ATTENTION: College offices closed for business through Jan. 1. More.
1. KATHARINE BEUTNER
When we talk about "love stories," we usually mean romance. But fiction portrays all kinds of love—not just between romantic partners but between family members, friends, and even strangers. In this workshop we'll discuss how various novelists and short-story writers have depicted love in stirring and unique ways. We'll also engage in writing exercises aimed at helping us move past the familiar observations and phrases we associate with love and capture its essence as we feel it. Writing about emotion is challenging, but we'll explore ways to communicate emotion to readers through diction, descriptive language, and tone.
Katharine Beutner is the author of Alcestis, which won the 2011 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and the 2011 Compton Crook Award. Her work has also appeared in Public Books, Humanities, MediaCommons's The New Everyday, and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. She is currently a visiting assistant professor of English at The College of Wooster.
2. ASHLEY COWGER
From the type of writer who maps out the entire plot ahead of time to the type who lets the plot unfold as he or she writes, all fiction writers get stuck now and then. In this presentation, Ashley Cowger will provide a series of concrete tips and techniques for how to develop plot points that will keep participants' stories moving forward in fresh and inventive directions. Participants will be encouraged to share roadblocks they've come across in their own writing, and the presentation will culminate in an exercise that will help the participants plot out the next phases of their own stories.
Ashley Cowger is currently an Associate Editor of the podcast literary journal Bound Off, and her first book, Peter Never Came, a short story collection, was awarded Autumn House Press's Fiction Prize. She holds an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and her work has appeared in numerous literary journals.
3. DAMIEN COWGER
Damien Cowger will discuss how difficult it can be to get published in literary journals, while examining the process of acceptances and rejections at the journal that he currently works for: New Ohio Review, as well as other publications. Having served as a reader, an Assistant Editor, and a Managing Editor, he will share how the selection and rejection process works.
In addition, he will also discuss his personal "rejection rewards" system, and show it to attendees. Hands-on exercises will follow.
Damien Cowger has a Master of Arts in poetry from Ohio University. He is a writer of both short fiction and poetry, and has been most recently published in Midwest Literary Magazine, Denver Syntax, and Pale House. He was the winner of the 2012 Science Fiction Poetry Association's poetry contest in the short form category. He lives with his wife and daughter in Athens, Ohio where he is the Managing Editor of New Ohio Review.
4. MICHAEL OLIN-HITT
Since the emergence of the short story as a literary genre in early 19th-Century America, the "tale" has been a means for authors to establish a reputation before launching into novel writing. In this session, we will look at the short story, not simply as a way to accumulate a list of publications, but more importantly as a demanding craft that teaches the elements and techniques of the literary novel. Michael Olin-Hitt will present observations about the short story from various authors, leading to a discussion of ways these elements can be utilized and altered in the novel. In short, we will look at the "literary" techniques of the short story to reveal how these techniques can be used in any genre of the novel in order to improve plot, dialogue, point of view, and—perhaps most importantly—character development.
Dr. Michael Olin-Hitt is a Professor of Literature at the University of Mount Union, where he teaches American Literature, Native American Literature, and fiction writing. His short stories have appeared in The Notre Dame Review, The Nebraska Review, The Georgetown Review, The Other Side, Windhover and The West Wind Review. His novel The Homegoing was published in August of 2012. In addition, he has written two books on mysticism: The Word of God Upon My Lips (2007) and A Fish Made of Water (2011).
5. F. DANIEL RZICZNEK
All practicing poets end up with poems they deem unsatisfactory for one reason or another. Whether rejected by editor after editor, dissected and discarded by workshops, or over-drafted by the poet (or all of the above), these wayward pieces still possess energy and potential. When the boundaries of narrative, setting, and sentiment are erased and redrawn, stale words and lines can take on an unexpected, stunning luster. This session will share techniques for dusting off abandoned and forsaken poems and taking them new places. By examining work from Stephané Mallarmé, Ted Berrigan, Jackson Mac Low and W.S. Merwin (among others), and considering procedures of chance, collage, call-and-response, re-punctuation, and implosion, participants will have the opportunity to turn troubling poems inside out, and to reexamine the original motivations behind the work. Participants should bring a printed, word-processed copy of a poem that once pleased them, but that they have since given up on (a poem that they are unafraid to deconstruct), along with several sheets of paper, a pen or pencil, and a sense of adventure. Participants will have the chance to share their results aloud and, if time permits, receive feedback on their work.
