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GREENSBORO—Course offerings for poets at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2020 Spring Conference, Saturday, April 18, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Grerensboro, will examine—and in some cases, tear down entirely—much of what we consider to be the foundational building blocks of good poetry.

From examining structure to exploring imagery; to considering the idea that poems themselves occur as individual events, and not necessarily something we need to decipher; attendees will participate in bettering their own poetry, and that of their peers, under the guidance of award-winning faculty. 

Registration is open.

Stuart Dischell will lead the Master Class in Poetry, "Now Look at What You Have Done."

This class will consider the conscious and unconscious choices writers face regarding the structures and strategies of their poems. We will look closely at the way poems are made and organized and the manners in which their crafting affects the sense they make. The pace will be fast-moving, the atmosphere lively, critical, helpful, supportive, and sometimes humorous. We will look at one poem by each of the participants and the works of other authors.

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

Stuart Dischell is the author of Good Hope Road (Viking), a National Poetry Series Selection, Evenings & Avenues (Penguin), Dig Safe (Penguin), Backwards Days (Penguin), and Children with Enemies (Chicago), the pamphlets Animate Earth and Touch Monkey, and the chapbook Standing on Z (Unicorn). His poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Agni, The New Republic, Slate, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and anthologies including Essential Poems, Hammer and Blaze, Pushcart Prize, and Good Poems. A recipient of awards from the NEA, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he has taught poetry and literature at Boston University, New Mexico State University, the Warren Wilson Low Residency MFA Program, the Sarah Lawrence Summer Seminars, and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. He is a professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Other class options for poets include "Crowded House: Imagery in Poetry" with Jennie Malboeuf and "More than Meaning" (poetry) with Timothy O'Keefe.

"Crowded House: Imagery in Poetry" focuses primarily on imagery. Following the lead of Plath, Bishop, and Clifton, we will explore how to ornament and enhance our poems with actual objects. These poets will demonstrate how to get from the unspeakable to the concrete. We will investigate the stuff of nouns, both living (like animals) and inanimate (like furniture). By the end of workshop, students will have filled their stanzas (little rooms) with a heavy hoard of things. The goal is to make our poems have weight; let’s ground these airy creations.

Jennie Malboeuf is the author of God had a body, forthcoming from Indiana University Press in Spring, 2020. Her poems are found in Crazyhorse, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, The Harvard Review, VQR, Prairie Schooner, and ZYZZYVA. Born and raised in Kentucky, she teaches at Guilford College in Greensboro and is the recipient of a 2020 NC Arts Council fellowship.

For many people, learning to read poetry is tantamount to becoming a word detective—one is taught to look for signs and clues in order to arrive at the “deep meaning” of the poem. Or, worse yet, they attempt to translate “what the poet was really trying to say.” "More than Meaning" will explore poetic approaches to the doing of a poem—the poem as an event on the page—instead of focusing on the traditional markers of meaning (symbol, metaphor, allusion, etc.). The goal is not to dispense with meaning altogether, but to reposition it as just one of many experiences the poem can present to an attentive reader.

Timothy O’Keefe is the author of You Are the Phenomenology, winner of the 2017 Juniper Prize for Poetry, and The Goodbye Town, winner of the 2010 FIELD Poetry Prize. His poems and lyric essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Best American Essays, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, Seneca Review, VOLT, and elsewhere. He teaches writing and literature at High Point University.

Additional course offerings include "Public Speaking for Writers" with Cameron Kent and "What a Long Strange Trip: From Manuscript to Finished Book" with Robin Miura and Lynn York of Blair, Publisher.

Additional programming includese faculty readings, an open mic for conference participants, an exhibit hall packed with publishers and literary organizations, and “Lunch with an Author,” where conferencegoers can spend less time waiting in line and more time talking with the author of their choice. Spaces in “Lunch with an Author” are limited and are first-come, first-served. Preregistration and an additional fee are also required for this offering.

Spring Conference is sponsored in part by UNCG’s Creative Writing Program, which will provide coffee for conference-goers during registration and check-in. Other sponsors include Written Word Media and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Learn more and register at www.ncwriters.org.

 

GREENSBORO—Writers gravitate to nonfiction for all sorts of reasons: for the therapeutic benefits of unlocking the past; to breathe life into heroes and people who've influenced us; to uncover hard-hitting truth.

Whatever our reasons for sticking to the facts when we write, the North Carolina Writers' Network 2020 Spring Conference, Saturday, April 18, on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Grerensboro, has us covered.

Registration is open.

M. Randal O'Wain will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction, "The Art of Writing Memoir."

We all have a story inside of us that is itching to be shared with others and as nonfiction writers we have the drive to put these memories on paper. How do we reconstruct the past and all of the messy components of life onto the page? How do we breathe personality into the people we love, and how do we illustrate the settings and landscapes that made us who we are so that a reader can experience these meaningful life events with compassion and empathy?

During our workshop period, we will practice the foundations of writing memoir artfully through exercises and readings that exemplify compelling narrative persona, vivid imagery, sensory details, and turn anecdotes into satisfying narratives that are relatable and fulfilled.

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

M. Randal O’Wain is the author of Meander Belt: Family, Loss, and Coming of Age in the Working Class South (Nebraska, 2019) and the short-story collection Hallelujah Station (Autumn House, 2020). He is an Assistant Teaching Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellow at Alderson Federal Correction Institute in West Virginia.

