A Statement Of Our Values

The Attic Institute of Arts and Letters opposes the legitimation of bigotry, hate, and misinformation in today's cultural and political environment.

As a studio for writers, we do not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind. We condemn all acts of racism, sexism, ableism, classism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia.

We embrace and celebrate our shared pursuit of literature and language as essential to crossing the boundaries of difference. To that end, we seek to maintain a creative environment in which every employee, faculty member, and student feels safe, respected, and comfortable. We accept the workshop as a place to question ourselves and to empathize with diverse identities. We understand that to know the world is to write a better world.

Therefore, we reaffirm our commitment to literary pursuits and shared understanding by affirming social justice, diversity, and open inquiry. 

Charlotte Udziela Memorial Scholarship for Women Writers!

We invite woman writers to apply for the Charlotte Udziela Memorial Scholarship. Charlotte was a poet and long-time friend of the Attic who studied extensively with Matthew Dickman. To honor her memory, her friends and family have established a generous bequest to enable talented writers to pursue their passion by fully covering their tuition for a fall class at the Attic, ensuring that economic need would not be a barrier to these emerging voices. 

Apply between July 15-Aug 15.

APPLY HERE

Learn more about previous scholarship recipients.

VIDA Count Finds Women Writers Still Underrepresented in Literary Publications

VIDA, a feminist nonprofit aimed at fighting the lack of gender parity in contemporary literature, has released their 2017 VIDA Count, which tallies the gender disparity in major literary publications and book reviews. The VIDA Count examines thirty-nine journals and periodicals to provide a numerical breakdown of their demographic representations.

The 2017 Main VIDA Count found only two of fifteen major literary publications, Granta and Poetry, published 50 percent women writers. Eight of fifteen, a simple majority, published less than 40 percent women. A notable change in gender parity consisted of the The New York Review of Books, which dropped to the count’s lowest rank at 23.3 percent publications from women. Boston Review also dropped nearly ten points to 37.8 percent in 2017.

“This is a good reminder that achieving gender parity is not a one-time goal,” wrote Amy King and Sarah Clark, members of the VIDA Board of Directors.

Some publications were able to show significant improvements in this year’s count. The Paris Review, a literary staple of the US, increased their representation of women writers to 42.7 percent, up from 35 percent in 2016. Tin House also managed to hover around 50 percent, dropping 0.9 points to 49.7 percent. Get the full story on VIDA's site. 

Crowdfunding Ursula K. Le Guin's Final Poetry Collection

Copper Canyon Press is currently raising money to fund the publication of Ursula K. Le Guin’s So Far So Good, her last collection of poems before she passed away on January 22, 2018.

In addition to being the author of more than twenty novels, Le Guin wrote twelve collections of poetry, more than 100 short stories, several collections of essays, thirteen books for children, and five volumes of translation. Her books have been translated into more than forty languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. "She's a guide for how to process the world in different ways, how to process the environment, your day to day life, how you process the end of your life," said Silky Shah, a longtime Le Guin reader and Executive Director of the Detention Watch Network, according to Bustle.

“When Le Guin brought the manuscript for her final collection, So Far So Good, to Copper Canyon Press, she did so with faith in us as a nonprofit, independent publisher to do justice to her poetry,” begins the Kickstarter campaign’s opening paragraph. “We were deeply saddened when Le Guin passed away… just days after she sent her last edits to what would be her final poetry book.”

APPS DUE AUG 30 Creative Nonfiction (CNF) Studio | Sep 20 - Dec 13

The Creative Nonfiction (CNF) Studio is based on the idea that inspiration, accountability, and community are essential to every writer’s growth. 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.  The Studio culminates in a celebration at a nearby watering hole. | Maximum 10 students

LEARN MORE AND APPLY

Holly Roland wins Civic Saturday Poetry Contest, to read her poem Sat July 7 at Taborspace

Congratulations to Holly Roland. Selected by Attic Institute Associate Fellow Wendy Willis, Holly will reading at Portland's first Civic Saturday on July 8. 

