Winter and Spring 2014

WINTER SESSION: JANUARY 27 – MARCH 28 2014

Monday Nights: Poetry Workshop — Different Music(s)

In this workshop we paid special attention to the way poetry sounds. Workshop participants read contemporary writing in a variety of vernaculars. We also responded to writing prompts and, most importantly, brought in finished drafts of poems, which we discussed with an emphasis on constructive, positive feedback. In this sense, the workshop will be heavily focused on generating energetic new poems.

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Tuesday Nights: Story Workshop 

Every week we read a selection by an established author or authors in the anthology The Story and its Writer. We applied narrative techniques of the writers whose works we read to our own works in progress. Strong emphasis was placed on editing the work of class participants.

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Wednesday Nights: African-American Studies

For this session we read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.

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Friday Nights: Fiction Reading

We explored three texts that focus on individual and community responses to political events: Edwidge Danticat’s The Farming of Bones, Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North, and Albert Camus’ The Stranger. We talked about major themes in the three works and how they overlap with each other and with contemporary social issues.

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SPRING SESSION: APRIL 7 – MAY 30, 2014

Monday Nights: Poetry Workshop — Voice and Tone

In this workshop we paid special attention to each poets’ collective output. Workshop participants read contemporary writers in depth and learned to speak about their own work as part of a larger process. We also responded to writing prompts and, most importantly, brought in finished drafts of poems, which we discussed with an emphasis on constructive, positive feedback. In this sense, the workshop was heavily focused on generating energetic new poems.

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Tuesday Nights: Fiction Reading and Creative Writing Workshop 

We read short stories by some masters of the art: Anton Chekhov, Willa Cather, and Ernest Hemingway, and others. We also workshopped our own writing every week.

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Wednesday Nights: African-American Studies 

This 8-week class focused on Isabel Wilkerson’s critically acclaimed 2010 nonfiction book The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Wilkerson interviewed more than a thousand people during her research for this project, and she focuses her writing around the lives of three particular individuals, Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, George Swanson Starling, and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster. As we read this text, we thought together about the relationship between individual and collective history and about the way oral history can reshape the way we understand the past. We also spoke about the Great Migration itself and the way this history influences the present.

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Thursday Nights: Spanish Pinto Poetry and Spoken Word Workshop

This was an eight-week course about poetry in both Spanish and English. Each class session focused on a different type of poetry/poetic art. Our class was divided in two sections: 1) During the first part of our class we talked about the poems in our packet 2) During the second part of our class we shared our own poetry. Our goals were to have students from all backgrounds learn about poetry and to give students an opportunity to share, shout and sing their lives.

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Friday Nights: Fiction Reading

We read three plays that focus on contemporary issues: Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, Derek Walcott’s Dream on Monkey Mountain, and Luis Valdez’s Zoot Suit.