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FALL 2013 AFTERNOON CRAFT CONVERSATIONS
(All craft talks are in Hagerty Lounge from 2:35-3:35)
Wednesday, October 9th, 2:35pm, Hagerty Lounge
“Beyond the MFA: A Discussion on Publishing” by Laura Cogan
You’ve immersed yourself in the study of craft and theory, labored over revisions, and submitted your work to the rigors of workshop. Now, as you begin to think about sending your work out to editors and agents, a new host of questions may emerge. In this session we’ll address those questions, and talk about best practices for submitting your work, what editors may be looking for as they consider manuscripts, the ongoing importance of reading and revision to developing your work, and what to expect if your work is accepted.
LAURA COGAN is the Editor of ZYZZYVA.
Wednesday, October 23, 2:35pm, Hagerty Lounge
“From Literary Citizen to Published Author” by David Groff
In a publishing world that wants to publish not books but authors, you can establish yourself as a professional writer by becoming a recognized and broad-based contributor to your culture. This talk will focus how you can establish your persona and platform by cultivating an honorable creative calling as a literary citizen--writing personal essays to reviews, interviews, literary criticism, blog entries, and journalism that complement your book length prose and pave its path.
DAVID GROFF is an editor, poet, and literary scout who works with authors, publishers, and agents to develop and edit memoir, other kinds of narrative nonfiction, and literary and popular fiction. He also scouts and edits book projects for a New York literary agent and teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program of the City College of New York.
Wednesday, November 13th 2:35pm, Hagerty Lounge
“Lyric as a Form of Listening” by Lynn Xu
The question I want to ask is: Can we write lyric poetry today? I mean, if we are doing it, what does it mean that we are still doing it? What is our relationship to the history of the lyric and, in turn, to the western canon where it is most valued? Louis Zukofsky said that lyric poetry has its lower limit in speech and upper limit in song. It is this restlessness between speech and song that activates our imagination and becomes instructive for our being in the world. Another way to ask the question is: Can we conceive of the lyric as a form of listening? How to create spaces where we can hear ourselves, each other, things both organic and inorganic, within the myriad of voices we have learned from and continue to live with? How does the lyric construct “active boundaries” (to borrow a phrase from Michael Palmer) and push restlessness to its cultural exponent?
LYNN XU was born in Shanghai. She is the author of Debts & Lessons (Omnidawn, 2013) and June (a chapbook from Corollary Press, 2006). Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2008, Boston Review, Critical Quarterly, Octopus, and others. She co-edits Canarium Books.
SPRING 2014 AFTERNOON CRAFT CONVERSATIONS
Wednesday, February 19, 2:35pm, Hagerty Lounge
"Plarachterization: The Intersection of Plot and Character" by Joshua Mohr
The best plots aren’t controlled by an authorial presence. Plot springs from the characters themselves. The writer masterminds all of these things, but the more we program ourselves to think of it in this way—that our protagonists are sovereign beings with independent consciousnesses from our own—the better prepared we are to traverse what I’m calling “plarachterization.” This seminar will be geared around characters’ decision making, the causality between plot points, how to keep a reader excitedly flipping pages. We’ll also delve into specific tactics for constructing a present action and how to fold backstory into it. Plarachterization is a strategy that will help any aspiring writer!
JOSHUA MOHR is the author of four novels, including Damascus, which The New York Times called “Beat-poet cool.” He’s also written Some Things that Meant the World to Me, one of O Magazine’s Top 10 reads of 2009 and a San Francisco Chronicle best-seller, as well as Termite Parade, an Editors’ Choice on The New York Times Best Seller List. He lives in San Francisco and teaches in the MFA program at USF. His latest novel Fight Song was published in February 2013.
Wednesday, March 12, 2:35pm, Hagerty Lounge
"Distraction and Poetry" by Norma Cole
After I decide to play with the fact of doing an interview, as in “make something up,” I am faced with the notion of “making up” a piece of work to base the interview on. I did, and it’s called “Distraction.” I then begin to think about that wonderful essay by Robert Creeley, “Was That a Real Poem or Did You Just Make It Up Yourself?” So—is there any distinction between “just making something up” and writing “a real poem?”
NORMA COLE is a poet, painter and translator. Win These Posters and Other Unrelated Prizes Inside is her most recent book of poetry. Other books of poetry include Natural Light, Where Shadows Will: Selected Poems 1988—2008 and Spinoza in Her Youth.
Wednesday, April 9, 2:35pm, Hagerty Lounge
"From Journalism to Creative Nonfiction" by Kaya Oakes
As an emerging genre, creative nonfiction doesn't have a lot of rules. But it does have roots in journalism, and in the personal essay, stretching back to Montaigne. What are the boundaries between journalism and creative writing, and where can we bend them, and in some cases, break them? How much does the "I" narrator matter when we merge creative techniques with journalistic ones? How much can we borrow techniques from anthropology, archeology, and even philosophy, to create what Jeff Sharlett calls "mutant journalism?" And are creative nonfiction writers really just fancy journalists in the end?
KAYA OAKES' third book, a hybrid memoir/ethnography/theological rant, Radical Reinvention, was published by Counterpoint Press in 2012. Her previous nonfiction book, Slanted and Enchanted: The Evolution of Indie Culture, was published by Henry Holt in 2009 and was selected as a San Francisco Chronicle notable book. She’s also the author of a collection of poetry, Telegraph, which received the Transcontinental Poetry Prize from Pavement Saw Press.