F. Daniel Rzicznek's collections and chapbooks of poetry include Vine River Hermitage (Cooper Dillon Books 2011), Divination Machine (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press 2009), Neck of the World (Utah State University Press 2007), and Cloud Tablets (Kent State University Press 2006). Winner of the 2007 May Swenson Poetry Award, and recipient of a 2010 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, he is also coeditor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press 2010). His poems have appeared in Boston Review, The New Republic, Orion, Mississippi Review, Hotel Amerika, Shenandoah, and Notre Dame Review. He teaches writing at Bowling Green State University.
6. KAYLA SARGESON
What good are your words when you have no one to share them with? They say the writing life is solitary—just you, your laptop, your words, maybe a plant. What do you do when you're tired of sitting by yourself all the time, when you get tired of walking around your apartment, talking only to your cat (who does not care about your writing)? Who do you turn to? As writers, we need all the support we can get from each other. This presentation will discuss the importance of a writing community outside of the academy. This could be a workshop group, a reading series, etc., and if you don't know of any, this presentation will also discuss how to start one, how to join voices with other writers to create strength in numbers, a backbone. Joining a community or writers is like writing an exquisite corpse—using another person's line as guidance, as a stepping stone to create something unique, something you could not create on your own, another voice you can go to when just yours isn't enough.
Kayla Sargeson is the author of Mini Love Gun, forthcoming from Main Street Rag. She earned an MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago, where she was the recipient of a Follett Fellowship and served as an editor for Columbia Poetry Review. Her work has been anthologized in the national anthology, Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye as well as Voices from the Attic Volume XIV, and Dionne's Story. Her poems also appear or are forthcoming in 5 AM, Columbia Poetry Review, Chiron Review, Main Street Rag, and Prosody: NPR-affiliate WESA's weekly show featuring the work of national writers. She co-curates the MadFridays reading series and is the poetry editor for Pittsburgh City Paper's online feature "Chapter & Verse." Her manuscript Hellwave is being submitted for publication.
7. SOPHFRONIA SCOTT
Every choice you make and every action you take is sending a message about how you think about yourself, your writing and the world. And, whether you realize it or not, people are making decisions about you and your writing based on those messages. In this enlightening discussion students will learn: what a belief system is and why it's important to understand their own; how to recognize whether or not their beliefs show up in their writing; and ways to adapt their approaches to writing so the work better reflects their beliefs and makes their writing stand out in a crowded marketplace. Workshop participants will review fiction excerpts by authors such as Toni Morrison and Flannery O'Connor, and complete an exercise in writing a scene that reflects their own beliefs.
Sophfronia Scott published her first novel, All I Need To Get By, with St. Martin's Press in 2004, and one prominent reviewer referred to her as potentially "one of the best writers of her generation." Her work has appeared in Time, People, More, Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul, NewYorkTimes.com, and O, The Oprah Magazine. She is currently a masters candidate in writing (fiction and creative nonfiction) at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
8. HANNAH STEPHENSON
Attending readings and listening to authors read their work out loud is undeniably inspiring; however, when you are the one sharing your work before an audience, the experience can be intimidating and overwhelming. Never fear! Hannah Stephenson, a poet, blogger, and founder of Paging Columbus (a local literary event series), is here to share some strategies for reading your poetry or prose in public. Regardless of the style or genre of your writing, there is a way to bring it to life before an audience (and a way to help you feel natural and confident while reading).
Note: writers of any style, genre, or level of experience are welcome. Participants should bring a small excerpt of work (a poem or 1-2 pages of prose, of their own or by another author) to practice with. Otherwise, samples will be provided.
Hannah Stephenson is a poet, editor, and instructor living in Columbus, Ohio. Her poems have appeared recently in Huffington Post, Contrary, MAYDAY, qarrtsiluni, The Nervous Breakdown, and Fiddleblack; her full-length collection, In the Kettle, the Shriek, is forthcoming from Gold Wake Press. She is the founder of Paging Columbus!, a literary arts monthly event series. You can visit her daily poetry site, The Storialist, at www.thestorialist.com.
