Category: Thoughts and Musings

Waves

When I think about the skills I have acquired as a playwright in the world, I am amazed at how well they serve me when asked to be articulate about something for a greater purpose than to be produced or published. I can revise on my feet in the moment; I can collaborate with people who don’t have the back story; I can build a narrative.

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Mapping the Novel

Early this month I printed out the 300 pages of my novel draft and laid them out in a snaking pattern, chapter by chapter, around my house. With my husband away at a theater fellowship, there was no one around to complain about the commandeering of every room. For the next two weeks I wandered about in the story at random, revising out of sequence, getting to know the layout. Most pages were on the floor, and it added some stretching and yoga to my writing day to get down close enough to see the words. By the end of it I could visualize a map of it from start to finish as easily as I can of the county in Tennessee where I grew up.

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Writing Evil for Children: Three Burning Churches and the Civil Rights Movement

Three churches in Louisiana. The FBI is investigating. Is it arson, a hate crime, a sign of things to come? All of the above, most likely, if the past is any judge. But like the spirituals and musicals, like any good children’s book, the news stories this week are ending in hope. A fourth church opened up its congregation last Sunday. Two choirs sang. And the people lifted their voices. They stood up, and carried on.

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Writing Between the Lines: The story of a cat

We readers don’t need the writer to tell us how she felt about it. Like a punch in the gut, that simple stark fact sends us straight to the howling, unspeakable grief produced by the conflation of these two disasters, the loss of her marriage and, we have to say, the much bigger loss of her true soulmate, the cat. We don’t need her to tell us, either here or through the whole ten chapters of this section, that her cat companion was superior to her human one in every way imaginable: sensitivity, loyalty, kindness, moral character, intelligence. All that is abundantly clear from the straightforward evidence of these traits that she provides. She doesn’t need to say, Wow, wasn’t Matilda smart to figure out how to open the refrigerator door in the service of labeling and shaming disgraceful human behavior? All that she leaves to us, and we believe it much more deeply by figuring it out ourselves than we would by being told. We see the incredible cat continue to unfold new and amazing abilities as the humans stay locked in their destructive downward spiral.

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Craft

If you were a writer or a reader of a certain age—say, under 30, or even 40—in the early 1980s, and you were interested in short stories, Raymond Carver was a constant topic of discussion. He was the most prominent representative of a style that was also a constant topic of discussion. It was commonly called minimalism, though I always preferred the term miniaturism. “Minimalism” suggested minimalizing, whereas, at least in my interpretation, the power of the style was to reveal a new world, only in miniature. It relied on contrasts: the lean text and the rich subtext, the surface cool hiding a kind of hellfire, the emotional distance that, seemingly paradoxically, suggests a raw-to-the-marrow fear. In short (or miniature): complex effects through the fewest strokes.

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Panic at Trancisco

The best part of beginning again after so much ending again is that my own rate of revelations happen much faster. I have a map. I made it myself with Goddard experts who enthusiastically shared their compasses. I think back to my first semester and the time I spent muzzling Majesty Wells inside a bloodstained trunk while I looked for my keys. This is better. There are clean restrooms ahead and Orson is just another passenger dozing under pulsing streetlamps.

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Subtext and Text

We confronted the building and came away proud by re-learning what makes a scar and what can provide healing – adventure with a friend to defy the norm, create ritual and witness.

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EVENTS

may

07may5:30 pm7:00 pmMAY 7th Goddard MFA Zoom Information MeetingMeet Goddard College MFA in Creating Writing's program director Elena Georgiou and learn how our low-residency MFA program can help you develop your voice as a writer in the world.

Event Details

Find out more about the Goddard low residency MFA in Creative Writing on May 7th.  Meet Program Director Elena Georgiou and discover why the first low residency MFA program in the country is still thriving and may be the best for you!

GODDARD HONORS YOUR VOICE, YOUR VISION, YOUR GOALS AND YOUR LIFE.  OUR AWARD-WINNING FACULTY IS HERE TO HELP YOU DEVELOP THE SKILLS YOU NEED TO CREATE THE PROJECT YOU CAME TO WRITE. OUR RESIDENCIES GIVE YOU THE FREEDOM TO EXPERIMENT OR DIVE DEEPLY INTO YOUR GENRE.  NO LECTURES, NO REQUIRED TRACKS, NO ONE ELSE’S CANON.

Goddard’s model is ideal for people with commitments to family or work who choose to hone their writing skills at the same time. The Goddard MFA program enables you to tailor your study to any of a wide variety of genres: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, graphic novel, and hybrid forms, and to learn from a diverse faculty of published authors. Goddard also offers playwriting, screenwriting, TV writing, and libretto writing from our Vermont campus, through one-on-one mentorship from working writers in the TV, theatre, film, and opera fields.

Goddard’s program takes place on two coasts: Port Townsend, WA in February and July, and Plainfield, VT in January and July.

To join the call, and find out more about Goddard, please RSVP to Admissions Counselor Rhonda Brace (rhonda.brace@goddard.edu) and she will send you a Zoom meeting link to participate.

Deadlines to apply: May 15th for Vermont and June 1st for Washington, so don’t put it off! 

Time

(Tuesday) 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm EST

Location

Virtual

Organizer

Goddard College Admissionsrhonda.brace@goddard.edu

14may5:30 pm7:00 pmSecond Goddard MFA Zoom Information Meeting in MayMeet Goddard College MFA in Creating Writing's program director Elena Georgiou and learn how our low-residency MFA program can help you develop your voice as a writer in the world.

Event Details

This May, TWO chances to find out more about the Goddard low residency MFA in Creative Writing before our application deadlines.  Join us May 7th OR May 14th.  Meet Program Director Elena Georgiou and discover why the first low residency MFA program in the country is still thriving and may be the best for you!

GODDARD HONORS YOUR VOICE, YOUR VISION, YOUR GOALS AND YOUR LIFE.  OUR AWARD-WINNING FACULTY IS HERE TO HELP YOU DEVELOP THE SKILLS YOU NEED TO CREATE THE PROJECT YOU CAME TO WRITE. OUR RESIDENCIES GIVE YOU THE FREEDOM TO EXPERIMENT OR DIVE DEEPLY INTO YOUR GENRE.  NO LECTURES, NO REQUIRED TRACKS, NO ONE ELSE’S CANON.

Goddard’s model is ideal for people with commitments to family or work who choose to hone their writing skills at the same time. The Goddard MFA program enables you to tailor your study to any of a wide variety of genres: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, graphic novel, and hybrid forms, and to learn from a diverse faculty of published authors. Goddard also offers playwriting, screenwriting, TV writing, and libretto writing from our Vermont campus, through one-on-one mentorship from working writers in the TV, theatre, film, and opera fields.

Goddard’s program takes place on two coasts: Port Townsend, WA in February and July, and Plainfield, VT in January and July.

To join the call, and find out more about Goddard, please RSVP to Admissions Counselor Rhonda Brace (rhonda.brace@goddard.edu) and she will send you a Zoom meeting link to participate.

Deadlines to apply: May 15th for Vermont and June 1st for Washington, so don’t put it off! 

Time

(Tuesday) 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm EST

Location

Virtual

Organizer

Goddard College Admissionsrhonda.brace@goddard.edu

june

29jun3:00 pm5:00 pmMATVEI YANKELEVICH coming to the Vermont residency

Event Details

In 1993, Matvei Yankelevich began publishing the Ugly Duckling zine, which transformed, in the late 1990s, into Ugly Duckling Presse. At UDP, Matvei curates the Eastern European Poets Series (since 2002), and edits and designs various books. He also co-edited the Emergency Gazette (1998-2002) and 6×6 magazine from 2000-2017. He served as UDP’s Co-Executive Director with Anna Moschovakis for about ten years, and is now a member of the Working Collective as Managing Editor and Production Manager.

Matvei is the author of Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt (Black Square), the poetry collection Alpha Donut (United Artists), the novella-in-fragments Boris by the Sea (Octopus), and several chapbooks, including The Nature Poetry of Matvei Yankelevich (Knock-Off), The Present Work (Palm Press), and Writing in the Margin (Loudmouth Collective). His writing has appeared in A Perimeter, ActionYes, BOMB Magazine, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Damn the Caesars, Fence, Mandorla, Open City, Tantalum, Weekday, Zen Monster, and other little magazines.

