Generative Workshop FacultyWriters Behaving Badly (Peter Ho Davies)
Paradoxically, while there are many, often helpful “rules of thumb” for writing good fiction—show don’t tell, write what you know, etc. —writers, at heart, are rule breakers. In this class we’ll consider some of the unspoken “you-can’t-write-that!” rules that censor our work (and this is about silencing the inner censor, not the inner critic) . . . and then set out to break them.
Peter Ho Davies is the author of the novel The Welsh Girl (2007) and the story collections The Ugliest House in the World (1997) and Equal Love (2000). His work has appeared in Harpers, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The Guardian, Independent, Washington Post and Chicago Tribune, among others. His short fiction has been widely anthologized, including selections for Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards 1998 and Best American Short Stories 1995, 96 and 2001. In 2003 Granta magazine named him among its twenty “Best of Young British Novelists”. The Welsh Girl was ‘long-listed’ for the Man Booker Prize 2007, and short-listed for The Galaxy British Book Awards ‘Richard and Judy’ Best Read in 2008. Davies is a recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He is a 2008 recipient of the PEN/Malamud award. Born in Britain in 1966 to Welsh and Chinese parents, Davies now makes his home in the US. He has taught at the University of Oregon and Emory University and is now on the faculty of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Patience and Pacing (Tarfia Faizullah)
A.A. Milne wrote, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” In a world that seems to be moving faster and faster, it can be tempting to want our poems to write themselves as quickly. In this generative workshop, we’ll discuss patience as process, and read and discuss poems that model the value of patience and pacing.
Poet, editor, and educator Tarfia Faizullah was born in 1980 in Brooklyn, NY and raised in west Texas. She received an MFA in poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University and is the author of Seam (SIU 2014), which U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey calls “beautiful and necessary,” as well as Register of Eliminated Villages (forthcoming from Graywolf 2017). Seam is the recipient of the 2015 Great Lake College Association New Writers Awards, the 2015 VIDA Award in Poetry, and the 2015 Binghamton University Milton Kessler Poetry Book Award. Her other honors include a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Ploughshares Cohen Award, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, as well as scholarships and fellowships from Kundiman, Bread Loaf, Kenyon Review, Sewanee, and Vermont Studio Center. Her poems appear in Poetry Magazine, Poetry Daily, Oxford American, Ploughshares, jubilat, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and elsewhere. Poems have also been anthologized in Best New Poets 2013 (Meridian), The Book of Scented Things (Rose O’Neill Literary House Press), Please Excuse this Poem: 100 Poems for the Next Generation (Viking/Penguin), and Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry (University of Southern Carolina Press). Tarfia serves as a contributing editor for The Offing. She is the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor of Poetry in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She co-directs the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press and Video Series with Jamaal May, and lives in Detroit, MI.
From Anecdote to Essay: Facticity and Imagination (Kerry Howley)
In this generative workshop, we’ll transform mundane facts into mysterious acts of invention. Building from our own static, oft-told anecdotes, we’ll find a new fluidity in sclerotic histories, layering, imposing, and synthesizing as only the essayist can. Through imitative prompts and directed revisions, we’ll work to invest otherwise mundane facts with a new lyric power. While the exercises, prompts, and revisions will be specific and concrete, this workshop is appropriate for literary essayists of any stripe, from lyric to personal to journalistic.
Kerry Howley’s essays, reviews, stories and reportage have appeared in The Paris Review, Harper’s, New York Magazine, Granta, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Gulf Coast, Vice.com, and frequently in Bookforum. She holds an MFA from the University of Iowa, where she was admitted as an Arts Fellow and subsequently served as the 2012 Provost’s Visiting Writer in Nonfiction. Thrown, her book-length essay, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2014 and is forthcoming in German, British, Dutch, French, and Swedish editions. Howley is an assistant professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program. She lives in Iowa City with her husband, son, and Vizsla.
Morris Collins’s first novel, Horse Latitudes (MP Publishing USA) was released in 2013 and will be reprinted in a second edition by Dzanc Books later this year. Other fiction and poetry has recently appeared in Pleiades, Gulf Coast, The Chattahoochee Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Nimrod among others. Morris lives in Boston and is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the College of the Holy Cross.
Sara Eliza Johnson’s first book, Bone Map (Milkweed 2014), was selected for the 2013 National Poetry Series. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Boston Review, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, Meridian, the Best New Poets series, Salt Hill, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, two Winter Fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, a scholarship to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and an Academy of American Poets Prize from the University of Utah, where she was a Vice Presidential Fellow in Poetry.
David Stuart Maclean is a Pen/American award-winning writer. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, The New York Times, The GuardianUK, the Times of London, Gulf Coast, Quarterly West, and on the radio program This American Life. His book The Answer to the Riddle is Me was named a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews and it won the Midland Authors Society’s Best Biography/Memoir. He has a PhD from the University of Houston and is a co-founder of the Poison Pen Reading Series. He was the 2013-2014 Elma Stuckey Writer in Residence at Columbia College. He lives in Chicago with his wife, kids, and dog.