9. MICHAEL THEUNE
In The Art of Syntax, Ellen Bryant Voigt states, "The sonnet's volta, or 'turn'...has become an inherent expectation for most short lyric poems." In this workshop, we will consider the poetic turn and the various ways that it gives shape, movement, and power to a poem, examining the ways in which the turn is central to what poems are and, even more importantly, what they do. We will use resources such as the Voltage Poetry project, an online anthology (available at voltagepoetry.com) that collects poems with great—surprising, subtle, and/or sublime—turns, to inspire our own thrilling turns.
Specifically, workshop participants will write a poem that employs a very important kind of structure: the dialectical argument structure, a three-part structure that turns from thesis to antithesis to synthesis. In his essay "Levels and Opposites: Structure in Poetry," Randall Jarrell states, "I was making a great many structural analyses of poems, and I was astonished (and rather embarrassed) to find so many of the best-organized poems dialectically organized." Jarrell cites examples such as Yeats's "Byzantium" and Keats's "Ode to a Nightingale," but he also notes that "[a]nyone interested in such organization can easily find dozens or hundreds of examples." We will use contemporary poems by Courtney Queeney and Nick Laird as models and engage in a guided, collaborative exercise so that each participant will leave the workshop with a strong draft of their own, new dialectical argument poem.
Dr. Michael Theune is the editor of Structure and Surprise: Engaging Poetic Turns (Teachers & Writers, 2007) and the host of the blog structureandsurprise.wordpress.com. Along with Kim Addonizio, he co-edits Voltage Poetry (at voltagepoetry.com), an online anthology of poems with great turns in them, and discussion about those poems. Michael Theune's poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, including journals such as College English, Jacket, and Pleiades, and books such as Mentor and Muse: From Poets to Poets (Southern Illinois University, 2010) and The Monkey & the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics (University of Akron, 2011). He is an associate professor of English at Illinois Wesleyan University.
10. LIZ THOMPSON
Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a story to tell. Writing an opinion column in 750 words or less takes practice but it can be done. This presentation will cover the basics including finding a good idea or topic, a good lead, honing body text to get the point across, references and closing. We'll discuss interviewing people to get facts or background information or to write a column specifically about them. How to get and use quotes and what to do if you can't get an exact quote will be covered. We will talk about developing our own voice and writing style and finding our area(s) of expertise. Column writing should be timely and conversational, not preachy or trying to force an opinion on readers. Avoiding clichés, technical jargon and acronyms – also known as alphabet soup – makes the message more readable. A good lead will grab the reader's attention in the first line. Columns should end with a strong, thought-provoking or tie-in line. Bring a piece you have written or started and come with ideas for writing a column. Each person will pick from a list of potential topics and write a column. Given time and number of attendees, some will be read and the group will comment on ways to edit for clarity. If possible, Liz Thompson will make herself available to read and comment afterwards.
Liz Thompson has been a columnist since 1998; first with Suburban News Publications, where she was also a reporter for more than two years. From 2003-2005, she was a columnist for The Arizona Republic. Her columns now appear in ThisWeek News. She was a writer for Hearing Health Magazine for six years. Her first book Day by Day, The Chronicles of a Hard of Hearing Reporter was published in 2008 and her second book was released in 2012: God Whispers: Nudges, Fudges and Butterfly Moments. She has written poetry since her youth and for six years prior to the onset of deafness, wrote music expressing her faith. She was deaf by 50 and with two cochlear implants, regained 95 percent of her hearing with astounding clarity. She received the 1999 Great Communicator Award for advocacy and column writing and the Jefferson Award in 2009 for volunteer work. She is married, has a daughter and three grandchildren, and lives in Grove City with her husband and Hearing Dog, Toby Bear.
This interactive session is split into four 15-minute sections. Through close readings and writing exercises, participants will gain an understanding of contemporary persona poems to aid them in using persona in their own work. Works by Ai and Patricia Smith are used to discuss the challenges and rewards of writing from the perspective of a persona/character. This discussion will be followed by an exercise designed to help attendees draft a persona poem, and a brief Q&A session.
Qiana Towns earned a MFA from Bowling Green State University, and a MA from Central Michigan University where she served as poetry editor for the online literary journal Temenos. Her work has appeared in Tidal Basin, Milk Money, and is currently featured at poetsgulfcoast.wordpress.com. She is a Cave Canem fellow and Assistant Editor for Willow Books and Reverie: Midwest African American Literature.
