SESSION ONE – 8:30-9:30 A.M.
“Revision as Translation: Groupwriting an Opposite Poem”
The question of revision is also the question of translation—what are we gaining, losing, evoking, suggesting? And centrally: What are we missing? In this session, we will take a famous poem, and, as a group, go through and change each word to its opposite (how we determine what “opposite” means here is half the fun). By the end of the exercise, we will discuss how the poem has changed, and you will have gained a new, concrete revision strategy to bring to your own work. Especially helpful for those who get stuck after the first or second draft. Our focus will be on poetry, but the attention to language will be useful for writers in all genres.
“A Journey into Print: On Publishing and the Creative Process”
In our workshop, we will read from our new books and talk about our quite different journeys into print. We’ll touch on some of the vicissitudes of the publishing process, as well as the process of drafting and finishing our books. And we’ll offer some tips from our experience. We intend for this time to be one of encouragement and inspiration, whether you’re an emerging writer or have been writing for years.
“Outsider Perspective and Italian Translation”
Translation seems to force us by definition into adopting, at least temporarily, an outsider’s perspective as we seek to render most truly and effectively the writer into English. Together, we’ll explore various aspects of this challenge, invitation, and process by focusing on translation from Italian into English. Nate DiMauro will read excerpts from his recent translation of Italo Calvino’s Un Ottimista in America, a collection of essays chronicling his journeys through America from 1959-1960 on a Ford Fellowship grant for emerging European writers. Hannah Armbrust Badia will be focusing on her translations of the Milanese poet Umberto Fiori and also using examples from daily life in Italy.
Two frenemies turned writing soul-sisters. Is it possible?! This workshop will focus on the humbling and valuable experience of learning from the writers around you, especially those quite different from you. Led by writerly friends Abby Provencher and Grace Shaw, the “Ekphrastic Friendships” generative workshop will dive straight into an in-session writing exercise where you’ll have the opportunity to create two short pieces—one of your own and one in response to another writer’s work. Bangs and/or glasses required.*
*We don’t actually require this, but they’re certainly welcomed.
“Writing as a Spiritual Practice (from Abby of the Arts)”
This workshop will explore the gifts of grace and of holy surprise as we consider some of the ways that writing can enhance your spiritual practice and faith journey. The focus will be on creating poetry through meditation and reflections, listening to the language of the poem as well as to the Holy Spirit. Keep handy something to write with and on; we hope to give you an opportunity to share what you’ve created with the group. (Not required, though!)
“Embodying Eros in the Poetic”
In this session we will look at Christine’s chapbook of poetry, In the Understory of Her Being, and Pilar’s translation of those love poems into Spanish. Myriad pitfalls surround you as you step into writing about love and eros. How do we key into our sensory information, the body’s knowledge to inhabit images and craft an honest poem that allows for contradiction, paradox, transformation, delight—all that confounds in the landscape of love and intimacy. And how do you capture expressions of that in Spanish? We’ll read some poems and talk about aspects of our collaboration as writer and translator.
SESSION TWO – 11:00-12:00 NOON
“Forms of Fiction: Adapting Your Own Work”
In this workshop, we’ll explore the strengths and challenges of different forms of writing (from screenplays to scripted podcasts to Choose Your Own Adventures) and the ways that an existing work can open up when translated into an unexpected form. We will experiment with that process during the workshop, and leave with the start of a new piece of writing. Please come prepared with some notes on a piece you have already written (in any form or genre).
“Making Sense with Fragment”
This will be a session on the uses of fragments in writing. Not unlike poetry, fragmentary structures in prose writing borrow the excited brevity of stanzas, which, in their use of white space, require a dynamic rhythm of pause and motion, departure and return. With any approach to structure in a piece or writing (including fragmentary), and seasoned writer thinks as a reader of their own work—one who is excluded from the connective tissue linking the ideas in their own mind. Reader delight happens when writers make decisions with regard to the relationships between the ending of one fragment and the beginnings of the one that follows.