Holly Roland is a poet and creative arts therapist who believes in the transformative power of words. She has been published in The Norton Pocket Book of Writing by Students, received The Kratz Fellowship from Goucher College to write bilingual poetry in the Galapagos Islands, and previously served as the Volunteer Student Services Coordinator at The Attic Institute. She studied at Hollins University's MFA program in 2012, and her work is often narrative in nature, echoing Appalachian voices. Her new blogging project, Travel Tonic, aims to feature community-minded travel essays, stories, and of course, poems.

The July 7 Independence Day picnic and Civic Saturday is a gathering of friends and strangers for a shared purpose. This is an opportunity to connect with the community, neighbors, and friends, plus there will be poems and songs along with a civic sermon from poet, essayist, lawyer, and Portlander Wendy Willis! Bring a lawn chair or blanket!

Civic Saturday is a civic analogue to church: a gathering of friends and strangers in a common place to nurture a spirit of shared purpose. But it’s not about church religion or synagogue or mosque religion. It’s about American civic duty—the creed of liberty, equality, and self-government that truly unites us.  It is free and open to all.

"Civic Saturday exists so that together we can remember that no condition in our country was created yesterday, and no citizen of this country will live forever. Civic Saturday exists so that we can teach each other how not just to tell the truth about our history but also reckon with it." -Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University

Civic Saturday 
Date: Saturday, July 7th
Time: 11am-1pm
Location: Taborspace lawn | 5441 SE Belmont St
Price: FREE! Please register in advance.

This is the first Civic Saturday in Portland. Civic Saturday is a project from Citizen University, in partnership with Oregon HumanitiesHealthy DemocracyKitchen Table DemocracyDeliberative Democracy Consortium, and the Attic Institute.

Congratulations New Atheneum Fellows for 2018-2019

We are so excited to announce the new Atheneum class of 2019.

Fiction: Tracey Lock, Azalea Micketti, Jay Rubin, Wendy Steckloff

Nonfiction: Mary Afsari, Alison Alstrom, Myrna Gusdorf, Teri Rowe

Poetry: Sarah Brenner, Monika Cassel, Tyler Sowa, Rachel Zakrasek

These writers will work with an amazing faculty, including: Matthew Dickman, Merridawn Duckler, Karen Karbo, Whitney Otto, Ed Skoog, and Vanessa Veselka.

Learn more about the Atheneum master writing program.

 

A Good Read: the Spring Edition of "VoiceCatcher" is Out

VoiceCatcher is an online journal that supports, inspires, and empowers female-identified writers and artists in the greater Portland and Vancouver areas. Their Spring 2018 edition has just launched, and promises to be better than ever. The pieces include "Strata of Motherhood" by Valarie Rea. Rea is an alum of the Attic's Creative Nonfiction Studio, and was also an Udziela Scholarship recipient. 

 

 

 

 

"Faith" by Nicole Willford

The National Ghost Story Competition Welcomes Entries

Think about this while you're walking down an overgrown trail or sitting around a campfire: Tryon Arts & Crafts School's The Apparationist National Ghost Story Competition is back! Write the scariest original story you can think of (5,500 word or less), and submit by August 27.  Head Judge this year is Michael Zam Co-Creator, Producer and Writer of FX’s hit “Feud: Bette & Joan”! Win a cash prize of $200, publication on The Apparationist website and an overnight stay for out-of-state winners to hear your story read on Halloween night! How fun is that. 

Details:
The Apparitionist National Ghost Story Competition ~ Write The Scariest Story You Can Think Of!
5,500 word max
Deadline: Aug. 27 11:59pm
Entry Fee: $10
Head Judge: Michael Zam Co-Creator, Producer and Writer of FX's Feud: Bette and Joan
Website For More Details: https://tryonartsandcrafts.org/ghoststory/

Writing Prompt: "Missed Connections" on Craigslist

If you're looking for writing inspiration, it's hard to beat the "Missed Connections" section of Craigslist. Missed Connections is the native country of second thoughts, the forum people use when they've had a close but anonymous encounter with romance, friendship or lust and are hoping to reconnect.

