Congratulations to Emily Nemens, our 2017 CWW Spring in New Orleans Writing Instructor, for her appointment as Editor of The Paris Review

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop would like to give a hearty congratulations and three cheers to Emily Nemens, co-editor of The Southern Review, and our 2017 Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat Instructor, for her new appointment as Editor of The Paris Review.  On Ms. Nemens’s appointment, The New York Times writes:

Emily Nemens, a co-editor of The Southern Review, seems agnostic and omnivorous when it comes to narrative mediums. In addition to publishing poetry, fiction and essays, she is a prolific illustrator who has amassed a large following on Tumblr for her watercolor portraits of women serving in Congress.

She will now take on a more prominent role in American letters. On Thursday, she was named the new editor of The Paris Review, one of the most prestigious literary magazines in the United States.

Ms. Nemens, who lives in Baton Rouge, La., and has been a co-editor of The Southern Review since 2013.

“Her literary tastes, her accomplishments, the combination of her work ethic and her sense of collaboration — both with her writers and her staff — make her a really unique package of talent,” said Akash Shah, a Paris Review board member who led the search for a new editor. “This is someone who is on a steep trajectory, and The Paris Review is going to benefit from that.”

Ms. Nemens’s eclectic taste and creative ambitions proved to be a draw for the Paris Review board, which chose Ms. Nemens over a pool of candidates better known in New York’s literary circles. Ms. Nemens will begin her new job on June 1.

Read the full New York Times article on Emily Nemens here.  Our warm congratulations to Emily Nemens on her new position, and best wishes for much continued success!

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Apply to the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans (April 13-16) Writing Retreat by March 20!

Apply to the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans (April 13-16, 2018) Writing Retreat by March 20, 2018 on cww.submmittable.com!  Known for its Spanish and French architecture, live jazz, cajun food, and street festivals, New Orleans offers an inspirational and one-of-a-kind experience for writers.  Our retreat features multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write.

The faculty includes award-winning writers & a top NYC literary agent: Rita BanerjeeDiana Norma Szokolyai, and Natalie Kimber. All genres welcome. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. The cost of the retreat is $1200, which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals.

If you’d like to join us in NOLA, please apply by March 20, 2018 by submitting 5-10 pages of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or a play with a $10 application fee, a cover letter, and references at cww.submittable.com. Please also include the following in your cover letter:

1. Full Legal Name
2. Contact Information (Email, Address, Phone)
3. Age & Nationality
4. Prior Workshop Experience and Publications
5. Creative Writing Goals for the Retreat
6. Short One-paragraph Biography
7. Contact info of Two Personal References (Name, Email, Address, Phone, Relationship to Applicant)

Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged. Applications are due March 20, 2018.

apply

Deadline: March 20, 2018

Schedule of Classes:

Featured Faculty:

Natalie Kimber is an Associate Literary Agent at The Rights Factory, and started her career in publishing as an assistant to Muriel Nellis at Literary and Creative Artists Inc., and later worked at Georgetown University’s Booklab, where she developed academic and trade book proposals, fiction titles, and edited books for New Academia PublishingShe joined with The Rights Factory in 2014, helping the Toronto based agency expand its operations in New York.  She represents a wide array of writers in the adult trade fiction and nonfiction space, and particularly favors books that showcase truly creative writing and books that unveil meaningful new ways to see the world and ourselves in it. She currently lives in Weehawken, NJ, overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan, where she founded the Weehawken Writers and Artists Studio with a view to help creatives of all kinds collaborate, learn, and share their creative process through workshops and events.

ritabanerjeeRita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing  (C&R Press, May 2018).  She is the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, February 2018), which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, Three Mile Harbor Poetry Prize, and Aquarius Press / Willow Books Literature Award, the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, Nat. Brut.The ScofieldThe Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere.  She is an Associate Scholar of Comparative Literature at Harvard and teaches at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.  She is the judge for the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest, and she is currently working on a novel, a documentary film about race and intimacy, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.

