Cambridge, MA Fall 2017 Creative Writing Workshops & Craft of Writing Seminars

CCAEClasses2-2017
The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted announce that we will be hosting our second annual fall writing series at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education at 56 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA.  Our Craft of Writing Seminars and Creative Writing Workshops will take place on Saturday mornings from 10 am – 1 pm from September 23 – December 2, 2017.  Registration opens July 26, 2017 at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education.  Classes are $40 each.

Location:

Cambridge Center For Adult Education
56 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

Time:

Saturdays, 10 am – 1 pm, September 23 – December 2, 2017
(Registration opens on July 26, 2017 on the CCAE Website!)

Class Schedule:

September 23: “Trance Poetry”
(with Janaka Stucky)

Many writers work in a self-induced trance state—which proves a powerful tool to access creative, free- associative, & innovative forms of consciousness. Whether you want to call it “flow,” or “meditation,” or “channeling,” there are multiple techniques artists can use to access & regulate this incredibly generative mindset. We will explore what it means to work from a trance state, ways we can safely induce trance, & look at works of writers who are known for espousing similar techniques.

September 30: “Writing Poetic Prose: Rising to the Lyric Register”
(with Diana Norma Szokolyai)

In this writing workshop, we will practice writing in the lyric register and elevate our writing into descriptive, poetic prose. We will look intensively at writing “the moment,” slowing down and unpacking a single turn of the prism. After examining some examples in literature, we will take to writing and revising our own pieces to unlock the lyrical qualities of a single moment. Our aim will be to pull our readers into the emotionally charged and poetic world of our narratives.

October 7: “Me Against The World: Tupac & the Power of Hip- Hop”
(with Frederick-Douglass Knowles II)

This workshop examines the poetry and musical works of Tupac Shakur in order to delineate social responsibility in Hip-Hop culture. The seminar will explore the historical significance of Hip-Hop culture and social injustices. The class will examine Shakur’s T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. philosophy— and his identity as the progeny of a Black Panther Political Party member. Participants will devise poems on Shakur’s turbulent, dichotomous lifestyle; addressing the question: Tupac. Menace or Martyr?

October 21: “Black Mountain and New York School Poetry”
(with Megan Fernandes)

In this class, we will look at different elements of the Black Mountain and New York School poetry movements. The class will analyze how the use of monosyllables, experimental syntax, stream of consciousness, prepositions, and dental consonants were employed by poets in each of these eras including Frank O’Hara and Robert Creeley. Students will be expected to draft two poems by the end of the intensive that play with the major tenets of each movement.

November 4: “Crafting Storytelling that Sticks & Compelling Characters”
(with Diana Norma Szokolyai)

When telling a story, what are the underlying structures that make people want to keep reading? We will unpack the elements of timeless stories, examining what makes them memorable. When crafting our characters, we want to inspire empathy in our readers and of course, make them believable. We will learn from the examples of bestselling authors and try our hand at several strategies to build unforgettable characters. Expect to walk away from this class with a toolkit for crafting your story.

November 18: “Haiku Intensive”
(with Janaka Stucky)

Often misrepresented or only partially understood, the heart of Haiku contains many lessons and silence. This intensive will survey the history and core principles while reading ancient and contemporary examples. Multiple haiku will be written and workshopped. By the end, you will be equipped to incorporate the powerful discipline of haiku into your life, using it to hone your poetic practice and increase your daily awareness.

December 2: “See Something/Say Something: Poetry in the Age of Terror”
(with Megan Fernandes)

We live in an age of terror where suspicion is elicited from us daily. We animalize immigrants and fantasize about borders that cage us into an insular nationalism. In this class, we will read poems about how discourses of terror create environmental wastelands, subhuman protagonists, and militarized kinship. What emotional landscapes are part of this era? What kind of speakers teach us how to navigate it? Students will be expected to draft two poems by the end of class.

Featured Faculty:

Janaka Stucky is an American poet, performer, and publisher. The founding editor of Black Ocean, as well as the annual poetry journal, Handsome, he is also the author of a few poetry collections. His poems have appeared in such journals as Denver Quarterly, Fence and North American Review, and his articles have been published by The Huffington Postand The Poetry Foundation. He is a two-time National Haiku Champion and in 2010 he was voted “Boston’s Best Poet” in The Boston Phoenix.  In 2015, Jack White’s Third Man Recordslaunched a new publishing imprint, Third Man Books, and chose Janaka’s full-length poetry collection, The Truth Is We Are Perfect, as their inaugural title. Janaka’s poems are at once incantatory, mystic, and epigrammatic. His esoteric & occult influences, combined with a mesmeric approach to performance, create an almost ecstatic presence on stage.

