Natalie Serber is a fiction writer, essayist, and educator. She is the author of the story collection Shout Her Lovely Name, a New York Times 100 “Notable Books” of 2012, a summer reading pick from O, the Oprah Magazine and an Oregonian Top 10 Book of the Pacific Northwest for 2012. Her fiction has appeared in The Bellingham Review, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. Essays and reviews have appeared at The Rumpus, The New York Times, and Salon. Her awards include The John Steinbeck Award, Tobias Wolff Award, HE Francis Award, all for fiction, and an honorable mention for the Annie Dillard Award for Non Fiction. Natalie received her MFA from Warren Wilson College, and she is currently working on a novel set in Boring, Oregon.
Emily Whitman writes books for children and teens. Her YA Wildwing won the 2012 Oregon Book Award for Young Adult Literature and was a Bankstreet College Best Children’s Book. Radiant Darkness was #1 on the IndieBound Kid’s Next List, selected by independent booksellers, and was an Oregon Book Award finalist. Emily has taught at writing conferences including the Pacific Northwest Children’s Book Conference and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Oregon Conference, and she writes poetry, prose and nonfiction for educational publishers. She’s currently at work on a Middle Grade novel.
His column in the Oregonian was the longest running newspaper column about poetry in the United States
The first piece of prose I ever wrote about poetry in a daily newspaper was in 1989 for the old Book World section of The Washington Post. Egged on by an insipid poetry review the Post had recently published, I wrote to the editor, Michael Dirda, to offer my services as a new reviewer and pitched some books.
This was audacious of me, for sure. I was 25 years old. And I'd never written a poetry review before.
"How do I know you're not married to one of these people?" he asked in a subsequent phone call before assigning, on spec, a roundup of five books that included new work by Louise Gl£ck, James Dickey, Lucille Clifton and others. Thus my career writing about poetry in newspapers began.
Check out Attic Institute faculty and writers October 5-6 at the Oregon Convention Center.
Saturday Oct 5
2pm: David Biespiel reads from his new book, Charming Gardeners
4pm: Stacy Bolt, former Atheneum Fellow, reads from her new book, Breeding in Captivity: One Woman's Unusual Path to Motherhood.
Sunday Oct 6
11am: Whitney Otto reads from her new book, Eight Girls Taking Pictures.
11am: David Melville, JoAnna Prahl, Shelley Stearns, former Atheneum fellows read poetry.
12pm: Andrea Hollander reads from her new book, Landscape with Female Figure: New & Selected Poems, 1982 - 2012.
12pm: Elizabeth Rusch reads from her new book, The Mighty Mars Rovers.
1pm: Ariel Gore reads from her new book, The End of Eve: A Memoir.
3pm: Karen Karbo reads from her new book, Julia Child Rules.
3pm: Paulann Petersen reads from her new book, Understory.
Cheryl Strayed is the keynote speaker on Thurusday, Oct 3, at the Mission Theater on NW Glisan.
Book launch for Charming Gardeners by David Biespiel
Thursday, October 10, 7:30pm
Powell's on Hawthorne | 27th and SE Hawthorne
The poems in David Biespiel's new collection, Charming Gardeners (University of Washington), explore the "insistent murmurs" of memory and the emotional connections between individuals and history, as well as the bonds of brotherhood, the ghosts of America's wars, and the vibrancy of love.
This Fall...take an online poetry workshop with award-winning poet, Paula Bohince.
It always makes me smile when writers ask, “But what about my voice?” As if this was some exterior appendage that could be found or lost. I do understand the question because voice is an extraordinary source of power for any writer. Your voice is what ultimately reaches the reader. You don’t have to learn how to create it because it is already present and furthermore, your voice is unique as a fingerprint. It is also just as humble and available.
When writers in my workshops read their work out loud, in their modulations, hesitations, stumbles and commands, I hear how they are already working out what they want to say and how they want to say it. I hear where they’re keeping matters from me, and also from themselves. I encourage all writers to read their work out loud as they write and also to read other writers out loud, writers whom they admire as a way of understanding how all the elements of an admirable piece comes together. Will reading your work out loud make you a better writer? Probably. Will it fix all your structural problems? No. For that you have to learn to listen.
Now if a writer in my workshop should say, “Merridawn, but where is my ear?” I’d consider that a really good question.
Merridawn Duckler is a senior fellow at the Attic Institute.
Portland's new downtown poetry reading series with some of the city and the nation's best poets.
The Portland Center for Performing Arts has partnered with the Attic Institute to present Poetry on Broadway - a free poetry series in the heart of downtown Portland at PCPA in the rotunda of Antoinette Hatfield Hall at SW Main & Broadway.
