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The Poet's Workshop


The Poet's Workshop

The Poet's Workshop
10 Thursdays with Georgia Pearle September 6 thru November 8 6:00 to 9:00 $360
Together we will cultivate an attunement to the sensory world, find the spaces where language can propel itself through silence, and sharpen our incisors on the formal elements that make poetry ring clearly and beautifully.
We will be reading to see what we can glean from other poet’s successes, with a particular eye to their use of image, sound, and prosody, rhythm, voice and tone, breaks in lines and stanzas, and other elements of form. As a community of writers coming to poetry, we will practice being good first readers for each other’s fledgling drafts. We’ll also approach revision together, finding ways to scratch closer and closer to our poems’ best final forms, and each workshop participant will receive written editorial critiques on their poems with suggestions for how to move forward.
We’ll write with the presumption that somewhere and somehow, we’ll have readers and listeners for our work. To that end, we’ll also approach how to get poems into print, how to decide where to aim when trying to publish, and how to read and perform our own poems so that they’re as live for our audiences as they are in our own minds.
Born and raised in the Gulf South, Georgia Pearle is an alumna of Smith College and holds an MFA in Poetry from Lesley University. She has been a coordinator of the VIDA Count, the digital editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and the recipient of the Inprint Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Terrain.org, WSQ, and others, and are forthcoming with Ninth Letter and Crab Orchard Review. She is in her final year as a Doctoral Fellow in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Houston, where she holds a CLASS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. She is at work on a collection of poems as well as a memoir. www.gpearle.comOTHER EVENTS at GRACKLE AND GRACKLE:
Variations in Prose:Chapbook Anthology10 Wednesdayswith Miah Arnold9/12-11/14 from 10-1$360In this round of Variations in Prose, we will produce a small chapbook anthology of our work. Before that, this energetic, engaging fiction and nonfiction writing workshop will name and examine the unique strengths of your prose. It will offer guidance to further texturize your work into full, developed stories by exploring the murky and extensive waters of prose – of fiction and non-fiction, and all the place in-between. We write prompts, read each other’s work, as well as the work of outside readers. Some students may be working on smaller length projects, some work on longer memoirs and novels. This class usually boasts a small core of writers who have taken it for a couple of years.  Thus, in this group you receive not only expert instruction from the instructor, but from exceedingly engaged and thoughtful fellow writers.
Miah Arnold, PhD, has taught creative writing for the past twenty years through Houston non-profits including Inprint, Writers in the Schools, and Aurora Picture Show as well as University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown, Houston Community College, and Georgia College. Her essay “You Owe Me” about working for M.D. Anderson via Writers in the Schools was selected by Best American Essays in 2012. Her first novel, Sweet Land of Bigamy, was published in 2012.
Starting and Finishingwith Claire Anderson8 Mondays9/10 to 10-29$300
This eight-week course will give prose writers the oomph needed to finish one piece of writing and start another. In pursuit of perfection, we can find ourselves workshopping the same story, essay, or chapter over and over without ever getting to that “final” publication stage. This class gives writers a chance to pull one of those almost-finished projects out of the proverbial drawer, get it as close to done as possible, and send it out into the world once and for all. We will use concrete revision strategies to achieve that final polish, create plans for submission, and overcome fears of imperfection by cutting ties with our darlings. The life cycle of our writing doesn’t end there—we will also generate fresh ideas, voices, and energy for a new piece of prose. Bring a piece of fiction or nonfiction that is almost done and an idea for a new writing project to our first class meeting.
Claire Fuqua Anderson is an English Lecturer at the University of Houston, where she has taught for six years. She received her MFA from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program and has taught creative writing workshops for Inprint, Boldface Conference, and Grackle & Grackle Writing Enterprises. In 2017, she was a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant Award, funded by the City the Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. She is working on a novel set during the Dust Bowl.
Between Us and Ourselves: The Art of Personal Essay with Jessica Wilbanks 3 Tuesdays 6-9 9/18, 9/25, 10/2 $140
In the words of Michel de Montaigne, “We are all patchwork . . and there is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others.” More than any other genre, personal essays are committed to exploration. The most powerful essays pivot upon a subject that mystifies and confounds the writer, about which they cannot quite make up their mind.
In this workshop, we'll mine our lives for material and work through a series of prompts designed to turn rich, messy fragments into surprising and powerful essays. We’ll steal liberally from the sensory world of poetry, the narrative world of fiction, and the fact-driven world of journalism, even as we plumb the depths of interior life. Along the way, we’ll read and discuss essayistic pieces by writers who can teach us how to build a strong narrative arc, write vivid scenes, and prioritize the rich details that make prose come alive.
All levels of experience are welcome. Please bring your favorite writing tools, such as a laptop or a notebook and pen. Jessica Willbanks is the author of When I Spoke in Tongues, a memoir forthcoming from Beacon Press in 2018. An accomplished nonfiction writer and essayist, Jessica has received a Pushcart Prize as well as awards from national literary journals such as Ninth Letter, Sycamore Review, Redivider, and Ruminate. Her essay “On the Far Side of the Fire,” which drew from a reporting trip to the Niger Delta, received a Notable Mention in The Best American Essays 2014 and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014, was selected as a Longreads Member Pick, and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA’s prestigious Literary Award in Journalism. 