meganfernandes_newbioimage2015Megan Fernandes is an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College and teaches courses on poetry, feminist theory, and science and technology studies. She holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in poetry from Boston University. She is the author of The Kingdom and After(Tightrope Books 2015), the poetry editor of the anthology Strangers in Paris (Tightrope Books 2011), and the author of two poetry chapbooks: Organ Speech (Corrupt Press) and Some Citrus Makes Me Blue (Dancing Girl Press). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Boston Review, Rattle, The Adroit Journal, Pank Magazine, The Walrus Magazine, Postmodern Culture, Guernica, Memorious, the Academy of American Poets, Redivider, the California Journal of Poetics, among others.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-10-52-49-amFrederick-Douglass Knowles II (Yesod) is a Poet-Educator-Activist involved in Community Education and the Performing Arts. He has competed on three National Poetry Slam Teams (2x Connecticut and Brooklyn, NY). His works have featured in the Martin Luther King Jr. Anthology by Yale University Press, East Haddam Stage Company of Connecticut, The 13th Annual Acacia Group Conference at California State University, Folio– a Southern Connecticut State University literary magazine, Lefoko—a Botswana (Southern Africa) Hip-Hop magazine and Fingernails Across the Chalkboard: AIDS Anthology by Third World Press. Frederick-Douglass is currently an English Professor at Three Rivers Community College where he infuses English Composition with social injustices, such as AIDS, Poverty and War. His debut collection of autobiographical poetry, Black Rose City, was currently released by Author House.

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 on March 7, 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).

CWW Harvest Creative Writing Retreat in Rockport, MA (October 12-15, 2017)

RockportPoster2017Final1

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Harvest Creative Writing Retreat will take place from October 12-15 2017. Our Harvest Retreat offers the opportunity for writers of all genres and levels to work alongside award-winning writers to hone their craft and expand their writing skills on the shores of a luxurious ocean-side beach house.

The retreat offers multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write. The faculty includes award-winning writers Maya SonenbergRita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. The cost of the retreat is $825 which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals.

If you’d like to join us in Rockport, please apply by August 15, 2017 (early application deadline), or by the final deadline of September 15, 2017 (early applications encouraged, spots fill up quickly).  Please submit 5-10 pages of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or a play with a $5 application fee, a cover letter, and references. 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 of Two Personal References (Name, Email, Address, Phone, Relationship to Applicant)

Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged. Applications due at cww.submittable.com.

applyDeadline: September 15, 2017*

* Please note that early applications are encouraged as there is limited housing in the main retreat house.

Class Schedule:

Character Development & the Law of Desire (with Rita Banerjee)

Femme fatales, gumshoe detectives, star-crossed lovers, wicked stepmothers, wise fools, empathetic anti-heroes: dynamic and archetypal characters can be key to making a good story or lyrical piece tick and pulling in the reader deeper into your creative work. In this workshop, we will discuss how dynamic and archetypal characters can help structure stories, propel narratives forwards, and how each character’s desire provides interesting ethical dilemmas and emotional spectrums to narratives and verse. We will learn about the building blocks of creating strong, unforgettable characters, discuss the connection between desire and plot, and learn how playing with persona can help liberate nonfictional stories and lyrical poems. 

Forbidden Forms: Beyond the Plot Triangle, I & II (with Maya Sonenberg)

We often think of a story or essay as an organic thing, its form arising naturally from its content, but in this class, we will playfully turn that idea upside down, reading examples of prose using nontraditional forms, and then using forms to generate content. After a brief review of the uses and abuses of plot, we will dive into a wide variety of other forms your fiction and nonfiction can take: games, tests, verse forms, music, and a variety of inspiring forms from nonliterary nonfiction. Our first meeting will be devoted to discussion of readings and our second to group and individual writing exercises designed to show you how starting with form can help you generate new work, solve structural issues in your existing work, and dive even deeper into content.

Writing in the Lyric Register (with Diana Norma Szokolyai)

In this writing workshop, we will practice writing in the lyric register, expanding our writing into descriptive, poetic prose.  We will look intensively at writing “the moment,” slowing down and unpacking a single moment.  After examining some examples in literature, we will take to writing and revising our own pieces to unlock the lyrical qualities of a single moment.  Our aim will be to pull our readers into the emotionally charged and poetic world of our narratives.

Bake-Off (with Rita Banerjee & Diana Norma Szokolyai)

During our Harvest Retreat in Rockport, MA, we will do a 48-hour creative writing bake-off together.  The Bake-off exercise or writerly dare was popularized by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel and introduced to the CWW by playwright Dipika Guha. The dare is to write a narrative, play, or chapbook length collection of lyric pieces in a fixed span of time 48 hours in response to a list of shared elements. We will begin with a seminar on Friday afternoon when we’ll visit our creative writing 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 Rockport, MA, 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.

Featured Faculty:

Maya Sonenberg’s first story collection, Cartographies, received the Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. At the time, she was the youngest author to have received this prize. Her second collection, Voices from the Blue Hotel, appeared in 2007, and her chapbook of fiction and drawings, 26 Abductions, was published by The Cupboard in 2015. A second chapbook, After the Death of Shostakovich Père, won the 2016 PANK [CHAP]book contest and will appear in fall of 2017. Other stories and essays have appeared widely, in such journals as Fairy Tale Review, Web Conjunctions, The Literarian, New Ohio Review, and Hotel Amerika, and she has received grants from King County 4Culture and Artists Trust. She teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Washington—Seattle, and is currently at work on a book about her grandmother, Laura Ingalls Wilder (both the author and the character), and Jewish utopian settlements in the Dakotas during the late 19th century.

ritabanerjeeRita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich in Germany.  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 Poets & Writers, The 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. Her poetry chapbook, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali, in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press), released in November 2016.  Her debut poetry collection, Echo in Four Beats, which was a finalist for the Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, the Three Mile Harbor Poetry Book Prize, and the Aquarius Press/Willow Books Literature Award, will be released by Finishing Line Press on February 2, 2018.  And her edited volume, CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing, will be released by C&R Press on March 7, 2018.  She is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays.

