University of Iowa

The Eleventh Hour

The Eleventh Hour Lecture Series is comprised of hour-long presentations at 11:00 a.m. each weekday of the Festival. The series features issues of special interest to writers, including aspects of craft, process, the writing life, and publishing. Past topics have included “Talking It Out: Writing As Conversation,” “Creative Nonfiction for the Visual Learner,” and “How Poets See the World: The Art of Description.”

The Eleventh Hour features a different presenter each day.  Daily lectures are held in Phillips Hall (Room 100), 16 N Clinton Street, unless otherwise noted.  The Eleventh Hour is free and open to the public as well as Festival participants.  

 

To listen to podcasts of past lectures, visit The Writing University: The Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

 

Watch the discussion from our July 17th Eleventh Hour--The MFA at Any Age--with Iowa Writers' Workshop director Lan Samantha Chang and an age-diverse panel of recent University of Iowa MFA program graduates.

Even if you have no plan to pursue a two-year degree program, this talk has much to say to those of us beginning, and continuing, our training as writers, and at any point in our writing lives.

The MFA at Any Age descriptionIs there a right time to get your MFA? This hour will feature a panel of graduates of the Iowa Writers' Workshop who came to the program at different ages, some earlier in life, others having already established lives, families, and careers. Panelists will talk and answer questions about the benefits and challenges of attending graduate school earlier or later in life, what it was like to be in workshop, what it was like to manage school and family, and what the MFA experience offered them in the end. If you've considered applying to an MFA program, this is your chance to ask questions and hear first-hand about what the MFA experience is like at any age.

 

 

July 16-20, 2018

 

 

Tuesday, July 17th

The MFA at Any Age

Lan Samantha Chang and Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates

Is there a right time to get your MFA? This hour will feature a panel of graduates of the Iowa Writers' Workshop who came to the program at different ages, some earlier in life, others having already established lives, families, and careers. Panelists will talk and answer questions about the benefits and challenges of attending graduate school earlier or later in life, what it was like to be in workshop, what it was like to manage school and family, and what the MFA experience offered them in the end. If you've considered applying to an MFA program, this is your chance to ask questions and hear first-hand about what the MFA experience is like at any age. If you're not in Iowa City, join us on the livestream!

 

Wednesday, July 18th

Making and Breaking Taboos

Charles Holdefer

Writers frequently confront taboos—cultural, religious, and sexual—in their work. These taboos are also reinforced by the publishing process. When is it OK to offend? When is it gratuitous? Are you being honest, or are you being a jerk? Who decides? In this Eleventh Hour presentation, Charles Holdefer will talk of recent trends and describe some of his own experiences in regard to these thorny questions.

 

Thursday, July 19th

On the Feminine vs. the Masculine Narrative Voice

Mieke Eerkens

During workshops, it often becomes clear how heavily the “feminine” voice—characterized by multi-angled, expansive prose and a focus on the emotional realm—is criticized in writing, and the “masculine” voice—characterized by straightforward, sparse prose and a focus on the physical realm—is pushed. Editors and the work they publish reinforce this aesthetic preference, which affects our culture in a feedback loop. Yet, male, female, and gender-neutral writers alike reflect varying degrees of traditional masculinity or femininity in their authorial voices. We will interrogate the assumptions about the masculine voice versus the feminine voice, and discuss how it relates to our writing.

 

Friday, July 20th

Faculty Reading

 

 

July 23-27, 2018

Monday, July 23rd 

Me, Myself, and I: The Transformative Power of Reflection in Nonfiction

Juliet Patterson

We often think about the tool of reflection in writing as a mode of thought or tone of voice we employ when we ruminate, meditate, contemplate, or explain—in short, when we provide what Phillip Gerard calls “finished thought.” But we might also think about reflection as a turning, as a sometimes distorting, but transformational power. In this talk, we’ll look briefly at four qualities of reflection that might encourage artistic transformation in our writing and try some short exercises that will give you some practical tools to “think” about yourself differently on the page.

 

Tuesday, July 24th

The Life-Altering Magic of Revision: How Revisiting, Reassessing, and Reframing a Story Just Might Change Your Life

Hope Edelman

Getting a story onto the page is a necessary first step. Then the heavy lifting, both outer and inner, can begin. While the facts of a real-life or fictional event may remain static from draft to draft, the author's interpretation of those events is likely to change with each iteration. That's where the real magic comes in. The workshop setting with its directed questioning is an ideal site for new insights to emerge. This Eleventh Hour combines literary craft and narrative therapy to explain how re-vision can promote lasting artistic and personal benefits.

 

Wednesday, July 25th

Writing with Death Looking Over Your Shoulder

Lori Erickson

Death has haunted the work of countless authors. And even if we’re not writing about death directly, it often overshadows our creations, as we deal with the loss of loved ones and the inevitability of our own mortality. These struggles can be paralyzing, or they can usher in new insights. Lori Erickson will talk about how wrestling with questions relating to loss, grieving, and mortality can provide rich inspiration for our writing.

 

Thursday, July 26th

Gratitude for Time: Poetry and Moments of Thanks

Zach Savich

In this lecture, we’ll consider some recent poems in which gratitude emerges from or exists alongside difficult experiences. How do moments of acute gratitude interact with loss, grief, memory, and ongoing complexity? What are some ways in which a poem can break into thanks, however briefly? Perhaps poetry of gratitude goes beyond “finding a silver lining;” perhaps it offers an ethics of reflection that, through ways of speaking that become ways of being, intricately connects a poem to culture and community. We’ll discuss work by poets such as Kazim Ali, Ross Gay, Lauren Haldeman, Carl Phillips, Juliana Spahr, and others, as we think closely about what it means for a poem to say thank you.

 

Friday, July 27th

Faculty Reading