Literary Journalism with Allyn West 4 Tuesdays 6-9 10/9-10/30 $170
Literary Journalism is much more than who, what, when, where and why. We might call it a lot of things, but literary journalism is rooted in the writer’s ability to home in on a timely question and conduct interviews, do research and immerse herself in a community, if only for a moment. This four-week workshop will explore what literary journalism looks like and will lead to production of new work about a community that matters to you.
Allyn West  is an editor and writer at the Houston Chronicle for Gray Matters. Previously, he worked as a writer for the Rice Design Alliance and Swamplot. He graduated from the University of Houston in 2015 with a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing.

Songwriting September 30 to Nov 4 Sundays 10:30-12:30 $185
If you've ever dreamed of writing a song, recording it, and having a copy of it, this is the class for you. The class creates music from the ground up -- focusing on the music, the lyrics, and the ways they come together in a thorough and supportive environment. The goal of this workshop is that you come up with a new song (and of course learn how to make many more). We’ll go through the theory of the song and its different examples, and we’ll plant the seed, nourish and finally harvest your creation, class after class. A bit of musical knowledge is needed, but just a bit. Six 2-hour sessions held on a weekly basis.
 Lucas Masllorens is a journalist and musician. As a journalist he has produced and hosted a radio show devoted to jazz and created music collections for magazines, among other projects. As a musician he’s a multi-instrumentalist that played in and composed for several bands. He was also the founder of Oven Music, a production company for advertising and film scores. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, he moved to Houston in 2016.
Houston Flaneur NEW Memorial Location with Allyn West Sat 9/21, Sun 9/22 1-5 $160
Houston is a city of driving, but it becomes more pleasurable – and more interesting – when you’re walking. This two-day writing workshop updates the figure of the flaneur – defined by Charles Baudelaire as a “passionate spectator” in the late 1800s – for our contemporary age and encourages a literature of observation. As described by Bijan Steven in the Paris Review: In this unusual and exciting two day essay workshop in which Allyn West -- former Cite magazine writer and current Gray Matters editor for the Houston Chronicle -- will lead a workshop for essays you might find in a place like Gray Matters. It will concentrate on placemaking, in the spirit of the literary flâneur. 
Fair warning: In the spirit of the flaneur, this workshop will involve significant time spent walking around a neighborhood. The Memorial location is in a beautiful sun room in a home newly restored after Hurricane Harvey.
Allyn West  is an editor and writer at the Houston Chronicle for Gray Matters. Previously, he worked as a writer for the Rice Design Alliance and Swamplot. He graduated from the University of Houston in 2015 with a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing.

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