Are you out there, "fast female runner on Waterfront?" Why didn't I get your contact info, "you watching snow in june talking on phone." If this rings a bell - "I gave you a piggyback ride (several weeks ago). Having a hard time getting you out of my thoughts." - then contact me. Browse the site, find a telling detail or a story line that appeals to you, then do a fifteen minute write. 

Why Not at PDX? at La Guardia, Writers Create Fictional Tales for Fliers

There's something new at La Guardia's Terminal A: passengers arriving or departing are greeted with a piece of live, performance art. 

In a space outside security that used to be a Hudson News kiosk, the writers and close friends Gideon Jacobs and Lexie Smith, who both live in Ridgewood, Queens, have set up a writing nook with stacks of books, wooden furniture, rugs and a vintage typewriter. There they are, writing unique, fictional stories for fliers.

This specific initiative, named Landing Pages, is part of a residency program established by the Queens Council on the Arts and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs La Guardia Airport. Over the coming year Queens-based artists are taking over the airport space for three months at a time to experiment with their mediums. Mr. Jacobs and Ms. Smith are the first.

There are a few rules. One, customers must approach them. Some visitors see a sign written in chalk on a blackboard that says, “We will write you a story. Ask Us!” More often, people come up looking for the bathroom or rental car facilities. “Some days I feel like I work here,” Mr. Jacobs said. “I even have a parking spot.”

Those who choose to participate provide their flight number and contact details. The writers then draft a story for them while their flights are in the air, and text it to them before they touch down. 

“The time constraint is a fun challenge,” Ms. Smith said. “We definitely follow flights to see if they are delayed. There was one that was by two hours. We were happy for the extra time.” 

The duo writes an average of six stories a day. They hope to finish 50 by June 30, when their project ends, and compile them in a book. “We’re probably going to self-publish and give it to whoever will take it,” she said. 

“A lot of airports have art,” said Lysa Scully, the general manager of La Guardia Airport. “But having active and involved art that customers engage with, that is the unique model. I haven’t seen that anywhere.”

Great idea, right? Click here to read the full story at The New York Times. Even better, click here to submit this idea to Portland Airport! Jobs for writers! A showcase for the arts in Portland! Who knows: they really might do it. 

Civic Saturday Poetry Contest: Submit by June 24

We are pleased to support Citizen University's upcoming Civic Saturday celebration in Portland. Civic Saturday is a civic analogue to church: a gathering of friends and strangers in a common place to nurture a spirit of shared purpose. But it's not about church religion or synagogue or mosque religion. It's about American civic duty-the creed of liberty, equality, and self-government that truly unites us.  It is free and open to all. 

Portland's first ever Civic Saturday is July 7, 2018. The speaker is the Attic Institute's associate fellow Wendy Willis

To celebrate the city's first Civic Saturday, Wendy is inviting you to enter the Civic Saturday Poetry Contest to read a poem on the theme of common place and shared purpose. The winner will be invited to read at the July 7, 2018, Civic Saturday, which will take place from 11am-1pm at Taborspace lawn, 5441 SE Belmont St.

Deadline to enter: June 24

Enter the Civic Saturday Poetry Contest

Civic Saturday is free and open to the public.  Register to attend Civic Saturday in Portland here.

Writing Prompt: Bad Luck Streak

Thanks to Poets & Writers for this fun prompt! 

Lightning never strikes the same place twice, is how the saying goes, but for some it strikes more than twice. Over the course of three years, twenty-year-old outdoorsman Dylan McWilliams beat 893 quadrillion-to-one odds to experience being bitten by a shark, being attacked by a bear, and then being bitten by a rattlesnake. Write a piece in which a character endures a slew of bad luck in the form of several unfortunate incidents within a short span of time. Though the events may seem unrelated, are there larger forces at work? How does your character’s response to this streak of bad luck reveal her personality or foreshadow future consequences within the narrative?

