Creative Nonfiction at the 2011 PTWC

P1010192 Registration for the 2011 Port Townsend Writers' Conference opens next Monday, October 25 and we're excited to have for next summer's gathering–for the first time in our history–three creative nonfiction offerings on tap.

Led by Centrum alumna Paisley Rekdal (she previously taught here in 2005), Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and Bob Shacochis, these morning workshops (as well as afternoon workshops led by writers Wendy Call, Kitty Hoffman, and Sheila Bender), give the 2011 Conference a new, major emphasis on creative nonfiction and memoir.

In her class, Paisley will be looking at mixed-genre memoirs. Her class description is available below!

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, "The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee," and three books of poetry: "A Crash of Rhinos," "Six Girls Without Pants," and "The Invention of the Kaleidoscope."

Another book, "Intimate," a hybrid photo-text memoir that combines poems, nonfiction, and fiction with photography, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press inPaisley Rekdal 2011. Her poems and essays have appeared in such magazines as Ploughshares, Poetry, Tin House, Michigan Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly, New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, and American Poetry Review, among many others.

The Mixed-Genre Memoir?
While memoirs have long been a popular genre, the style of memoir writing has been undergoing a quiet revolution. Memoirists are increasingly turning to fiction and poetry, using aspects of dialogue, characterization, plot, metaphor, lyric movement and imagery, and even photography to shape the narratives of their lives. In this workshop, we’ll be looking at a variety of poems and short stories that might help serve as models for writing one’s personal narrative. We’ll also look at a few short excerpted examples of memoirs that move between the genres, connecting these readings with specific exercises students might try at home. These readings will include selections from Nick Flynn’s "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City," Abigail Thomas’ "Safekeeping," Kazim Ali’s "Bright Felon," Lawrence Sutin’s "A Postcard Memoir," Claudia Rankine’s "Don’t Let Me Be Lonely," and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s “Erato.”