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Make Some Noise - Poetry and Performance

A panel of poets representing a diversity of styles will present their individual processes of crafting poems for performance and the approaches they take preparing spoken word poetry. The presentation will culminate in a workshop in which conference attendees will prepare and perform poetry.

Betsy Clark – Betsy is a Columbus Poet who has represented Columbus at Women of the World Poetry Slam twice, has published two chapbooks, represented Writer’s Block Poetry Night at the National Poetry Slam Midwest Regionals in Ann Arbor, MI in 2015, and is on Writer’s Block Poetry Slam Team, who will compete in three regional slams this season.

Calla Thomas – Calla has represented Columbus at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, has facilitated multiple workshops on poetry and performance, worked with Grrrls Rock! Columbus, is a regularly featured poet in the Midwest, featured at Make Waves Fest, represented Writer’s Block Poetry Night at the National Poetry Slam Midwest Regionals in Ann Arbor, MI in 2015.

Susan Flatt – Susan Flatt began writing and performing poetry in the early nineties, when “slam poetry” was in its infancy. During that time, she published several poems in college literary journals, edited several literary journals, then took a break from writing. In the last two years, she has featured three times at the Garden Theatre, delivered a talk on her creative process at The Creative Summit at OSU, featured at Make Waves Fest, competed on the third place team at The Ohio Meatgrinder poetry slam, and represented Writer’s Block Poetry Night at the National Poetry Slam Midwest Regionals in Ann Arbor, MI in 2015.


Christiane BuckMeredith Doench

Crafting Dynamic Dialogue

For most fiction writers, good dialogue is hard to craft. Thankfully there are many ways to think about and revise dialogue to great effect. In our workshop we will consider the many roles of good dialogue in fiction and, will explore the potential of dialogue in a given scene. We will ask, especially in genre fiction, how dialogue can be crafted to reveal character while also advancing plot. In cases of literary fiction we will ask how dialogue can serve to forward plot even as it enhances character. In any genre, we will explore examples of published dialogue that is working and examples in which dialogue is falling flat, and will then offer the opportunity for participants to interrogate and revise their own writing. We ask that participants bring a scene from their own work-in-progress. Because we have limited time, please bring a scene that is no longer than one single-spaced page (longer if the exchange is exceedingly monosyllabic). Our exercises will highlight the ways dialogue can be revised to take participants’ work in compelling and nuanced new directions. Please note that we will be discussing dialogue specifically in terms of the craft of fiction, but nonfiction is also welcome.

Christiane Buuck earned an MFA from the University of Arizona, and completed a creative writing Fulbright to France in which she walked and wrote about medieval pilgrimage routes. She currently teaches writing at the Ohio State University. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous literary publications including Cutthroat, Crab Orchard Review, The Sun and is forthcoming in Glamour. She is currently finishing her first novel.

Meredith Doench earned a PhD in creative writing from Texas Tech University and teaches writing at the University of Dayton. Her fiction has appeared in literary journals such as Hayden’s Ferry Review, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Gertrude. She also served as a fiction editor at Camera Obscura: Journal of Literature and Photography. Her first novel, Crossed, will be released in the summer of 2015 that features Luce Hansen, an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation detective.



 Selfie or Satellite Map: Pick Your Perspective and Point of View in Fiction

First person? Third person limited?  Omniscient?  Fifty years ago?  This morning?  Deciding who’s telling your story and the “time of telling” are two crucial choices you need to make before you fire up your computer and write your story.  In this generative workshop, you’ll explore options for point of view and perspective in fiction, test your knowledge of POV in some famous works, and experiment with POV in a series of interactive exercises.  You’ll leave with a book bag full of possibilities for finding the perfect point of view and perspective for your story.   

Judy Anderson earned her Bachelor’s in English Literature at the University of Michigan where she won a  Hopwood Award in Fiction.  She earned an M.A. in English Literature and M.F.A. in Creative Writing at The Ohio State University, specializing in fiction.   A former marketing writer and technical editor, she has taught English composition and creative writing at Columbus State for 15 years where she was a past presenter and organizer of the Writers Conference.    




 Subtext - Understanding and Expressing What Lies Beneath the Surface in Your Story

Most writers are familiar with the “tip of the iceberg” principle in short stories, but how does one execute that idea in one’s own work? This workshop will examine the nature of subtext in dialogue, as well as its relation to the overall narrative of a story. We will also review examples of subtext and via writing exercises, experiment with the use of subtext in our own work.



Rochelle Hurt

Experimental Methods of Writing Poetry

In this session, I will explain a few experimental methods of writing poetry inherited from Oulipo and Surrealist practices. While the Surrealists emphasized expansion of poetic composition practices to include collaboration, dreams, and even other art forms, the Oulipo group instead focused on constraint-based writing, using strict rules, patterns, and mathematical equations to generate fresh poetic material. In this workshop, participants will examine how both of these approaches can be adapted and developed into meaningful poetry during their own writing processes. After a brief overview of examples texts and formal exercises (including erasures, centos, exquisite corpse, palindromes, univocalism, N+ 7, and found poetry), everyone in attendance will generate their own poetry from interactive experimental prompts. These activities will include at least one group cento and one individual erasure exercise using found texts. I will provide materials for both, but I will also need a projector if possible.

Rochelle Hurt is the author of a collection of prose poetry and verse, The Rusted City (White Pine, 2014). Her work has been included in Best New Poets 2013, and she has been awarded literary prizes from Crab Orchard Review, Arts & Letters, Hunger Mountain, and Poetry International. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have been published in journals like Crazyhorse, Mid-American Review, The Southeast Review, The Kenyon Review Online, and Image. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati.


Paula Lambert

Poetry and Play: Letting Loose the Unconscious and Finding Your Way Back to Craft

Giving ourselves permission to play allows us access to ideas we’ve had all along but trained ourselves to believe weren’t good enough. From Erasure Poems to Book Spine Poems, Kid Jokes to Contrapuntals, this session is designed to help writers find their way back to the simple joy of wordplay…where all real brilliance begins. We’ll discuss the concept of play as intro to craft, read/view a number of examples by a wide variety of authors, and spend plenty of time creating our own messy masterpieces.

Paula J. Lambert is the author of The Sudden Seduction of Gravity (Full/Crescent Press, 2012) and The Guilt That Gathers (Pudding House, 2009). A residency artist for the Ohio Arts Council Arts Learning Program, she has published her work in numerous journals and anthologies. She is a past recipient of an OAC Individual Artist Fellowship and was a resident fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her MFA is from Bowling Green State University. Lambert currently resides in Dublin, Ohio, with her husband Michael Perkins, with whom she operates Full/Crescent Press, a small but growing independent publisher of poetry books and broadsides.



Nourishing the Poet Within

Poet Mary Oliver claims that there is a “wild, silky part of ourselves” just waiting to be uncovered and cultivated. How can we find this lush, creative inspiration in the ordinary rituals of our every day life? This workshop will focus on the guided practice of poetic observation and mindfulness in the midst of regular routines. By learning to chronicle the experiences of our everyday lives, we will seek to find the spaces where poetry and the art of slowing down overlap.  In this session, we will examine the glorious friction where the extraordinary and banal events of our daily lives bump up against each other and birth into dynamic poetic expression.

Joy Sullivan is a local Columbus poet. She earned her masters in Poetry from Miami University and her recent publications include Boxcar Poetry Review, Periodisa Publishing, and Mirror Dance Poetry.


More Full of Weeping Than You

Poetry offers a vehicle for exploring personal issues, but that doesn't mean that you need to be the focus of the poem. This workshop will explore alternative techniques for exploring and conveying personal experience, examine effective first-person poems, and help you draft a poem that provides a lens through which to express the personal without relying heavily on "I" as a central element.

Steve Abbott is emeritus professor of poetry at Columbus State and a founding member of Columbus's Poetry Forum. He is widely published and has edited the poetry anthologies Cap City Poets, a collection of work by 74 central Ohio poets, and Everything Stops and Listens, featuring work by members of Ohio Poetry Association. He has been associate editor of several literary journals and edits OPA's annual journal Common Threads.



We Regret to Inform You: Dealing with Literary Rejection

Writers get rejected. It’s a fact of life. But no matter how inevitable rejection might be, it’s still difficult to swallow. In this session, we’ll examine literary rejection in all its glory. We’ll consider why rejection stings, break down the most common reasons for rejection, discuss the best ways to handle it, and develop strategies to turn that “no” into a “yes.” As the fiction editor of Mid-American Review and a widely published (and rejected) writer, your presenter has plenty of rejection stories to discuss. Come one, come all. No one will be rejected from this session.

Laura Maylene Walter is the fiction editor of Mid-American Review and author of the short story collection Living Arrangements (BkMk Press), which won the G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize for Short Fiction and a national gold IPPY. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Sun, Poets & Writers, Tampa Review, Fourteen Hills, Portland Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Inkwell, American Literary Review, and Flyway, among others. She is a 2013 Tin House Writers Workshop scholar and the recipient of the 2011 Ohioana Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant.


Brad Pauquette

Leading from Behind: How to Run a Successful Workshop Without Being the Workshop

Writers’ workshops have developed a conflicted reputation, and with good reason. Some are dominated by an overbearing facilitator, others lack any discernible direction at all and are a complete waste of time. Facilitating a helpful, feedback-driven workshop capable of improving participants’ work is not an easy task, let alone one that leaves everyone’s egos at the door.

The presentation will be a structured lesson by Columbus Creative Cooperative Director Brad Pauquette. From finding and organizing workshop participants, to enforcing rules and setting the standard for a useful critique, to identifying personality traits in the room and effectively managing the room, this session will give participants the foundation they need to lead a successful writers workshop.

Brad Pauquette is the founder and director of Columbus Creative Cooperative, a writers' resource and independent publisher of anthologies in Central Ohio. He is also the owner of Columbus Press, a mid-budget independent publisher, and Columbus Publishing Lab, a publishing services provider. Pauquette has published a non-fiction book, The Self-Publishing Handbook (Columbus Press), one fiction novelette, Sejal: The Walk for Water (Columbus Press), and edited dozens of anthologies including Best of Ohio Short Stories. He has also served as the developmental editor for countless works of fiction and narrative non-fiction with a client list that includes New York Times bestselling authors, professional athletes, and lots of work-from-home moms, accountants, and computer programmers.


imageLeslie Andersonimageimage

Getting Started Publishing Speculative Fiction and Poetry: Selling Your Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Writing

The first forty minutes of the presentation will be a moderated panel of four writers. All of the participating writers have experience selling speculative fiction/poetry to professional markets. The panel discussion will focus on the differences between academic and commercial markets, researching speculative fiction markets, managing/tracking submissions, dealing with rejection, crafting a cover letter, and considering the perspective of the slush reader and purchasing editor. The panel will primarily focus on the practical issues of selling poetry/fiction, but will also explore some broad questions related to genre distinctions and questions of craft specifically related to speculative works. Following the initial panel discussion, the presenters will address questions from the audience. The presentation will conclude with the do’s and don’ts of cover letters (including some fun examples from real editors) and an interactive exercise in which attendees will create their own cover letters.

Jarod K. Anderson’s academic and literary work has appeared in journals including the Rocky Mountain Review and 14 Hills. His speculative work has appeared in markets including Apex Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Escape Pod, Fantasy Scroll, Midnight Echo, and elsewhere. His new book of science fiction writing prompts (co-written with Leslie J. Anderson) 100 Prompts for Science Fiction Wrtiers was released by Sterling Publishing in November. Jarod earned an MA in literature from Ohio University. Growing up, he wanted to be either a ninja or a maple tree. These aspirations led him to teach college English. Teaching college English led him to try other things. You can find Jarod online at .

Leslie J. Anderson is a writer, poet, and artist. She specializes in speculative fiction, especially urban fantasy, science fiction, and horror. In her spare time she paints, reads, and plays video games. She has an unhealthy obsession with lattes.

Her collection of poetry, An Inheritance of Stone, was recently released form Alliteration Ink and her novel, The Cricket Prophecies, was released this year by Post Mortem Press. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart and a Rhysling Award and won second place in the 2014 Asimov’s Readers’ Choice Award. Leslie’s work has appeared in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Visit Leslie online at

Chris Phillips was born in Kentucky, but being the son of a traveling preacher, he grew up across the country from the Midwest to the Deep South, devouring a buffet of American culture. In 2007 he earned an English degree from Ohio State, and he is now pursuing an MFA at Seton Hill University. His fiction can be found in Penumbra eMag, and in his spare time, Chris works as a managing editor at Flash Fiction Online. Visit Chris online at

By day, Evan Dicken battles economic entropy for the Department of Commerce and studies old Japanese maps at Ohio State University. By night, he does neither of these things. His stories have most recently appeared in: Daily Science Fiction, Shock Totem, Escape Pod, and Analog. Feel free to visit him at


Mary Quade

Finding Art through Art: Ekphrastic Writing

Ekphrastic poetry is poetry that responds to other forms of art, such as sculpture, paintings, or film. This workshop takes a broad view of ekphrasis, which comes from the Greek roots “to speak” and “out.” We’ll explore how writers in all genres can use other artists’ work for inspiration and foundation. We’ll consider the challenges introduced by the ekphrastic process, and think about how the relationship between one art form and another can expand the possibilities for meaning. Participants will practice ekphrastic writing about artwork with Ohio connections and share their results.

