University of Iowa

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Linda Bendorf

Come write the stories of your legacy. Some call it the story of your soul. Like memoir writing, legacy writing chronicles your most profound, defining moments and milestones (some joyful, others painful), those that inform and perhaps inspire future generations. Unearth your personal stories. Your narratives. What do you value? What did your ancestors value? Figuratively speaking, what garden did you plant? What did you stand up for? Whom did you touch? Who most inspired you? What mark—or footprint—do you hope to leave?

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Cecile Goding

What can you say in a 500-word paragraph? Or in 200 words? When you show that paragraph to another writer, what might they create, sparked by a memory or a phrase of yours they have just now read? Whatever it is, you can’t wait to see it. You can’t wait to write back. There. You have begun a different way of responding to the work of another. Can we write a whole book like this? Yes, we can. During this writing retreat, we will not read manuscripts. We will not so much comment on others’ work directly, although we may have suggestions.

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
James McKean

This workshop is based on the premise that the whole story is made up of parts, that writing a memoir starts with a compilation of many pieces—episodes or anecdotes or vignettes or moments held in memory. Designed for those who are in the process of connecting these moments, this workshop will look at ways to “fashion a text” as Annie Dillard says, from “fragmentary patches of color and feeling,” especially for those trying to write about family with its many competing voices.

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
June Melby

You’ve finally carved out some time in your life to write. You have a bunch of great ideas, maybe even a new desk. But when you sit down to write, your muse refuses to speak. Or the muse gets you started, and then disappears completely, leaving you high and dry. Should you give up? Move on to a different project? Are you just not talented enough? Is there a secret that successful authors have to keep their muses on the job?

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Marilyn Abildskov

“Can it be that I am the subject?” the writer Elizabeth Hardwick asks in Sleepless Nights. In this course, the answer is yes. You will be the subject, shaping the raw material of your life onto the page. To do so is nothing new. Writers throughout the ages have drawn on their lives, some in small measure and some to a greater degree. But often those stories hid behind the veil of “fiction” while “memoir” remained the domain of older men looking back on public lives.

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Jonathan Blum

When was the last time you read a story you couldn’t put down? We all want to write such stories, but how do we do it? In this class, we will workshop short stories of up to 18 pages, with the goal of helping each writer identify and build on the strengths of his/her story. In so doing, we will discuss what makes a story irresistible. Among the questions we will consider: In what ways does this story engage and move us? Does the story have a recognizable structure that serves the writer’s artistic aims?

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Kelly Dwyer

While there are numerous elements of a novel, it would be difficult—if not quite impossible—to write a successful novel without these five elements in particular: plot, character, dialogue, point of view, and theme. And while of course the elements intertwine, we’ll spend one day focusing on each of them, discussing how to develop each one deeply and successfully in our novels, and doing in-class writing and exercises.

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Katie Ford

This workshop is a communal effort toward deep and considered critique of original poems by participants. Our depth of engagement will be open, warm, and full of goodwill toward writer and poem. What we’re after is the mesmerizing poem, no matter the style, form, or subject. The beginning half of each session will focus on a sample of masterful poems from history that might act as guides and examples of poetic techniques, including lineation, lyricism, diction, form, and figuration. Writing exercises included.

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Allen Gee

So many creative nonfiction writers have a story to tell, but want to know how to bring their work to a greater level of significance. Writing race, feminism, immigration, nature and the environment, or delving into childhood and beyond—how do we develop and emphasize themes stemming from our personal stories/essays to speak to larger issues? How do we protest artfully, or chronicle most poignantly? This workshop will help nonfiction writers at all skill levels refine their craft or clarify the meaning of their writing.

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Michael Morse

We’ll spend a week together generating poems, and each day we’ll playfully start something new together. Each session will begin with calculated yet playful springboards into writing: we’ll consider the work of two poets (one contemporary poet & one pre-20th century poet), a mythological tale, visual art, a rhetorical trope, and even idioms and song lyrics. We’ll take these calculated moves and then re-work them, adding whatever inspiration you might bring from personal experience and your own passions.

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Hugh Ferrer

This generative workshop is for poets and writers who wish to create vivid, poignant, emotionally memorable imagery. The week will cover a wealth of material: poetry and storytelling since forever have been exploring new ways to be the opposite of boring, and we’ll be poring over examples from the ancient to the modern, across all genres, to find inspiration and technical guidance.

Weeklong June 23 to June 28 2019
Instructor(s): 
Sandra Scofield

Agency is the word for a character’s central role in pushing a story forward. Often a first draft traps us in a story with characters who are passive, or who just can’t figure out what to do next. But responsibility for one’s own fate is a big part of making a character sympathetic. How do you develop your protagonist’s agency, especially if your character is in trouble? You build character struggle that comes from obstacles between what is desired and what seems possible. You upset the equilibrium and put good things at risk.