Poetry Workshop with Shira Erlichman
Nothing for Granted
Dates: Monday, February 15 - Friday, February 19
Time: 4:30-6:00PM EST
Location: online via Zoom
In his brief poem “Watermelons” Charles Simic writes, “Green Buddhas / On the fruit stand. / We eat the smile / And spit out the teeth.” And just like that, an ordinary watermelon is transformed into a Buddha; a slice into a smile; the seeds, fittingly, into teeth we’ll spit. In this workshop, we’ll follow Simic’s example by inviting the familiar to arrive with unprecedented freshness. Through ostranenie, or defamiliarization, we’ll take nothing for granted. Whether a watermelon, a partner, illness, grief, or the (seemingly) mundane details of our lives, we’ll train our perspective toward openness and possibility, asking of the ordinary objects and people in our lives: who is this alien before me? Guided by the work of Aracelis Girmay, Angel Nafis, Sharon Olds and Kaveh Akbar (among others), we’ll use tools such as ode, surrealism, haiku, and landscape to become fiercely intimate with the ordinary. After all, it’s our job as poets to electrify the dulled, honor the overlooked, and destabilize assumption. Together, we’ll enter worlds of epiphanic confrontation, where a simple green fruit has the presence of a Buddha, and to eat a slice is to eat a smile.
Shira Erlichman is an author, visual artist, and musician. She recently released her debut poetry book Odes to Lithium and children's book Be/Hold. She's received fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Millay Residency, and AIR Serenbe. Her work has been featured in The Rumpus, PBS NewsHour's Poetry Series, The Huffington Post, The Seattle Times, and The New York Times, among others. Learn more at www.shiraerlichman.com.
“Through her nonlinear narrative of hospitalization, treatment and everyday life, Erlichman turns a confessional self-portrait of crisis into a chemical, chimerical joyride toward self-acceptance" - The New York Times
More reviews: www.officialshira.com/books
Writing Workshop with Justen Ahren
Devotion to Writing: Cultivate a Daily Writing Practice
Dates: Tuesday evenings April 13 - May 11
Time: 7:00-8:30PM EST
Location: online via Zoom
This is a unique generative writing workshop to get you writing and keep you writing. Creative Energy is our natural gift. It is the essence of who we are, the very expression of Being itself. When we cultivate a daily writing practice, we bring ourselves into communion with this part of ourselves. By expressing and exercising our writing on daily basis, we build into our lives a channel of creative magic, abundance, and flow, and our lives become expressions of the life force continuously blooming and opening through us.
This 6-week workshop will help you release the writing within you, develop your imaginative skills, and learn how to sustain yourself as a creative writer. Each week we will explore how a rituals, gratitude, surrender, even doubt and play, can aid our practice and enable us to express more deeply and more freely than ever before.
Justen Ahren is Founder of Devotion to Writing, Noepe Center at Featherstone, and the Italy Writing Retreat. The former Martha's Vineyard Poet Laureate, and author of two poetry collections, A Strange Catechism, and A Machine for Remembering, he received an MFA from Emerson College. His work has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Justen has taught for many years at the Green Mountain Writers Conference, 1455 Literary Festival, San Miguel Literary Festival, and Italy Writing Retreat. He finds it inspiring and fulfilling to help people cultivate a life in writing.
Fiction Workshop with K-Ming Chang
Writing Family Stories
Dates: Monday, May 17 - Friday, May 21
Times: 6:00-7:30PM EST
This workshop will explore the process of writing family narratives, whether fiction or nonfiction, examining the "family" (which can be defined many ways) as a framework for survival, history, agency, and reclamation. This is a generative class for those who want to carve out time to write and experiment. Through prompts and exercises, we will explore how family stories can function as microcosms of collective histories, as the fabric of folklore, myths, and oral stories, and as spaces for personal and collective exploration. We will rewrite or interact with family narratives to create spaces of subversion, resistance, and storytelling that expand beyond the self. Participants will generate short pieces of new writing in any genre, and they will leave the workshop with innovative strategies to approach stories about family (of all definitions).
K-Ming Chang / 張欣明 is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. She is the author of the debut novel BESTIARY (One World/Random House, 2020), which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her micro-chapbook BONE HOUSE, a queer retelling of Wuthering Heights, is forthcoming from Bull City Press’ INCH series in 2021.