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CHARLOTTE—Poet Maureen Ryan Griffin is the author of three poetry collections and two nonfiction books, including a guide through grief. Most impressively, perhaps, she has been recognized for her commitment to local and regional writers through a career that has spanned a quarter-century. 

Maureen will lead the Master Class in Poetry "The Art and Craft of Polishing a Poem (AKA Re-Vision)" at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference, November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place.

Registration is now open.

Maureen Ryan Griffin has taught the art and craft of writing for twenty-five years through a wide variety of venues, including Queens University and Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, the John Campbell Folk School in the Appalachian Mountains, and Chautauqua Institution in New York. An award-winning poetry and nonfiction writer, Griffin has published in numerous publications, including Calyx, Chelsea, Cincinnati Poetry Review, and The Texas Review. She is the author of Spinning Words into Gold, a Hands-On Guide to the Craft of Writing, a guide through grief titled How Do I Say Goodbye?, and three poetry books. A poem from her latest collection, Ten Thousand Cicadas Can’t Be Wrong, was featured on The Writers’ Almanac. Recipient of the 2018 Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award honoring a community member who has contributed outstanding service in support of local and regional writers, Maureen offers individual coaching, as well as retreats, workshops, and classes, through her business, WordPlay (www.wordplaynow.com).

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Maureen to answer the following prompt:

"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"

Here's how Maureen answered:

"Hurray! If you are reading this, I am likely to publish the kind of books you write. That is, if you write, as U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith puts it, as 'a way of affirming commitment to the belief that our lives can and should matter to one another and to ourselves.'1

"Because we are living in a polarized world, a disconnected world, a world where we can endlessly ingest and spit out trite or vitriolic or pandering words that do not touch our own hearts and souls, much less the hearts and souls of others. We are surrounded by people disconnected from, not only the people in their own cities, but the people in the same room, including themselves. You and I, though, are writers who strive to shake people awake with our words, as Tracy K. Smith does, with soaring beauty and searing honesty.

"Will your work allow readers to notice their own breath, recognize that all our hearts are beating, see and hear and smell and touch and taste the moments of their lives? Will your manuscripts, to quote again the marvelous Tracy K. Smith, use 'not the language of sharing and following, or buying and wearing, but rather that of bearing deep and unabashed witness to the urgencies and upheavals of lived experience, that comes closest to bringing us into visceral proximity with the lives and plights of others?'2

"If so, then please submit your work for consideration.

"Of course, being a member of the North Carolina Writers' Network, you’re savvy. You don’t send your precious manuscripts to just any press. You want to be proud of your finished book. You want to know your publishing house has experience, and is committed to excellence. So here is a little about me:

"My publishing career spans, literally, five decades. My first foray into 'printing' the work of others was in the seventh grade: an article about horseback riding written by a classmate named Nancy. I entered her handwritten words via my dad’s Royal typewriter straight into my one-copy only newspaper, The Gossiper, that was then passed hand to hand around the classroom. (There was great interest from both sexes—my mother was the school’s dietician and I was the sole source of important information: what would be served at lunch all week.) Seeing Nancy’s happiness to have her passion for—and knowledge of—horses shared with others was pure bliss for me, and I went on to publish a number of issues featuring the work of others.

"Though my interests took me in different directions than publishing the works of others for a number of years, I continued to hone my own writing and editing skills.

"Fast forward to a few years after I became a creative writing teacher, when one of my poetry students was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her lifelong dream was to publish a book of her poetry. I could do that for her, I thought. And so I did, founding Floating Leaf Press so her book could have an imprint. Again, I experienced a surge of joy when I saw her face as she held her own chapbook in her hands. Hope’s book is still a beautiful example of 'bearing deep and unabashed witness to the urgencies and upheavals of lived experience' and I’ll always be proud that I am her publisher of record.

"Now, back to you! Thanks to the largesse of the North Carolina Writers' Network, I have the resources to bring your book, your book that forges connection and understanding into being. Shake us awake with the soaring beauty and searing honesty of your words. Don’t be afraid to make us laugh and cry, to think as well as feel, to open us to a new way of seeing."

1 from “Tracy K. Smith, America’s Poet Laureate, Is a Woman With a Mission” by Ruth Franklin in The New York Times, April 10, 2018.

2 Ibid.

Interested in registering for Maureen's Master Class in Poetry?

What is revision, after all, but bringing a sparkling fresh vision to a piece of writing and its possibilities, the way you would facet, then polish, a gemstone? Maureen once heard gifted poet Linda Pastan speak at length on revision, which she called “the main act of writing.” She writes her first draft by putting herself in a trance-like state, she said. “And then come 100 revisions. It would be wonderful if there were right and wrong choices.” No one can tell us exactly what to do with our work—writing is an art as well as a craft. But while there aren’t right and wrong choices, we can get crystal-clear on our options in the areas of content, sound, and form and understand why—and how—some serve a particular poem better than others. That’s just what attendees will do in this master class—learn and practice specific revision tactics, as well as get detailed feedback/critique on at least one of their poems. Registrants will take home a handy reference chart and descriptions of all the strategies covered—which, by the way, can also help them write more brilliant poetry and prose.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Additional Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction) and Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall ConferencePatrice Gopo will serve as a panelist on Saturday morning's panel "All Stories Connect: Does Place Still Matter?", sponsored by the Arts & Science Council.