“How to Make it Until You’ve Made It: An Introduction to Residencies, Grant writing, Copywriting, and Other ‘Gigs’”
This workshop will explore ways writers can support themselves until the day they make it big! We’ll offer a deep-dive into the writing residency experience. Kaylen, who spent a year completing five residences throughout the U.S., will help participants explore the writing residency process from selection to focus within the residency; considerations and resources for choosing a writing residency, why they’re important, and how to maximize your time there. Jon has been working as an advertising copywriter for over a decade writing for brands both terrible and ‘kind of cool.’ He’ll talk about writing for fun and profit, compartmentalizing personal vs. professional writing, and how to sell your skills without selling your soul. We’ll also talk about opportunities in the field of grant writing.
“The Test of the Stranger; the Test of the Translator”
One of Walter Benjamin’s most famous essays asked what is the “task” or “duty” (die Aufgabe) of the translator? Paul Ricœur, in one of his last books, argued that translation is a “model of hospitality.” In this workshop, I want to “work” through some possible ways of understanding how the task or duty of the translator may provide us with a model of hospitality, while also investigating how this coupling might challenge our conception of the demands of both translation and hospitality.
Prose + poetry: Prosetry. The best of both worlds. This writing workshop will feature a hands-on breakdown of the elements of poetry and prose that work together in an alternating style. We’ll pay special attention to ekphrastic poetry.
“Faith and Writing”
This interactive workshop will explore the power of fiction to influence a person’s faith and understanding of God, sometimes positively, but sometimes negatively. Participants will be invited to share stories or novels that have been important influences for them. We will also discuss the apparent difficulty in writing about religious faith, and about religious people, without falling into stereotypes.
SESSION THREE – 3:00-4:00 P.M.
“MFA Reading: Birds of Massachusetts and In the Shape of a Woman”
Steven will read from his novel Birds of Massachusetts which won the 2020 Michael Rubin Book award and was published by Fourteen Hills Press las December. The book is about the relationship between an old woman with dementia and a young man hired to spend time with her. Lily will read poetry from her MFA thesis, titled In the Shape of a Woman. The poems are lyric explorations in voice, largely to do with identity and how the speaker sees themselves given familiar, social and religious histories.
“Claiming Your Voice in Oppressive Circumstances”
Poets in translation have a lot to teach us about what it means to claim a voice in adverse circumstances. Anna Akhmatova had to figure out how to keep writing under the oppressive communist regimes of Lenin and Stalin. Likewise, Antonio Machado wrote during the Spanish Civil War just before Franco’s fascist regime came to power. Together we’ll explore how they addressed their circumstances through their poetry, followed by a writing exercise and prompt to get you started reckoning with your life.
“Writing Poetry as Third Culture Kids (featuring the Sijo)”
What does it mean to be culturally fluid and geographically mobile. How does growing up as a TCK (Third Culture Kid) impact writing? Dr. Moises Park and Melanie Han will be discussing exploration of identity and belonging through writing that reflects cultural and linguistic hybridity. The session will introduce the sijo, a Korean traditional poetic form. Some poetry will contain verses/words in Spanish and/or Korean.
“How to Fan-Girl in the Literary Community: Supporting your Writing Community”
Every writer needs to be a good fan of other writers. How do you find, develop, and deepen your writing community? In this seminar, we will discuss practical ways for you to support your writing peers, your favorite living authors, and all the other writers in-between. Please bring your ideas and suggestions.
“God in the Details: A Generative Workshop on Spiritual Writing”
Great spiritual writing is like any other great writing: particular, embodied, concrete. This participatory workshop considers the craft of spiritual writing, and explores how to write about the ineffable through material details. We will look at several essays and excerpts that deal with themes of faith and doubt. Participants will also have a chance to produce their own work using generative prompts. In advance, participants are invited to read two short essays: Kaveh Akbar’s “On Fasting” and an excerpt from Mary Karr’s memoir Lit.
Dr. Jerry Logan
“The Cinderella Strategy: Finding God through Athletics, Poetry, and a Few Strangers”
What do an attorney, an Irish poet, and the head coach of the Boston Celtics have to do with one another? Nothing, unless you happened to bump into all of them on the same day. And that occurs in Jerry Logan’s account of writing The Cinderella Strategy: The Game Plan behind Butler University’s Rise to Prominence, a book that explores the synergy between a big-time athletic program and a serious academic institution. In this workshop, Jerry will tell a story that begins with researching the book and arrives at an encounter with “the God of Surprises.”
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