AWP Guest Bloggers Sought

February 5, 2014 § 40 Comments

chinook_salmonOnce again, we are looking for AWP attendees to volunteer to guest blog on panels, readings, events, happenings related to the world of creative nonfiction, memoir, literary narrative, the lyric essay, etcetera. We will endeavor to post some of these brief reports during the conference, and will run some of them post-conference.

Below you will find Thursday’s panels focusing on nonfiction.  If you want to claim one, feel free to do so in the comments section.  (Sometimes two people blog report on the same panel, and that’s okay too.  Three is probably too many, though.)

We are looking for two things: (1) gleaned information that might be useful or interesting to folks who can’t make the Seattle conference, and (2) Just fun times.  You can blog about the drunk poet in the elevator if you want to and can make it interesting.  Or go catch some fish at the Pike Place Market. Reports from the Bookfair are good too.

968941_538079672926156_136728789_aSo here is Thursday.  We’ll post Friday and Saturday’s schedules soon:

Nine o’clock a.m. to Ten-fifteen a.m.

R123. Teaching Brief, Sudden, Flash, and Very Short Prose.
(Raul Moreno, Meagan Cass, Damian Dressick, Sara Henning, Steve Pacheco)
Room LL4, Western New England MFA Annex, Lower Level.
With The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction now a familiar text among college-level instructors and an international anthology of very short fiction due out from Norton, questions about best approaches to attempting brief prose abound. If this can be a good way to teach writing, as anthologist Robert Shapard suggests, how do students negotiate the new horizons of genre and form? Five instructors offer lessons from workshops, grading, new media, doctoral research, and more.

R126. What Was Is: The Use of Present Tense in Creative Nonfiction.
(Kate Hopper, Hope Edelman, Bonnie Rough, Marybeth Holleman, Ryan Van Meter)
Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2.
This panel of memoirists and essayists will consider what happens when we write about past events in the present tense. When does present tense provide needed immediacy, and when does it limit an author’s ability to write to the true story? We will explore the benefits, challenges, and drawbacks of using present tense as we craft our lives on the page, and we will discuss how tense affects craft issues, such as voice, reflection, and structure.

Ten-thirty a.m. to Eleven-forty-five a.m.

R137. Courting the Peculiar: the Ever-Changing Queerness of Creative Nonfiction.
(Ames Hawkins, Barrie Jean Borich, Mary Cappello, K. Bradford)
Room 3B, Washington State Convention Center, Level 3.
What do we mean when we claim that creative nonfiction is a queer genre? Four queer-identified panelists collectively position creative nonfiction as a genre welcoming of writers and writing that embraces the peculiar, courts the unconventional, and opens to forms yet to be imagined. At the turn of the 20th century, Gertrude Stein in Tender Buttons proposed: “Act so that there is no use in a center”; how can practitioners of creative nonfiction today use language to express truths still to come?

R153. A Bag Full of God: Female Memoirists with Daddy Issues.
(Sarah Tomlinson, Alysia Abbott, Jennie  Ketcham, Tracy  McMillan, Alison Wearing)
Room LL5, Western New England MFA Annex, Lower Level.
Every daughter must bury her father — marble-heavy, a bag full of God — as Sylvia Plath wrote. These daughters did so in the form of memoir. The task of authoring the man who authored you is necessarily fraught, with the need to find a balance between deification and bitterness. Female memoirists discuss how they confronted the long shadows cast by their fathers, with a special focus on the craft of memoir, how to find the truth of a true story, and writing to make the personal universal.

Twelve noon to One-fifteen p.m.

R160. Books About Books: A Nonfiction Conundrum.
(Brook Wilensky-Lanford, Andrea Pitzer, Ellen F. Brown, Kristin Swenson, Colin Dickey)
Aspen Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor.
Whether it’s a biography of Gone With the Wind, travels among readers of Russian novels, or an afterlife of Lives of the Saints, great works of literature are now inspiring stories than the ones between their covers. We will discuss this trend in terms of craft: How does the book’s structure influence the new narrative? How does a nonfiction writer approach books differently from the academic or critic? What are the opportunities and pitfalls of having a book as your main character?