Patrice also will lead the session "The Basics of Writing Compelling Personal Essays."

Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Registration is now open.

Patrice Gopo’s essays have appeared in a variety of literary journals and other publications, including Gulf Coast, Creative Nonfiction, Full Grown People, and online in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Her writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she is the grateful recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She is the author of All the Colors We Will See: Reflections on Barriers, Brokenness, and Finding Our Way, an essay collection about race, immigration, and belonging. Please visit www.patricegopo.com to learn more.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Patrice to answer the following prompt:

"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"

Here's what Patrice said:

"Sometimes I think back to the girl I once was, a child who spent much of the weekend curled up on the loveseat beneath the large picture window in her family’s living room. In this tiny patch of couch that I still think of as mine, I lived the story that so many children who love books live: I left my home and traveled across time and history and traveled across the world. In the stories, I saw so much of what it means to live and breathe and exist and dream.

"But what is true is that when I look back on those books—many that I’ve kept into adulthood—I know it was a rare day when I read a book with a character that mirrored me, a black girl. It was a rare day that I read a book with a character that mirrored other aspects of my experience, the child of immigrants, a person of color grappling with identity formation in this racialized American culture.

"These are aspects of my identity. My stories are not unique stories, but they are stories that often aren’t portrayed in our literary world. With my own publishing house, I would seek to add more of these stories to our world. I would work to publish work by writers of color across the genres of fiction and personal essay, memoir and children’s books so that we could continue to build an increasing abundance of representations, perspectives, and points of view. And as I publish this work, I would dream of a little girl curled up on a loveseat beneath a picture window, reading words about a character that reminded her of herself."

Personal essays are a popular and important way to share deeper thoughts and insights about our lived experience. But how do we write a compelling personal essay? In Patrice's workshop, participants will learn the basics of writing an effective and satisfying personal essay. Through examples and writing exercises, attendees will learn how to write about their lived experience in a way that unearths deeper meaning and connects with readers and the broader world.

During the panel "Does Place Still Matter?", participants will discuss whether or not, in our global, hyperconnected world—a world with satellites and Google Street View—a sense of place still matters. What does “place” mean when people are more mobile than ever before? Four Charlotte writers—Julie Funderburk, Patrice Gopo, Dannye Romine Powell, and Kim Wright—each of whom took a different path to the Queen City, bring their perspectives to the question.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

CHARLOTTE—Judy Goldman's new memoir is forthcoming in 2019. She's a widely published author and renowned teacher of creative writing. More than that, she's been awarded for her commitment to the literary community and the world of arts and letters.

Judy will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction "How to Get the Words on the Page to Match the Fabulous Vision You Have in Your Head " at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference, November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place.

Registration is now open.

Judy Goldman’s memoir Together: Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap, will be published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in February 2019. She’s also the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and an earlier memoir. That memoir, Losing My Sister, was a finalist for SIBA’s Memoir of the Year and ForeWord Review’s Memoir of the Year. Her fiction won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award, Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for SIBA’s Novel of the Year. Her poetry won the Gerald Cable Prize and the top three prizes for a poetry book by a North Carolinian. Her work has appeared in The Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Gettysburg Review, Ohio Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Crazyhorse, and Real Simple magazine. She received the Hobson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Arts and Letters, the Fortner Writer and Community Award for “outstanding generosity to other writers and the larger community,” and Queens University’s Beverly D. Clark Author Award.

This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Judy to tell answer the following prompt:

"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"

Here's what Judy said:

"I would be happy publishing the books that other publishers say are too 'quiet' (because I can never follow an intricate, dramatic plot). I would publish books that are distinguished by their feeling, by their reverence for the emotional tightrope we all walk. I’d publish books that are unsettling—well, let’s just say it—books that are sad. I love sad books. Oh, and exceptional prose wouldn’t hurt—stories that are written with great care, sentence by sentence, word by word."

Interested in registering for Judy's Master Class in Creative Nonfiction?

You know how to write. But sometimes it’s hard to get what’s so clear in your mind onto the page, polished and perfect. How do you make those words fall gracefully into place? How do you get the story to come to life on the page? Judy Goldman wants to teach you the tips she wishes she’d known when she started writing creative nonfiction. Whether you’re writing memoir, essays, travel pieces, etc., her goal is to take you from where you are to where you’d like to be. Attendees will focus on structure, pacing, building potent sentences, dialogue strategies, scene vs. summary, use of reflection (what you knew then, what you know now). They'll talk about finding their story, the narrative arc. Judy will touch on the tricky business of writing about people you love (or don’t love). Oh, and she'll even throw in a little advice on how to turn self-doubt into an advantage.

Each registrant should be ready to handle the intensive instruction and atmosphere of the Master Class.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Additional Master Classes will be led by Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry) and Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.

Register here.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

 
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