WORKSHOP A – Foldn’ Towels, Foldn’ Bone: Poesy in Fold with Sandra Lynn Joseph Lynxleg 

Before you come to this workshop, look in your hall closets, cabinets, tool kits, anywhere you notice folds.  How were you taught to fold – towels, paper, your arms, the way to describe hills, the draping of a dress or where you keep your sheep?  Poet Dennis Saddleman releases the clenched folds of his residential school experience in his poem “Monster.”  I released mine by ripping bathroom towels from their closet: my first exorcism of demanded folds.  In this workshop, we’ll purge the metaphorical fold, throw that towel to the tiles – bone bend words beyond binding to allow our folds to ‘escape and rot their way into a thousand minds’.  A caution:  our time together will evoke emotion, and in the realm of poesy, emotion is inevitable!

WORKSHOP B – Writing “Right” in a Writerly Way: Exploring the Politics, Research, and Craft of Creative Non-Fiction with Sarah de Leeuw

This hands-on yet seminar-styled workshop will include both a “theoretical” dimension and a series of writing prompts designed to consider language and topics in innovative ways. Anchored mostly in short works of creative (or literary) non-fiction, the workshop will consider ethics in writing creative non-fiction including voice appropriation or writing about things we don’t know.  This workshop will involve participants considering the politics of political writing, will explore the literary techniques of sound, rhyme, repetition, lyricism in writing creative non-fiction, and will provide participants with practical tools and connections for undertaking research in the genre. Participants are asked to bring enough print outs of a short sample of their own work to share (if they’d like), as well as any examples of creative non-fiction they admire. Participants are also asked to bring a short bio of a creative non-fiction author they admire.

WORKSHOP C – On Beginning and Perfecting the First Page with Dania Tomlinson

The first chapter, first page, first paragraph, and even the very first sentence of a story or novel dramatically influences the direction, tone, structure, and narrative limitations of the rest of the work. Since editors, agents, judges, and even readers, will stop reading if they are not immediately hooked by the writing, how a story or novel begins is essential to its success. The beginning paves the way for the rest of the story. Early decisions such as point-of-view, voice, and tense, inform the rest of a work. But where we start is rarely how we should begin. And how a story should begin is rarely where we started from. In this workshop, we will discuss beginning versus starting and use examples and exercises to learn the ins and outs of crafting the best beginning possible.

WORKSHOP D – My Hand Is a Red Brick: Marrying Image and Story with Michael V. Smith

This is a workshop for all levels of writer. Together we look at the relationship between structure and imagery. Or, better put, we investigate what happens to what things. This workshop sources film, poetry, and fiction to help you build better writing machines. How do the images you choose (re-)make meaning? What is the relationship between a story’s objects, its structure, and its theme? What strategies of thingness and order can you use to better guide a reader towards your creative question? The workshop uses group mind-mapping, story-making, cultural analysis, and writing exercises to look at aspects of making meaning. All genres, all levels of writers are welcome.

WORKSHOP E – Get to Work: Breaking the Taboo with Tom Wayman

Most literary anthologies present a portrait of a country in which nobody works. One can browse a bookstore, attend a literary festival, or stroll through a book fair and not find any significant reflection of how work is the central and governing experience of everyday life. Blue- or white-collar, paid or unpaid, our work determines (or strongly influences) our standard of living, who our friends are, our opinions on a range of social issues, how much time, energy, money we have during the hours each week off work, and more.

The pervasive taboo in all the arts against an accurate depiction of, let alone assessment of, the ways employment shapes a human life gives the lie to the claim that literature or the other arts “tell the human story.” Nor can a “work/life balance” exist because in reality, we’re alive at work, too.  This all-genre workshop will look at why the taboo exists, consider examples by some North American poetry and prose writers who have chosen to break the taboo, and engage in writing exercises intended to sharpen perceptions of this vital, albeit currently suppressed, subject matter.

WORKSHOP F – Remember Your Parents: A Memoir Intersection with Natalie Appleton

Remember the sky that you were born under, / know each of the star’s stories…. / Remember your birth, how your mother struggled / to give you form and breath. You are evidence of / her life, and her mother’s, and hers. / Remember your father. He is your life, also.   –Joy Harjo, Remember 

Like it or not, everything about our lives is influenced by our parents and their parents before them. As adults constructing personal narratives, how do we write about our mothers and fathers in a way that is meaningful, universal and compelling?  In this workshop, we uncover why writing about our parents is a critical part of memoir, and how to begin thinking about them as characters with stories both separate and connected to our own. By dissecting how some of the greats have written about their mothers and fathers, we see how, as memoirists, writing about our parents can be our most important work.

WORKSHOP G – Damn Good Dialogue with Ashley Little

Whether you’re writing a short story, novel, stage play or film script, your characters need to speak, and their dialogue needs to sound authentic, reveal character, propel the plot, and be snappy enough to hold the reader’s attention. In this workshop we will discuss developing an ear for dialogue, practice writing dialogue and learn ways to craft truly great dialogue.

WORKSHOP H – Letterpress Printing 101: Shaping the Page with Real Type with Jason Dewinetz

Participants will take part in an intensive introduction to letterpress printing, hand-setting metal or wood type and printing on an antique Chandler & Price platen press. Given the very limited time available, participants will each set a line or two of type and work together to print a broadsheet of Pablo Neruda’s poem “Ode to Typography.” Be prepared to get your hands dirty (literally)!