Summer in Paris 2018 Writing Retreat: Day Three

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

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

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

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Summer in Paris 2018 Writing Retreat: Day Two

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

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

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

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

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

Summer in Paris 2018 Writing Retreat: Day One

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

 

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

 

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

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

July 10, 26, & August 9, 2018: SpokenWord Paris feat. Kathleen Spivack & Paris Lit Up feat. Rita Banerjee & Kristina Marie Darling

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to have our writing faculty from our 2018 Summer in Paris Writing Retreat featured at SpokenWord Paris and Paris Lit Up this summer!

SpokenWord Paris featuring Kathleen Spivack
Adrian Leeds’ Après-Midi (Café de la Mairie) * 3-5 pm
corner of rue des Archives & rue de Bretagne
Paris, France 75003

Kathleen Spivack will read from her latest novel Unspeakable Things, which deals with refugees from Eastern Europe coming over to New York during World War II. The main characters are members of a string quartet smuggled out of Europe and deals with their displacement and eventual redemption.

Begun in France while the Maurice Papon Trials were going on, in Unspeakable ThingsKathleen weaves her own family’s experience as immigrant refugees with her encounters with individuals she met when she lived and taught in the French university system off and on for almost 30 years. France has been a home and a temporary way stop for people escaping oppression, and this is why Kathleen is so very happy to be able to share this novel with you.

qpi9e9Kathleen Spivack is the author of ten books, prose and poetry (Knopf, Doubleday, Graywolf, etc).  Her most recent novel Unspeakable Things (Knopf) centers on European refugees in New York City, struggling to survive during the last years of the Second World War. Kathleen’s previous book was With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Plath, Sexton, Bishop, Rich, Kunitz and others (University Press of New England). Kathleen arrived in Boston in 1959 on a scholarship to study with Robert Lowell. Lowell introduced her to the poets of that time, who took her under their wing. This memoir centers on how these poets approached their work.

Other books include: A History of Yearning, Winner of the Sows Ear International Poetry Prize 2010, the London Book Festival Poetry Prize, and others; Moments of Past Happiness (Earthwinds/Grolier Editions); The Beds We Lie In (Scarecrow), nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; The Honeymoon (Graywolf); Swimmer in the Spreading Dawn (Applewood); The Jane Poems (Doubleday); and Flying Inland(Doubleday). She has also published in magazines and anthologies, including The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The Chicago Review, Poetry, Massachusetts Review, Solas Awards, and many others. Her work has also been translated into French.  Her work has been featured at festivals in France and in the United States. She performs in theatres, often with music. Kathleen is a recipient of the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and a Discovery Winner among many others. She has also received grants from the Fulbright Commission, National Endowment for the Arts and various organizations. Her residencies include Yaddo, MacDowell, the American Academy in Rome, Ragdale, Karolyi Foundation, etc.

Since 1990, Kathleen has been a visiting professor of American Literature/Creative Writing (one semester annually) throughout the French University System. In the U.S. she directs an advanced writing program and has been named by the National Writers’ Union as “best writing coach”. Her students have published widely and won major prizes. You will too! For more information on Kathleen Spivack, please visit her website at  www.kathleenspivack.org. You can also follow her on Facebook.

Paris Lit Up featuring Rita Banerjee
Culture Rapide * July 26, 2018 * 8:45 – 11:00 pm
103 rue Julien Lacroix, 75020 Paris, France

Paris Lit Up will host Rita Banerjee as their featured writer on July 26, 2018 from 8:45 – 11:00 pm!  Banerjee will read from her new poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (FLP, march 2018), which was selected by Finishing Line Press as their 2018 nominee for the National Book Award in Poetry, and her edited volume CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018).  Banerjee will also read from her new collection of essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool, and her novel-in-progress about a Tamil-Jewish family in crisis during a post-authoritarian regime. 

