your audience. I am not going to make you sound “actor-y” or over-done. I am going to give you the tools to walk away from that reading a success.

  • Midge Raymond (Room N)

“Looking Beyond the Web: Research Tips and Tools for Writers”
Whether you’re mining your past for a memoir or researching a new subject for a novel, the amount and quality of information you gather makes the difference between a good piece of writing and a great one. In this workshop, we’ll discuss why such details matter and why it’s important to go beyond surfing the web when doing research. We’ll discuss the best ways to tackle necessary research, including tips on making contact, shadowing subjects, and conducting interviews.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Reading by Dan Chaon

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

Wednesday, July 16
8-9—Morning freewrite (Room F)

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
  • Diane Roberts (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room J)
  • Dana Levin (Room N)
  • Mark Bibbins (Room M)
  • Emily Rapp (Room L)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Robert Lopez (Room O)
  • Jennine Capó Crucet (Room D)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Robert Lopez: “The Intriguing Beginning: Various Strategies on Opening a Short Story” (Room D)

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Dana Levin: “Wear a Mask, Change the World: Persona, Personification, Transformation in Poetry” (Room F)

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)

“Fairy Tales, Folk Lore & You: Using Ancient Stories for Contemporary Nonfiction”
Although fairy tales are not set in real time and usually employ magical creatures to insert tension and push the narrative forward, they continue to enjoy immense popularity all over the world even in our contemporary, politically-correct, hyper-critical times. Right from our childhood, these stories drawn from sources as varied as Grimm’s Fairy Tales to One Thousand and One Arabian Nights to fables from the Panchatantra, teach us to identify the seer and the trickster, the hero and the heroine, the witch and the villain. In this class, we will use these mythologies to explore our own stories and those of our families, and draft three new essays.

  • David Thacker (Room O)

“Syntax: Musical Phrasing in Poetry”
When a poet senses something isn’t quite right in a draft, s/he often looks to the line as the source and solution to the problem. But revision at the line level is often inadequate—merely a treatment of the surface. Beneath the line, syntax flexes and bends its own musical muscle—sometimes in concert with the line, sometimes against it. And it is at this deeper flexing and bending that some of the most potent re-visioning can happen. To borrow a music metaphor from Ellen Bryant Voigt, while the line delivers local measure, the syntax delivers global phrasing. It is this broader, underlying phrasing—this deeper impulse—that we’ll concern ourselves with. In this workshop, we’ll conduct an investigation focused on large-scale musical phrasing contained in syntax with the aim of opening up possibilities for re-vision of our own poems. Bring a stuck poem with you, and we’ll see what happens.

  • Gayle Kaune (Room M)

“Blood, Sweat, and Tears”
We live in the our bodies and good poetry arises from the intersection of the material and spiritual/emotional. In this session we will read poems grounded in the body and then write, briefly, from three distinct memories. We will then overlay part, or all, of these memories with specifics I have given you from the body.  Come prepared to create something boldly new and share.

  • Kathryn Trueblood (Room I)

“Break the Sentence Habit”
Are you stuck in a sentence rut without realizing it? Are you ready to break out of habitual patterns? This workshop is designed to bring awareness to your writing at the line level and help you achieve the full range of the writer’s palette.  In the spirit of shared inquiry, we will undertake exercises aimed at improving your range of style, with an emphasis on how to make prose rhythms convey consciousness, mood, and color.

  • Susan Landgraf (Room K)

“Jumping Jehoshaphat!”
The phrase “Jumping Jehoshaphat” was used to “express astonishment.” It is first recorded in Mayne Reid’s “Headless Horseman” of 1866, but many claim it has biblical roots. Leaping poetry—in the hands of poets such as Federico Garcia Lorca, Robert Bly, Anne Sexton, James Wright, W. S. Merwin, and Ellen Bass—does just that:  astonishes us. It also transports us; in an “imaginative leap” we are taken from “an image” that, according to Bly, is “simply a body where psychic energy is free to move around” to a place we could not foresee.  Consider words associated with leaping poetry:  dragon smoke, mammal brains, terror, willow, whirling, sleeping snow, calyx, stung.  Consider a “headless horseman.” We’ll look at poems, photographs, pictures, do some exercises, and write a leaping poem.