A New Home for Hugo House, Seattle's Iconic Literary Arts Organization

The Seattle literary arts organization Hugo House once made its home in a ramshackle two-story building with peeling paint outside and a yellow bucket to catch leaking rainwater inside. But with a growing number of visitors each year, the house could no longer comfortably support all the nonprofit’s programs. “We loved the old house, but we couldn’t fix it,” says Linda Breneman, who founded Hugo House with Andrea Lewis and Frances McCue in the late nineties. “It didn’t quite have the infrastructure we needed for more classrooms, a nicer space for literary events, better space for employees, and ADA accessibility.”

In August a shiny new $7.1 million Hugo House will open at the site of its original home. Located in one of Seattle’s first arts districts, on Eleventh Avenue across from a busy city park, Hugo House’s ten-thousand-square-foot space will appropriately serve more than ten thousand Seattle-area writers and readers annually. The larger building will allow the nonprofit to expand its offerings of classes, workshops, one-on-one consultations, readings, and book signings, providing a bigger, better hub for the Seattle writing community. “It’s a place for writers to gather,” says Tree Swenson, the nonprofit’s executive director.

Explore Hugo House or read more about their new home here

15 Literary Magazines for New & Unpublished Writers

Wondering how to get published for the first time? The ever-wonderful team at Aerogramme has issued a list of literary magazines that are happy to hear from writers who may not have had their work published before. 

Before you rush to start sending your latest story to every magazine on the list, Eva Langston from Carve Magazine has some excellent advice to help you avoid the mistakes writers most commonly make when submitting their work for publication. (Mistake #1: "not reading literary magazines"). Also check out this step-by-step guide to submitting your work from the editorial team at Neon.

Anne Griffin, Atheneum Alum, Awarded the Joan Swift Memorial Prize for Poetry

Congratulations to Anne Griffin, who has received the first ever Joan Swift Memorial Prize, awarded by Poetry Northwest to a woman poet, 65 or older, currently residing in the Pacific Northwest. Anne is a former Fellow of the Attic Institute's Atheneum, and she is currently in the Poets Studio. Her poem, “My Father, Leaving,” receives $500, and will appear in the Summer & Fall 2018 issue of Poetry Northwest.

Atheneum Master Writing Program: Deadline to Apply Extended to June 4

Become a 2018-2019 Atheneum Fellow

An annual certificate program, the Attic Atheneum melds independent study under close faculty supervision, student receptions, public readings, and other special Atheneum events created around good food and great conversation, dialogue, and literary community.

Fiction Faculty: Merridawn Duckler, Vanessa Veselka

Nonfiction Faculty: Karen Karbo, Whitney Otto

Poetry Faculty: Matthew Dickman, Ed Skoog

 

Learn more and apply

Writing Elegant Background

I recently discovered The Open Notebook, a helpful website that describes itself as "the story behind the best science stories." If you're not a science writer, don't tune out yet! The Open Notebook is full of craft tips that will be useful to writers of any genre. For example, check out their article "Writing Elegant Background" that walks through the ways you can structure a story to incorporate background information. Good stuff...

Congrats to the Winners of the Charlotte Udziela Memorial Scholarship for Women Writers!

Early in the year, we announced the Charlotte Udziela Memorial Scholarship. Charlotte was a poet and long-time friend of the Attic who studied extensively with Matthew Dickman. To honor her memory, her friends and family established a generous bequest that would enable a dozen talented writers to pursue their passion by fully covering their tuition for a spring class at the Attic, ensuring that economic need would not be a barrier to these emerging voices. 

Congratulations to the winners, listed below!

Valarie Rae, Tara Karnes, Christine White, Leslie Williams, Maria Vix Gutierrez, Carmen Hinckley, Jessica Wadleigh, Kirstin Fulton, Laura Durkay, Rachel Faino Holguin, Mary Baker, Azalea Micketti

Recipients were almost evenly split between those who are new to the Attic, and those who are returning students. They also came from a variety of writing backgrounds: "I have an MFA in screenwriting," one said. "I've been writing for fun most of my life." "I had been a 'closet writer' for many years." 

Read Women's Writing with Soapstone

Add this to your list of Portland reading and writing resources: Soapstone is a grassroots organization whose mission is to bring people together to celebrate and support the work of women writers. Among other activities, Soapstone provides grants to support short-term study groups focusing on the work of women writers. 