Writers from the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Paris (July 25-30, 2018) Writing Retreat will also read during the open mic portion starting at 8:45 pm.

Paris Lit Up  is a non-profit community organization that aims to intensify collaborative artistic practices through community events, performance and publication.  With emphasis on transnational writers, artists and musicians, Paris Lit Up promotes the importance of artistic synergy through transparent, democratic, consensus-based decision making.

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, March 2018),which was named one of Book Riot’s “Must-Read Poetic Voices of Split This Rock 2018”, was nominated for the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and was selected by Finishing Line Press as their 2018 nominee for the National Book Award in Poetry.  Banerjee is also the author of 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 she is a recipient of a Vermont Studio Center Artist’s Grant, the Tom and Laurel Nebel Fellowship, and South Asia Initiative and Tata Grants. Her writing appears in the Academy of American PoetsPoets & 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 the Director of the MFA in Writing & Publishing program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, an Associate Scholar at Harvard, and the judge for the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest. 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.

More information about Rita Banerjee’s Echo in Four Beats and CREDO Book Tours available here!

Paris Lit Up featuring Kristina Marie Darling
Culture Rapide * August 9, 2018 * 8:45 – 11:00 pm
103 rue Julien Lacroix, 75020 Paris, France

Cancel any August vacation right now. Why? Because we are incredibly luckily to be hosting the writer extraordinaire Kristina Marie Darling on August 9 at the PLU open mic! Sign up from 8pm, wiggle your bums down around 8.45pm. Here’s her delicious bio… seriously, read it.

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of thirty books, including Look to Your Left: The Poetics of Spectacle (University of Akron Press, 2020); Je Suis L’Autre: Essays & Interrogations (C&R Press, 2017), which was named one of the “Best Books of 2017” by The Brooklyn Rail; and DARK HORSE: Poems (C&R Press, 2018). Her work has been recognized with three residencies at Yaddo, where she has held both the Martha Walsh Pulver Residency for a Poet and the Howard Moss Residency in Poetry; a Fundación Valparaíso fellowship; a Hawthornden Castle Fellowship, funded by the Heinz Foundation; an artist-in-residence position at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris; three residencies at the American Academy in Rome; two grants from the Whiting Foundation; a Morris Fellowship in the Arts; and the Dan Liberthson Prize from the Academy of American Poets, among many other awards and honors. Her poems appear in The Harvard Review, Poetry International, New American Writing, Nimrod, Passages North, The Mid-American Review, and on the Academy of American Poets’ website, Poets.org. She has published essays in The Kenyon Review, Agni, Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, and numerous other magazines. Kristina currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Press and Tupelo Quarterly, an opinion columnist at The Los Angeles Review of Books, and a contributing writer at Publishers Weekly.

Apply by Friday, June 15 for our 2018 Summer Retreats in Paris and Granada!

Applications close this Friday, June 15, for our 2018 Summer Writing Retreats in Paris, France and Granada, Spain. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to study with award-winning faculty in an inspiring and supportive community of writers. Scholarships are available. Apply today!

CWW-2018ParisRetreat

Summer in Paris

Our Paris retreat will be held from July 25-July 30 with faculty Kathleen Spivack, Kristina Marie Darling, Rita Banerjee, and Rita Banerjee. Students will stay in the heart of the Montparnasse neighborhood, enjoy classes in a beautiful Moroccan-themed room with an open-air courtyard, and take literary tours of Paris.

 

CWW-Paris2018Schedule

Memory/Memoir (with Kathleen Spivack)

We will be working with memory, memoir, the other, and ourselves as we explore the role of memory in our writing. We will focus on new work or, if you prefer, working on projects you bring to the class.

How can we use memory? Where do fact and fiction collide? What is a memoir and where exactly do we focus? How do we locate ourselves in our writing and where do we find the starting place and point of view? There are many ways of approaching memory/memoir in our writing and we will explore a few of them.

