Beginning with Poetry w/ John Morrison

Beginning with Poetry w/ John Morrison

"There is so much pleasure in poetry. Yes, there’s heartache, and mystery, and play, and drama, but there’s pure pleasure in the writing, the reading, and the sharing. Honestly, there’s just pleasure in joining the company of poets. This session is for those who are interested writing or sharing your poetry but you’re not quite sure. What will a workshop be like? What will others think? Will I belong? “Beginning with Poetry” is your opportunity and now is your time. Although the session is available to all, we will always be mindful of writers who haven’t been in a workshop or haven’t been for a long time. For inspiration and edification, we’ll read marvelous poems from a range of established writers, generate some of our own work, and share. Expect not only a lot of fun, expect the doors of the House of Poetry to open and welcome you inside."

Learn more.

Monthly Poetry Gathering and Workshop w/ John Morrison

Monthly Poetry Gathering and Workshop w/ John Morrison

"Here’s a workshop that can flow with the longer rhythms of your writing. A Saturday morning of each month, we’ll gather and share poems in a comfortable but focused fashion.

You choose the poem to share based on what feedback you are looking for; the poems could range from one you want ready to submit for publication, to an experimental piece that needs a supportive but critical eye.

Along the way we’ll talk about craft and how to grow and sustain a fulfilling practice, which includes the company of fellow poets.  Come ready to share your poems and insights and to carry generous feedback home to your writing desk."

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Exploring the Ode w/ Matthew Dickman

Exploring the Ode w/ Matthew Dickman

"The beginning of the New Year is a good time to celebrate the things and people we love. In this six-week class we will be exploring the celebratory form of The Ode through reading famous (and infamous) Odes by writers such as Pablo Neruda, Rita Dove, Lorca, and Galway Kinnell among others while writing and sharing our own. This is not a critical workshop but an exploratory one. Come celebrate with me!"

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Telling Our Stories Through Food Workshop w/ Zahir Janmohamed

Telling Our Stories Through Food Workshop w/ Zahir Janmohamed

Did you try to bake something ambitious at the start of the pandemic and fail? Great. I did, too. That’s sort of what this class is about: what can our food stories tell us about ourselves? Food is an incredible vehicle to speak about pleasure, pain, history, family, nostalgia, place, race, gender, class, sexuality, colonialism—you name it. In this course, we will read examples of powerful, first person food essays, as well as write our own food stories. Each class will feature a mixture of generative exercises and workshop. We will also hear from a guest speaker about how to write a recipe.

Learn more.

Art of Personal Essay and Memoir w/ Lee Montgomery

Art of Personal Essay and Memoir w/ Lee Montgomery

"Personal essays and memoir represent some of the most adventurous writing today. Pushing narrative boundaries, utilizing traditional and nontraditional forms, this type of writing explores individuality and the minutiae of life unlike any other form. This workshop will help students explore the world of memoir and personal essay writing and understand both traditional and nontraditional narrative strategies available to them. Though the class will be run as a classic workshop, where students will submit their work to be reviewed in class, it will also combine craft lectures, outside reading, and in-class exercises."

Learn more.

Story Energy w/ Joanna Rose

Story Energy w/ Joanna Rose

"Tension draws writer and reader into any story and evokes more deeply human experience. The constant adjusting of tension affects pacing and drives story in countless ways:  interactions among characters, sentence structure,  and even word choice. We’ll use excerpts from published works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry as well as work submitted weekly by participants to explore how the use of tension can create a vivid, visceral narrative."

Learn more.

Tin House Residencies 2022 Deadline This Weekend

The deadline for Tin House's 2022 Residencies is Sunday, November 21st.

Every residency comes with a $1,200 stipend and a month-long stay in a furnished apartment in Portland. This upcoming year's residencies include:

Without Borders Residency (May 2022)
This residency is intended for writers born outside of the United States and working on a full-length project. 

First Book Residency (June 2022)
This residency is intended for debut writers who have not yet published a full-length book. Applicants may be under contract but cannot be scheduled to publish their debuts until 2023. Chapbooks and self-published works do not count towards this requirement.

Parents Residency (July 2022)
This residency is intended to support writers with children 18 years of age or younger.

General Residency (August 2022)
This residency is intended for any writer working on a full-length manuscript.

Apply now.

Portland Book Festival 2021 in-person events start tomorrow!