Coming up this Fall: Reading Grace Paley's Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry, led by the Attic's own Natalie Serber and Reading Virginia Woolf's Nonfiction, led by Judith Barrington. The fee is $75; scholarships are available. Each group is limited to 16. To register, send an email to info@soapstone.org, and a check made out to Soapstone, 622 SE 29th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. The workshop schedule follows, and visit Soapstone for further information.  

Reading Virginia Woolf's Nonfiction, led by Judith Barrington
Four Saturday mornings, 10 to 1
September 15, 22, 29 and October 6

Reading Grace Paley's Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry, led by Natalie Serber
Four Saturday mornings, 10:30 to 1:30
October 20, 27, November 3 and 10

Celebrate National Poetry Month with NPR

April is National Poetry Month, and there's a host of ways to celebrate. NPR is inviting listeners to write and submit their own original poetry "tweets" throughout the month (in other words, original poems with a 140-character limit). Submissions are reviewed and presented on air by US Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. 

Alternatively, you can enjoy some of the great poetry that's featured online. One of my favorite sources: the series that NPR's All Things Considered ran in honor of Poetry Month in 2001 (find it here). There you'll find interviews with and poems by Stanley Kunitz, Ron Padgett, Judy Jordan, Maurice Manning, and Ofelia Zepeda. Here are the poems they showcase by Ron Padgett: 

The Drink 

I am always interested in the people in films who have just had a drink thrown in their faces. Sometimes they react with uncontrollable rage, but sometimes-my favorites-they do not change their expressions at all. Instead they raise a handkerchief or napkin and calmly dab at the offending liquid, as the hurler jumps to her feet and storms away. The other people at the table are understandably uncomfortable. A woman leans over and places her hand on the sleeve of the man's jacket and says, "David, you know she didn't mean it." David answers, "Yes," but in an ambiguous tone-the perfect adult response. But now the orchestra has resumed its amiable and lively dance music, and the room is set in motion as before. Out in the parking lot, however, Elizabeth is setting fire to David's car. Yes, this is a contemporary film.

-- from You Never Know (Coffee House Press, 2002)

Update: Winners of the "Museum of Words" Flash Fiction Competition

Last year, we reported that the "Museum of Words" annual Flash Fiction competition was open to submissions. The competition, which has applied for a Guiness World Record as the most lucrative international literary prize, awards $20,000 to the winning flash fiction piece (of 100 words or less), as well as $2,000 each to the Runners Up in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. 

In 2017, the winning entry was "The Sniper" by Armando Macchia of Argentina. Here it is, reprinted for your inspiration. Other winning entries can be found on the website of the Fundacion Cesar Egido Serrano, the sponsoring organization. 

"The Sniper" by Armando Macchia

Every day, while waiting for the bus, a child pointed at me from a balcony with his finger, and pulled the trigger of his imaginary gun, screaming at me “bang, bang!” One day, just to keep the routine play, I also pointed at him with my finger, yelling "bang, bang!” The child fell to the street like struck down. I ran to him, and saw that he half opened his eyes and looked at me stunned. Desperate I said "but I just repeated the same as you did to me." He responded then sorrowful: "Yes Sir, but I was not shooting to kill."

Writing Prompt: Ask Yourself

Thanks to "Poets and Writers" for this week's writing prompt:

“For me, what makes a novel is the unfolding of a question that haunts me, that I have to explore—and that I hope, in digging deep, will answer that question for myself and for my readers,” writes Caroline Leavitt in “The Novel I Buried Three Times” in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. This week, use Leavitt’s concept of the unfolding of a question for a short story. Consider two questions she has explored for her novels: “Must we let go of the things we cannot fix?” and “How do you love without destroying someone else’s love?” Write a short story that in some way attempts to answer one of these questions or an open-ended question of your own. Does the question change or evolve as the story proceeds?

Share Your Writing at "One Page Wednesday"

Writers, escape the solitude of your desk. Readers, come hear great fresh work. All of this at Literary Arts' "One Page Wednesday."

