A week of island writing: learn more here!
Kim Addonizio Workshop
“New Poems: Games of Chance.”
This week is going to be about play and messing around, and at the same time about following some given rules and restrictions. We’re going to immerse ourselves in various games, from anagrams to random elements to be incorporated into a piece—some language-based, some reality-based, since the world is always offering up surprises. The idea is to dig down into what you didn’t know you were thinking until some chance language or rule or encounter triggered it. We’re not going to give ourselves up entirely to chance operations, but to explore the intersections of chance and willed elements. We’ll do some in-class exercises, as well as sharing our newly written work. If you’ve been blocked, this is a chance to get back to a sense of play and discovery; if you’re just ready to create something new, you’ll have plenty of material by the end of the week—and some ideas about where to take it from there.
Kim Addonizio is the author of six poetry collections, two novels, two story collections, and two books on writing poetry, “The Poet’s Companion” (with Dorianne Laux) and “Ordinary Genius.” She has received fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation, two Pushcart Prizes, and was a National Book Award Finalist for her collection Tell Me. Her latest books are “Mortal Trash: Poems” (W.W. Norton) and a memoir-in-essays, “Bukowski in a Sundress” (Penguin). She recently collaborated on a chapbook, “The Night Could Go in Either Direction” (Slapering Hol Press) with poet Brittany Perham. “Writing is an ongoing fascination and challenge,” Kim says, “as well as being the only form of spirituality I can consistently practice. I started as a poet and will always return to poetry—both reading and writing it—for that sense of deep discovery and communion I find there. There are only two useful rules I can think of for aspiring writers: learn your craft, and persist. The rest, as Henry James said, is the madness of art.”
Pam Houston Workshop
“Structure, and Why It Is Good For You”
Barry Lopez said, “We are pattern makers, and if our patterns are beautiful and full of grace they will be able to bring someone for whom the world has become broken and disorganized up from their knees and back to life.” In this generative class, we will begin by writing in particular prose forms and see if, by occupying our minds with the rigors of structure, we free both our emotions and our imaginations to run a little wild. Then we will write more freely, and look at the work we have done to see what kinds of patterns might be trying to emerge. Along the way we will talk about all the other elements of good fiction: metaphor, point of view, tense, dialogue, narrative arc, lyric flight, beginnings and endings, and how they each interact with questions of form. Please read in advance of the class “Ceremony” by Leslie Marmon Silko, as well as the following stories: “Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story” by Russell Banks, “Loyalty,” by Charles Baxter; “Proper Library,” by Carolyn Ferrill; and “Aquifer,” by Tim Winton. (This one will cost you a subscription fee at Granta, or you can get it in the book it came from, called “The Turning,” which is terrific.)
Pam Houston’s most recent book is “Contents May Have Shifted,” published in 2012. She is also the author of two collections of linked short stories– “Cowboys Are My Weakness” and “Waltzing the Cat”–the novel, “Sight Hound,” and a collection of essays, “A Little More About Me,” all published by W.W. Norton. Her stories have been selected for volumes of the Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, The 2013 Pushcart Prize, and the Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA award for contemporary fiction, The Evil Companions Literary Award and multiple teaching awards. She lives on a ranch at 9,000 feet in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.