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 on March 7, 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).

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 September 1, 2017. Our standard and preferred method of payment is PayPal invoice. You can also mail us a check. The deposit is non-refundable.

What is included in tuition?

  • creative writing workshops
  • craft of writing seminars
  • lodging in Portland
  • some meals

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

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

What are accommodations like?

We will be staying near Wigaersheek Beach during the retreat, a location that will both inspire and relax participants to help them create. Writers will be staying at our nearby retreat house.

 

 

CWW Alumni News: “The One Tip that Changed My Life” by Nannie Flores

Nannie Flores at the Château de Verderonne in Picardy, France

Nannie Flores, an alumna of the 2014 Château de Verderonne Yoga & Writing Retreat in Picardy, France, writes a haunting and powerful new essay, “The One Tip That Changed My Life” for Ideiya Magazine.  In the essay, Flores tackles the taboos associated with writing nonfiction, trauma, illness, and its aftermath.  In the essay, Flores writes:

Write as if your parents were dead.” In retrospect, there was something ominous and sinister about this piece of writing advice. At the time, it seemed harmless. So I took the tip when I was in college.

While in university, I wrote two one-act plays that touched on themes such as virginity and physical and verbal abuse in relationships. My parents watched the play, and they applauded along with the audience. The writing tip worked.

On the ride back home, when all the hype was over, they made sure to say they were proud of me, but that they disapproved of certain elements in my works. “Relationships are meant to be healthy,” Mama said. Papa gave his usual silent nod.

But what’s done is done. I have already written it and I didn’t need to ask for their approval…”  

Read the full essay on Ideiya here.

Nannie Flores is a playwright and nonfiction writer based in the Philippines.  Her essays and articles have appeared in EntrepreneurCosmo.ph, ABS-CBN News, Ideiya, Spot.ph, and Philippine Daily Inquirer.  You can follow her on her blog, The Fancy Delight.

CWW Alumni News: Christina Ruotolo’s new story, “Turning Water,” in The Petigru Review

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce that Christina Ruotolo, an alumna of our 2014 Château de Verderonne Yoga & Writing Retreat in Picardy, France, has a new nonfiction story, “Turning Water” featured in the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Petigru Review.  This current issue of The Petigru Review published received a starred Kirkus review and copies can be purchased on Amazon.

 

 

Christina Ruotolo at the Chȃteau de Verderonne

Christina Ruotolo is currently the Hot Dish Writer for The Daily Reflector newspaper in Greenville, NC.  She writes a weekly food column about restaurants in the area.  She also writes for HER Magazine, a monthly women’s magazine features in eastern, NC with a circulation of 13,000.  When not freelance writing, she is a full-time Advertising Account Executive at a newspaper, Barnes & Noble Bookseller, Event Planner and Creative Writing instructor at a community college.  About the CWW Chȃteau de Verderonne Yoga & Writing Retreat, Ruotolo writes, “Attending a CWW writer’s retreat in France in 2014 was a life-changing experience for me. I met wonderful people from all over the world and was able to immerse myself in my writing, finding my inner calm, voice and enjoying the beauty of another country. I made life-long friendships and it was where the idea for my new book came from.”

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Granada, Andalusia, Spain Writing Retreat featured in The Washington Post

Original illustration by Lisk Feng for The Washington Post

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to be chosen as one of the six best writing retreats for the summer in their recent feature, “When You’re Ready to Move from Summer Writing to Summer Reading.”  In the article, journalist Jennifer Howard writes:

Your boss doesn’t care if you finish your novel. Your partner would rather not hear about the memoir you’ve been threatening to write. Feeling discouraged? It may be time to escape the creativity-quashing grind and reconnect with your muse in a lovely locale.

Whether you like Midwestern lakes or Icelandic hot springs, there’s a writers retreat for you. Here are half a dozen programs where you can spend quality time with your journal or get started on the next bestseller:

For culture connoisseurs

If tapas and flamenco are more your thing, the Summer in Granada retreat, sponsored by the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, promises a warm cultural bath: “Let the old city stimulate your writing with its winding streets, Moorish history, and evocative landscapes,” the website says.

Summer in Granada is part of a series of retreats created by writers Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai. They describe their retreat model as a kind of roving salon, with previous sessions in Paris and at a chateau in Picardy, among its envy-inducing locations. “All of these places have a very alive and electric culture, a culture that exists on the streets, in the imagination,” Banerjee says.

This summer, participating writers will enjoy an “experiential tour” alongside workshops and writing sessions. Fiction writer Tim Horvath will teach a “writing from the senses” class that includes a visit to a “museum of smells,” a visit to a chocolatier and a tapas tour. “No matter how intellectual writing gets, you always want to draw in the senses and immerse the reader,” he says. (Did we mention chocolate?)

Cost/duration: $2,950; four nights. Some scholarships available.

To read the complete article, please visit the The Washington Post website here.  Print versions of the article will be available on June 11, 2017.

Applications and scholarships for our Summer in Granada Writing Retreat (Aug 2-6, 2017) are open until June 20, 2017.  Please apply at cww.submittable.com.

Spring in Portland Writing Retreat Class Schedule & March 25, 2017 Deadline!