Literary Reminder:

The in-person portion of the Portland Book Festival starts tomorrow. Begin your day at PBF's main venue, the Portland Art Museum, but then make your way to other readings nearby.

One event you don't want to miss is previous Attic Fellow Omar El Akkad's chat with Myriam J. A. Chancy in the Portland Art Museum's Field's Ballroom @ 10:00am:

"Two haunting novels explore our contemporary crises through stories of people in the middle of them. Featuring Myriam J. A. Chancy (What Storm, What Thunder), Omar El Akkad (What Strange Paradise), moderated by Andrew Proctor."

Don't forget to bring your ID, your in-person festival pass, and proof of vaccination! 

Art of Personal Essay and Memoir w/ Lee Montgomery

Art of Personal Essay and Memoir w/ Lee Montgomery

"Personal Essays and memoir represent some of the most adventurous writing today. Pushing narrative boundaries, utilizing traditional and nontraditional forms, this type of writing explores individuality and the minutiae of life unlike any other form. This workshop will help students explore the world of memoir and personal essay writing and understand both traditional and nontraditional narrative strategies available to them. Though the class will be run as a classic workshop, where students will submit their work to be reviewed in class, it will also combine craft lectures, outside reading, and in-class exercises. Students are expected to workshop twice. This will include their original essay submitted to class plus a revision."

Learn more.

Writing and Spirit w/ Philip Kenney

Writing and Spirit w/ Philip Kenney

"We live and write from the paradox of effort and letting go. The courage to stand in that tension is as much a matter of spirit as it is skill. Good writing requires knowing when to work hard and when to pause, be still and listen to silence. This workshop will explore the challenges and opportunities inherent in stepping up and getting out of the way. Our meetings will be structured around a question and a poem. We will consider questions that clarify what is it that gets in the way. How does self-worth and emotional trauma disturb the silence? Can vulnerability become an asset in our work? In addition, each class will take its theme from a favorite poem and will include writing prompts designed to enhance the material. Readings will be suggested as needed."

Learn more.

Story Energy w/ Joanna Rose

Story Energy w/ Joanna Rose

"Tension draws writer and reader into any story and evokes more deeply human experience. The constant adjusting of tension affects pacing and drives story in countless ways:  interactions among characters, sentence structure,  and even word choice. We’ll use excerpts from published works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry as well as work submitted weekly by participants to explore how the use of tension can create a vivid, visceral narrative."

Learn more.

The Writers' Laboratory: Life Stories w/ Lee Montgomery

The Writers' Laboratory: Life Stories w/ Lee Montgomery

"Frank Conroy, the longtime director of the Iowa Writers Workshop, once said that in good writing, you can feel a soul pressing up against the narrative. The question is how do writers  access the “soul” that translates into good storytelling? We’ll first focus on finding the soul that’s pushing you to write by offering a true laboratory, a safe place to inspire and experiment with new ideas generated by in-class prompts and exercises. We will talk about the craft of narrative, as well. Students will be required to read assigned essays and memoir excerpts outside of class to get a sense of the forms and techniques of narrative. The hope is students will be well on their way with a map for a new project by the end of class. The Writer’s Laboratory is ideal for beginning writers but also for more established writers seeking to generate new lively autobiographical material."

Learn more.

Creating a Writer's Notebook: Artifact and Mulch w/ Wendy Willis

Creating a Writer's Notebook: Artifact and Mulch w/ Wendy Willis

"In this two-day workshop, we will explore the practice of creating and sustaining a writer's notebook. On the first day, we will begin to use a notebook to catch the wisps of our days and uncover the musings of the deep imagination.  Two weeks later, we will come together to discover how the raw material in the notebook can be transformed into finished pieces of writing. This workshop will have frequent breaks to ease the strain of working online for so many hours, as well as timed writings by hand (again, to ease the time on the computer), and breakout sessions to work one-on-one or small groups."

Learn more.

Creative Nonfiction (CNF) Studio

Creative Nonfiction (CNF) Studio w/ Brian Benson

The Creative Nonfiction (CNF) Studio is based on the idea that inspiration, accountability, and community are essential to every writer’s growth. The CNF Studio meets weekly for multi-month sessions, and its curriculum is designed to help you deepen your writing through a keener understanding of both literary craft and your own voice. The CNF Studio is open to applications from all writers, and members often return for multiple sessions. This creates the Studio’s special experience: a consistent, deep, and supportive study of your writing in the company of other writers. Each weekly session includes a close-reading and discussion of a selected work of creative nonfiction, a roundtable reading of take-home prompts, and in-depth critique of several works-in-progress. Over the course of their time in the CNF Studio, writers can expect to read widely and gain deep insight into their own writing, all the while exploring questions of structure, form, narration, truth, memory, influence, and voice.