Prose Poetry and Micro-Fiction with (Kristina Marie Darling)

In this course, we will focus on prose poetry, meaning prose that draws from the extensive tradition, formal repertoire and literary devices that readers associate with poetry. We will work toward a set of drafts that enact the full range and diversity inherent in this exciting literary form. Questions we will address in this class include: How can poets effectively and economically use the tools of fiction in their craft? What formal variations on the prose poem are possible? How can prose poems complement work written in more traditional poetic forms? Readings will include work by Rochelle Hurt, Carol Guess, Kerri Webster, Joanna Ruocco, Jenny Boully, Sarah Vap, G.C. Waldrep, Suzanne Scanlon, and other writers as determined by student interest.

Grants, Residencies, & Publication (with Kristina Marie Darling)

This workshop will walk students through the basics of writing convincing and persuasive applications to fellowships, residencies, grants, and other opportunities.  We will begin with a discussion of strategies for researching those professional opportunities that best fit one’s chosen project. We will also address such topics as crafting personal statements, writing compelling project proposals, choosing the writing sample, and compiling your dossier as a whole.  Students will leave the workshop with a packet of resources for researching residencies and grants, as well as sample application materials and strategies for effectively presenting their own writing to selection committees.

Ekphrasis: Writing Confronts Visual Art (with Diana Norma Szokolyai)

The word “ekphrasis” comes from the Greek, referring to a literary response to a visual scene, or more commonly, a work of art. By engaging in the imaginative act of reflecting on the action of a work of visual art, the writer expands the meaning of the art. After reading literary examples and holding a discussion about applying the practice of ekphrasis to our own writing, our classroom will be one of the most beautiful museums in Paris: The Musée D’Orsay.

Flâneurs, Essays, and Provocateurs (with Rita Banerjee)

An essay is an attempt.  A trial. A test. In this class, we will explore how evocative essays are attempted and constructed.  We will explore how being a flâneur and an essayist are intimately combined. And we will study how essayists from Montaigne to John McPhee to Richard Rodriguez to David Shields to Teju Cole and Lauren Elkin redefine the environment they inhabit and create a space for electric art.

CWWGranadaPoster2018FINAL

Summer in Granada

Our Granada retreat will run from August 1-August 6 with faculty Tim Horvath Diana Norma Szokolyai, and Rita Banerjee. Intellectual, diverse, and artistic, Granada will always have creative opportunities and events to experience. No matter how you choose to spend your time, this city is full inspiration. The retreat offers multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write.

CWW-Granada2018Schedule (2)

Leyendo Intensamente: Reading Spanish Language Literature (in Translation) as a Writer (with Tim Horvath)

It is a given that writers must learn to read closely, with attention to nuance and craft, to unravel the methods by which other writers have managed to tell stories effectively and adapt them for their own purposes. In this class, we’ll focus on contemporary writers in Spanish. Beginning with now-canonical figures like Borges, Valenzuela, and Cortázar, we’ll look at the history of mid-twentieth century literature in Spanish, and explore how social and political conditions shaped the dissemination of that literature through the Western world. We’ll then look at how today’s writers are both continuing and radically transforming that tradition in light of contemporary issues. In particular, we’ll examine writers such as Valeria Luiselli, Andrés Neuman, Cristina Rivera Garza, and Samanta Schweblin, each of whom bends narrative, language, and thus our understanding of reality itself. We’ll also explore the fraught, infinitely rich topic of translation, discussing its complexities and the ways that understanding the innumerable decisions involved in bringing a work into another language can shed light on the act of “translating” any experience or concept from mind or world onto the page, i.e. writing itself.

