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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Please note that Pre-Conference sessions run during the afternoon of June 19 and the morning of June 20. There is a separate charge for these sessions. The Conference itself begins in the late morning of June 20 and runs through June 21.

Please note that because some events have limited space, events that appear below may not appear on the registration page. When you click on the registration link, keep this window open or have alternate choices in mind.
2 p.m. Pre-Conference Registration opens in the Swan/Independence Hall Lobby
3:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Pre-Conference Workshops: Session I
 

Jibade-Khalil Huffman/Beginning Fiction
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 211

As a series of exercises in writing and reading, this workshop will examine the ways in which we engage with prose on both the level of practice and as “scholarship;” that is, how and why we read and how this shapes our own work. Students are required to choose (and make enough copies of) a story of their choice — not a “favorite,” per se, but rather a text that informs their own writing. In the pursuit of narrative truth we will, in addition to doing a number of short writing exercises and producing in our time together at least one short-short story (or at least the beginnings of a story) and examine fiction from the most basic vantage point — that of the sentence.


Amity Gaige/Advanced Fiction
Bliss Hall, Room 206

This is a course for the intermediate or advanced writer of fiction to continue his or her exploration of technique and voice.  Topics to be addressed include the process of discovering and developing style, and the experimentation with point of view.  The workshop leader will notify enrolled students a week in advance with a reading assignment to prepare for the first class.  We will complete in-class writing to share aloud, as well as a significant assignment for the second day of the workshop.


Wayne Miller/Beginning Poetry
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 213

Through close reading of a variety of great poems — contemporary and otherwise — as well as through a series of flexible assignments and through careful critique of poetry produced by members of the workshop, students will expand their understanding of the poetry of our moment. Ideally, students will leave the workshop exposed to a variety of new poets who help them deepen their poetic projects, as well as with several strong new poems well underway.


Tina Chang/Advanced Poetry
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 209


This workshop is designed for students who are interested in deepening their understanding  of the craft and practice of poetry. Students ground their work in a knowledge of language, communication, revision. The first day will be comprised of writing prompts and collaborative projects to jump start creativity. We will also examine the wide array of contemporary forms and techniques of established writers and the motivating ideas behind their body of work, discussing how they define themselves. The second day of workshop will focus on discussion of the writing process (habits, rituals, writer’s block, energy of revision) and individual critique of previously written poems, emphasizing the analysis and interpretation of peer poems and the development of clear writing. Students are expected to come to with an open attitude and a passion for words.

Jody Lisberger/Beginning Nonfiction
Bliss Hall, Room 211

One of the many challenges beginning creative nonfiction writers face is shaping their essays so as to engage both vivid scene and meaningful reflection. This workshop will offer models, suggestions, and short writing assignments to help develop these two important features. It will also offer models and suggestions for the variety of shapes an essay might take. The workshop leader will notify enrolled students a week in advance about a short reading assignment (to be emailed as a pdf.) and a short writing exercise to prepare for the first workshop on Thursday. The leader will also assign at the first workshop a few short readings (handouts) and a writing exercise for workshop on Friday.

Richard Hoffman /Advanced Nonfiction
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 215

I, says the first-person narrator, I. I think. I feel. I remember. I wish. I regret. I hope. I wonder. And yet, with all humility, it says only, This is how I see it, not This is how it is. This seminar will explore the many possibilities of first-person narration, including the many different ways to create a well-rounded, coherent representation of the self, a complex character called I.


Scott Hightower/Teaching By Writing
Swan/Independence Hall, Hoffman Room

This seminar will address the class activity in which a teacher opts to use the student’s writing as the text. The focus will be on the benefits of teaching the elements of writing through the creative practice vs. literary analysis.
 

