University of Iowa

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Susan Aizenberg

“Voice”—what poet Tony Hoagland has called “the distinctive presentation of an individual speaker”—can be among the more difficult elements of poetic craft to define or teach, but it’s also one of the most important. A compelling poetic voice engages and connects us to the reader, and developing our voices into what poets Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux have called “a more flexible instrument” can be an exciting key to generating poems in which we make discoveries that surprise both us and our readers.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Mary Allen

As anyone who has engaged with writing in any serious way knows, writing itself is essentially a spiritual endeavor. In order to write well it’s necessary to tap into the flow of spiritual energy inside each of us, whether we call that energy creativity or inspiration or something else. In this class, we’ll generate new work in an energizing, strictly positive environment, using prompts and in-class writing to explore the places in our lives where the moments and details intersect with meaning.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Nancy K. Barry

Do you have a nonfiction manuscript that you know needs revision but you’re not certain exactly how to go about it? This workshop allows you to learn and practice a time-honored strategy used by writers, whereby we “annotate” and remark on the draft as if it were written by someone else. This skill takes practice, but it yields a powerful tonic when we think there is no way out of a manuscript that is giving us fits. This workshop is intended to help any writer who is stuck on what, how, and when to revise a memoir, essay, or creative nonfiction piece.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Sarah Sadie
Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Writers hear all the time that it’s important to be specific in our stories, that we should write what we know, and find our own voice…but the nitty-gritty of how to do those things can be elusive. In this workshop, we will spend our week focusing on the words we choose. We’ll take time to look at verbs, at how to put words to sensory experience, and how to write into our specific meaning, as well as when, why, and how to use rhythm and repetition. We’ll explore the ways we can become better, more precise, users of language in our picture books.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Kelly Dwyer

You are going happily along in your novel. You are quite pleased with the characters; they seem complex to you, interesting, like real, fleshy humans—more or less. The writing, if you do say so yourself, is good, heck, at times, you might even say brilliant (though of course you would never say this). But suddenly you are worried that it might be … well, of course it couldn’t be… boring—could it? There is a conflict. But is it weighty enough? Is the plot interesting enough? Is the structure—what’s the word—sturdy enough?

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Jennifer Fawcett

Words and actions, these are the fundamental building blocks of plays. Subtext, motivation, desire, emotion, humor, suspense… how do you communicate these if you don’t have those long descriptive paragraphs where a character remembers her childhood or anticipates the end of his relationship? (Sure, you can put in lots of stage directions but no one reads those.) Hint: you communicate all of this and more through what your characters SAY and what they DO. The rest, as Hamlet says, is silence. And that’s essential too.

 

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Robin Hemley

In 1977, French novelist Serge Doubrovsky came up with the term “autofiction” to describe his novel, Fils. Exactly what autofiction is has been hotly debated, first in France and later in the U.S. and U.K. Autofiction is not simply another name for autobiographical fiction.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Margaret LeMay

Whether we are healthcare providers, patients, parents, children, loved ones, or loving ones; elements of illness, loss, birth, and healing underlie our days at each age and stage. In this generative, week-long workshop, we will read and write in short forms with the unifying theme of illness and health. These forms will include short stories, lyric essays, memoir, poems, and creative works that incorporate elements of all of those.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Beau O’Reilly

A writer’s creative output is not strictly limited to novels, poems, plays, stories, and other traditional literary forms, but may also include texts historically viewed as private documents: diaries, letters, personal reflections. In this class, we will consider these latter forms as literature unto themselves, along with interviews and public performances of the creative self, small-scale and large. We will focus on interviews and conversations by authors including David Sedaris, Lorraine Hansberry, and Patti Smith.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Elizabeth Robinson

This class is a workshop in the truest sense: each day we will write, revise, and share our work. Students will be encouraged to try out a wide array of experiments.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Leslie Schwartz

What is theme? How do I structure a novel? Why can’t I discover and write exciting characters? What’s the difference between writing scene versus exposition, and how do I do it? If you have asked any of these questions of yourself while staring at the blank page, this is the right course for you. Geared toward beginning and intermediate fiction writers, this class will provide fun, engaging writing exercises, fascinating handouts, lively discussion and a safe and supportive critique workshop.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
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 builds character sympathy. 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. Does every novel have to be about a hero? Absolutely not.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Carol Spindel

In this workshop, we will start together from that infamous, exhilarating, and intimidating Blank Page. Working step by step, we will execute a series of assignments to create the building blocks of a personal essay. Then we will examine how those blocks can be snapped together in various arrangements to improve focus and unity, while enhancing connections and magnifying insights. Mid-week we will take a break to read, discuss and learn from model essays. Then we will ask ourselves how we could enrich our own narratives. How could they branch out?

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Karen Subach

“I would like to watch you sleeping, which may not happen.”

“My heart has made its mind up, and I’m afraid it’s you…”

“I will come out to meet you, as far as Cho-fu-sa.”

“Real events don’t have endings. / Only the stories about them do.”

 

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Sarah Sadie

Writers hear all the time that it’s important to be specific in our stories, that we should write what we know, and find our own voice…but the nitty-gritty of how to do those things can be elusive. In this workshop, we will spend our week focusing on the words we choose. We’ll take time to look at verbs, at how to put words to sensory experience, and how to write into our specific meaning, as well as when, why, and how to use rhythm and repetition. We’ll explore the ways we can become better, more precise, users of language in our picture books.

Weeklong July 12 to July 17 2020
Instructor(s): 
Andrew Porter

From time to time, we all need a fresh set of eyes to look at our work. In this workshop, our main goal will be to look closely at the short stories each of you have written and to offer detailed, constructive suggestions that will help you enhance your story’s strengths and diminish its weaknesses. We’ll address such issues as character development, pacing, point of view, structure, dialogue, language and setting. We’ll also talk in a more general way about the underlying themes in your story, the deeper conflicts and subtext, and ultimately what your story is really about.