The Poetry of Flamenco (with Diana Norma Szokolyai)

In this class, we will explore the fantastically concise and heel-­to-­floor transmission of passion through the lyrics of flamenco music. Packed with intense rhythms, rhymes, and imagery to match the intensity of the music, flamenco songs are a form of poetry developed by Romani people to express the deepest human experiences of love, death, and oppression. We will examine symbols and structures in the poetry of flamenco, learning the distinctions between siguiriya, tango, playera, soleá, and carcelera. Complementary to the class, we will visit an authentic flamenco performance and get a tour of the Museo Cuevas del Sacromonte, where Romani people have traditionally lived in cave dwellings and practiced the art of flamenco.

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.

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer 2018 Retreats featured in India’s The Hindu

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to have its 2018 Summer in Paris and Summer in Granada, Spain Writing Retreats featured in the Indian newspaper The Hindu.  In the article, Artists’ and writers’ retreat throw open doors for a creative vacation,” journalist Sujatha Shankar Kumar writes:

Accomplished writers Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai started the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop (CWW) in 2008 as a literary writing forum set in Cambridge. “At its heart, CWW has a bi-fold model — French literary salon and the Bengali adda,” says Banerjee, explaining how they nurture non-hierarchical, productive and liberal spaces where writers perform and debate their work. Retreats in New Orleans, Paris and Granada have morning classes and afternoon tours, as Banerjee says, “We wanted writers to get snapshots of culture.” Their upcoming retreat in Granada (August 1 to 6) has Banerjee teaching the Law of Desire (how desire creates conflict) and creating memorable characters. Tim Horvath will explore ‘the five senses’ in Spanish, and Szokolyai will impart the history of flamenco and Roma literature. The fee includes tuition, lodging, a flamenco show, a tapas tour of the city and breakfast.

Read the full article and Kumar’s review of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop here.

June 15, 2018 is the deadline to apply for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop 2018 Summer in Paris and Summer in Granada Writing Retreats and Scholarships.  Our multi-genre faculty includesKathleen Spivack,Kristina Marie DarlingTim Horvath Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai.  So many sure to get in your applications at http://cww.submittable.com by then!

June 15: CWW Summer in Paris & Granada Writing Retreat & Scholarships Deadlines

June 15 is the deadline to apply for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Paris and Summer in Granada Writing Retreats and Scholarships.  So many sure to get in your applications at http://cww.submittable.com by then!

Our Summer in Paris Writing Retreat will be held from July 25th – 30th, 2018 and will include poets and fiction writers Kathleen Spivack, Kristina Marie Darling, Rita Banerjee, and Diana Norma Szokolyai teaching eclectic multi-genre workshops.

Situated in the 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!

apply

Deadline: June 15, 2018

Our Summer in Granada Writing Retreat will be from August 1st-6th, 2018 and will feature faculty members Tim Horvath, Diana Norma Szokolyai, and Rita Banerjee.

Intellectual, diverse, and artistic, this town will always have creative opportunities and events to experience. No matter how you choose to spend your time, this city is full inspiration. The retreat offers multi-genre workshops, as well as craft seminars and time to write.

For both retreats, please submit 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 of Two Personal References (Name, Email, Address, Phone, Relationship to Applicant)

Due to limited seats, early applications are encouraged.

applyDeadline: June 15, 2018

We also have scholarships available for our retreats! If you are planning to apply for a scholarship for our 2018 Writing Retreats, please submit a retreat application above, and a separate scholarship application with the information requested below. Please indicate which scholarship you are applying for, your reasons for applying, and which retreat you would like to be considered for.

Here are the scholarships we are offering this summer:

  • Diversity Scholarship: Diversity scholarships will be offered to minorities who show a commitment to creative writing. In your one-page cover letter, please describe how our writing retreat would make a difference in your writing life. Include a short bio (150-200 words).
  • Student Scholarship: Student scholarships will be offered to students (both undergraduate and graduate, full or part time) who show a commitment to creative writing. In your one-page cover letter, please describe how our writing retreat would make a difference in your writing life. Include a short bio (150-200 words).
  • Writer/Parent Scholarship: Writers/Parent scholarships will be offered to writers who show a commitment to creative writing and are raising children (infant through college). In your one-page cover letter, please describe how our writing retreat would make a difference in your writing life. Include a short bio (150-200 words).

applyDeadline: June 15, 2018

Please email info@cambridgewritersworkshop.org if you have any questions.