University of Rhode Island Summer Course Meetings

English 205/Creative Writing: Fiction (Katherine Kulpa)
Location: Bliss 304

English 205/Creative Writing: Fiction (Aaron Tillman)
Location: Bliss 305

English 205/Creative Writing: Fiction (David Rutschman)
Location: Gilbert 101

English 205/Creative Writing: Poetry (Melissa Hotchkiss)
Location: Wale 223

English 499/Advanced Creative Writing (Talvikki Ansel)
Location: Wale 226

5:45 - 7:30 p.m. “Sampler” Reading by Pre-Conference Workshop Leaders
Reception & Refreshments
Swan/Independence Hall, Hoffman Room
Friday, June 20, 2008
9:00 - 11:30 a.m. Pre-Conference Workshops:
Session II
  Amity Gaige/Advanced Fiction
Bliss Hall, Room 206

Jibade-Khalil Huffman/Beginning Fiction
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 211

Tina Chang/Advanced Poetry
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 209

Wayne Miller/Beginning Poetry
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 213

Richard Hoffman /Advanced Nonfiction
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 215

Jody Lisberger/Beginning Nonfiction
Bliss Hall, Room 211

Scott Hightower/Teaching By Writing
Swan/Independence Hall, Hoffman Room
11:00 a.m. Conference Registration Opens
Refreshments served
12:45 - 1:45 p.m. Lunch: box lunches available
Swan/Independence Hall Lobby
  Opening Ceremony & Keynote Address
Welcome from President Robert Carothers
Opening Remarks by English Dept. Chair Stephen Barber
Keynote Address & Reading by
Ann Hood
Swan/Independence Hall Auditorium
2:00 - 3:15 p.m. Panel Discussions I
  Poetry Panel Discussion: Dwelling in Possibility
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 203

Emily Dickinson wrote that possibility was “a fairer house than prose.” What makes poetry the most “possible” of forms of writing? What can it do that other genres probably could, but often don’t? What are the potentialities — and pitfalls — of what used to be called “free verse”?
Moderator: Brett Rutherford. Panelists: Talvikki Ansel, Melissa Hotchkiss, Kate Schapira.


Cross-Genre Panel Discussion: Taking Place (and Time)
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 206

Every narrative (including some poems) takes place—happens somewhere, during some time. How do we create or re-create place and time in writing? How do place and time shape the actions and emotions that they hold?
Moderator: Nicki Toler. Panelists: Tina Chang, Jody Lisberger, Pamela Petro.


Fiction Panel Discussion: Character-Driven, Plot-Driven or What-Driven?
Swan/Independence Hall, Hoffman Room

Bradford Morrow once commented, “It’s such a beautiful piece of prose on how a bullet comes out of a gun that somebody’s gotta get hurt.” When you write, what gets the story started? Do you work from character and relationship and see what happens? Do you work from plot and situation—“What would happen if a physicist fell down a mineshaft?” Does a piece of language—whether found or invented—start you off? Fiction writers discuss the elements that drive their stories and how they bring the other elements in line.
Moderator: David Rutschman. Panelists: Amity Gaige, Robert Leuci, Aaron Tillman.


Workout Room Open
Alumni Building Meeting Room
*Note: Workout Room also available today from 3:30 - 4:00 p.m. and 4:15 - 5:30 p.m. (see below)

3:30 - 4:45 p.m. Craft Sessions I

Fiction Craft Session: Robin Lippincott
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 203

There are probably almost as many ways to tell a story as there are stories to tell. In this workshop, I'll look at examples of some of the less conventional ways, including uncommon uses of point of view, as well as other atypical narrative strategies, such as-story as inventory, story as collage, stories with multiple narrators, etc. Works to be discussed include Crime and Punishment, Faulkner's “A Rose for Emily,” Maura Stanton's “Scotland,” Madame Bovary, Lorrie Moore's “How To Become a Writer,” Susan Sontag's “The Way We Live Now” and others. We'll also do a related writing exercise.


Poetry Craft Session: Kate Schapira
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 201

Sometimes what’s most important to us is hardest to write about—often because what’s important to us is important to others, giving the feeling that “it’s all been said before.” In this workshop, we’ll look at a paradox of writing: that formal constraints, by cutting off some avenues and opening up others, can provide us with greater freedom to write about love, desire, faith, sadness and anger—the big stuff. We’ll read poems by Lisa Jarnot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Rosmarie Waldrop, as well as one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and write poems using existing or invented formal constraints.


