University of Iowa

Diana Goetsch

Diana Goetsch is the author of three full-length volumes of poems, five prize-winning chapbooks, and “Life in Transition,” a series of 31 essays that ran in The American Scholar from 2015-16. Her work has appeared in leading journals and anthologies such as The New Yorker, Poetry, the Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize, as well as in major newspapers such as the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Grace Paley Teaching Fellowship from The New School, and the Donald Murray prize for writing pedagogy. She has taught writing at colleges, M.F.A. programs, public schools, prisons and, for seventeen years, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

Instructor Events

Weekend July 14 to July 15 2018

The notion that some special insight or wisdom is required in order to start writing has short-circuited many a writer. Why even try? an internal voice whispers, You’ve got nothing profound to say. But insight is not what goes into a piece of writing—rather, it’s what comes out of it.

 

Free-writing is an essential tool, the way most writers honor the impulse to sit down and write, and the act during which that impulse either catches fire or peters out. Yet this fundamental skill is seldom taught or engaged in with very much awareness or refinement. Put another way, there are as many ways to free-write as there are to dance, but most are stuck doing the frat boy two-step, and wind up filling space on the page the same way every time, no matter the subject.

 

Weekend July 21 to July 22 2018

If we think of a poem as a bird, the two wings of that bird are craft and vision. (“Vision” loosely defined as a poem’s “revelation” about some facet of experience; and craft, the vehicle to deliver that revelation.) “Craft or vision?” is often the first question I ask when I see a poem faltering—a crucial question, for no refinement in craft can fix a vision problem, just as “profundity” can’t overcome faulty craft.