Portland2017Poster

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in Portland Writing Retreat will take place from April 22-24, 2017.  While you’re in the home of writers Cheryl Strayed and Ursula K. Le Guin, feel free to go bicycling and explore the terrain, hike, or relax at local cafes for people watching—no matter how you choose to spend your time, this city is full inspiration. We will be staying in the Alberta Arts District during the retreat, an area that is sure to inspire our participants and help them create.  The retreat offers multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write. The faculty includes award-winning writers Adam Reid Sexton, Kerry Cohen, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The deadline to apply is March 25th, 2017.

Schedule of Classes:

cww-portland2017schedule

Writing in the Lyric Register (with Diana Norma Szokolyai)
In this writing workshop, we will practice writing in the lyric register, expanding our writing into descriptive, poetic prose.  We will look intensively at writing “the moment,” slowing down and unpacking a single moment.  After examining some examples in literature, we will take to writing and revising our own pieces to unlock the lyrical qualities of a single moment.  Our aim will be to pull our readers into the emotionally charged and poetic world of our narratives.

Structuring Your Short Story or Novel (with Adam Reid Sexton)
From the time of Homer to the present day, writers have provided stories with the same basic shape – narrative structure, it’s called.  Regardless of content, the result of that structure is a kind of reading machine that people feel compelled to experience from start to finish.  In this course we learn the elements of classic story structure, as well as how much those elements can be varied without damage to your short-story, novel, or memoir.  Learn how to structure stories so potential readers of your work become actual readers.

Writing Memoir Honestly (with Kerry Cohen)
Annie Lamott famously wrote, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” If only it were that easy! In this course we will examine the many challenges of writing about other people in memoir. We will discuss some anecdotes from memoir authors, address students’ concerns about their own memoirs, and we will complete writing exercises that will allow for practice in writing about ourselves and others honestly and ethically.

Science: Fiction – Building Literary Worlds  (with Rita Banerjee)
In this class, we will explore how the fabric and rules of literary worlds in realist and speculative fiction are created.  By examining the parameters of social and behavioral codes, human interactions and psychology, and the materiality of worlds, we’ll explore that volatile space where truth and lie meet, where conflicts crystallize, and where storytelling disturbs and delights.

Writing the Personal Essay (with Kerry Cohen)
Personal essays allow us to understand one another as fellow humans, to see ourselves in each other. They give us ways to know something in a new way, thereby expanding our understandings of ourselves. They are, in my mind, a key to living a self-examined life; and who wants to live another way? In this course, we will examine select essays by authors for their craft, their purpose, and their effect. Students will brainstorm ideas, write, workshop, and share their own personal essays, resulting in a polished piece by the end.

Playing with Point of View (with Adam Reid Sexton)
What’s the best point-of-view strategy to use when writing a particular work of fiction or creative nonfiction – first-person central, or third omniscient?  Second-person (“you”) – or even first person plural (“we”)?  This course breaks down the complicated, challenging topic of POV in storytelling, employing mini-lectures, in-class exercises, and short readings by contemporary masters like Jeffrey Eugenides and Lorrie Moore, to turn point of view from an obligation into an opportunity.  POV can be fun!

Featured Faculty:

kerrycohen
Kerry Cohen
is the author of 10 books, including the bestselling  Loose Girl:  A Memoir of Promiscuity and Girl Trouble: An Illustrated Memoir, her most recent book, which came out October 2016. Kerry is faculty at the Red Earth Low Residency MFA program and is a practicing counselor. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.

 

adamsextonAdam Reid Sexton teaches writing at Yale University, where he is a Lecturer in the English Department, a Critic on the faculty of Yale’s School of Art, and a Silliman Residential College Fellow.  He has taught writing at Columbia University and the New School, and he has lectured at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House, and the University of Alabama, where he delivered the Hudson Strode Lecture in the Age of Shakespeare.  Sexton is the author of Master Class in Fiction Writing: Techniques from Austen, Hemingway and Other Greats, and with a team of graphic artists, he has adapted four of Shakespeare’s tragedies as manga (Japanese-style graphic novels).  His anthology Rap on Rap was acquired by Harvard’s W.E.B. Dubois Institute for African and African American Research, while Desperately Seeking Madonna is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive.  Sexton’s fiction, essays, and reviews have been published in the Bellevue Literary Review, the Mississippi Review, and Off Assignment, as well as the Boston Phoenix, the New York Times, and the Village Voice.  For four years Sexton curated a reading series at KGB Bar in New York City.  He has been interviewed on writing and literature by the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, and npr.com, and one of his classes was broadcast on BBC Radio.

ritabanerjeeRita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches at Rutgers University.  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 Poets & Writers, The 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. Her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali, in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press), released in November 2016. Finalist for the 2015 Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award and the 2016 Aquarius Press Willow Books Literature Award, she is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays.