  • Bill Mawhinney (Room J)

“Another Day in Paradox”
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair” —Shakespeare
“I dwell in a lonely house I know/That vanished many a summer ago.” —Robert Frost
Writers as diverse as Lao Tzu and Charles Dickens have found great energy in paradoxes. In this workshop we’ll hold up both sides of seemingly self-contradictory statements and find some knots of energy that lie hidden inside them. Together, we will unearth some creative gold as we look (like Judy Collins) at “both sides now” and leave with a seed bed of ideas for new work.

  • Midge Raymond (Room N)

“Say Anything: How to Write Great Dialogue”
From portraying character to moving the plot forward, dialogue works hard in any story—and writers often need to work just as hard to create authentic, realistic voices in their prose. In this workshop, we’ll study examples of good dialogue and discuss how and why these work, and we’ll go over tips for how to write engaging conversations, with writing exercises that will reinforce the major tenets of effective dialogue.

  • Marcia Perlstein (Room L)

“Writing First-Person Professional Articles”
This workshop will focus on wedding personal anecdotes with practical professional tools. Writing in the first person offers a level of transparency and self-awareness which strengthens communication of complex material in both the fields of education and applied mental health.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

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

9:00—Pie & Whiskey Night (Building 277)

Thursday, July 17

7-8—Morning freewrite (Building 262)

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
  • Diane Roberts (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room J)
  • Dana Levin (Room N)
  • Mark Bibbins (Room M)
  • Emily Rapp (Room L)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Robert Lopez (Room O)
  • Jennine Capó Crucet (Room D)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Dan Chaon: “Puppets and Prose” (Room D)

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)

“Found Objects: Combining Writing and Art”
Our perception and preference for art is influenced by our varied backgrounds and individual personality quirks. To one, an ornate, gem-encrusted necklace in the shape of a flower might be the highest form of art, while to another the linear simplicity of an origami crane might be more appealing. Even the intended purpose of an art piece might lend itself to debate. Is it supposed to elicit aesthetic pleasure? Or is it intended for prayer and devotion? Or perhaps make a provocative statement and convey political anger? Given that no two creative minds think alike, this class will celebrate our inherent diversity. We will generate new pieces of writing using a variety of prompts, ranging from coins to fabric.

  • David Thacker (Room N)

“Death is a Thief/Death is a Banana: Metaphor From the Ground Up”
In “More than Cool Reason,” George Lakoff and Mark Turner identify two ways poets innovate through metaphor: by playing linguistically with common conceptual metaphors (like “death is a thief”) and by inventing new conceptual metaphors (like “death is a banana”). In this workshop, we’ll seek to demystify the process of making metaphor by examining poems by Sylvia Plath and Les Murray (and probably some others) to see how masters use common and new conceptual metaphors as the central/driving elements of poems. We’ll then put what we discover to work starting our own poems driven by metaphor.

  • Ciara Shuttleworth (Room J)

“Duende”
How often do poets truly inhabit their own bodies, emotions, and fears? We hear poets attribute a poet’s success to their “angel” or “muse,” but not many speak of “duende.” Writers have spoken of all three experiences beyond their control, but only duende comes strictly from a dark space of internal anguish or revelation, from the body’s response. In this session, we’ll discuss the angel and muse as beauty and gift from external inspiration, and duende as a bodily response, a dance with darkness or death, something written not to please or excite but out of necessity.

  • Ellie Mathews (Room I)

“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.

  • Thomas Aslin (Room L)

“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.

  • Lindsay Wilson (Room K)

“Re-vision: Distinguishing between what is important and unimportant in early drafts?”
For many of us writing a first draft of a poem is the easiest part, but we often remain stuck wondering how we should proceed in the next draft.  If you are like me, you want to see concrete examples of a published writer’s drafting process. The beginning of the class will focus on Stephen Dobyns’ essay, “Voices One Listens To.” (Copies are available from Lindsay Wilson beforehand, but you do not have to read the essay to attend the class.) We will discuss Dobyns’ assertion that during the drafting process poets must be “able to distinguish between what is important or unimportant, what is necessary or superfluous.” The class will focus primarily on Dobyns’ discussion of Ellen Bryant Voigt’s drafts of her poem, “Amaryllis.” In small groups we will identify precisely where and what Voigt changed between draft one and draft thirty-four. After a discussion of what Voigt revised within the poem, the class will look at an early draft of Joe Wilkins’ poem, “Letter to Liz from Houston” and the final draft. The goal is to take what we learn from Dobyns and Voigt, and then cross apply it to “Letter to Liz from Houston.” I hope to help you see specifically how each poet revised for poetic intent, diction, character, setting, tone, line breaks, and ambiguity among other considerations. We will wrap up on handouts for revision exercises writers could use to jump start revising their own work.

