Lyrical Writing in the Natural World

In this class we will devote ourselves to looking around.  We will take short nature walks in this beautiful setting and record our experiences, collecting images, ideas and sounds as raw material for the “lyrics” we will write in class. Before we write, there will a discussion of “lyric” (and its flexibility) which will include a look at some short poems and prose (classical and contemporary, traditional and innovative). Brennan

Writing the Innovative Hybrid

In recent years, “hybrid writing” has gained considerable popularity among adventurous contemporary writers.  In order to escape from the prison-cells of genre, the hybrid invites us to cross lines, break generic rules, mix n’ match, have fun.  In this class, we will do all that while assembling our own hybrid creations of poetry mixed with prose mixed with image mixed with philosophy (or whatever you want). Special hybrid-making props will be provided. Brennan

Life Writing: Open and Closed Forms  

In this workshop, we will begin with a writing exercise or two and then we’ll study a few short memoirs in order to talk about what forms – narrative, segmented, collaged, hybrid – appeal to our own sensibilities as we look to creating and revising more finished pieces in the future. Alvarado

Dreams as Doors

All prose – whether fantastic fiction, literary fiction, or memoir – creates an alternative reality that the reader must be invited to enter.  In this workshop, we will try several short exercises designed to free the imagination and then, after sharing our work, we’ll talk about sustaining the dream.  How do we get back to it after days spent away from the page?  And how do we sustain the dream for the reader? Alvarado

Leading the Witness: Interrogation as a Writing Strategy

In this class we’ll explore the ways that a second speaker (in a poem) or a challenger to the narrator (in a prose work) may generate a piece of writing and create urgency and surprise and promote discovery. We’ll read a few examples – from the speculative fiction of Kelly Link, to the poems of Susan Stewart and Maurice Manning, to the scores and compositions of Deborah Hay, among others – in which interrogation and inquiry outpace intention and lead the imagination.  We will isolate a couple of techniques and innovate on our own, and discuss ways to re-engineer and motivate writings that have stalled in draft stage or that need new life beyond soliloquy. Blanchfield

The Poetry Project: New Forms

Reset and recursion and repeatable gesture are human impulses well represented in poetry, and increasingly contemporary poets work in series, in which multiples and equivalence are guiding principles of larger projects or books. Though each new poem offers its own discovery, part of poetic practice can mean going back to the well. One’s own formula or template can be productive and, by fixing parameters, can open composition in surprising ways – and can deepen and enrich patterns in longer serial works. Among many recent examples by innovative contemporary poets, new forms abound: “stretchers,” “moraines,” “tv men” and “problems,” for instance. We’ll examine a few such poetry projects, particularly in the “al fresco” writing of Merrill Gilfillan, and experiment with finding original forms of our own. Blanchfield

contact us at: