WRITE, REVISE, PUBLISH! Flash & Microfiction Practice Taught by Cleaver Senior Flash Editor Kathryn Kulpa 5 weeks February 20—March 27 Asynchronous, with weekly (optional) Zoom meetings on Sunday evenings $200 Class limit: 12 Questions: [email protected]
Do you tend to procrastinate? Do you often do your best work under pressure? Do you sometimes start stories but never get around to finishing or revising them? Do you find the whole process of submitting work for publication stressful or depressing?
This five-week workshop is designed for busy writers who want to put writing time and accountability into their schedule with a combination of online prompts, real-time writing sessions, constructive revision suggestions, submission tips, and a group of writing buddies willing to take the submission plunge with you. We will focus on short flash (up to 500 words) and microfiction (up to 400 words). The first two weeks, we will work on generating new stories; in the third week, we’ll focus on revision; and by the fourth week, everyone will commit to submitting three stories for publication (as your classmates cheer you on).
Kathryn Kulpa, THE ART OF FLASH; AFTERBURN; FLASH BOOTCAMP; WRITE, REVISE, PUBLISH!, (flash fiction and nonfiction) was a winner of the Vella Chapbook Contest for her flash chapbook Girls on Film (Paper Nautilus) and has had work selected for inclusion in Best Microfiction 2020 and 2021 (Pelekinesis Press). Her flash fiction is published or forthcoming in Flash Frog, 100 Word Story, Monkeybicycle, Smokelong Quarterly, and Wigleaf, and she serves as chief flash editor for Cleaver Magazine. Kathryn has been a visiting writer at Wheaton College and has led writing workshops at the University of Rhode Island, Stonecoast Writers Conference at the University of Southern Maine, Writefest in Houston, Texas, and at public libraries throughout Rhode Island.
Memoirist Patricia Hampl said, “Memoir isn’t for reminiscence; it’s for exploration.” Just as nonfiction writers explore the world and the internal landscape of their lives, they also explore the landscape of language: What is the best way to tell your story? How can the form we choose help us convey complicated ideas and experiences? And how do we know when a structure is working for us, rather than limiting us?
To answer that last question, I’ll borrow a few words from writer Brandon Schrand: “[I]f you have finished reading something experimental and if by the end, you can’t imagine it written in any other way, then the piece was successful.”
In this class, we will explore the boundaries—and boundlessness—of creative nonfiction, diving deeply into questions of memory and language while trying our hands at various innovative forms. Topics will include:
Week One: Found Forms, also known as the “hermit crab essay”
Week Two: The Braided Essay, to help us write what’s too hard to speak about directly
Week Three: Nonlinear Narrative, a breaking-free to flash backward and forward in time
Week Four: The Lyric Essay, where poetry and prose intersect
We will have weekly readings, writing prompts, peer workshops (asynchronous through Canvas), and discussions (synchronous through Zoom: 11am – 12pm EST on Sundays 2/6, 2/13, 2/20, and 2/27). Students will also revise one essay for instructor feedback. We welcome both new and experienced writers looking for motivation, structure, and enthusiastic feedback on their work.
Sydney Tammarine’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, B O D Y, Pithead Chapel, The New School’s LIT, and other journals. Her essay “Blue Hour” was selected as a Notable Essay in TheBest American Essays 2021. She is the co-translator of a book of poems, The Most Beautiful Cemetery in Chile. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Hollins University and teaches writing at Virginia Military Institute. She has led workshops at The Ohio State University, Hollins University, Otterbein University, and at high schools, including as Writer-in-Residence at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School. She serves as flash and creative nonfiction editor for Cleaver.
EKPHRASTIC POETRY: The Art of Words on Art taught by Cleaver Poetry Editor Claire Oleson January 22 — February 26, 2022 Asynchronous with optional Zoom meetings 11 am ET on Saturdays 1/29, 2/5, and 2/26 $200 Class Limit: 14
Questions: [email protected]
In this course, we will read and write ekphrastic work: that is, poetry that responds to, echoes, amplifies, and or converses with works of visual art. This class aims to both expose participants to a wide variety of ekphrastic writings as well as cultivate their own ability to see beyond the literal and bring the personal in conversation with the descriptive. Far more than merely describing a painting or detailing a sculpture, this workshop asks its students to learn how to place their own voice on the paint, on the marble, and come away with far more than a museum plaque is asked to offer.
Each week, we will look at two to three poems that focus on a shared medium of artwork and investigate how they bring something illuminative and transformative to the pieces they draw from. This class is designed to create a platform on which to find, develop, and hone the ability to apply language to art. Navigating the gap between the two, and gaining the sight to selectively amplify and diminish the desired elements, will allow the poet’s voice to not only present a painting, but more vitally, present their own gaze on a specific piece’s role in a specific onlooker’s life.
For five weeks, participants will be encouraged to find themselves within their language and explore the ways in which they may take on an identifiable sense of voice, self, and vision on the works of art they choose to investigate. Fundamentally, this is a workshop about seeing one’s own eyes and inviting readers into that sight.
We will work primarily on generating new work, encouraging participants to push their boundaries and hone their vision to create memorable and authentic writing. The workshop model will facilitate constructive responses from both peers and the instructor. Particular attention will be placed on the spaces between art and writing that the participants bring to class. Works of art will also be provided for prompts, but participants will be highly encouraged to bring works of art to the class that they are attached to and inspired by.
The readings will be brief but rich, with the intent of inviting multiple re-readings, close readings, note-taking and flexibility for everyone’s lives and work. Supplemental reading will be available for those hungry for more plums from the proverbial icebox. Prompts will be provided inspired by the week’s reading, but will be designed more as springboards for beginning rather than hard-and-fast regulations. Work will be submitted weekly for peer and instructor review. One piece will be chosen by the student for revision for the final class. Optional Zoom conferences will be held to discuss the reading for those interested. We welcome both new and experienced writers looking for motivation, structure, and constructive criticism.
A final optional Zoom meeting will be held as a reading of our work. This will be a veritable museum showcase!
Claire Oleson is a queer writer and 2020 Emerging Writer Fellow at the Center for Fiction. Her work has been published by the Kenyon Review online, the University of Kentucky’s graduate literary journal Limestone, the LA Review of Books, and Newfound Press, among others. She is the 2019 winner of the Newfound Prose Prize and the Poetry Editor at Cleaver Magazine. Her chapbook, Things from the Creek Bed We Could Have Been, debuted May, 2020.
Schedule (January 22 – February 26)
New Modules posted on Mondays,
Pieces due by Friday, 11:59,
Feedback from All Due by Sunday, 11:59
Zoom sessions on Saturdays at 11 AM
One on Jan 29th, one on Feb 5
Final zoom reading: Feb 26
1: Introductions: What is Ekphrasis?
We will open with an investigation of what Ekphrasis means as well as how the instructor is applying the term to push participants to explore writing that does more than merely describe. This week will focus on writing inspired by paintings with particular attention paid to how poets may bring their voices to subvert the expectations of what it means to make art about art.
2: Picture This: The Snapshot
This week, we will dive into writing that borrows inspiration from photography. With the intentions of the brush stroke gone, how do we come to understand both the hand behind the camera and behind the keyboard at once? We will ask how we can see voice and vision in a space that may seem objective, but can be anything but, given the right framing and focus.
3: Sculpted Expressions
This module will explore writing on sculpture and physical form. This week will also encourage the participants to write in a poetic form of their choosing, with resources on form provided. In changing our formal approach to a slightly stricter medium, we will get closer to the limitations and the freedoms of what it means to cleave stone with verse.
4: The Personal Canvas
After a week of stricter bounds, this second to last week will ask participants to select a medium of their own choosing to explore in writing and consider how they might translate its emotion, physicality, intention, and impact into their own language.
5: The Final Framing
In this final module, we will take a moment to look at pieces that invite ekphrasis into their stanzas, but do not center on one single piece of art, or even art itself, for their entirety. Poets will be asked to revise one piece from the course and diversify their focus in revision: including their ekphrastic work inside a larger world of writing and reflection. This will allow us to hone the intention of what art to include in our writing, where, and perhaps most cruciall—why?