Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Creative Director Rita Banerjee will be be featured on Goddard College’s “Bon Mot” radio program at 6 pm EST on Sunday, November 11, 2018. The radio program will air on 91.1 and 91.7 FM Vermont. The show is hosted by Rick Argan and Banerjee will be be reading from her poetry collection Echo in Four Beats and her new nonfiction manuscript on race, sex, politics, and cool. The show can be live-streamed here: http://www.wgdr.org/listen-live/ or listened to via podcast archive here: https://soundcloud.com/wgdr
The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop will be hosting a reading during the annual Brooklyn Book Festival in Brooklyn, New York. The reading will be held on Saturday, September 15 at WORD Bookstore (126 Franklin St. Brooklyn, NY 11222) from 7 pm to 8:30 pm. Come visit our reading to hear from ten amazing authors who will be sharing some of their latest work.
Check out our incredible reading list:
Stephen Aubrey is a Brooklyn-based writer and dramaturg. He is co-artistic director and resident playwright of The Assembly theater company. His plays have been produced at The New Ohio Theater, The Living Theater, The Flea Theater, The Collapsable Hole, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His writing has appeared in Electric Literature, Publishing Genius, and The Brooklyn Review. He teaches creative writing and literature in the CUNY system.
Rita Banerjee is the editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018) and the author of the poetry collection Echo in Four Beats (Finishing Line Press, March 2018), the novella “A Night with Kali” in Approaching Footsteps (Spider Road Press, 2016), and the poetry chapbook Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in the Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, Nat. Brut., The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric Literature, VIDA, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. She is the Executive Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. She is the judge for the 2017 Minerva Rising “Dare to Speak” Poetry Chapbook Contest, and she is currently working on a novel, a book on South Asian literary modernisms, and a collection of lyric essays on race, sex, politics, and everything cool.
Lisa Marie Basile is the author of APOCRYPHALand the chapbooks Andalucia and war/lock. She is the editor-in-chief of Luna Luna Magazine, and her poetry and essays have appeared in PANK, Tin House, Coldfront, The Nervous Breakdown, The Huffington Post, Best American Poetry, PEN American Center, Dusie, The Ampersand Review, and other publications. She’s been featured in the NY Daily News, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls and on Ravishly.com. She holds an MFA from The New School and is working on a poetic novella. Basile is the author of “Dispelling the Myth of the Poet” in CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018).
Madeleine Barnes is a poet and visual artist from Pittsburgh living in Brooklyn. She is a doctoral fellow at CUNY’s Ph.D. Program in English, and the recipient of a New York State Summer Writers Institute Fellowship, two Academy of American Poets prizes, and the Princeton Poetry Prize. Her second chapbook, Light Experiments, is forthcoming from Porkbelly Press this year, and her protest embroideries were recently featured in Boston Accent Lit. She serves as Poetry Editor at Cordella Magazine.
Alexander Carrigan is the Communications and PR manager for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and has been with the organization since 2014. He is currently an assistant editor with the American Correctional Association. He has had fiction, poetry, reviews (film, TV, and literature), and nonfiction work published in Mercurial Stories, Poictesme Literary Journal, Amendment Literary Journal, Quail Bell Magazine, Luna Luna Magazine, Rebels: Comic Anthology at VCU, Realms YA Literary Magazine, and Life in 10 Minutes. He lives in Alexandria, VA. Carrigan is the author of “First Person Perspective Flash Fiction Prompts” in the Exercises section of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, May 2018) and was one of the anthology’s assistant editors.
Elizabeth Devlin, with her haunting combination of lilting voice and enchanting Autoharp, is a self-produced NYC singer- songwriter. Devlin defies traditional musical structure with many of her songs, building miniature narratives and magical worlds where characters, fantasies and time collide. Devlin has toured nationally, internationally, & performs in venues throughout NYC’s 5 boroughs. “Orchid Mantis,” her newest full-length album, was released in February 2017 at Sidewalk Café’s Winter Anti-folk Festival in NYC.
Jonah Kruvant’s successful first novel, The Last Book Ever Written, a dystopian satire set in a futuristic society where creativity is illegal, was published by PanAm Books in April 2015. His work has also appeared in Digital Americana, On the Verge, Bewildering Stories, Fiction on the Web, the Scarlet Leaf Review, and LIMN Literary and Arts Journal. I received an MFA degree in Fiction from Goddard College. Read about my work, book tour, and blog at www.jonahkruvant.com.