DianaNormaDiana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. 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. Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause led to their collaboration “Space Mothlight” hitting #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Szokolyai’s work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Fiction Project, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as anthologized in The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering and Teachers as Writers. Szokolyai earned her Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard University and her M.A. in French Literature from the University of Connecticut, while she completed coursework at the Sorbonne and research on Romani writers in Paris. She is currently at work on three books and recording an album of poetry & music.

applyDeadline: March 25, 2017

Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat Class Schedule & February 25, 2017 Deadline!

neworleans2017posterwc-1final

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat will take place from March 23-26, 2017, and will coincide with the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival.  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 Dipika Guha, Emily Nemens, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. The deadline to apply is February 25th, 2017.

applyDeadline: February 25, 2017

Schedule of Classes:

cww-nolaschedule2017

The Art of Storytelling & New Orleans Tour  (with Emily Nemens)
A picture’s worth a thousand words, but what if there’s words with that picture? In this workshop we’ll explore the many intersections of art and writing, by considering poetry, fiction,and criticism about and including visual arts, and then look at our own works that combine language and text. Using prompts from local art and architecture, we’ll explore the range of expression from ekphrasis to graphic narratives, and put our heads together to discover the best means of storytelling for a range of different narratives. Illustration expertise is not required, but a curiosity about visual arts and how they can be employed in literary work is necessary.

Bake-Off (with Dipika Guha)

We will gather in one of the most evocative, haunting cities in the world and together write and read out loud our ‘bake-offs’. 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.

Character Development & the Law of Desire (with Rita Banerjee)

Femme fatales, gumshoe detectives, star-crossed lovers, wicked stepmothers, wise fools, empathetic anti-heroes: dynamic and archetypal characters can be key to making a good story or lyrical piece tick and pulling in the reader deeper into your creative work. In this workshop, we will discuss how dynamic and archetypal characters can help structure stories, propel narratives forwards, and how each character’s desire provides interesting ethical dilemmas and emotional spectrums to narratives and verse. We will learn about the building blocks of creating strong, unforgettable characters, discuss the connection between desire and plot, and learn how playing with persona can help liberate nonfictional stories and lyrical poems. 

Writing in the Lyric Register (with Diana Norma Szokolyai)

In this writing workshop, we will practice writing in the lyric register, expanding our writing into descriptive, poetic prose. We will look intensively at our writing, slowing down and unpacking a single moment. After examining some examples in literature, we will take to revising our own pieces to unlock the lyrical qualities in our writing. Our aim will be to pull our readers into the emotionally charged and poetic world of our narratives.

Featured Faculty:

dipikaDipika Guha was born in Calcutta and raised in India, Russia and the United Kingdom. She is the inaugural recipient of the Shakespeare’s Sister Playwriting Award with the Lark Play Development Center, A Room of Her Own and the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. Her plays include  The Art of Gaman (Berkeley Rep Ground Floor ’16, KILROYS LIST ’16, Relentless Award Semi-Finalist), I Enter the Valley (Theatreworks New Play Festival ’16, Southern Rep New Play Festival‘16), Mechanics of Love (Crowded Fire Theatre, Upcoming: Two by For, NYC) and Blown Youth (Wallflower Theatricals, UK). She is currently working on Yoga Play, a commission for South Coast Repertory Theatre, a translation of Merry Wives of Windsor for Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s PlayOn Project and a play for the McCarter Theatre’s Princeton Slavery Project. Most recently her work has been developed at Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Roundabout Underground, McCarter Theatre’s Sallie B. Goodman Residency, New Georges, Shotgun Players, the Sam French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, Southern Rep, 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and the Magic Theatre amongst others. Dipika is currently a visiting artist at the Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School and a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation. MFA: Yale School of Drama under Paula Vogel.  Dipika will be a Hodder Fellow in Playwrighting at Princeton University from 2017-2018.

emilynemens2

Emily Nemens is coeditor and prose editor of The Southern Review, a literary quarterly published at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Her editorial work has been featured in Writer’s Digest, draft: a journal of process, and on LeanIn.org, and her selections from The Southern Review have recently appeared in Best Mystery Writing 2016 and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015. She studied art history and studio art at Brown University, and before moving to Louisiana to pursue an MFA in creative writing at LSU, she lived in Brooklyn and worked in editorial capacities at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Center for Architecture. Alongside her editorial work, Emily maintains active writing and illustration practices. Her fiction and essays have recently appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and n+1, and she is working on a linked story collection about spring training baseball. As an illustrator she’s collaborated with Harvey Pekar on a Studs Terkel anthology, painted miniature portraits of all the women in Congress, and recently published her first New Yorker cartoon. Follow her at @emilynemens.

ritabanerjeeRita Banerjee is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and teaches at Rutgers University.  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 Poets & Writers, The 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. Her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali, in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press), released in November 2016. Finalist for the 2015 Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award and the 2016 Aquarius Press Willow Books Literature Award, she is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays.

DianaNormaDiana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. 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. Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause led to their collaboration “Space Mothlight” hitting #16 on the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive. Szokolyai’s work has been recently reviewed by The London Grip and published in Quail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Fiction Project, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, The Dudley Review and Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as anthologized in The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering and Teachers as Writers. Szokolyai earned her Ed.M. in Arts in Education from Harvard University and her M.A. in French Literature from the University of Connecticut, while she completed coursework at the Sorbonne and research on Romani writers in Paris. She is currently at work on three books and recording an album of poetry & music.

applyDeadline: February 25, 2017

Applications for Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring & Summer 2017 Retreats Open!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce our upcoming Spring and Summer 2017 Writing Retreats.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat will take place from March 23-26, 2017, and will coincide with the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival.  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 Dipika Guha, Emily Nemens, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.  The cost of the retreat is $750, which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in Portland Writing Retreat will take place from April 22-24, 2017.  While you’re in the home of writers Cheryl Strayed and Ursula K. Le Guin, feel free to go bicycling and explore the terrain, hike, or relax at local cafes for people watching—no matter how you choose to spend your time, this city is full inspiration. We will be staying in the Alberta Arts District during the retreat, an area that is sure to inspire our participants and help them create.  The retreat offers multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write. The faculty includes award-winning writers Adam Reid Sexton, Kerry Cohen, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  The cost of the retreat is $750, which includes tuition, lodging, and some meals.