Learn more.

Defiant Women and Defiant Books: A Reading List

Curated by Amy Butcher on Literary Hub, "Defiant Women and Defiant Books" is a reading list that follows authors that de-center, interrogate, laugh at, or cry about the toxicity of the patriarchy and the permissive hold it has on each of us. 

"Writing, then—or reading, for that matter—has never been a habit of simple pleasure. Literature has always been the relief. Writing and reading has taught me what it is to be a woman in this world, which is to say that I have experienced simple pleasures, yes—a yellow tent, spring’s shimmering woods, a first date spent sampling twelve varieties of spicy mustard—but also unthinkable and gendered terror. To be a woman in America is to know both: the pleasure of living inside this body but also the danger it, daily, invites. To be a white, straight, cis-identifying woman is to know far fewer dangers, and I don’t frankly know what this amplification must mean and feel like in the bodies of other women."

Revisiting Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard's famously dynamic essay, "Total Eclipse," lives over at The Atlantic. It remains a timely work that navigates the harrowing and beauitful gap between people and nature, between the everyday and the sublime.

"Now the sun was up. We could not see it; but the sky behind the band of clouds was yellow, and, far down the valley, some hillside orchards had lighted up. More people were parking near the highway and climbing the hills. It was the West. All of us rugged individualists were wearing knit caps and blue nylon parkas. People were climbing the nearby hills and setting up shop in clumps among the dead grasses. It looked as though we had all gathered on hilltops to pray for the world on its last day. It looked as though we had all crawled out of spaceships and were preparing to assault the valley below. It looked as though we were scattered on hilltops at dawn to sacrifice virgins, make rain, set stone stelae in a ring. There was no place out of the wind. The straw grasses banged our legs."

Flash Nonfiction

Flash Nonfiction II w/ Brian Benson

"Flash nonfiction, simply put, is true-to-life writing defined by extreme compression. It's saying what you've got to say using as few words, and as much beauty, as possible. An endlessly accessible, playful, potent form, flash nonfiction is evermore popular; from Brevity to Barren, The Forge to The Sun, legions of journals are eager to publish great flash."

Learn more.

A Hearty Congratulations

Incredible writer and Attic alumna, Valerie Egan, has just published her first chapbook A History of Running from Dancing Girl Press & Studio. An excerpt of her work below:

The Mad Sailor

root deep & remember:

snot spleen the trembling thunderclouds puke-green tile kitty litter sucking on thumbs Costco suburbs and it was always raining

except in California

where skin broke, bled, burned itself open 
during its mad dash to Disneyland

I hurtled through the door
before the car had stopped

Scar tissued knees, eyes red
They should have tied me to the ship

We love hearing about the success of our alumni. Valerie took a workshop from Ashley Toliver a few years ago; congrats again on the pub!

Portland Book Festival 2021

We are a little more than a month away from this year's Portland Book Festival!

This year's festival is hybrid which means some events will be offered virtually and others will be offered in-person throughout the week of November 8th-13th.

You don't want to miss out on this litany of literary events that range from workshops to craft panels to live readings. Check out the festival's 2021 Author & Presenters Lineup.

Tickets are on sale for both the virtual and in-person events now.

Prose Poem Workshop

Prose Poem Workshop w/ Ruben Quesada

"A generative workshop that explores the boundaries of poetry. The intersection of poetry and prose offers a range of possibilities for style and subject. In this course, we will write together, and we will discuss poetic elements found in sentences. No previous writing experience is needed."

Learn more here.

The Why & How of Writing Your Life: A CNF Workshop

The Why & How of Writing Your Life: A CNF Workshop w/ Wayne Gregory

"We live in a time when it is more important than ever for us to tell the stories of our lives. We are inundated with more information than we can ever process and while we communicate with more people via social media, we feel increasingly detached from the feeling of community. In short, we lack enough well-crafted human stories. Stories summon our imagination to experience the life of another and through that experience to better understand the other, as well as ourselves. This workshop is for the one who wants to discover how to identify her/his compelling story and how to create a work that will grab readers and take them on their own journeys. You will work on a single piece—memoir or essay—with the goal of producing a completed rough draft by the end of the workshop. You can bring something you’ve already started to work on or just bring an empty page, an idea, and a willing, eager imagination. The workshop will help you discover what story to tell, why your story is important for others to hear, and how to use some of the techniques of the writing craft to create and shape that story idea."