Headshot.McCarrenPark,WillamsburgDiana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. Her edited volume, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, will be released by C&R Press in May 2018.  She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book in the 2014 Paris Book Festival) and Roses in the Snow (first runner-­up Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival). She also records her poetry with musicians and has collaborated with several composers including David Krebs (US), Robert Lemay (Canada), Claudio Gabriele (Italy), Peter James (UK), Jason Haye (UK), and Sebastian Wesman (Estonia). Diana Norma is a founding member of the performing arts groups Sounds in Bloom, ChagallPAC, and The Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble.  Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause, “Space Mothlight,” hit #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Her work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in VIDA: Reports from the Field, The Fiction Project, Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase QuarterlyThe Million Line Poem, The Cambridge Community Poem, and elsewhere, as well as anthologized in Our Last Walk, The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering, and Teachers as Writers.  She is currently at work on her next book and an album of poetry & music.  Diana Norma holds a M.A. in French (UCONN, La Sorbonne) and an Ed.M in Arts in Education (Harvard).  Diana Norma Szokolyai is represented by Nat Kimber (The Rights Factory).

FAQ:

What happens after I apply?

Once you apply, you can expect to hear from us within 7-10 days and know whether you were accepted into the program. Once you are accepted, you will receive a welcome packet with detailed information regarding the program.

What is the process of paying tuition?

Once you are accepted into the program, you will need to pay a 30% tuition deposit to hold your seat within 3-5 days of acceptance. This amount is non-refundable. The remainder of tuition will be due by March 15, 2018. Our standard and preferred method of payment is PayPal invoice. You can also mail us a check.

What is included in tuition?

  • creative writing workshops
  • craft of writing seminars
  • lodging in NOLA
  • breakfasts & some other meals
  • walking tour of downtown New Orleans and Cafe du Monde

I’m local to New Orleans. Is there a tuition only option?

Yes. The tuition-only option is $675.  For more information, please inquire at info@cambridgewritersworkshop.org.

What are accommodations like?

During the retreat, we will be staying in the lovely Algiers Point neighborhood, just a short ferry ride away from the Historic French Quarter.  Writers will be staying at our retreat house and at a hotel nearby.  Rooms at the retreat house will be provided to early registrants first.

 

Application Deadlines for Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Writing Retreats in New Orleans, Paris, and Granada Approaching!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat will take place from April 13-16, 2018. Known for its Spanish and French architecture, live jazz, cajun food, and street festivals, New Orleans offers an inspirational and one-of-a-kind environment for creative writers. During the retreat, we will be staying in the lovely Algiers Point neighborhood, just a short ferry ride away from the Historic French Quarter.  Our retreat features multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write.  The faculty includes award-winning writers and literary agent Rita BanerjeeDiana Norma Szokolyai, and Natalie Kimber. There will one-on-one consultations with our literary agent, and workshop genres include nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. If you’d like to join us in New Orleans, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by March 20, 2018.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Paris Writing Retreat will take place from July 25-30, 2018.  Situated in heart of Paris’ Montparnasse neighborhood, amongst the fresh and popular open air markets and charming boutiques, the hotel stay is full of Parisian charm and our classes will take place in a beautiful Moroccan themed room that opens to a courtyard that can also be used by our writers.  Retreat activities will include craft of writing seminars and creative writing workshops, literary tours of Paris. If you’re serious about writing and want to soak in some exquisite French culture this summer, join our retreat in Paris!   The faculty includes award-winning writers Kathleen Spivack, Kristina Marie DarlingRita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai.  Genres include poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. If you’d like to join us in Paris, France, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by June 1, 2018.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Granada Writing Retreat will take place from August 1-6, 2018 in Spain. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía, Granada is one of the gems of Spain and has inspired writers from Washington Irving to Salman Rushdie to Ali Smith. Let the old city stimulate your writing with its winding streets, Moorish history, and evocative landscapes. Or, indulge in delicious Andalucían cuisine and traditional Arab baths. Work on your existing manuscript, or look to the beauty and warmth of Granada to inspire all-new projects.  Faculty includes Tim Horvath (fiction), Rita Banerjee (poetry, fiction), and Diana Norma Szokolyai (poetry, nonfiction).  If you’d like to join us in Granada, please apply online at cww.submittable.com by June 15, 2018.