  • Marcia Perlstein (Room M)

“Just for Me: Journal Writing as Self-Therapy”
Using prompts and questions, participants will be given tools to access our dreams, fears, hopes and concerns. Many of us work things out through our writing. Down the road, we may select bits and pieces, shape them into new forms, use them as parts of other works. However, the intention of this time together is to free us up, in the moment; not to plan for publication, rather to focus on feelings, ideas, conundrums, rolling about in our rich interior lives. In this workshop, we will experiment with ways to mine our musings and put them on paper. The environment will be safe for reflection and sharing; and/or for taking home, continuing the process and asking the questions of ourselves we each want to ask.

  • Midge Raymond (Room O)

“You’ve Got Style: Capturing Your Unique Writer’s Voice”
“Voice” is an aspect of writing that is challenging to define but necessary to good prose. This workshop will take a close look at the elements of voice and style, from language to pacing. We’ll discuss tips on how to better develop your style as a writer, as well as how to embrace the voices of fictional characters. A variety of examples and in-class prompts will highlight the nuances of sentence crafting.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Anne Germanacos and Mark Bibbins

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

Friday, July 18

7-8—Morning freewrite (Building 262)

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
  • Diane Roberts (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room J)
  • Dana Levin (Room N)
  • Mark Bibbins (Room M)
  • Emily Rapp (Room L)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Robert Lopez (Room O)
  • Jennine Capó Crucet (Room D)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1-1:50—Afternoon Craft Lecture by Gary Copeland Lilley: “Amiri Baraka, Wanda Coleman, and the Black Arts Movement” (Room D)

2-3:30—Afternoon workshops

  • Sayantani Dasgupta (Room H)

“Walking through the Landscape: Writing the Nature Essay”
The personal essay offers the writer a platform for solitude and contemplation. Often, those are the exact same things we seek while strolling down the beach, or gardening, or jogging through the park. Nature writing not only offers the opportunity to appreciate the tangible, physical beauty of the landscape surrounding us, but it also provides writers (and through them, to their readers) new ways of reflecting upon our already familiar world. Nature writing demands writers to have strong, distinctive voices, and for them to be patient and keenly observant.  In this class, we will read two contemporary nature essays, and craft three essays of our own.

  • David Thacker (Room N)

“Tulips, Squirrel Jaw, Birdcage: Writing Unpredictable Poems”
The worst words that can ever be applied to a poet’s work are “safe,” “easy,” or “predictable.” Instead of going “in fear of abstractions,” we might go in fear of the worn. But at the same time there are subjects that poetry will always be written about (and should always be written about). This presents a serious conundrum. In this generative workshop, we’ll compare poems by poets who have a penchant for the unpredictable, the incongruous, the surprising—even when the subject matter is as familiar as love, war, or loneliness. We’ll first compare two exemplarily unpredictable poems. Then we’ll turn our examples into prompts and spend the remainder of our time generating material. Come see what discoveries you can let loose on the page.

  • Sam Ligon (Room O)

“Whose 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.

  • Thomas Aslin (Room M)

“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.

  • Lindsay Wilson

“Submission Etiquette:  What to consider when submitting work to literary journals”
Want to pick an editor’s brain?  Want to know what he likes (or hates) in a submission? Want to simply ask an editor some questions regarding submissions and the editorial process? This informal class will focus on how to submit work to literary journals, and my experiences working on an editorial board or as an editor of four different magazines, which include Unwound Magazine, The Owen Wister Review, Fugue and currently The Meadow. We will discuss places to locate good journals, cover letters, editorial expectations, contests, the inevitable rejection letters, and tips and tricks of submission. A question-and-answer period will end the class.

  • Susan Landgraf (Room K)

“Light Workshop”
A sensible man will remember that the eyes may be confused in two ways—by a change from light to darkness or from darkness to light—and he will recognize that the same thing happens to the soul. —Plato
What is light?  Of course there are the obvious – light bulb, match, daybreak.   Then there is the other light Plato is referring to – a new state of awareness, a lightness of being, an ephiphany. We’ll look at a few poems that shine and do some exercises to find a poem that sparks with light.

