Writing The Right Now

Date: 6-7:30 pm, Thursday 17 November and 10-4 pm, Saturday 19 November
Location: Futuna Chapel, 67 Futuna Close, Karori, Wellington City
Faculty: Pip Adam
Cost: $90
Contact or to register: kirsten@kahini.org

In an interview with Kim Hill in 2014, Tasmanian writer Richard Flanagan recounted a story about the great Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. Akhmatova was standing outside Lubyanka Prison during the snow storm of 1942 in a queue of people waiting to see their imprisoned relatives. The queue of people stood for hours in the sub-zero temperatures to take whatever food they had scrounged to try and offer sustenance and hope to their loved ones inside. By this stage, Flanagan explains, Akhmatova was an ‘unperson’: her books had been taken from the libraries and no one world publish her work. Despite this, a woman in the queue asked her, ‘Are you the poet Anna Akhmatova?’ And Akhmatova answered yes. The woman said, ‘Can you describe this?’ motioning toward the queue. Akhmatova looked up and down the queue and said, ‘Yes, I think I can.’ Flanagan then said, ‘I think this is the truth of what it is sometimes to be a writer or an artist. It falls to you to describe the queue, of despair and hope that you find yourself in. To seek to communicate, however inadequately, the incommunicable.’

This workshop explores ways of translating the ‘right now’ into poetry and prose. The workshop will consist of two major exercises. After meeting on the Thursday night and discussing strategies for recording our present moment, we will depart with the task of ‘capturing’ the next day (Friday). We will meet again on Sunday to discuss strategies for shaping this raw material into poetry and prose. After this discussion we will, in the same space, and create something from our research. Collaboration is welcome but we can also work on our own work.

There is room for us to create a small publication of the work we create on this day.

Thursday: Introductions, strategies for ‘capturing’ the day
Friday: Capture the day (everyone works in their own daily routine to achieve this)
Saturday: Taking the raw material of our capture of one day we will talk about what we need to do to craft this into a piece of poetry or prose. Then we will spend time writing these and reading them to each other.

Limited to 12 participants, only 3 places left. To reserve your space contact Kirsten Le Harivel at kirsten@kahini.org.

pipPip Adam received an MA in Creative Writing with Distinction from Victoria University in 2007, and a PhD in 2012. Her work has appeared in Sport, Glottis, Turbine, Landfall, Lumière Reader, Hue & Cry, Metro and Blackmail Press. She received an Arts Foundation of New Zealand New Generation Award in 2012. Her first collection of short stories, “Everything We Hoped For” (Victoria University Press) won the NZ Post Best First Book Award in 2011. In 2013, Victoria University Press published Pip’s first novel I’m Working on a Building. Pip convenes an undergraduate short fiction workshop at the IIML at Victoria University, works with creative writing students from Whitireia Community Polytechnic, and teaches writing at Massey University. Over the last year she has been teaching a creative writing class at Arohata Prison in Wellington. Check out Better Off Read: A Podcast About Reading and Writing.