To learn more about our upcoming writing retreats, visit the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop table (T403) at the AWP Bookfair in Tampa, FL from March 7-10, 2018!

Applications Open for CWW Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat (April 13-16, 2018)!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat will take place from April 13-16, 2018.  Known for its Spanish and French architecture, live jazz, cajun food, and street festivals, New Orleans offers an inspirational and one-of-a-kind experience for writers.  Our retreat features multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write.

The faculty includes award-winning writers & a top NYC literary agent: Rita BanerjeeDiana Norma Szokolyai, and Natalie Kimber. All genres welcome. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. The cost of the retreat is $1150, which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals.

If you’d like to join us in NOLA, please apply by March 20, 2018 by submitting 5-10 pages of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or a play with a $10 application fee, a cover letter, and references at cww.submittable.com. Please also include the following in your cover letter:

1. Full Legal Name
2. Contact Information (Email, Address, Phone)
3. Age & Nationality
4. Prior Workshop Experience and Publications
5. Creative Writing Goals for the Retreat
6. Short One-paragraph Biography
7. Contact info of Two Personal References (Name, Email, Address, Phone, Relationship to Applicant)

Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged. Applications due March 20, 2018.

applyDeadline: March 20, 2018

Featured Faculty:

Natalie Kimber is an Associate Literary Agent at The Rights Factory, and started her career in publishing as an assistant to Muriel Nellis at Literary and Creative Artists Inc., and later worked at Georgetown University’s Booklab, where she developed academic and trade book proposals, fiction titles, and edited books for New Academia PublishingShe joined with The Rights Factory in 2014, helping the Toronto based agency expand its operations in New York.  She represents a wide array of writers in the adult trade fiction and nonfiction space, and particularly favors books that showcase truly creative writing and books that unveil meaningful new ways to see the world and ourselves in it. She currently lives in Weehawken, NJ, overlooking the Hudson River and Manhattan, where she founded the Weehawken Writers and Artists Studio with a view to help creatives of all kinds collaborate, learn, and share their creative process through workshops and events.

ritabanerjeeRita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing  (C&R Press, May 2018).  She is the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, February 2018), which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, Three Mile Harbor Poetry Prize, and Aquarius Press / Willow Books Literature Award, the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, Nat. Brut.The ScofieldThe Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere.  She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington.  She is an Associate Scholar of Comparative Literature at Harvard and teaches at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.  She is the judge for the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest, and she is currently working on a novel, a documentary film about race and intimacy, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.

Version 2Diana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. Her edited volume, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, will be released by C&R Press in May 2018.  She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book in the 2014 Paris Book Festival) and Roses in the Snow (first runner-­up Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival). She also records her poetry with musicians and has collaborated with several composers including David Krebs (US), Robert Lemay (Canada), Claudio Gabriele (Italy), Peter James (UK), Jason Haye (UK), and Sebastian Wesman (Estonia). Diana Norma is a founding member of the performing arts groups Sounds in Bloom, ChagallPAC, and The Brooklyn Soundpainting Ensemble.  Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause, “Space Mothlight,” hit #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Her work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in VIDA: Reports from the Field, The Fiction Project, Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase QuarterlyThe Million Line Poem, The Cambridge Community Poem, and elsewhere, as well as anthologized in Our Last Walk, The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering, and Teachers as Writers.  She is currently at work on her next book and an album of poetry & music.  Diana Norma holds a M.A. in French (UCONN, La Sorbonne) and an Ed.M in Arts in Education (Harvard).  Diana Norma Szokolyai is represented by Nat Kimber (The Rights Factory).