granada2017poster

And the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Granada Writing Retreat will take place from August 2-6, 2017.  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.  Work on your existing manuscript, or look to the beauty and warmth of Granada to inspire all-new projects.  During the retreat, we will be staying at the Hotel Guadalupe, just a short walk from the Alhambra.  The retreat offers multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write. The faculty includes award-winning writers Tim Horvath, Alexandria Marzano-LesnevichRita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  The cost of the retreat is $2950, which includes tuition, lodging, and daily breakfast.

Writers are welcome to register for all retreats at cww.submittable.com by the early deadline of February 15, 2017!

applyDeadline: February 15, 2017

New Faculty Announced for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to announce our new faculty members for our upcoming Spring and Summer 2017 Writing Retreats.  The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in New Orleans Writing Retreat will take place from March 23-26, 2017, and will coincide with the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival.  The faculty includes award-winning writers Dipika Guha, Emily Nemens, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include playwriting, nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Spring in Portland Writing Retreat will take place from April 22-24, 2017.  The faculty includes award-winning writers Adam Reid Sexton, Kerry Cohen, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Granada Writing Retreat will take place from August 2-6, 2017.  The faculty includes award-winning writers Tim Horvath, Alexandria Marzano-LesnevichRita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai. Genres include fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Writers are welcome to register for all retreats at cww.submittable.com by the early deadline of February 15, 2017!  We are delighted to work with a talented group of poets, playwrights, essayists, and fiction writers during our Spring and Summer 2017 Writing Retreats.  Please give a warm welcome to our new faculty!

dipikaDipika Guha was born in Calcutta and raised in India, Russia and the United Kingdom. She is the inaugural recipient of the Shakespeare’s Sister Playwriting Award with the Lark Play Development Center, A Room of Her Own and the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. Her plays include  The Art of Gaman (Berkeley Rep Ground Floor ’16, KILROYS LIST ’16, Relentless Award Semi-Finalist), I Enter the Valley (Theatreworks New Play Festival ’16, Southern Rep New Play Festival‘16), Mechanics of Love (Crowded Fire Theatre, Upcoming: Two by For, NYC) and Blown Youth (Wallflower Theatricals, UK). She is currently working on Yoga Play, a commission for South Coast Repertory Theatre, a translation of Merry Wives of Windsor for Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s PlayOn Project and a play for the McCarter Theatre’s Princeton Slavery Project. Most recently her work has been developed at Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Roundabout Underground, McCarter Theatre’s Sallie B. Goodman Residency, New Georges, Shotgun Players, the Sam French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, Southern Rep, 24 Hour Plays on Broadway and the Magic Theatre amongst others. Dipika is currently a visiting artist at the Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School and a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation. MFA: Yale School of Drama under Paula Vogel.  Dipika will be a Hodder Fellow in Playwrighting at Princeton University from 2017-2018.

emilynemens2

Emily Nemens is coeditor and prose editor of The Southern Review, a literary quarterly published at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Her editorial work has been featured in Writer’s Digest, draft: a journal of process, and on LeanIn.org, and her selections from The Southern Review have recently appeared in Best Mystery Writing 2016 and Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015. She studied art history and studio art at Brown University, and before moving to Louisiana to pursue an MFA in creative writing at LSU, she lived in Brooklyn and worked in editorial capacities at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Center for Architecture. Alongside her editorial work, Emily maintains active writing and illustration practices. Her fiction and essays have recently appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and n+1, and she is working on a linked story collection about spring training baseball. As an illustrator she’s collaborated with Harvey Pekar on a Studs Terkel anthology, painted miniature portraits of all the women in Congress, and recently published her first New Yorker cartoon. Follow her at @emilynemens.

adamsextonAdam Reid Sexton
teaches writing at Yale University, where he is a Lecturer in the English Department, a Critic on the faculty of Yale’s School of Art, and a Silliman Residential College Fellow.  He has taught writing at Columbia University and the New School, and he has lectured at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House, and the University of Alabama, where he delivered the Hudson Strode Lecture in the Age of Shakespeare.  Sexton is the author of Master Class in Fiction Writing: Techniques from Austen, Hemingway and Other Greats, and with a team of graphic artists, he has adapted four of Shakespeare’s tragedies as manga (Japanese-style graphic novels).  His anthology Rap on Rap was acquired by Harvard’s W.E.B. Dubois Institute for African and African American Research, while Desperately Seeking Madonna is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive.  Sexton’s fiction, essays, and reviews have been published in the Bellevue Literary Review, the Mississippi Review, and Off Assignment, as well as the Boston Phoenix, the New York Times, and the Village Voice.  For four years Sexton curated a reading series at KGB Bar in New York City.  He has been interviewed on writing and literature by the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, and npr.com, and one of his classes was broadcast on BBC Radio.

kerrycohen
Kerry Cohen
is the author of 10 books, including the bestselling Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity and Girl Trouble: An Illustrated Memoir, her most recent book, which came out October 2016. Kerry is faculty at the Red Earth Low Residency MFA program and is a practicing counselor. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.

