University of Iowa

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Linda Bendorf

Experience the thrill of creative effort! Do you long to jumpstart—or bolster—your writing practice in a way that stokes the writing muse? Need submission guidance? This workshop checks those boxes. The Sun, a highly regarded “always authentic, always personal, always relevant” magazine, invites readers to submit sincere nonfiction pieces each month to their “Readers Write” section comprised of true stories. Plan to write, and be prepared to submit, three compelling pieces—one for each of The Sun’s upcoming topics.

 

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Max Garland

"If we spend our lives remembering what we love/ to be sure who we are..." begins a Richard Hugo poem. The poet goes on, partly recalling and partly fabricating a remembrance of place and time. Of course, we don’t only remember “what we love,” but also what we lose, lack, long for, and even loath. But this combination of recovery and creativity, the shaping, re-shaping, recalling and revising that constitutes memory is, perhaps not coincidentally, very much the process of poetry.

 

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Diana Goetsch

Most of us write a first draft the same way every time no matter the subject. We fall into habitual patterns that either become unconscious, or get mistaken for our “voice.” It is a lot like social dancing: there are countless ways to move in space, yet we wind up doing the same tired frat boy two-step to every song. The Free-Writing Intensive is a weeklong training session in a skill that is vital, yet rarely taught or practiced: the act of filling a page.

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Eric Goodman

Transforming life into writing is an individual process, as individual as the writing we each struggle to produce. For many writers, blurring the facts until they’re not sure what is true and what is made up is an essential part of the process. But what if the life you’re trying to transform isn’t your own? And how do you transform the life materials you’ve started with and make them feel fresh and vibrant on the page, rather than just retell something that’s already happened, with the danger that it will just lie there, still and lifeless?

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Sands Hall

The genres of fiction and memoir (including creative nonfiction) share a number of attributes, and the techniques and insights provided by one genre can be enormously helpful while working in another; exploring these advanced tools of craft will be the purpose and focus of this class. We’ll examine the idea of plot—a memoir, in addition to fiction, must have one, and you may be surprised to find out how much this has to do with structure, something we’ll also discuss.

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Christine Hemp

This generative workshop is for any memoir writer (novice or advanced) eager to get a grip on who is telling your story. For example, you’re writing furiously about your mother; you’re proud of that scene where she kills and skins the rattlesnake in the kitchen sink. But that was before you found out she wasn’t your mother, before you knew what you know now. In other words, who exactly is the I recounting that long-ago event?

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Wayne Johnson

You've been working on this story for... how long? Months? Years? It's supposed to look like a novel, but now that you've got it in front of you, it looks more like a six-legged cow or a bus with wings. You've begun to wonder what, exactly, a "novel" is. You might be writing a cycle-of-stories-as-novel, or a faux memoir, or a "modular" novel with some unifying structural element. In this class, we'll look at ways of structuring novel-length narratives to create a variety of fully-engaging, satisfying works.

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
James McKean

This workshop is based on the premise that the whole story is made up of parts, that writing 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.” The workshop is especially well-suited for those trying to write about family with its many competing voices.

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
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? Is there a secret successful authors know about to keep their muses on the job?

 

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Michael Morse

This generative class for beginning and experienced poets will start with classical lyric modes—the aubade, the pastoral, the ekphrastic, the ode, the elegy—and work its way towards more tempestuous creations built out of collage and assemblage and erasure. We’ll find inspiration from the University’s art and natural history collections and found objects that we gather and collect during the week. As we build poems in a variety of ways, we’ll discuss a variety of styles that range from coherent, linear narratives to more broken and elliptical expression.

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Lon Otto

Just about every writer who travels thinks about using the experience of foreignness in a story or essay or poem, and plenty others feel compelled to at least blog about it. Travel provides us with intense, complex experiences, unfamiliar settings, interesting characters, and the heightened self-awareness that comes from dislocation.

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Sharon Oard Warner

Why write a novella? And why write one before embarking on a novel? Because the novella is the intermediate step: more expansive than a short story but trimmer than a novel. Later, we’ll sort out the specifics. For now, let’s say the novella is an extended work of fiction: long enough for the reader to get lost in but short enough to be consumed in a single sitting. It doesn’t take up much space. Stow it in your purse or slip it in your back pocket. Read it as you wait in line for coffee.

 

Weeklong June 21 to June 26 2020
Instructor(s): 
Mieke Eerkens

Shopping list as essay. Death certificate as personal narrative. Map as manifesto. Where once writers of nonfiction were expected to adhere firmly to traditional presentation of their material and avoid overly creative manipulation of form, contemporary writers increasingly challenge these rigid notions, insisting that the thoughtful exploration of a subject can be enhanced by a complementary form to add additional layers of meaning. Today’s prose might therefore borrow the formats of poetry or drama in order to most effectively make its point.