FAQ:

What happens after I apply?

Once you apply, you can expect to hear from us within 7-10 days and know whether you were accepted into the program. Once you are accepted, you will receive a welcome packet with detailed information regarding the program.

What is the process of paying tuition?

Once you are accepted into the program, you will need to pay a 30% tuition deposit to hold your seat within 3-5 days of acceptance. This amount is non-refundable. The remainder of tuition will be due by March 15, 2018. Our standard and preferred method of payment is PayPal invoice. You can also mail us a check.

What is included in tuition?

  • creative writing workshops
  • craft of writing seminars
  • lodging in NOLA
  • breakfasts & some other meals
  • walking tour of downtown New Orleans and Cafe du Monde

I’m local to New Orleans. Is there a tuition only option?

Yes. For more information, please inquire at info@cambridgewritersworkshop.org.

What are accommodations like?

During the retreat, we will be staying in the lovely Algiers Point neighborhood, just a short ferry ride away from the Historic French Quarter.  Writers will be staying at our retreat house and at a hotel nearby.  Rooms at the retreat house will be provided to early registrants first.

Happy New Year 2018 -💖- the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop!

Happy New Year 2018 from all of us here at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop! We are looking forward to another year filled with inspiring workshops and retreats, readings and book launches and a variety of other ways to connect with new and old CWW writers and artists. Thank you to all of our CWW participants, teachers, friends and all of you who helped make this year creatively productive and inspiring.

2017 was a wild ride but looking back on the events of the past year we are overwhelmingly grateful for the ways we were able to connect with new and old friends through writing and art. Over the past year CWW held retreats and workshops in Europe and the United States, put the finishing touches on our anthology that is being published in 2018, and connected with other writers at readings and events throughout the country. We started the year off at the AWP Conference in Washington, DC where we hosted “Writers In Resistance.” Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Emily Nemens, Jensen Beach, Tim Horvath, Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Alex Carrigan and Anna-Celestrya Carr read their original work at Upshur Street Books and it was a wonderful night of reading and community.

In March we held our Spring In New Orleans Writing Retreat where Dipika Guha, Emily Nemens, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai led workshops on character development, storytelling and writing in the lyric register. We produced new work, shared our goals and expanded our writing community with new friend and new teachers. Because we were there during the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, participants were able to take advantage of literary New Orleans in a very special way. We had such a wonderful time in New Orleans we’re doing it again! Stay tuned for details on our Spring 2018 New Orleans Writing Retreat.

From New Orleans it was on to our Spring in Portland Writing Retreat in April. Adam Reid Sexton, Kerry Cohen, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai led workshops in fiction, non-fiction and poetry. We held sessions at the Secret Library in the historic Heathman Hotel, spent an afternoon exploring the famous Powell’s bookstore and attended a reading by local author Paul Dage. In our short weekend, we managed to get a feel for this amazing city and can’t wait to go back. Check out CWW alum Angie Walls Portland recommendations!

For our next retreat we headed abroad to Granada, Spain in the Andalucia region. Tim HorvathAlexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai led workshops on character development, poetry, memoir, writing from the senses and translation. We enjoyed flamenco performances, visited the Roma caves of Sacromonte, enjoyed the delicious food and drink the region had to offer. It was a magical trip and we can’t wait to go back this August. Details coming soon! To get taste of what a CWW writing retreat is like check out Diana Norma Szokolyai’s poetic musings on the Granada 2017 retreat.

Our Harvest Creative Writing Retreat in Rockport, MA was our final writing retreat of 2017. We stayed in Gloucester, MA right by beautiful Wingaersheek Beach and took full advantage of our settings. When we weren’t in workshops led by Maya Sonenberg, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai, we were taking walks on the beach, enjoying the Rockport Harvest Festival and visiting nearby Salem to take advantage of their October Haunted Happenings. We are planning another New England retreat for 2018, but in the meantime, enjoy Alex Carrigan’s Rockport columns to get a sense of this fantastic weekend.