 

tim_horvath_authorphotoTim Horvath is the author of Understories (Bellevue Literary Press), which won the New Hampshire Literary Award, and Circulation (sunnyoutside). His stories have appeared in Conjunctions, Fiction, The Normal School, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. His story “The Understory” won the Raymond Carver Short Story Award, and “The Conversations” earned a Special Mention in the 2014 Pushcart Prize Anthology; he is also a recipient of a Yaddo Fellowship. He teaches in the BFA and low-residency MFA programs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, where he coordinates the Visiting Writers Series. He is currently at work on The Spinal Descent, a novel about contemporary classical composers, as well as a second short story collection.

Alexandria-Marzano-Lesnevich_MACD-15-201_414

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich’s first book, THE FACT OF A BODY: A Murder and a Memoir, is forthcoming from Flatiron Books (Macmillan) in May 2017, as well as from publishers internationally. The book layers a memoir with an investigation into, and recreation of, a 1992 Louisiana murder and death penalty case. For her work on the book, Marzano-Lesnevich received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and a Rona Jaffe Award, and has twice been a fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo. Other scholarships and fellowships received include those from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Millay Colony for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Studios at Key West, Vermont Studio Center, and the Alice Hayes Fellowship for Social Justice Writing from the Ragdale Foundation. Her essays appear in The New York Times, Oxford American, Iowa Review, Hotel Amerika, The Rumpus, and the anthologies True Crime and Waveform: Twenty-First Century Essays by Women, among many other publications, and were recognized “notable” in Best American Essays 2013, 2015, and 2016. She was educated at Harvard (JD), Emerson College (MFA), and Columbia University (BA) and now teaches at Grub Street, a nonprofit writing center in Boston, and in the graduate public policy program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

On Shaping and Reshaping: In Conversation with Z.G. Tomaszewski

4fb29487fe4c6c7af8c349366222f9e1Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Grant Writing & Programming Intern AM Ringwalt recently sat down to chat with Z.G. Tomaszewski, a poet and musician living in Grand Rapids, to discuss his writing. Check out the interview below.

 

Z.G. Tomaszewski and I met last summer in Missoula, Montana, at a small retreat organized by our long-time mentor Chris Dombrowski. During our time together, Z.G. was deeply influenced by readingand sharingthe work of Li-Young Lee. At our nightly dinners and campfires, he would ofteneither by memory or with book in handrelay bits of gleaned wisdom. When I learned that Z.G.’s manuscript All Things Dusk had been selected by Li-Young Lee as the winner of the Hong Kong University International Poetry Prize, I knew how much this honor meant to him.

The reader of All Things Dusk ought to take heart in Li-Young Lee’s assertion: “These visionary poems suggest that every world is manifold worlds, that mundane experience is saturated with the sacred if we practice using the heart’s and soul’s eyes to look and see. In this book, the world is measured by the heart’s scale and the soul’s rule, and the result is a beautiful human singing.” I certainly did. I, taken by the blurb and the mission of Z.G.’s literary work, desired to learn more.

Last month, Z.G. and I found ourselves back in Dombrowski’s Montana, this time at the 406 Writers’ Workshop’s Beargrass Retreat. The retreat, which successfully aims to “gather some of the West’s most celebrated and promising writers at this storied ranch for four days of readings, workshops, craft talks, and generative writing opportunities that connect writers of all experience levels with self and place,” was a conduit for our friendship to grow and long-awaited discussions of our respective creative work to come to fruition. This interview began over email and ultimately came together by way of more campfire talks. It came to a bittersweet conclusion over jasmine green tea at Missoula’s Caffe Dolce, right before Z.G. turned to the mountains of Glacier National Park.

Z.G. and I share a deep love for Michigan. Born within bicycling distance of its lake, he lives in Grand Rapids as a self-proclaimed poet-rambler, handyman, and musician, as well as co-director of Lamp Light Music Festival and a founding member of Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters. I, too, spend my summers on Lake Michigan by way of Petoskey. Naturally, my first question centers around that magical lake.

AM Ringwalt: In “Summer Song of Lake Michigan,” you write, “Who could resist / the temptation of centering oneself?” Do you consider the act of centering to be spiritual, or something else?

Z.G. Tomaszewski: Sure, the act of centering is at once spiritual and practical. It’s a tuning into the logos of the world. Don’t get me wrong, I like being tilted, leaning over, scaling the range, but there’s a return inherent in me backing away from polarity. Balance. Moderation. Picture a buoy.

AMR: How does the temptationthat tilting, leaning over, scaling the range, and final backing away from polarityinform your creative process?

ZGT: For one thing, temptation seems never-ending. I’m intrigued by its nature, its place in eternity. I often think that temptation is not just lusting for something else, craving the other, but an end in and of itself. Or am I speaking about desire? Desire fills moments of forgetting, wanting to be shattered and rebuilt. These are two trimmings from a cloud I cannot quite grasp yet. All I know is that when temptation is quieted I am hollow of impulse for a moment. What’s great about temptation is not always relieving it, but seeing what we are and are not capable of, and then learning to be disciplined accordingly. And thus our shortcomings are windows into the soul of how to be whole, with and without.