September 23: Linda Bierds
October 14: Paulann Petersen & Zack Schomburg
January 20: Rick Barot & Floyd Skloot
February 24: Camille Dungy & Crystal Williams
May 19: Wendy Willis & Katrina Roberts
The readings take place at 8pm across the alley from the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall with a reception at the ArtBar & Bistro (1111 SW Broadway).
This year's Atheneum faculty reading and Atheneum fellows induction brings this ground-breaking master writing program into its fourth year.
David Biespiel | Karen Karbo | Greg Robillard
Merridawn Duckler | Wendy Willis | Lee Montgomery
The reading takes place at Broadway Books in Northeast Portland, 7p, Thursday, on September 5. Reading is free and open to the public.
How can economy be used to a writer’s advantage? This workshop explores the art of flash fiction: how to propel a story forward with as few words as possible. Writers will create a series of pieces with the help of in-workshop exercises, at-home assignments, and assigned readings.
You need honesty, heart and motion when you write novels for kids and teens. These same qualities will guide our work together. We’ll workshop 2-5 page sections of your work at a time, finding its strengths and building out from there.
In this class—built around students' works-in-progress —we will avoid such dried-up notions as "voice," "storytelling," and "literature" in favor of a more direct and case-specific means of discussion.
Where is the deep music in poetry? What can our free verse cadences gain from a poet’s practical study of the underpinnings of poetry: form and meter? More than just learning the language of our poetic inheritance, we will explore form to “crack open” our own reluctant poems, and dance along with the beats and feet to discover our own rhythmic tendencies.
Sometimes our baggage—the trunks of shoulds and might haves, contradictory advice and criticism—can keep us from digging into our writing, because the confusion can be overwhelming. Oregon ArtsWatch and writer Barry Johnson will help you toss that junk overboard and start fresh with a practical approach to nonfiction writing.
There is nothing like food to trigger memory, to spark the imagination, to connect us to what we hunger for. In the inaugural meeting of the Home Ec Writer's Workshop, we will spend the day immersed in thinking and writing about food and all its associations
We use a lot of excuses not to make art. “The paper is too nice. This journal was a gift. I don’t want to mess it up. I should do laundry instead.” We tell ourselves a lot of lies and a lot of unkind things that prevent us from making what we want to make. Shut Up & Sketchbook is an introduction to unconventional sketchbooking.
The biggest obstacle for emerging writers is not lack of time nor lack of skill nor lack of things to write about. It’s a lack of self-confidence. This workshop is designed for those who want to be writers, but are not sure they can be.
Every writer has their own set of strengths and "weaknesses," and the most unique, engaging work comes from those who know how to play to the latter and with the former. In this workshop, we'll look at the many ways successful authors write to their strengths, and we'll learn how to do the same with our own work
Truth can be stranger than fiction - but sometimes, it takes a little finesse to make the story come alive. Literary journalism aims to inform the reader without sacrificing craft.
The Attic Recommends
Edited by Catie Bull
Late Night Library recently released a podcast discussion on publishing with Robert Boswell, author of twelve books (short stories and novels)
A recent Believe Magazine interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, whose new book The Signature of All Things was just released, goes in depth about her research and writing process for the book.
Winners & Finalists
Harper Collins has announced the winners of their BookSmash Challenge, a competition to expand upon HarperCollins' OpenBookAPI (which gives access to author and book info not usually available to the public) to invent new and imaginative ways to meld technology and reading.
And the National Book Awards finalists in Fiction, Nonfiction, Young People's Literature and Poetry have been announced.
Ziggy Stardust's Must Reads
A list of David Bowie's Top 100 Must-Read Books has been released as part of an exhibit about the music icon in Ontario.
August 25, 2013
The Poetry Society of America recently announced their 2013 Chapbook Fellowship Winners - Err to Narrow by Alicia Salvadeo (selected by Nick Flynn) and Barbarian at the Gate by Xavier Cavazos (selected by Thomas Sayers Ellis).
William Hertling, who took the Novel-in-Progress workshop at The Attic twice, has since had three novels published — Avogadro Corp: The Singularity is Closer than it Appears, A.I. Apocalypse, which was nominated for the Prometheus Award for Best Novel, and The Last Firewall, which was just published. He also wrote Indie & Small Press Book Marketing.
Rachel Hoffman's novel Packer and Jack,
which won a Literary Arts fellowship while in-progress, has been published. "It is a story," says Rachel, about trust, love, and personal integrity. The two characters live on the downtown streets of Los Angeles. They use humor to reveal past hardship, friendship to deepen their humanity, and inner strength to grow beyond fear, for an ending that leaves a reader hopeful."
July 12, 2013
Time to Write is a weekly invitation to be as wild, twisted and odd, or as structured and specific in your writing as you want. There are no limits, with the only expectation being that you stay open to the process.