Celebrating CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing’s Publication Day!

CREDO-RitaBanerjee-DianaNormaSzokolyai

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is celebrating the publication of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing today!

CREDO (C&R Press, May 15, 2018) is edited by writers and CWW co-directors Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai and assistant editors Alexander Carrigan and Megan Jeanine Tilley. CREDO advocates for the empowerment of female, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized literary voices, with essays and manifestos that cover a wide range of subjects, including transgender poetics, world literature and aesthetics, collage and appropriation, and the politics of place. By presenting a triad of creative writing manifestos, essays on the craft of writing, and creative writing exercises, CREDO bridges the theoretical, political, and aesthetic perspectives on contemporary writing with practical and accessible writing advice. Our incredible CREDO contributing authors are some of the most exciting voices in contemporary poetry, fiction and non-fiction and will leave you feeling inspired.

Meet Our Contributing Authors!

Kazim Ali \ Forrest Anderson \ Rita Banerjee \ Lisa Marie Basile \ Jaswinder Bolina \ Stephanie Burt \ Alexander Carrigan \ Sam Cha \ Melinda J. Combs \ Thade Correa \ Jeff Fearnside \ Ariel Francisco \ John Guzlowski \ Rachael Hanel \ Janine Harrison \ Lindsay Illich \ Douglas Charles Jackson \ Caitlin Johnson \ Christine Johnson-Duell \ Jason Kapcala \ Richard Kenney \ Eva Langston \ John Laue \ Stuart 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 \ Elisabeth Sharp McKetta \ David Shields \ Lillian Ann Slugocki \ Maya Sonenberg \ Kathleen Spivack \ Laura Steadham Smith \ Molly Sutton Kiefer \ Jade Sylvan \ Anca L. Szilágyi \ Diana Norma Szokolyai \ Marilyn L. Taylor \ Megan Jeanine Tilley \ Suzanne Van Dam \ Nicole Walker \ Allyson Whipple \ Shawn Wong \ Caroll Sun Yang \ Matthew Zapruder

GrolierOn Saturday, June 2, the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop will celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Grolier Poetry Book Shop at the Grolier Poetry Festival in Harvard Square. CREDO contributing authors Kathleen Spivack, Kevin McLellan and the CWW’s co-director and CREDO editor, Diana Norma Szokolyai will read. Diana Norma Szokolyai will also be teaching a CREDO workshop where copies of CREDO will be available for purchase. Stop by between 1-4 p.m.!

CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing can be purchased through C&R Press, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

June 2: Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Celebrates the 90th Anniversary of the Grolier at the Grolier Poetry Festival – Harvard Sq., Cambridge, MA

On Saturday June 2, 2018, the Grolier Poetry Book Shop, the oldest poetry bookstore in the United States, will be celebrating its 90th Anniversary in Cambridge, MA. In order to celebrate 90 years of literary and intellectual activity, the Grolier will be hosting The Grolier Poetry Festival, featuring street performances, writing workshops, literary readings, food, and books in Harvard Square. The event was recently featured in The Boston Globe. The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is delighted to be featured at the Grolier Poetry Festival on May 19 in Harvard Square.  Join us for our featured readings, performances, and CREDO Workshop!  The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s new anthology CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing (eds. Rita Banerjee & Diana Norma Szokolyai, May 15, 2018) can be purchased through C&R Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Information about our events and writers are posted below:

A 90th Anniversary Celebration
June 2, 2018, 12pm–8pm

Location: Outside Plympton St,
Between Mass Ave & Bow Street
Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
1:00-2:00pm                
Welcome and Opening Remarks, Ifeanyi Menkiti, Proprietor, Director, Grolier Poetry Book Shop
 