In addition to our retreats we hosted readings and performances in Boston and Cambridge throughout the year. Some of our readers and performers who joined us throughout the year were Fawn (Will Johnson and Anna Malin Ringwalt) Neil Sanzgiri, Audrey Harrer, Janaka Stucky, Matthew Wallenstein, Rita Banerjee, Sounds in Bloom (Diana Norma Szokolyai and Dennis Shafer), Erini S. Katopodis and Elizabeth Devlin. We also were excited to host our second annual fall writing series at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. Janaka Stucky, Megan Fernandes, Frederick Douglas Knowles II and Diana Norma Szokolyai taught workshops on haiku, poetry in the age of terror, the power of hip-hop, writing in the lyric register, Black Mountain and New York Poetry School and how to craft compelling characters.

2017 was also the year we began production on our forthcoming podcast, Contact Zones, a series of interviews featuring artists from all mediums all over the world sharing their artistic process and how they related to the world in order to explore how art reverberates after its creation. Our media interns, Anna-Celestrya Carr and Shannon O. Sawyer, are readying the first season of Contact Zones, and we can’t wait to share it will you.

And in between all of the retreats, classes, readings and performances we were writing, editing and dreaming about CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing. CREDO comes out in March 2018 and we could not be more excited to share it with you! But we didn’t do it alone. Our agent, Natalie Kimber, at The Rights Factory, and our publishers John Gosslee and Andrew Sullivan at C&R Press deserve huge thanks! As do our writers! Kazim Ali, Forrest Anderson, Rita Banerjee, Lisa-Marie Basile, Jaswinder Bolina, Stephanie Burt, Alex Carrigan, Sam Cha, Melinda Combs, Thade Correa, Jeff Fernside, Ariel Francisco, John Guzlowski, Rachel Hanel, Janine Harrison, Lindsay Illich, Douglas Jackson, Christine Johnson-Duell, Caitlin Johnson, Jason Kapcala, Richard Kenney, Eve Langston, John Laue, S.D. Lishan, Ellaraine Lockie, Amy MacLennan, Kevin McLellan, E. Ce. Miller, Brenda Moguez, Peter Mountford, Nell Irvin Painter, Robert Pinsky, Kara Provost, Camille Rankine, Jessica Reidy, Amy Rutten, Elizabeth Sharp McKetta, David Shields, Lillian Slugocki, Maya Sonenberg, Kathleen Spivack, Laura Steadham Smith, Molly Sutton Kiefer, Jade Sylvan, Anca, Szilagyi, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Marilyn Taylor, Megan Tilley, Suzanne Van Dam, Nicole Walker, Allyson Whipple, Shawn Wong, Caroll Sun Yang, Matthew Zapruder contributed the beautiful, thought-provoking pieces that make up CREDO and we are so grateful. Stay tuned for details about our CREDO book launch event in March 2018 in conjunction with the AWP conference in Tampa, FL. If you’ll be at AWP stop by and say hi!

Be sure to stick with us in 2018 for another year of incredible writing retreats in New Orleans, Paris, and Granada, Spain, fantastic readings, and a whole slew of exciting projects to come from the CWW and our friends and associates. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on our forthcoming retreats, workshops and readings and feel free to email us with any questions at info@cambridgewritersworkshop.org. We’d love to hear from you!

May you all have a happy, peaceful and creative 2018!
Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Directors, Board, & Staff

Seasons Greetings from the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop

Dear writers and readers,

Seasons Greetings & best wishes for a creative, joyous, and oh-so-writerly holiday season!  Stay tuned for some exciting news concerning our CREDO Anthology, upcoming 2018 retreats in New Orleans, Paris, & Granada, Spain, and our AWP 2018 Conference spectacular 😉  In the meantime, happy writing & happy holidays!