Nonfiction Craft Session: Writing Place, Writing the Self:
Pamela Petro
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 202

How does where contribute to who, what and why? Participants will discuss the role of place in memoir and in the events that memoir chronicles. Readings (provided) from The Architect of Desire: Reality and Danger in the Stanford White Family, by Susannah Lessard (Delta, 1996).
  Workout Room Open
Alumni Building Meeting Room
4:45 - 6:00 p.m. Reading: Robin Lippincott & Nina Cassian
Swan/Independence Hall Auditorium

Workout Room Open
Alumni Building, Meeting Room
6:15 - 8:15 p.m. Drinks & Optional Dinner
University Club
8:30 p.m. Concert: The Music of Nina Cassian
Prof. Manabu Takasawa, pianist
Kerri O/Connor, clarinet
Memorial Union Ballroom

Sponsored with the University of Rhode Island Department of Music and Vibe of the Venue

A very special concert presenting the music of internationally known poet-composer Nina Cassian.

Admission is FREE with conference badge.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
9:00 - 10:15 a.m. Craft Sessions II

Fiction Craft Session: Alexander Chee
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 203

Many of us are familiar with the scene that comes to us without a plot, a little mysterious and aloof to our desire to write more of it.  Imposing a plot from the outside may seem a little unnatural, but how do you approach moving forward? In this class we'll look at several approaches, using exercises that take these scenes apart in order to help us better create plots organic to the material there. If possible, bring a recent scene of this kind to use in the class.

Poetry Craft Session: Denise Duhamel & Nick Carbò
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 201

When two people or more write one poem together, it is called collaborative poetry. The joys of collaborative poetry, the surprise and mayhem, the experiments in wickedness, can be adapted to many philosophies and temperaments. Poems that bicker and blend, poems with dialogue, poems in which two or more poets become one narrator: these poems all exploit the collaborative impulse. The poet Jane Miller notes that the process of collaboration, “animating one’s privacy with another person’s magic,” enabled her to begin to trust herself as a writer. In this workshop, we will attempt several collaborative poems using contemporary poets as models. Suggested reading: Saints of Hysteria: A Half-Century of Collaborative American Poetry (Soft Skull Press, 2007).


Non-Fiction Craft Session: Opinion, Tension and Risk: Robert Leuci
Swan/Independence, Hall, Room 204

Participants will read an article expressing an unpopular opinion on an emotionally and ethically charged subject and use their reactions—do we always react strongly because we feel strongly? Do we form opinions on our own or just accept the assessments of others? Have you ever gone against the prevailing wind, or decided to suppress an opinion because you were afraid of others’ responses?—to stimulate discussion and writing, and work to turn tension into a powerful force rather than something to avoid
12:00 Noon - 12:45 a.m.
(Bring your lunch along!)
MFA Q&A
Swan/Independence Hall, Hoffman Room
What actually happens in an MFA (Master of Fine Arts program)? What does it do for your writing? What does it do for you professionally? What can you expect from the instructors and from your fellow students? Three graduates of various MFA programs discuss their experiences and take your questions, and Peter Covino describes the projected low-residency MFA at URI.
Moderator: Gigi Edwards. Panelists: Talvikki Ansell, Peter Covino, Melissa Hotchkiss.
 

Panel Discussions II

Cross-Genre Panel Discussion: My Truth, Your Truth and The Truth
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 202


In writing about our own lives, we’re by definition writing about the lives of people who — for good or ill — are close to us. If they have a different or conflicting version, how can we negotiate that conflict, and how does it shape our writing and the choices we make? What do we do when someone who was there says, “That’s not what I remember?” or even, “That never happened?”
Moderator: Jean Walton. Panelists: Mary Cappello, Scott Hightower, Jody Lisberger.
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch: box lunches available
Independence Hall Lobby

1:15 - 2:15 p.m.

Keynote Address & Reading by Denise Duhamel and Nick Carbò: “Poetic Inspiration"
Swan/Independence Hall Auditorium

2:30 - 3:45 p.m. Publishing Events

Fiction Publishing: Annette Blair
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 201

Poetry Publishing: Wayne Miller
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 202

Nonfiction Publishing: Amy Caldwell
Swan/Independence Hall, Room 203

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Reading: University of Rhode Island Summer Faculty
Swan/Independence Hall, Hoffman Room

"WorkOut Rooms" Available
Swan/Independence Hall 201 and 201

5:00 - 5:30 p.m. Authors' Book Signing
Swan/Independence Hall Lobby
6:00 - 8:00 p.m. Reading: Conference Participants
Swan/Independence Hall Auditorium
Sunday, June 22, 2008

Enjoy beautiful Rhode Island!

Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
Did both find, helpers to their heart’s desire,
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
Were called upon to exercise their skill,
Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us, — the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!

 

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