  • Midge Raymond (Room L)

“The Art of the Title”
What’s in a title? Quite a lot—a title is usually a book’s first introduction to the world, and you want to make a good first impression. In this workshop, we’ll examine titles that work and why, and we’ll look at the rejected titles of famous books to see what doesn’t. Through a series of tips and writing prompts, you’ll learn how to create titles that convey the tone, nature, and content of your project, and you’ll leave the session with a list of solid title possibilities for your work-in-progress.

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Thomas Aslin, Robert Lopez

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

Saturday, July 19

7-8—Morning freewrite (Building 262)

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9-11:30—Morning workshops

  • Erin Belieu (Room I)
  • Sam Ligon (Room H)
  • Diane Roberts (Room F)
  • Kim & Gary (Room J)
  • Dana Levin (Room N)
  • Mark Bibbins (Room M)
  • Emily Rapp (Room L)
  • Dan Chaon (Room K)
  • Robert Lopez (Room O)
  • Jennine Capó Crucet (Room D)

11:45-12:30—Lunch

1:00-2:00—Faculty Booksigning

5:30-6:15—Dinner

7:00—Readings by Tom Healy, Jennine Capó Crucet

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

Sunday, July 20

7-8—Morning freewrite (Building 262)

8:15-8:45—Breakfast

9—Airport shuttle leaves

Dorm check out by 11:00 am

FACULTY BIOS

Kim Addonizio’s poetry, known for its gritty, street-wise narrators and a wicked sense of wit, has received significant recognition since 1994’s “The Philosopher’s Club,” a collection of unflinching poems on subjects ranging from mortality to love. Other books include “Jimmy & Rita,” “Tell Me,” and “What is This Thing Called Love.”

Thomas Aslin’s publications include a chapbook, “Sweet Smoke,” and a second edition of the poetry collection “A Moon Over Wings.” Currently he is finishing a book of poems titled “This, That, and the Other” and is working on a collection of essays. Two of these essays appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of the Georgia Review.

Erin Belieu, the Artistic Director for the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, is the author of three collections of poetry with Copper Canyon Press. Her first, “Infanta,” was a winner of the National Poetry Series, selected by Hayden Carruth. She teaches at Florida State University. Her fourth book will be released this autumn.

Sheila Bender publishes Writing It Real, an online instructional magazine for those who write from personal experience. Her books include a memoir, “A New Theology: Turning to Poetry in a Time of Grief.” In fall 2013, she was a distinguished guest lecturer at Seattle University.

Mark Bibbins’s poems have appeared in the Boston Review, the Colorado Review, the Paris Review, Poetry, the Yale Review and elsewhere, including The Best American Poetry 2004. Bibbins received a Lambda Literary Award for “Sky Lounge,” and was awarded a 2005 Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Jennine Capó Crucet’s debut story collection “How to Leave Hialeah” won the 2009 Iowa Short Fiction Prize, the 2010 John Gardner Book Award, and the 2010 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award, and was named a Best Book of the Year by the Miami Herald and the Latinidad List. Her stories have appeared in many literary journals.

Dan Chaon is the author of the short story collection “Stay Awake” and the national bestseller “Await Your Reply,” which was named one of the ten best books of the 2009. He is also the author of the short story collections “Fitting Ends” and “Among the Missing,” which was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award.

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.

Sayantani Dasgupta teaches creative writing, religious studies, and south-Asian history and literature at the University of Idaho. Work has appeared in Gulf StreamSN Review, Blood Orange Review and other magazines. Her essay “On Seeking Answers” received a 2010 Pushcart Prize Special Mention.

Ellen Graham has been an actor, freelance director and educator for over thirty years in Seattle. She has directed original scripts at the A.C.T./Hedgebrook playwriting workshop, The Sundance Playwrights Lab, and WordBRIDGE. Graham has taught at conservatories and universities, and is currently on the faculty of the Northwest School.

Tom Healy was appointed to the Fulbright Scholarship Board by President Obama in 2011 and has been twice elected by the board to serve as its chairman. Under President Clinton, Healy was a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. He is the author of two books of poetry; work has appeared in multiple literary journals.

Gayle Kaune has won several writing awards, and her work has been nominated for both Pushcart and Pulitzer prizes. Her books include “Still Life in the Physical World” and “All the Birds Awake,” and she has also published two chapbooks: “N’Sid-Sen-Star” and “Concentric Circles” (which won the Flume Press Award.)