💖 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop ❄️🎉❄️🎊❄️

 

CWW Alumni News: Aaron Graham’s “Blood Stripes” to be published by Sundress Publications

AaronGrahamPhotoWe’re thrilled at the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop to hear that Aaron Graham’s manuscript, Blood Stripes, will be published in 2019 by Sundress Publications. Aaron, an alumnus of our 2017 New Orleans workshop, hails from Glenrock, Wyoming, which boasts seven bars, six churches, a single 4-way stop sign and a population of 1159. He has twice served as editor of the Squaw Valley Review and is currently the assistant poetry editor for The Tishman Review. Aaron is a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq where he served with the The Marine Corps Human Intelligence and Counterterrorism Task Force Middle East as an analyst and linguist. He is an alumnus of Squaw Valley Poets and the Ashbury Home School and was the Cecilia Baker Memorial Visiting Scholar at Seaside Writers. His poetry has won the Penumbra Prize and f(r)iction Magazine’s Best Poem for Summer 2017. He has also been nominated for Best of the Net. Aaron is currently finishing his Ph.D. in Literature at Emory University, hosting elaborating tea parties for Disney Princesses and his daughter Alexi and holding down an English Lectureship at Kennesaw State University.

Proposal

So marry me with my guns
on and with a big bag of
earth plant a couple of
morning lights some solar
lights, the kinds
that often come up stolen.
We have a headstone, a big one,
So put bricks down, dig the dirt
in between. I put flowers there ever
since I bought that plot to be buried
in.

I wore my best wig, and put her Mole
on my heel. My brother brought his actor
friends and they performed late into each
night
and gave away pink umbrellas.
A week before her birthday, we held her
wake and we didn’t know that at a birthday
wake there is a raising, then a lowering of
the casket.

Aaron Graham

CWW Alumni News: Aaron Graham’s Poetry featured in Sequestrum Magazine

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce that two recent poems, “Mythos (Deployment)” and “Footfalls” by Aaron Graham, an alum of our Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat, has been featured in Sequestrum Magazine.  On the poems, Graham writes:

The first thing that actually was able to speak to me, that I was able to relate to after I got out of the Marine Corps was Eliot’s The Waste Land. There was something about the work that spoke to me, that knew me, and that I just inherently understood. “Footfalls” is sort of an attempt to repay the favor in as much as its an attempt to convey some of my experiences with “Burials for the dead” and “Unreal Cities” using a tone and diction that flowed from the intensity of The Waste Land.  Or at least in my mind it did.

I suppose, thematically speaking, “Mythos” is almost a counterpoint to “Footfalls.” It’s really dealing with the notion of this incredible weight of history in the Middle East—really in the land itself in the grains of sand and the Tigress’ silt—possesses. To think the road the unit was patrolling was walked by the Prophet of Islam or that a few miles from the spot I was standing on the Apostle Paul was struck by God on the way to Damascus was—and even still is—jarring. These are still parts of the history/mythology of global society, if not shared then at least something we’re collectively aware of. Yet, being in these places in 2006-08 and viewing the hustle and bustle around me there were times I could not have felt farther away from anything mythological. In fact, I think the thrust of the poem is the encroachment of the quotidian into any grander ideas we have of the world.

In “Mythos (Deployment),” Graham writes:

The epicenter
might be
a minaret
woman’s veil, voices
selling dates,
road-ways tamped
packed with feet
where waiting,
still the magnitude hits.
A thousand years stretch
down this street
this town, the same
ground waked by Paul
blinded he saw
God spoke place.
Words here make
sense only if kept
aside myths
in your head.
Camel rides, bouncing
in a pickup truck bed
as it passes.

To read the Sequestrum interview with Aaron Graham, please visit their site here.  Graham’s poems, “Mythos (Deployment” and “Footfalls” can be found here.