Mary Quade is the author of the poetry collection Guide to Native Beasts (Cleveland State University Poetry Center). She has received an Oregon Literary Fellowship and three Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award (for poetry 2006, 2010; for creative nonfiction 2014). Her poetry and essays have appeared most recently in Fourth Genre, The Florida Review, West Branch, Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Confrontation, Fifth Wednesday Journal, and Creative Nonfiction and in the new and forthcoming anthologies New Poetry from the Midwest 2014; Ley Lines; From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines; and Writing Essays: Twenty Essays and Interviews with Writers. Her essay “Hatch” was chosen as a Notable Essay for Best American Essays 2013. She teaches creative writing at Hiram College.



Talk It Out Before Writing It Out - Crafting Story Development Using Play

As writers how often does one employ spoken playful work in developing stories? Drawing from study in theater, teaching, storytelling and improvisational work, generally uncommon to writing circles, this workshop will re-energize writers work that is not ready. With the assist of a partner, participants will actively engage in proven methods that can be applied to any story. This pedagogy of play can build more new directions in working together when shaping our stories.

Kevin Cordi, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of language arts and education at Ohio Dominican University where he teaches among other classes language and composition methods, Advanced Storytelling, and a class on folktales and fairytales. He is the author of Playing with stories (2014): story crafting for writers, teachers, and other imaginative thinkers and the co-author of Raising Voices (2006): creating storytelling groups and troupes. He serves as the Co-Director of the Columbus Area Writing Project at The Ohio State University.


Yolanda Sanders

Writing with Sense

A lot of authors make the mistake of telling readers what characters are experiencing instead of allowing readers to share in the experiences by tapping into one or more of the readers’ five senses. There are times when narrative is necessary to move a story along, but when one overdoes it, readers can easily become detached. Through exercises designed to help authors draw in their audiences, this workshop focuses on using the five senses in writing. Participants will practice re-writing narratives and making them more appealing in order to help audiences connect with characters.

Yolonda Tonette Sanders is the author of five traditionally-published novels. Her latest, Day of Atonement (November 2014), is the second book in a mystery/suspense series published by Simon and Schuster. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Criminology from Capital University as well as a Masters of Arts in Sociology from The Ohio State University. Yolonda is also the founder and CEO of Yo Productions, LLC, a theatrical entertainment and literary services company that assists other authors in perfecting their works. She was one of the featured authors at the 2015 Ohioana Book Festival. Yolonda is an adjunct professor and also serves on the board of the Columbus Literacy Council. She resides in Columbus and is married to David. She has one son in the Navy and a daughter in high school. She is also the fulltime caregiver of her mother. For more information about Yolonda, please feel free to visit her website at or interact with her on social media at or


Hannah Stephenson

Taking Inventory: Playing with the List in Poetry and Prose

Receipts, chores, instructions, gift registries, rosters, recipes—on the surface, lists seem be simple, functional objects, but they often imply so much about the list-maker and the world that they inhabit. And when we encounter someone else’s list without any context, mystery and meaning bubble up between the elements.

What is the relationship between the items on an inventory? Why do they appear in a certain order? What is the story behind a collection of nouns, names, actions, or amounts? In this workshop, poet Hannah Stephenson will lead writers through poems and prose excerpts that borrow stylistically from some kind of list. We’ll explore the effects of this form in a discussion, and will create our own list-inspired writing (of any genre).

Hannah Stephenson is a poet, editor, and instructor living in Columbus, Ohio (where she also runs a monthly literary event series called Paging Columbus). She is the author of In the Kettle, the Shriek (Gold Wake Press), editor of New Poetry from the Midwest (New American Press) and The Ides of March: An Anthology of Ohio Poets (Columbus Creative Cooperative), and a poetry and arts blogger for The Huffington Post. Her writing has appeared in publications that include The Atlantic, Hobart, 32 Poems, Sixth Finch, Poetry Daily, and The Nervous Breakdown. You can visit her online at The Storialist (



Use What You Have to Get What You Want: Building a Writing Career Using Unconventional Opportunities in the New Gig Economy

RuPaul once said, “You have to use what you have to get what you want.” That notion will drive this lecture, which is based on the intersection of writing as a craft and writing as an occupation. Aimed at helping writers identify a “brand” without sacrificing integrity, this lecture will address the following questions:

  • What is a “brand,” and why do so many writers think it’s a dirty word?
  • How do you build a loyal audience?
  • How do you market yourself without selling out?
  • How does freelancing work and what kind of opportunities are available?

Jon Theiss has worked as a full-time reporter, columnist, and editor for four very different news, magazine, and book publishing companies. He has covered advocacy, fashion, government, food, drink, and once went behind the scenes with Ohio State Fair carnies. He has edited hip-hop fiction book manuscripts, and interviewed celebrities like LeAnn Rimes, Guy Fieri, Loni Love of Chelsea Lately, Paula Poundstone, and Pandora Boxx from RuPaul’s Drag Race.