Learn more here.

Story Energy

Story Energy w/ Joanna Rose

"Tension draws writer and reader into any story and evokes more deeply human experience. The constant adjusting of tension affects pacing and drives story in countless ways:  interactions among characters, sentence structure,  and even word choice. We’ll use excerpts from published works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry as well as work submitted weekly by participants to explore how the use of tension can create a vivid, visceral narrative."

Learn more here.

Missouri Review Contest

The sweet, sweet sound of $5,000 for your writing.

The Missouri Review's 31st annual Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize competition is now open for submissions in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. First-place winners in each category receive $5000, feature publication in their spring issue, and are honored at a gala reading and reception in Columbia, Missouri (pandemic permitting). Contest finalists are often published in the magazine also, or in the web-exclusive features they offer on our website in prose and poetry, BLAST and Poem of the Week.  All entrants are considered for publication.   

"This opportunity is open to writers at all levels. We pride ourselves on focusing on the quality of the writing first and foremost—our allegiance is to discovering and supporting strong work. Past winners have ranged from established writers with long records of publication to beginning writers who have never published before. In fact, for our fiction prize winner in 2018, the prizewinning story was her first published piece." -Bailey Boyd, contest editor   

They accept submissions online or by mail. The postmark deadline is October 1. Winners will be announced in January of 2022.   

You can find out more about the contest through our website.  

Fanfare for Nonfiction

Past students of Lee Montgomery's "Art of Personal Essay and Memoir" cannot help but RAVE about their experiences in the workshop:

"I had never written a personal essay before taking Lee Montgomery's workshop. The class gave me the confidence to sit down at the computer and write and, ten months later, I haven't stopped." -Abbie Fields 

"Lee’s workshop approach is serious and sensitive, fair, and generous, humorous, and supportive. She emphasizes all the positives in the student's submissions and judiciously steers them to go deeper and truly align with their talents as well as suggest what is not working with the encouragement to try it a different way and see for themselves what happens. I can't recommend Lee Montgomery enough, as mentor, teacher, writer, and critic." -Jodi Lorimer

"What I appreciated most about the essay class with Lee was the wide variety of essay styles she introduced. The critiques of our work included discussion and questions that prompted ideas for expanding and deepening the writing. Lee is supportive, fun to work with, and smart in her writing. I'm grateful to have taken the essay workshop with her!" -Cathryn Vogeley

"Lee Montgomery’s editorial critique of my novel manuscript was everything I had hoped for, and more. She read with insight and clarity, offering me a detailed picture of what was working and what wasn’t—exactly the things I couldn’t discern for myself. My book is profoundly better for her help. I whole-heartedly recommend her services." -Megan Benton

Sign up for her next installment of this online workshop that starts September 25.

Tin House's 2022 Winter Writing Residencies Deadline Approaching!

Do you want/need some dedicated time for your work in progress? Tin House, a publishing house and writing organization located in Portland, has multiple writing residencies for you to apply for—but apply soon because the deadlines are approaching fast (August 29th).

Their 2022 Winter Residencies consist of a $1,200 stipend and access to a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment in Portland, Oregon for a month. Even better, one application can be used to apply for all of the currently offered residencies. Don't miss your chance!

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From David Biespiel, President of the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters

 

Letter in 2010 announcing the new Attic Institute

"Eleven years have gone by in a blink. But today begins a new era as we renew our dedication both to the word and to the world."

 

Interview about the founding of the Attic Institute

"All sorts of excellent pieces of writing get started and finished here. That's what it means to be a literary studio."

 

Essay in the New York Times on they mysteries of poetry

"Poetry connects us to our past, and poets unmask both private and civic memories, dreams, and urgencies. By harmonizing the body with the mind, serving both young and old, poetry is a guide to deliver us into a fresh engagement with our inner lives and with modernity."

 

Essay on poets and democracy in Poetry magazine: "This Land Is Our Land"

"America's poets have a minimal presene in American civic discourse and a miniscule public role in the life of American democracy. I find this condition perplexing and troubling -- both for poetry and for democracy."