Emily Smith is currently an MFA student in nonfiction at Columbia University. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Buzzfeed, Brooklyn Magazine, and many others. She’s previously worked as a Contributing Blogger for Ploughshares and a reviewer at Kirkus Reviews. You can follow her on Twitter at @esmithwrites.
Diana Norma Szokolyai recently received honorable mention in the 87th Annual Writers’ Digest Writing Competition for her poem “Shadows of the Pantry,” based on the experiences of her grandmother in war-torn Hungary, which will be featured in the Writers’ Digest Collection forthcoming in November 2018. She is the editor of CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing (C&R Press, 2018). She’s also founding Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. Her poetry chapbook, Parallel Sparrows, received honorable mention for Best Poetry Book at the 2014 Paris Book Festival and her first poetry collection, Roses in the Snow placed first runner-up for Best Poetry Book at the 2009 DIY Book Festival. She is also author of 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, Snapdragon Journal, 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, Always Wondering, and Our Last Walk. 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.
Amanda Toronto received her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University where she focused on contemporary American literature, art, and religion. She lives with her family in New York City and is at work on her first novel.
Devynity Wray is a Black Expressionist (artist, writer, performer, and poet) who graduated from the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts with an Arts Regents Diploma. She also earned her Bachelor’s of the Arts Cum Laude in Africana, Puerto-Rican and Latino Studies from Hunter College. Devynity was a slam team member with the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe in 2002 which placed 3rd that year at the National Poetry Slam Contest. Her poem “Black Girl Manifesto” has also been published in Hill Harper’s critically acclaimed Letters to a Young Sister. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Devynity’s work embodies an amalgam of her intimate experiences growing up as a woman of color in the inner city and the struggles of its inhabitants. She is currently working on projects in music, video and on the page that will piece all that she has to offer into coherent experiences for her audience.
We hope to see you there!
July 30 was the final day of the Summer in Paris 2018 writing retreat. Faculty and writers shared their work and discussed their writing goals for the future. The week was fueled by each individual’s creativity, collaboration, and exploration of the city around us. We ended the week feeling inspired and grateful to our new community of fellow writers.
We will bring all of the creative energy and inspiration from our Paris to our August retreat in Granada, Spain.
Sunday, July 29, was the last full day of our Summer in Paris writing retreat. In the morning, Kristina Marie Darling led the group in her second workshop of the week: “Grants, Residencies, and Publication.” Kristina shared her insights on applying for grants and residencies as well as submitting work to a range of publications. Kristina addressed topics such as compiling a writing dossier, choosing writing samples, and crafting personal statements. Writers left the workshop with a packet of resources to help them research residency and publication opportunities as well as well as sample application materials and strategies for effectively presenting their own writing to selection committees.
In the afternoon Kathleen Spivack held her second “Memory and Memoir” workshop where students continued to explore how memory could be used in writing. 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? These are a few of the questions that guided the class discussion and writing.
That evening the group visited Puces de Clignancort, the largest Parisian outdoor flea market. Puces de Clignancort is an open air market filled with clothing, antiques, books, music, and art and can be found in the 18th arrondissement.
Saturday, July 28, was a full day for our retreat faulty and participants. In the morning our guest faculty member Kristina Marie Darling taught her “Prose, Poetry, and Micro-Fiction” workshop. This course focused on prose poetry, meaning prose that draws from the extensive tradition, formal repertoire and literary devices that readers associate with poetry. Questions explored in class included: How can poets effectively and economically use the tools of fiction in their craft? What formal variations on the prose poem are possible? And how can prose poems compliment work written in more traditional poetic forms? Students ended the class with drafts of their own prose poetry or micro-fiction.
In the afternoon, CWW director Rita Banerjee held her workshop “Flâneurs, Essays, and Provocateurs.” Before meeting for Rita’s workshop, the participants were given a writing assignment where they were asked to spend 30 minutes “flaneusing or flaneuring” around Paris or Versailles in order to observe as much as they could about the people, places, animals, things, order, disorder or culture they were saw around them. These observations and experiences were then translated into a central question or thought that then became the beginning of an essay. Students were then asked to write until they found a solution to their central question or until they discovered an epiphany hiding in their work.
Following Rita’s workshop, faculty and writers traveled to Versailles where they explored the palace and gardens of the Chateau de Versailles. The Chateau de Versailles is perhaps best known as the residence of Louis XIV, who installed the Court and government at Versailles in 1632. Versailles is considered one of the greatest achievements of French 17th century art. The group ended their evening with an illuminated fountain and firework show in the gardens.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Kathleen 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.
Rita 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 Poets, Poets & Writers, Nat. Brut., The Scofield, The Rumpus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mass Poetry, Hyphen Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Electric 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.