Brian Christian Writing Workshops at the 2011 Port Townsend Writers’ Conference

We’re excited that Brian Christian, who attended the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference as a student in 2007 and 2008, will be returning in 2011 as a resident, and will be teaching two afternoon workshops as part of his time here! We don’t have dates assigned for these classes yet, but hope to shortly.

The Third Thing: Exercises in Register

Ezra Pound argued that the power of poetry comes from three sources: sound, image…and a third thing, which he had to invent a word for.  Arguably the most powerful driving force in 20th and 21st-century poetry is also the least explored—Pound called it “logopoeia”; we now call it register, or the reason why the words “pearlescent” and “dudes” don’t mix. Through close readings and our own experiments, we’ll have a look at the power and possibilities of register in 20th and 21st century poetry—including your own.

Exploding the Essay

Our school system literally mandates the structure that children must use to express their ideas—a shame, because the search for shape is one of the most important, and thrilling, steps in the writing process.  The best nonfiction since antiquity has employed a breathtakingly wide range of structures, and this can sometimes be as important as the content—indeed, sometimes it is the content.  We’ll look at these philosophers and writers—from the 19th century to the 21st—and explore the vast and wild possibilities of the essay form.