Aaron Graham hails from Glenrock, Wyoming, population 1159, which boasts seven bars, six churches, a single 4-way stop sign and no stoplights. His poetry represents a unique contribution to the arts and stands apart from the work of Brian Turner, Phil Klay, and other war poets in that it represents the experience of an enlisted United States Marine across three deployments and treats the subject matter of that experience on the front lines as a human intelligence operative, Arabic translator, and counterintelligence expert from within that frame, Aaron was recently the ‘Cecilia Baker Memorial Visiting Scholar’ for the 2016 Seaside Writer’s Conference. His chapbook ‘Skyping from a Combat Zone’ was Shortlisted for Tupelo Press’s 2016 Sunken Garden Prize. His first full length collection, “Blood Stripes”, was a finalist for Tupelo’s 2015 Berkshire Poetry Prize, his poem, ‘Olfaction’, won the Seven Hills Literary Journal’s Penumbra Poetry Prize, and ‘PTSD Poem #12’ has been nominated as ‘The Best of the Net’. Aaron founded and currently runs a weekly poetry workshop on writing the military experience for Veterans and their families at the Atlanta VAMC and continues to develop his poetry as a way of connecting with other veterans while finishing his PhD in Literature at Emory University.

CWW Alumni Aaron Graham Selected for the 30/30 Project to Support Tupelo Press

Aaron Graham, an alumni of the 2017 Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat has been chosen for the 30/30 Project to benefit Tupelo Press, a literary non-profit organization. Aaron will join eight other volunteers in writing a poem a day during the month of April while raising donations to support the literary press. Other poets for the project include Alexandra Barylski, Rebecca Raphael, Pamela Murray Winters, and more. You can donate to support your favorite authors here.  To help Aaron reach his $350 goal, donate here.

Aaron Graham is a doctoral candidate at Emory University and is also the poetry editor of Muse /A Literary Journal, and Assistant Poetry Editor for The Tishman Review. He was the 2016 Cecilia Baker Memorial Visiting Fellow for Seaside Writers and a veteran who served both in Afghanistan and Iraq. His work has appeared in SAND, Rising Phoenix, The Taos International Journal of Poetry and Art, The East Bay Review, Zero-Dark-Thirty , Grist, Alternating Current, and more. His work has won numerous awards, including Seven Hills Press’s Penumbra Poetry Prize, Tishman Review‘s 2015 Poetry Contest, and Tethered by Letters’ 2017 Luminaire Award.  His 2017 chapbook, The Hurry Up and the Wait, was shortlisted for Tupelo Press’s Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize as was his Skyping from a Combat Zone, in 2016. His first full length collection, Blood Stripes, was shortlisted for the 2015 Berkshire Prize, and his “PTSD Poem #12” has been nominated for 2016’s Best of the Net.

Tupelo Press is a literary press that hosts writing conferences, readings, and a teen writer center and publishes essays, poetry, and prose from new and established writers.  You can find out more about the 30/30 Project and read some of Aaron’s daily work here.  A sample of Aaron’s poetry follows below:

Populist Agrarian Mar a Logo Blues

Bernie’s in the basement preaching cost controls on medicine
I’m spiting on the pavement trying to undermine the government.
Fat man in a little coat named Priebus got me laid off.
Paul Ryan say he’s got a plan to pay the nation’s debt off.

Look out Flynn, they gonna learn your sin.
Got a presidential win, now the real work begins.
Sell your souls on Election Day Putin already got away.
Daniel Boon’s in dark a room with a wire tap and Mike Flynn,
saying the cure to all our ills are tariffs and immigration bans.

Better get Dick, get Bill get someone to write a healthcare a bill
Train of thought jumped a rail en route to replace and repeal.
The POTUS tweets because his ego’s frail so public will is gonna fail.
Try hard, leave scared, Sessions will be disbarred
Send out the national guard for the protest on your front yard
down at Mar a Log Steve Bannon’s your Iago

Don’t wanna look dumb
you better hire some
better writers to try
to cover up your scandals
collusion with white vandals
your race relations plan is
Steve Harvey on every channel.