Poets Read
David Ferry, Kathleen Spivack, and Lloyd Scwartz and Lillian Yvonne Bertram
 
2:00–2:20pm             
Michael Mack, Performs from Hearing Voices, Speaking in Tongues 
 
2:20–2:40pm             
Jim Vrabel, performs from John Berryman’s The Dream Songs
2:40–3:35pm
Poets Read
Fred Marchand • Harris Gardner • Patrick Sylvain • Martha Collins • Ruth Lepson • Dan Tobin • Monique-Adelle Callahan • Gail Mazur

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Group : Diana Norma Szokolyai, accompanied by Audrey Harrer, Harpist • Kevin McLellan

 3:35-4:15pm  (off stage)
Diana Norma Szokolyai leads a workshop based on CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writingthat she and Rita Banerjee edited. This newly released book will be available for purchase.

Featured Authors:

DianVersion 2a Norma Szokolyai is author of Parallel Sparrows (honorable mention for Best Poetry Book, 2014 Paris Book Festival), Roses in the Snow (first runner­up, Best Poetry Book, 2009 DIY Book Festival), and a feminist rewriting of a classic fairytale for Brooklyn Art Library’s The Fiction Project, entitled Beneath the Surface: Blue Beard, Remixed. Szokolyai’s poetry and prose has been published in MER VOX Quarterly, VIDA Review, Quail Bell Magazine, The Boston Globe, Luna Luna Magazine, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and has been anthologized in Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Teachers as Writers & elsewhere. Her edited volume is CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, 2018). She’s founding Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. Szokolyai is author of Introduction, and the essay “What’s At Stake?” in CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018).

Kathleen Spivack’s novel Unspeakable Things was released by Knopf in early 2016. Her previous book, the memoir With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz and Others was published by the University Press of New England in 2012. Her chapbook, A History of Yearning, won the Sows Ear International Poetry Chapbook Prize in 2010, and she recently received the Allen Ginsberg, Erika Mumford, and Paumanok awards for her poetry. Her book won the New England Book Festival and London Book Festival Prizes. Published in over 400 magazines and anthologies, Kathleen’s work has been translated into French. She has held grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; Massachusetts Artists Foundation; Bunting Institute; Howard Foundation; Massachusetts Council for the Arts and Humanities; is a Discovery winner and has been at Yaddo, MacDowell, Ragdale, Karolyi, and the American Academy in Rome. In Boston and Paris she directs the Advanced Writing Workshop, an intensive training program for professional writers. She has taught at conferences in Paris, Aspen, Santa Fe, Burgundy, Skidmore, and on the high seas, (Holland American Line). Spivak is the author of the Craft of Writing essays, “The Writing Exercise: A Recipe” and “Words As Inspiration” in CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018).

Kevin McLellan is the author of Ornitheology (The Word Works, 2018), Hemispheres (Fact-Simile Editions, 2018), [box] (Letter [r] Press, 2016), Tributary (Barrow Street, 2015), and Round Trip (Seven Kitchens, 2010). He won the 2015 Third Coast Poetry Prize and Gival Press’ 2016 Oscar Wilde Award, and his poems appear in numerous literary journals. Kevin lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. McLellan’s essay, “Attributes: A Prompt,” can be found in the Exercises section of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018).

 

CWW Spring in New Orleans 2018 Writing Retreat – Recap!

This spring the Cambridge Writer’s Workshop held their retreat in the vibrant city of New Orleans. The weather was amazing and felt like a breath of fresh air to all of the snow we had experienced in this unusually long winter. We stayed in a gorgeous two-story house across the river from the French Quarter in Algiers’s Point.

The retreat started with a night of games and fun during orientation which helped stir everyone’s creative side!