He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (for translation) and the New York Foundation for the Arts (for poetry).
His translations of Daniil Kharms were collected in Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms (Ardis/Overlook) and received praise from the TLS, the Guardian, the New York Times, and elsewhere. His co-translation (with Eugene Ostashevsky) of Alexander Vvedensky’s An Invitation for Me to Think (NYRB) received the National Translation Award in 2014. His translations have appeared in Calque, Circumference, Harpers, New American Writing, Poetry, and the New Yorker; and in several anthologies, including OBERIU: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism (Northwestern) and Night Wraps the Sky: Writings by and about Mayakovsky (FSG).

His critical writing includes essays on Conceptual Poetry (LA Review of Books) and on Russian-American poetry (Octopus). He edited a portfolio of Contemporary Russian Poetry and Poetics for the magazine Aufgabe (No. 8, Fall 2009). Matvei teaches for the Columbia University’s School of the Arts (Writing Division) and is a member of the Writing faculty at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. He has taught seminars and workshops at Queens College, Wesleyan University, Long Island University, Hunter College, Colorado College, Naropa’s Summer Writing Program, and the Poetry Project.

Yankelevich’s workshop is open to current students and also alumni of the MFAW program.  Participants in the summer Clockhouse Writers Conference are especially welcome to put this professional development opportunity on their calendars!

Time

(Saturday) 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm est

Location

Goddard College, Plainfield Campus

123 Pitkin Rd

july

13julalldayPublisher Andy Hunter to visit Port Townsend campus in July

Event Details

Andy Hunter is the Publisher & COO of Catapult, the Publisher of Literary Hub, and co-founding Chairman of Electric Literature, Hunter and his teams at each organization are exploring literary culture, supporting digital innovation in storytelling, and expanding the community of writers, readers, and publishers.

Catapult, launched in 2016, has recently made headlines by publishing award-winning fiction and nonfiction of the highest literary caliber; it offers writing classes taught by acclaimed emerging and established writers, produces an award-winning daily online magazine of narrative nonfiction and fiction, and hosts an open online platform where writers can showcase their own writing, find resources, and get inspired. Catapult nurtures emerging writers by helping them better their craft, and supports more established writers by evenly sharing revenues from the classes they teach, and by paying to publish their work online. Catapult strives to be a successful business model for the future of independent publishing.

Andy will be on campus to talk to current students and alumni on July 13th.  Stay tuned for more details!

Time

All Day (Saturday)

15jul7:00 pm8:30 pmCamille Dungy to join the Port Townsend residency in July

Event Details

Award-winning poet and writer, Camille T. Dungy, will be joining the Port Townsend residency this summer.  She will be giving a public reading on July 15th in the evening, with a workshop the next morning open to current Goddard MFAW students and alumni.  Join us for an evening of reading and conversation with this 2019 Guggenheim Fellow!

Dungy’s debut collection of personal essays is Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History(W. W. Norton, 2017), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is also the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan UP, 2017), winner of the Colorado Book Award. Her other poetry collections are Smith Blue (Southern Illinois UP, 2011), finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award, Suck on the Marrow (Red Hen Press, 2010), winner of the American Book Award, and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (Red Hen Press, 2006), finalist for PEN the Center USA Literary Award for Poetry. Dungy edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (UGA, 2009), co-edited the From the Fishouse poetry anthology (Persea, 2009), and served as assistant editor on Gathering Ground: Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (University of Michigan Press, 2006). Her poems and essays have appeared in Best American PoetryBest American Travel Writing100 Best African American Poems, nearly 30 other anthologies, plus dozens of print and online venues including Poetry, American Poetry Review, VQR, Guernica, and Poets.org. Other honors include two Northern California Book Awards, a California Book Award silver medal, two NAACP Image Award nominations, two Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominations, fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and fellowships from the NEA in both poetry and prose. Dungy is currently a Professor in the English Department at Colorado State University. She lives in Fort Collins, CO with her husband and child.

Time

(Monday) 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

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