Summer in Paris 2018 Writing Retreat: Day Three

The morning of Friday, July 27 began with the first session of guest faculty member Kathleen Spivack’s “Memory and Memoir” workshop. Kathleen’s class focused on how writers can work with memory, nostalgia, the other, and ourselves and explored the role of memory in writing.

In the afternoon the group traveled to Musée d’Orsay for Diana Norma Szokolyai‘s workshop, “Ekphrasis: When Writing Confronts Visual Art.” Prior to the ekphrasis workshop, writers were asked to ponder several questions: How does writing about visual art combine both creative and critical processes? How can we use ekphrasis to jumpstart our own creative process?  How can ekphrasis help us explore the emotional world and perspectives of the Other? And how does ekphrasis reveal deeply personal and internal reflection by examining a creation external to ourselves? In addition to these musings, participants also wrote poems inspired by various pieces of art.

The day ended with more explorations around Paris, individual writing time, and preparations for Kristina Marie Darling’s class on “Prose Poetry and Micro-Fiction,” Rita Banerjee’s class on, “Flaneurs, Essays, and Provocateurs,” and a trip to Versailles.

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Summer in Paris 2018 Writing Retreat: Day Two

The morning of Thursday, July 26 began with a workshop led by CWW directors Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai. The workshop focused on CREDO: An Anthology Of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, which CWW released in May. The anthology creates a bridge from the philosophical to the practical, presenting a triad of creative writing manifestos, essays on the craft of writing, and creative writing exercises.

Following the workshop, instructors and participants had some writing time to work on their personal projects and gather inspiration while exploring the city.

That evening, Rita was the featured Reader at Paris Lit Up at Culture Rapide. Paris Lit Up is a non-profit community organization that aims to intensify collaborative artistic practices through community events, performance and publication. Rita read from her new poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, March 2018) and CREDO (C&R Press, May 2018). She also shared excerpts from her new collection of essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool, and her novel-in-progress about a Tamil-Jewish family in crisis during a post-authoritarian regime. 

Norma and several CWW participants also shared their work during the event as part of the open-mic portion of the event. The CWW has loved going to open-mic events in Paris in the past, and this evening was no exception.

With that, the second day came to a close, with everyone continuing to work on their projects and preparing for tomorrow’s workshops, where our guest faculty member Kathleen Spivack will start the day with her workshop, “Memory & Memoir.”

Summer in Paris 2018 Writing Retreat: Day One

Wednesday, July 25, marked the first official day of our 2018 Summer Writing Retreat in Paris! The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop directors and faculty prepared for the arrival of writers and scouted the neighborhood for the group.

 

During their exploration, Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai enjoyed galettes from La Crêperie Bretonne and stumbled upon a poem on Blvd Edgar Quinet.

 

Paris faculty, Kristina Marie Darling and Kathleen Spivack, arrived and instructors and participants had an orientation and luncheon together on the patio at La Baraka (authentic Moroccan restaurant.)

Following dinner, the group paid a visit to Amorino for some gelato and settled in at Hôtel Denfert-Montparnasse, home of the retreat for the next week.