AMR: Had All Things Dusk already been selected as the winner of the Hong Kong University International Poetry Prize, since it’s dated back to 2014?

ZGT: I did not know All Things Dusk had been chosen by Li-Young Lee at that time. It wasn’t until a week after returning home from the big sky state that I received the acceptance letter from Hong Kong University Pressit was probably in the mail and I tapped into that wave of energy headed my way! I remember I had with me Book of My Nights while we were there in Missoula. Chris Dombrowski saw I was reading it and asked if I ever read the book of collected interviews with Li-YoungI had not. He let me borrow it for a spell, I read most of it then and there.

AMR: Fascinating. Did your perception of the manuscript change during or after Montana? If so, how? If not, how did Montana solidify your pre-conceived notions of the text?

ZGT: I recall the premonition I had while in Montana that I was “on the cusp of something big.” I felt a breakthrough was happening, but I wasn’t certain what exactly. I can surely say that I was not thinking about All Things Dusk during that week. Instead, prior to coming out [to Montana], I was focused on a second full volume: fixing it up and tearing it down. I wrote a handful of new poems while at the initial retreat, brought them back, continued to hammer out the second manuscript. I knew what I had in All Things Dusk should not be touched, lest it break off and sink altogether. It was the work being done on a new volume that informed me I had completed something and needed to continue moving away.

AMR: It’s important to trust in such premonitions. Speaking of: you have a chapbook forthcoming from Finishing Line Press (congrats!) called Mineral Whisper, which I understand you wrote inand inspired byCounty Clare, Ireland. What called you there?

ZGT: I traveled to Ireland first during the Summer of 2012 and then revisited the following Spring of 2013. Somehow I was invited by Thomas Lynch, given a chance to stay in his ancestral cottage in Moveen, minutes walking and at cliff’s edge on the Atlantic coast. Pastures for miles, centuries, lifetimes. The polychromatic palate of grays and greens! I have been called to places that I have trouble voicing why I was called there. It’s elemental. A deeper knowing that gets lost to language. Reclaiming this through poetry—that’s one reason I keep writing. An act of archaeology: uncovering the spirit, brief invisible bit of consciousness, bringing forward awareness of what pulls us onward, elsewhere.

AMR: Can you pinpoint the moment of the chapbook’s inception?

ZGT: Mineral Whisper was composed in large during my first stay in Ireland. I wrote most of the poems during that time (minus the beginning two weeks, in which I was studying the place, not able to write, not wanting to hurry speech, needing to adapt to the land, its vibrations) and found upon coming home that there was far too much cohesion to let them lay alone, scattered, in notebooks, in drawers. So, when I ventured back I brought all the poems with me (every one had been edited by this point) and found a thread pretty soon after unpacking. The sequence came together without much difficulty. I had a lot of space and time to focus on it.

The precise moment: Waking early one morning, rain, looking out the window and seeing a white horse perfectly framed, the window wavy and it seemed a unicorn was standing there looking in. I was working on the title poem at that moment. I trusted what passed between us as a sign.

AMR: Back to the first premonition! The poems of All Things Dusk deal with uncovering memory. Is this uncovering part of centering, or something else entirely?

ZGT: Memory is the brain’s faculty of most efficiently processed stimuli, compacted and stored for easy access, but always failing. In some fashion it’s like gravity, we know it by its ever-presence, or its absence. Voice is the flashlight by which we explore the caverns of the mind. Memory thick with stalagmites, impassable trenches.

AMR: How does memory shape your poetic voice?

ZGT: Sometimes we can walk right up to an experience and blind it or be blinded by it, touch it, but most often we’re steering our light past a bend, watching the beam curve and break off, so we reach (or not) into the dark and imagine the connecting details. Poetry is connectivity even if it’s by way of deranging the senses.

AMR: I see the narrator of these poems as a dexterous force, particularly through the recurrence of direct relationships with the earth and with the metallic (“I take the scythe, sharpen its blade”). These themes, of course, are only made more evident in “Again, My Grandfather Chops Wood.”

An aside: I’m reminded of Galvinwho is with us at Beargrassespecially his poem “Coming into His Shop from a Bright Afternoon.” I noticed, in my research, that Dombrowski actually interviewed Galvin about this very poem in an old issue of Orion.

In the poem, Galvin writes about shaping the earth. Your poetry is, in many ways, the spiritual manifestation of the physical shaping the earth. How (and why) do you aim to shape, to reshape?

ZGT: Yes, I like that: “the spiritual manifestation of the physical shaping the world.” And I value that poem of Galvin’s, it’s in a similar vein as Seamus Heaney’s “Digging.” I am fond of the inner-workings of the world and our connections in it. Like the pagan and cold mountain poets I find that the truer, more lasting realizations in my life have been by observing and then learning how to participate within it. The materials of language are no different to me than a landscape, its ecosystem. I see something beautiful, sometimes I touch it, maybe take it with me, sometimes I leave it, mostly I leave it.

Anything can be a poem, but not everything is one. It’s a matter of wading out into the water, not just staring at it, and then, now you’re in the river, you cast, and cast again, who really knows what the catch will be. In other words, I have no other aim than to go out into the world and it seems I simply tend to reshape the world in reflection of the way it has shaped me.

Z.G. Tomaszewski‘s writing has appeared in RHINO, diode and Inverness AlmanacMineral Whisper will be released December 9, 2016 from Finishing Line Press.