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.

Dana Levin is the author of “In the Surgical Theatre,” “Wedding Day,” and “Sky Burial,” which The New Yorker called “utterly riveting.” Levin’s poetry and essays have appeared recently in The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, APR, Agni, and Poetry. Levin teaches at Santa Fe University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Sam Ligon is the author of the short-story collection “Drift and Swerve” and the novel “Safe in Heaven Dead.” His stories have appeared in such journals as Alaska Quarterly ReviewStoryQuarterly, and New England Review. He teaches at Eastern Washington University’s Inland Northwest Center for Writers, and is the editor of Willow Springs.

Robert Lopez is the author of “Part of the World” and “Kamby Bolongo Mean River.” A collection of short fiction, “Asunder,” was published by Dzanc Books. He was also the 2010 Fellow in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He teaches at The New School, Pratt Institute and Columbia University.

Ellie Mathews is the author of a nonfiction book, a middle grades novel, a memoir, and young adult short fiction. She has won cooking and writing awards including the Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature, a grant from the Seattle Artists Program for Literary Artists, a Fishtrap Fellowship, and the Pillsbury Bake-Off grand prize. Her story of a 1912 journey on a New England whale ship came out to starred reviews from Booklist and Kirkus. Her memoir was selected as a Book Sense Notable.

Bill Mawhinney, the author of two collections of poetry“Songs In My Begging Bowl” and “Cairns Along The Road.” His poems have appeared in such magazines and journals as Heron Dance, the Hummingbird Review, IS Magazine, Minotaur, and Windfall.
He also currently organizes and hosts Port Townsend’s Northwind Reading Series.

Marcia Perlstein has taught in the San Francisco Bay Area in a number of community settings. She is the editor of Flowers Can Even Bloom in Schools and the author of more than thirty published articles including “personal universals” as well as applied mental health articles in both lay and professional publications.

Emily Rapp is the author of “Poster Child: A Memoir,” and “The Still Point of the Turning World.” She is currently a professor of creative writing at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a faculty member with the University of California-Riverside Palm Desert MFA Program.

Midge Raymond’s short-story collection, “Forgetting English,” received the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction. Her stories have appeared in many literary journals and been nominated for numerous Pushcart Prizes. She has worked as an editor and copywriter for such publishers as Houghton Mifflin, Penguin, and St. Martin’s Press.

Diane Roberts is a, columnist, essayist, radio commentator, reviewer and professor. She is the author of three books, and has been a commentator for NPR since 1993. She is currently a professor of literature and writing at Florida State University, and a visiting fellow in creative writing at the University of Northumbria in England.

Ciara Shuttleworth earned her MFA from the University of Idaho. Her work has appeared in such magazines at Alaska Quarterly Review, Los Angeles Reviews, The New Yorker, The Southern ReviewThe Contemporary West, and The Norton Introduction to Literature. She lives and works in New York City.

Colette Tennant is a professor of English at Corban University in Salem, Oregon. Her first book, “Reading the Gothic in the First Seven Novels of Margaret Atwood,” published in 2003, is part of Edwin Mellen’s comparative literature series. A collection of poetry, “Commotion of Wings,” was published in 2010.

David Thacker teaches writing at the University of Idaho. He won the Frederick Manfred Award from the Western Literature Association, and his poems have appeared  in such magazines as Ploughshares, Subtropics, The Cortland Review, Nimrod, Sycamore Review, and elsewhere.

Elizabeth Thorpe’s short stories and novel excerpts have appeared in such magazines as Per Contra, Painted Bride Quarterly, Puckerbrush Review, and the Maine Review. She teaches writing at Drexel University and in the UArts Pre-College program, and works as an editor for several literary magazines. She earned her MFA from Goddard College.

Kathryn Trueblood recently won the 2013 Goldenberg Prize for Fiction and the 2011 Red Hen Press Short Story Award. Her most recent novel is The Baby Lottery, a Book Sense Pick in 2007. Her stories and articles have been published in many magazines. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at Western Washington University.

Lindsay Wilson, an English professor in Reno, Nevada, edits the literary journal, The Meadow. He has published five chapbooks, and has poetry in the Minnesota Review, Pank, Portland Review, Verse Daily, and Salamander, among others.

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