Classes for this retreat showcased: “Rasa: Emotion & Suspense in Theatre, Poetry, and (Non)Fiction” taught by Rita Banerjee; “What’s At Stake?” taught by Diana Norma; and a two-part course on both finding a literary agent and building a literary platform taught by special lecturer Natalie Kimber, a literary agent from The Rights Factory. The classes were as fun as they were informative and educational.

In our free time, we played a group game of Werewolf, sought out local food and drink, saw local sites, listened to jazz in the French Quarter, and most importantly wrote!

The 48-hour Writing Bake Off has become a staple of the CWW, and this trip produced some amazing work by our writers! As per the usual rules each writer had 48 hours to write around twenty pages of work while incorporating elements as chosen by the fellow writers. This Bake-Off needed to include:

  • Pastel Colored Houses
  • The Powdered Sugar from the Beignets
  • Gentrification
  • Trumpets
  • A “Big Easy” Attitude
  • “Widow-Maker” Trees

Here are some excerpts of what our writers came up with.

Gina Anderson “The Baby Sitter”

I kicked open the door. The creature looked like a Doris Day reject. It held the baby outstretched over the crib readying to extract its soul. “Unhand that child!” I demanded. I’m sure my command came out in a chirpy, garbled mess instead of low demonish.

The woman lowered her palm over the tiny chest of the babe, swaddled up in a blue blankie, as a threat. She opened her mouth up in an unnatural yawn and let out a low hum. The move shut the door behind me and blasted me against it.

The babe was silent. It made no moves to protect itself. This demon babe was rumored to have unimaginable powers. Did the creature stun it with some sort of ability unnatural to this realm?

Very well. If it was going to fight dirty, then the crutches and the pants were coming off. I quickly unwrapped my bandaged legs and feet, releasing my claws, but also thoroughly confusing the possessed creature. I picked up one of the crutches and detached one of the components that doubled as a stake. I only had two left and I only had two shots at getting it right.

The creature stretched the face of its possessed body in that yawn again, but this time it spewed a chemical mist. I coughed to prevent the toxic fumes from entering my lungs. Hey, I’m a birdie with delicate sensibilities. Damn it! These guys just kept upping the threats.

 

Adi Hernández “Untitled Bake-Off”

Julio had been off sleeping, reading, and doing just about god-knows-what those three weeks nobody could find him, and in-between it all, he would find himself staring out through the window hoping he would one day go back to what he thought he could remember life to be. Since the accident, since the weather that day long ago, since his brother’s death, he stayed in the upper room of a pastel house that had somehow managed to stay intact. He had been stuck there, paging through the same three books he hadn’t read in a while, but he was beginning to think, maybe a trip outside could spare him from having to read them all over again. They made him sick to remember again.

To remember his hometown in Managua, Nicaragua. To remember the days when he and his brother would simply drop the bags of groceries they carried home to run off to the beach at the sight of a glimmer of water. To remember the nights outside their home eating papaya and waving off the heat those summer days created. To remember his mama and papa spending nights together cooking for the rest of the family just before they would have “uninvited” guests over. To remember his brother’s laugh when he fell into the pond searching for the sea serpent that supposedly lived there. To remember them again, and to realize they were too far to offer any help like he knew they would.

“It’s what I get… I guess.” he thought to himself.

Deb Jannerson “Poems”

first sight 

the only track in my discman’s 56-sleeve carrier that mentioned new orleans was about hookers.

i slipped the disc into its wide plastic mouth anyway, lit a funk ribbon between my ears as
the seventh-circle seraphim perched back from the trolley window, uninterrupted by its muffled bass.

removed from blood context, i offered myself to the necklace-strewn widowmaker branches, to the creaky car film-reeling academic excuses, to the jester-drunk women embracing on quarter corners.

agnostic phantoms marbled my barrier, warmth wet as a lover, leaned through anthony kiedis to hiss there is something here for you to find.