Hosted by Attic Faculty and writer Natalie Serber, One Page Wednesday is an opportunity to share or listen to one page of work in progress from talented Portland writers. Come with a single page of work and sign up to read  – or come to listen and prepare to be inspired!  Please, no reading from electronic devices.

 

When: April 4 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM                                                                       Where: Literary Arts, 925 SW Washington St, Portland OR 97205                          Cost: free

Artist Replaces Billboards with Photos of the Landscapes They're Blocking

I don't remember how I happened upon this article, and it's not about writing in any direct way. Still, I find the idea inspiring: an art installation in the Coachella Valley in which a series of consecutive billboards have been replaced by perfectly aligned photos of the landscapes they are blocking. Visit it through April 30, or read the article here

Visible Distance / Second Sight is an art installation by Jennifer Bolande for DesertX. The temporary artwork can be found along the Gene Autry Trail near Vista Chino (33°50’41.70”N 116°30’21.02”W), where a series of consecutive billboards have been replaced by perfectly aligned photos of the landscapes they are blocking. 

Advice to Writers: "Let People See What You Wrote"

I continue to enjoy this Aerogramme article distilling advice from famous writers. This time, words from Tina Fey: 

“It’s a great lesson about not being too precious about your writing. You have to try your hardest to be at the top of your game and improve every joke you can until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go. You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it…You have to let people see what you wrote.” 

Other Voices: The American Prison Writing Archive

In the fall of 2009 writer Doran Larson put out a call for essays from incarcerated people and prison staff about what life was like inside, and five years later, in 2014, Michigan State University Press published a selection of them as Fourth City: Essays From the Prison in America. But the essays never stopped coming. “I’m holding a handwritten essay that just arrived today,” Larson said in August. “Once people knew there was a venue where someone would read their work, they kept writing.” Instead of letting this steady stream of essays go unread, Larson decided to create the American Prison Writing Archive (APWA), an open-source archive of essays by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, as well as correctional officers and staffers. Accessible to anyone online, the APWA (apw.dhinitiative.org) is a “virtual meeting place” to “spread the voices of unheard populations.”

With more than 2.2 million people in its prisons and jails, the United States incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any other country in the world. But most Americans don’t know anything about life inside, which can leave them both indifferent to those who live and work there and divorced from the justice system their tax dollars reinforce. Larson hopes to rectify this disconnect with the APWA, and after receiving a $262,000 grant in March from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the archive is poised to do just that.

Read more about the APWA in this story in Poets and Writers, or browse the stories in the archive itself. 

Writing Prompt: Manners

Sit up straight, elbows off the table! It's time to write. Today's topic: civil comportment (or the lack thereof).  P's and Q's, southern hospitality, reform school. Behaving like a perfect lady/gentleman or revealing your uncouth inner beast. Bad habits, rude encounters, misinterpretations. At least 15 minutes, please! This one should be fun.  

Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling

Pixar’s Rules of Storytelling - recently tweeted out and now republished in an article on Aerogramme - are surprisingly helpful for writers in all genres. Here are the first ten. Number 9 – When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next – is a favorite. Check out Aerogramme to see the complete list.  

 

 

  1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
  2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
  3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
  4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
  5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
  6. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
  7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
  8. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
  9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
  10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.

Writing Prompt: "For a Long Time"...

Perhaps a year ago, I was listening to the radio when a book review came on, an author's voice reading the first sentence of her novel. "For a long time," she read, "my mother wasn't dead yet." What a terrific beginning, I thought. (And in case you're wondering, it's from Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson). 

Of course, the sentence itself is wonderful - wistful, intriguing, heartrending. But even the first part, the fragmentary "for a long time," echoed in my head. It suggests the end of the known present and the beginning of an unimaginable future. "One day," it implies, and this is the place all literature begins, "everything was different."

Today, I invite you to complete that sentence in your own way. Set the timer for 15 minutes and put your hands on the keyboard. Think about a familiar state that is interrupted. Imagine, what could possibly come next? Then begin: "For a long time..."

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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."