Jon Terri Gadson is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia's Creative Writing MFA Program in Poetry. A Cave Canem fellow and graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, she is the current Herbert W. Martin Creative Writing Fellow at the University of Dayton. She is the author of the chapbook, Pepper Girl (YesYes Books, 2012) and her poems are forthcoming or published in Callaloo, The Rumpus, Anti- and other literary journals.
12. ANGELA WEAVER and TOBIN F. TERRY
In the history of literary journals, online publications are still relatively young. But, for more than a decade and a half, these journals have been a vehicle for new voices to reach a diverse and growing audience. As the major players in online literary journals continue to emerge and establish themselves as relevant, writers must still navigate thousands of online magazines for publication. Yet, the concern for writers has not changed: Will your work be read?
In this presentation, writers and editors Angela Weaver and Tobin F. Terry will discuss the challenges of breaking into the online literary world and share their experiences as editors of a new online literary journal, Chagrin River Review. They will seek to help new writers, especially those whose writing reflects a social conscience, find credible and quality destinations for their creative work online. Participants of this presentation will compose a blog intro and cover letter targeting online journals.
Dr. Angela Weaver teaches writing and literature at Lakeland Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA program at Miami University, where she also earned her doctorate. Her poetry has appeared in NovaLearn, Fugue, and Cincinnati Review. She served as poetry editor for the print journal OxMag and is a founding editor of Chagrin River Review, a new online literary journal.
13. LAURIN B. WOLF
What stories do we gravitate towards? What ways can we write about a world outside our own?
We live in a vastly global world nuanced with ever-changing dynamics. Why not escape temporally from the self and write about the collective we? When we explore the possibility that poetry can exist beyond the recorded narratives of self and into realms of social, or political commentary, we open ourselves to creative opportunities. Documentary poetics is as much the poetry of inquiry as of witness. It allows the writer to explore media, documents, and narratives that are an extension of our world. Documenting through poetry has a two-fold benefit for the writer—we discover new voices outside the confinements of "I" while layers of the self become revealed. Through working with the "we" we learn more about the "I" and "eye" of our writing. In this workshop we will explore the possibilities of poetry as documentary, and look at poets such as Carolyn Forche, Claudia Rankin, and Mark Nowak. We will also explore the prospects in experimenting with this form—found poems, research, mixed-media, documents, biographies. Finally, we will use contemporary media sources as inspiration for generating in-class poems.
Laurin B. Wolf has an MFA from Kent State University and BA from the University of Pittsburgh in poetry writing. Her poems have appeared in Scholars & Rogues, PMS, Pittsburgh's City Paper, Two Review, and Madwomen in the Attic an Anthology. Her book reviews have appeared in Whiskey Island. She is a guest host on the weekly radio show Prosody featuring interviews with poets and co-hosts the monthly reading series Mad Fridays. She teaches writing at Duquesne University and Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, PA.
14. MELISSA BARRETT, ARIANE BOLDUC, and ALEXANDER COX
Interested in applying for a writing grant or fellowship? Join a conversation with three accomplished Ohio writers regarding their successful grant and fellowship applications.
Melissa Barrett is the recipient of a 2012 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and a Tin House writer's scholarship. Her poems have received honors from Narrative, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, and Sonora Review, and have been published recently in Beloit Poetry Journal, ACM, Prairie Schooner, and Web Conjunctions.
Ariane Bolduc received her BA in English from the University of Southern California and her MFA in Creative Writing from The Ohio State University. Her publications include poems in The Connecticut Review, The Portland Review, Red Cedar Review, and The Laurel Review. She is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in poetry. Currently, she works as the Grants Coordinator for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and has also worked as an Artist-in-Residence in Riverside Hospital's Arts in Medicine program.
Alexander Cox was born in Croatia and spent most of his childhood bouncing around Europe. He graduated from Kent State University where he was enrolled in the North East Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. Alexander's short stories have appeared in Rubbertop Review and Penguin Review. He was a 2010 Bisbee Fellow, a 2011 scholarship winner at The New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College, and a 2011 Atlanta Review International Publication Prize winner.