R170. All This and More: What Form of Creative Nonfiction is the Essay/Review? (Mary Rockcastle, Stan Sanvel Rubin, David Ingle, Jocelyn Bartkevicius)
Room 607, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
In an essay published in the Manilla Review, Jennifer B. McDonald, an editor at The New York Times Book Review, wrote, “A good review introduces a book and attempts a rigorous appraisal, while demonstrating fairness, intelligence, clarity, discernment, and style.” A good essay review does all of this and more. In addition to reviewing the books (usually two or more), the essay review serves as a springboard for the author to explore ideas and probe aspects of his/her own life. The panelists, all of them editors and/or writers of the essay review—for Water~Stone Review, the Georgia Review, and Fourth Genre—will focus on what the essay review is and isn’t, what it offers the reader as well as the author of the book being reviewed, and how it contributes not only to the literary magazine but to the writer (and field) of creative nonfiction.

R180. Creative Nonfiction’s 20th Anniversary Reading.
(John Edgar Wideman, Floyd Skloot, Brian  Doyle, Rebecca Skloot, Elena Passarello)
Room 618/619/620, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
A reading in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Creative Nonfiction magazine. Creative Nonfiction was the first literary magazine to publish nonfiction exclusively, and for two decades the magazine has featured prominent authors such as Gay Talese, Phillip Lopate, and Adrienne Rich while helping to launch the careers of some of the genre’s most exciting emerging writers. Help us celebrate and honor Creative Nonfiction’s dedication to this still-expanding genre.

R184. The Third I: The Writer as Mediator in Memoir and Personal Narrative.
(Janice Gary, Aimee  Liu, Richard Hoffman  Hoffman, Jerald  Walker, Meredith  Hall)
Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2.
As both subject and writer, memoirists must mediate the I of the past and the I of the present with a third I: the writer who has both lived the material and shapes it. In this session, authors of literary memoir discuss the distinct challenges of creating literature from life that is both truthful and compelling and how they use the authorial I to find the voice to narrate the story, the structure to support the narrative and selection of material from the vast archives of personal history.

One-thirty p.m. to Two-forty-five p.m.

R192. The Author’s Children: The Intersection of Art, Advocacy, and Ethics in Writing About Your Kids.
(Zoe Zolbrod, Jillian Lauren, Ben Tanzer, Claire Dederer, Kerry Cohen) Redwood Room, Sheraton Seattle,
2nd Floor.
Writers of personal nonfiction often wrestle with how much to divulge about themselves and others, and the tension increases when the subject matter includes children. What are our rights, responsibilities, and imperatives as we write about our kids? How do we respond to concerns that we’re leaving a legacy that might make our children uncomfortable? In this panel, authors who have written boldly about their children and themselves will discuss these issues.

R207. Out of the Classroom: Possible Adventures in Creative Writing.
(Philip Graham, Dinty W. Moore, John Warner, Harmony Neal)
Room 611, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
This panel chronicles the strategies of four teachers of fiction and nonfiction who assign undergraduate students to go on “adventures” outside of the classroom and their comfort zone: attending roller derby games or a quarter horse competition, visiting a pet cemetery, going on a “coyote watch,” taking tango classes, etc. These assignments encourage students to see how “plot” works in real life (instead of in television narratives) and how easily they can generate material for their writing.

R209. The I or the Eye: The Narrator’s Role in Nonfiction.
(Phillip Lopate, Elyssa East, Robert Root, Lia Purpura, Michael Steinberg)
Room 613/614, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
Be it a personal or lyric essay, memoir, a work of journalism, or criticism, writers of literary nonfiction must decide how to craft their narrators to best suit the subject at hand. Why are some narrators situated center-stage as participants (the I) while others locate themselves more offstage as observers (the Eye)? This panel of writers, teachers, and editors will offer rationales for a range of approaches and suggest strategies to determine how best to present their narrators on the page.

Three o’clock p.m. to Four-fifteen p.m.