8/28/05

with two more weeks until the
begrudging unlock of the ivory tower, i
regressed into the house of the soot eagle

where i unset through the ticking, then
shattered offscreen.

in a vertiginous spot of mirror-image cruelty:
it really will be a canal street! the
sourdough words would not mix with
her fault-ridden lips.

my brain disappeared, impotent.

i had left its dormant shadow on
the opposite end of the interstate, and
almost expected it to survive.

 

Gary Zeiss “Thank You for Riding with Jesus”

I rode with Jesus the other day. Ten glorious, spirit filled miles. They were fun-filled, too. Yes, I was touched by the son of God himself, and sitting in the back seat of his 2014 Blue Passat (7EAD313), I felt as if I were being whisked away from all my cares.

Jesus asked if I believed in him. How could I say no?  He was sitting there, in the flesh, right in front of me. He would move his hands and the car would turn. He would move his feet

and the car would accelerate or slow down. Of course, Jesus was right there with me, every moment of this journey.

Good thing I became a believer quickly. The 405 was in one of its usual crowding phases, and Jesus was pulling motorcycle like lane splits. Give him this — he could drive like hell. While I was in his holy presence, the day seemed to get brighter. It was if the darkness relented to the holy glory of dawn.

I definitely felt as if I was being touched by an angel — and not just any angel, but the big J. We got off the 405 at La Tijera.

Jesus laid on the horn at the driver in front of us.

No effect.

“No turn on red” I said, pointing to the sign.

“That’s for you folks, not the son of God!” he laughed, almost rear-ending the Explorer with Utah plates that was standing at the light.

I almost thought I heard him mutter a curse word or two at the careful driver in front of us. I knew just then, What Would Jesus Do in traffic?  He’d be just like one of us — pissed off

at the slow driver in front of him, impatient, and ready to honk and curse at a moment’s notice. I felt very close to Jesus at that moment.

Matthew Bargas “Credo: On Truth”

“What is truth,” Pontus Pilate asked. The answer may not be as simple as most would think. In

this day and age of fake news and real news the question is just as relevant as it ever was. Our digital technology can fabricate anything, creat compelling arguments supporting or condemning anything anything, and who is to decide what is real and what is fake.

Aside from science and math, are there any universal truths, or are all truths relative? We hold these truths to be self evident? Really? What does that mean. If life liberty and pursuit of happiness are self evident why is there so much death and destruction, so much oppression, so much misery in our world. How about the divine right of kings? That ‘truth’ was believed by everyone centuries ago. Who knows what everyone will believe in the future?

And there is this excerpt from the song, Wonderful from the musical Wicked:

“We believe all sorts of things that aren’t true. We call it history. A man is called a traitor or a liberator. A rich man is a thief or a philanthropist. Is one a crusader or an invader. It’s all in which label is able to persist. There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities. So act as though they don’t exist.”

 

Rachel Kurasz “Widow Maker Trees”

I ran into my house and locked the door. I was fine, I just drank too much, I told myself. The wind howled, branches were scratching at my door. I went to my bedroom and laid down on the bed hoping to get a good night’s sleep and deal with the hangover in the morning. The scratching sounds continued and sounded as if they were right at my bedroom door.

I was scared, I was drunk, and I finally decided I needed to say the prayer, fuck it, being foolish was better than ending up like that poor woman’s corpse.

“As I lay me down to sleep I pray…” Shit. “As I lay me down to sleep I pray…” Fuck.

The scratches grew louder.

“As I lay me down to sleep I pray…” I was so drunk and scared that I had completely forgotten the damn prayer. I kept repeating the first line over and over again. And then I saw it. I saw a small branch crawling through the space in the door frame. I prayed faster.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip full of fun, food, and productivity! The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s new anthology CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing (eds. Rita Banerjee & Diana Norma Szokolyai, May 15, 2018) can be pre-ordered form C&R Press here!  Until next time, stay wonderful NOLA!

–Rachel Kurasz, CWW Media & Communications Intern