“Summer requires fearlessness. Spring can be fearful;
for its blossoms apprehension is like a home. But fruit
requires a calm and heavy sun.”
Rilke, The Florence Diary, May 17, 1898
In honor of the generativity of summer, here are 4 generative intensives that will allow you to immerse yourself in a specific aspect of your writing/writing process.
Sundays 9:30-2:30. (with 1 hour break for lunch)
Cost: $75 per workshop
Location: 4052 18th St. @Emergence Healing Arts Studio
- limited to 8 people,
- includes one free regular studio session, to be used at any time
- JULY 20: Playing Scales: Expanding Your Writing Repertoire
- JULY 27: Why Love What You Will Lose: Writing Through Grief
- AUGUST 3: Poses: Writing as Gesture
- AUGUST 10: The Slow Poem: Letting Writing Take Its Time
PLAYING SCALES: EXPANDING YOUR WRITING REPERTOIRE
A workshop for writers in all genres
July 20, 9:30 – 2:30
Some of our strongest writing comes as a surprise, and in that moment seems effortless. We can’t schedule or plan for such moments, but there are practices we can do to help cultivate our responsiveness and technical skill. Even the most virtuosic pianists play scales to maintain their fluidity, spontaneity, and precision. By playing scales, a pianist moves through the sounds of each key, through dynamics of touch, speed, tone, and volume, with the freedom that comes from these qualities not being tied to a specific piece. In writing, we rarely set out to write just to move through the paces of what language offers in terms of sound, syntax, word formation, or figurative language. We demand that we have something to say before we even sit down to write. One consequence of such an all-or-nothing relationship with writing is more often the latter: nothing! This workshop will offer students an array of exercises in form, image, and perception that will allow them to deepen their relationship to language and to generate new work. Each participant will have opportunities to read their work and discuss some aspect of their process throughout the day. Each person will develop a tailored set of “scales and arpeggios” that will continue to serve their writing practice.
WHY LOVE WHAT YOU WILL LOSE: WRITING THROUGH GRIEF
July 27,9:30 – 2:30
Why love what you will lose? There is nothing else to love.
Major shifts and challenges in our lives can spark our most urgent writing. At the same time, when something so deeply affects us, how do we begin to write “about” it? In Heaven’s Coast, by Mark Doty, one of the indelible memoirs of the devastation of AIDS, Doty allows the reader into his struggle to find ways to speak after his partner’s death. In this intensive workshop we will explore ways to write into, or through their own experience. In generative exercises we’ll practice working with particular detail and dialogue, and other elements that create immediacy. We’ll discuss how routine can create stability for the unsettling process of writing in this difficult terrain. Writers who are exploring ways to move through resistance or who would like to begin to approach something they have not yetfound a way to write about may find the workshop especially helpful. Each participant will have opportunities to read their work and discuss some aspect of their process throughout the day. Readings will include the work of Gregory Orr, Mark Doty, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Nick Flynn, Elizabeth McCracken, Jillian Weise, Emily Rapp, Marie Howe, and Meghan O’Rourke.
POSES: WRITING AS GESTURE
AUGUST 3, 9:30 – 2:30
In this workshop, we’ll borrow from the drawing studio in writing “sketches” from verbal prompts, simple phrases that can spark associations, images, narrative, & dialogue. Working gesturally in this way can spark immediacy, ease and naturalness. Often students find that they write about something they’ve long wanted to approach. Students will shape their sketches into one longer piece, or a series of connected shorter works. Students will come away from the workshop with a tailored set of prompts for future writing, and a sheaf of short pieces to develop further into poems and essays.
THE SLOW POEM: LETTING WRITING TAKE ITS TIME
AUGUST 10, 9:30 – 2:30
We all have pieces we know we want to write, but they hover near-completion for years, requiring some mysterious process we must go through in ourselves before the piece finds its form. In this workshop, we’ll entertain the proposition that some writing actually takes the time it takes, rather than conforming neatly to our imagined schedule of perfection.
We will experiment with dismantling all the self-critique that attends pieces we’ve been writing forever, and see what happens when we bring these elusive pieces into a more neutral regard. Finishing something can be a terrifying prospect, but sometimes all that is necessary is for there to be a sense of witness and kindred company.
We’ll cultivate a stable and responsive circle of listening in which students can find camaraderie and perspective in their writing process. Students will engage in writing exercises and will learn several practices that will help them move through resistance and find entry points. Students will have the opportunity to share their work with the group and receive informal feedback. The workshop is open to writers in any genre, and exercises can be easily applied to poetry or prose.
For further details, and to register, please email me here