R222. Ghost Lives: Writing and Teaching Memoir When the Subject is Missing.
(Brian Castner, Warren Etheredge, Christa Parravani, Sonya Lea) Redwood Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor.
Join a conversation about finding story in what has gone missing. How can we work with lapsed memory, missing subjects, and constructing reality for absent others? How can we instruct students healing from traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and memory perils? Four writers and writing teachers examine the impact of constructing a memoir with missing people, places, and events. Explore their heightened examples of what every memoir writer must face and how to recapture details that point to truth.

R234. Breaking Silences: Women’s Memoir as an Act of Rebellion.
(Janice Gary, Kate  Hopper, Anna March, Connie May Fowler, Rosemary  Daniell)
Room 607, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
Pregnancy. Rape. Motherhood. Domestic violence. Tillie Olsen writes: Why are more women silenced than men? The women on this panel also ask: why, when women write about the full experience of being female in this culture are our stories seen as less worthy of literary merit than those of male counterparts? We’ll address our experiences with writing taboo subjects and discuss the conscious and unconscious biases that keep women from the transgressive act of writing honestly about their lives.

Four-thirty p.m. to Five-forty-five p.m.

R252. First-Person Journalism: Tips on Telling the Truth.
(Martha Nichols, Fred Setterberg, Andrew Lam, Autumn Stephens, William Wong) Redwood Room, Sheraton Seattle, 2nd Floor.
Literary writers often assume that journalists only tell people’s stories. But journalists use a personal point of view in op-eds, essays, even traditional features. Forget objectivity. A journalistic approach can be just as artful as creative nonfiction, and first-person reporting encourages diverse perspectives. In this moderated Q&A session, a panel of journalists and editors discuss why subjectivity in fact-based stories is great—as long as it’s not an excuse for bending the truth.

R256. Beyond the Memoir: a New Approach to Teaching Creative Writing to Senior Citizens.
(David Robson, Nancy McCurry, Paul Pat, Lloyd Noonan)
Room 3A, Washington State Convention Center, Level 3.
Life story workshops are prevalent in senior citizen facilities in the United States. Yet the memoir is not ideal for every older adult with a yearning to write. In fact, many aren’t ready or, more commonly, don’t have the desire to go down this road. In this panel, educators will discuss innovative practices to bring out the best creative works from this growing population. Leave with techniques to excite older students and concepts to immediately craft or expand your own program.

R264. The Peculiar Yesterday: The Memoir Today.
(Debra Di Blasi, Dawn Raffel, Jane Rosenberg LaForge, Cris Mazza, Anna Joy Springer)
Room 606, Washington State Convention Center, Level 6.
Seattle-based Jaded Ibis Press celebrates the 21st Century memoir by inviting four of its authors to discuss why and how they arrived at their own chimeric autobiographies and the cultural implications of literary transmutation. Publisher Debra Di Blasi will present her editorial preference for unorthodox memoirs and, with authors, examine its potential for mining deeper truths for writers and readers alike.

R273. Flash in the Classroom: Teaching Micro Prose.
(Sophie Rosenblum, Sherrie Flick, Pamela Painter, Sean Lovelace, Sarah Einstein)
Room LL4, Western New England MFA Annex, Lower Level.
As interest in the flash form continues to develop, teachers must be ready with pedagogical approaches in mind and in hand. This panel of experts in teaching and writing flash, including faculty from Chatham University, Ball State University, and Emerson College, along with editors from Brevity and NANO Fiction, will identify the best practices for generating successful flash-based workshops while exploring effective readings and exercises for writing students.

R276. Relationship Memoir: Living through It.
(Adam O’Connor Rodriguez, Jay Ponteri, Gregory Martin, Ariel Gore, Monica Wesolowska)
Room 202, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 2.
Memoirs are often about difficult relationships and the understanding that comes with living through them. These four authors have all recently published memoirs that dig deeply into trying relationships between husband and wife, father and son, and mand daughter. They will discuss the challenges of writing their way into a deeper understanding of these relationships as well as how those whom they write about in their memoirs coped with the writing and publishing process.

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