–Aaron Graham

Laissez les bons temps rouler! 🎶 🎉 Join our 24-hour Writing #BakeOff Live on Twitter!

Dear Writers,

Greetings from sultry New Orleans!  Our Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat kicked off on Thursday evening with writers descending on NOLA from all four corners of North America.  After a lovely orientation, meet and greets, and a discussion of our current writing projects, we were off to dine and wine and roll our sleeves up!  On Friday, after a home-made breakfast, Rita Banerjee kicked off our writing seminars with a class on “Character Development and the Law of Desire.”  From Hamlet to Tennessee Williams to Ben Percy and Siri Hustvedt, Rita and her students investigated what made their narratives and characters really tick, the charge between dynamic and typed, masked characters, and how many names desire could take.  Writing prompts and heated exchanges abounded, followed by a break-out writing session and then a Louisiana lunch.  In the afternoon, Emily Nemens taught a wonderful class on “The Art of Storytelling,” in which she examine the interplay between visual images, sculptures, artifacts, architectures, and the maps of streets and things, with the very process of creating evocative lyrical and narrative writing.  After her seminar and prompts, our writers took a tour on the grand Mississippi, shuttling ourselves against a moody blue sky and scatting waves to the delightful and decadent French Quarter in downtown New Orleans.  There we posed as Americans in Paris in Cafe du Monde, grabbing coffee with chicory, fresh beignets, and swapping techniques about speculative fiction and narrative craft for POC. We followed through, with a walking art and historical tour of New Orleans, in which Emily Nemens guided us to the homes and haunts of literary giants such as Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, and Anne Rice, introduced us to the local visual art scenes and galleries of New Orleans, strolled us past cemeteries and cathedrals, and narrated the history of how sugarcane and slavery had helped build the lofty, neoclassical homes of the Garden District.  After toasts over roti and jerk curry at a wonderful local Caribbean restaurant, we were back home to write and plot and think.

Our second day of classes kicked off with Diana Norma Szokolyai’s class, “Writing in the Lyric Register,” in which she examined the relationship between music, writing, and improvisation.  She discussed how writers quantify the lyric register and gestures of other writers with Kazim Ali’s Anais Nin: An Unprofessional Study, and discussed how writers from the French Troubadours to Maya Sonenberg used the lyric register to structure and charge their creative work.

And in just one hour, we will be launching out 24-hour creative writing bake off with playwright and Princeton Hodder Fellow, Dipika Guha.   Dipika writes, “A bake-off is a playwriting exercise or writerly dare popularized by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel.  The dare is to write a play in a fixed span of time 24 hours in response to a list of shared elements. We will begin with a seminar on Saturday when we’ll visit our playwriting toolbox and look at devices, forms and structures available for our use.  At this meeting we’ll choose six elements to include in our writing drawn from the city of New Orleans, seeking inspiration from its architecture, history and myths. After the seminar you will go away and write until the next evening.  On Sunday over food and drink, we will read your bake-offs together and celebrate your progress. Bake-offs are not critiqued.”

We welcome all of our writers and readers from around the world to join our 24-hour creative writing bake-off remotely and on-line.  If you would like to participate in our 24-hour bake-off challenge, please tweet to us @CamWritersWkshp with the tag #BakeOff.  The challenge of the Bake-Off is simple: write 1 complete narrative (as a play or screenplay, a short story or novella, a novel if you dare, an essay or collection of essays, or a series of linked poems or collection) in a span of 24 hours.  Your work must have a beginning, middle, and end, and you must complete the challenge with 24 hours.  The clock starts at 1 pm Central Time on Saturday March 25, and ends exactly at 1 pm Central Time on Sunday March 26.  So join us, and tell us about your work and process with the tag #BakeOff at @CamWritersWkshp.  Happy Writing!

Et bon courage, mes amis!

Rita Banerjee
CWW Creative Director
New Orleans – 3.25.17