Other class options for creative nonfiction writers include "Narrative Medicine: Stories of Illness & the Power of Reflective Writing" with Aimee Mepham and "Writing Your Life: Turning Personal Stories into Universal Narratives" with Bridgette A. Lacy.

"Narrative Medicine" will provide a brief introduction to the field of narrative medicine—the scholarly and clinical movement that centers the power of story in health care—and the wide-ranging ways it can be practiced by writers who are patients, caregivers, or simply want to explore the connection between writing and healing. We will read and discuss select short pieces about health and illness, followed by practicing several reflective writing prompts/exercises that allow writers to explore their relationship with writing’s therapeutic potential.

Aimee Mepham is Assistant Director of the Humanities Institute at Wake Forest University where she is co-chair of the Story, Health, & Healing initiative. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis and has taught writing workshops at Indiana University, Washington University in St. Louis, Wake Forest University, and Salem College. She is also the Creative Nonfiction Editor of Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing. Her work has appeared in Meridian, River Styx, and Hobart, among others, and has also been performed twice by Liars’ League NYC, a live literary journal featuring professionally trained actors reading original short stories by writers.

Bridgette A. Lacy writes about the big and small moments of life, ranging from losing her sense of smell to a brain tumor to crafting essays on Sunday Dinner. Join her for a ninety-minute creative nonfiction class, "Writing Your Life," where she’ll discus turning our private moments into literary gold. To make readers connect to our story, our work must show the turmoil, the joy, and those private moments that resonate in our own lives. During her class, she will share some techniques for focusing our life stories and fine-tuning them for publication.

Bridgette A. Lacy is an award-winning journalist and author. She served as a longtime features writer for The News & Observer in Raleigh. She’s the author of Sunday Dinner, part of the Savor the South series by UNC Press and a finalist for the Pat Conroy Cookbook Prize. Lacy is also a contributor to The Carolina Table: North Carolina Writers on Food (Eno Publishers, 2016) and 27 Views of Raleigh: The City of Oaks in Prose & Poetry (Eno Publishers, 2013). Her work has appeared in Our State, Salt, and O.Henry.

Additional course offerings include "Public Speaking for Writers" with Cameron Kent and "What a Long Strange Trip: From Manuscript to Finished Book" with Robin Miura and Lynn York of Blair, Publisher.

Additional programming includese faculty readings, an open mic for conference participants, an exhibit hall packed with publishers and literary organizations, and “Lunch with an Author,” where conferencegoers can spend less time waiting in line and more time talking with the author of their choice. Spaces in “Lunch with an Author” are limited and are first-come, first-served. Preregistration and an additional fee are also required for this offering.

Spring Conference is sponsored in part by UNCG’s Creative Writing Program, which will provide coffee for conference-goers during registration and check-in. Other sponsors include Written Word Media and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Learn more and register at www.ncwriters.org.

 

CULLOWHEE—For the second year in a row, NCWN members swept first, second, and third place in the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.

Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin of Cullowhee won first place for her essay, “Plum Song.” She will receive $1,000, and Ecotone will consider her essay for publication.

“This piece draws you in through its poetic lyricism, singing of the garden's wonders,” final judge Jane Wong said of “Plum Song.” “The synesthesia in this essay particularly stood out to me—full of gratitude for each plant, each creature.”

Cabanis-Brewin is an award-winning business writer and editor by trade but in her real life she farms, keeps chickens, bees, and the occasional pig and writes about Southern Appalachia. Her poetry and essays have been published in numerous journals throughout the Southeast. Her chapbook Patriate was the 2007 Longleaf Press Open Chapbook competition winner and her essay “White Lobelia” was a runner up in the 2012 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition.

Wong selected “Champ” by Judy Goldman for second place, saying, “Engaging familial nostalgia, love, and pride, this essay thoughtfully asks us to consider closeness in a family. And how, in discovering more about each other, we discover ourselves.”

Goldman is the author of six books: two memoirs, two novels, and two collections of poetry. Her most recent book, Together: A Memoir of a Marriage and a Medical Mishap, was named one of the best books of 2019 by Real Simple magazine. Together also received a starred review from Library Journal. Goldman’s work has appeared in USA Today, Washington Post, Real Simple, Literary Hub, Southern Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, Ohio Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, and more.

Asheville’s Patricia Poteat took third place for her essay, “Lullaby,” of which Wong said, “Speaking of grief and healing, this piece begins with the sound of a train and expands its metaphorical power.”

Poteat’s creative work has appeared in The Great Smokies Review and in Voices, a collection of essays about child advocacy work in North Carolina. “Witness,” a work of creative nonfiction published in the journal Zero Dark Thirty, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has been a finalist for the Doris Betts Fiction Prize, Glimmer Train's "Family Matters" competition, the Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize, and New Millennium Writings’ annual short story and flash fiction competitions. She is the author of Walker Percy and the Old Modern Age (LSU Press) and scholarly essays on topics in religion and modern culture.

Sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and administered by the creative writing department at UNC Wilmington, the Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition encourages the creation of lasting nonfiction work that is outside the realm of conventional journalism. The contest is open to any legal resident of North Carolina or member of the NC Writers’ Network.

Rose Post worked for the Salisbury Post for fifty-six years as a reporter, feature writer, and columnist. She won numerous state and national awards for her writing and earned the NC Press Women's top annual award four times. She received the O. Henry Award from the Associated Press three times, the Pete Ivey Award, and the School Bell Award for educational coverage. Nationally, she won the 1989 Ernie Pyle Award, the Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award for human-interest writing, and the 1994 National Society of Newspaper Columnists' Award.

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

 

 
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