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 Holly Roland
THE ATTIC RECOMMENDS is a monthly newsletter on awards, publication leads, new books, and other hot literary news. Subscribe by joining our mailing list in the upper right corner of this page.
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.
Sometimes it feels like our lives are crowded with those who came before us, some of whom we knew and some of whom we didn't. We'll spend this session exploring how we can use the stories of our ancestors — known and imagined —to invigorate our own writing.
The best poems compel us to return to them again and again, and they engage us at every reading. How is such magic accomplished? In this workshop we will examine a series of powerful poems by masters of the genre in order to try to uncover the secrets behind such apparent magic and apply them to our own poems.
Thank you for creating the Attic Institute's community of tolerance and fairness.
The Attic Institute is many things to many people. It's a writing studio, a literary think tank, and a school for creativity. It's a community of writers, thinkers, and creative individuals. It's a place in Portland where writers gather for support and inspiration. This Independence Day week, we celebrate the freedom to think and write freely in a country that stands for equality and justice. Thank you for making these ideals possible.
We hope to see you in a writing workshop soon. Celebrate artistic freedom in a workshop at the Attic Institute.
New writers to purse 10-month program in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry
We welcome the following writers to the Atheneum family:
Brad Kerstetter | Tiffany Stubbert | Catherine Craglow | Zaha Hassan | Kelly Wallace | Janine Roben | Catherine Kernodle | Jennifer Dorner | Theresa MacDonald | Greg Berman | Elizabeth Lampman
Kari Luna's novel is due out next month, July 2013
"One part Libba Bray's GOING BOVINE, two parts String Theory, and three parts love story equals a whimsical novel that will change the way you think about the world."
A student in Merridawn Duckler's workshops, Kari Luna writes stories, teaches yoga and eats apricots. She also covets cashmere sweaters, collects toys from the sixties and thinks soul music is the cure for everything. She lives in Portland, Oregon. You can visit the fictional Sophie Sophia, read her blog, and download mixtapes at www.thetheoryofeverythingbook.com.
"Ms. Rusch's gripping account is full of details that will snag the interest of children ages 9 and older: that volcanic gases act like bubbles in a soda bottle; that a humming earthquake known as a "harmonic tremor" means magma is rising and boiling away groundwater; that a leading U.S. geologist wears Harry Potter glasses. Photographs throughout by Tom Uhlman illustrate the work that scientists are doing, but the most dramatic image—of a little blue truck beetling along a dirt road just ahead of boiling volcanic clouds—comes from Alberto Garcia, who took it when Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991." ~ Wall Street Journal
Award-winning poet Andrea Hollander to begin teaching in fall 2013
Andrea Hollander is the author of four full-length poetry collections: Landscape with Female Figure: New & Selected Poems, Woman in the Painting, The Other Life, and House Without a Dreamer, which won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize.
by David Biespiel
The formally nuanced and wise epistolary poems in David Biespiel’s new collection are grounded in friendship, camaraderie, and the vulnerability and boldness that defines America.
Roving from the old Confederacy of Biespiel's native South to Portland, Oregon, Charming Gardeners explores the wildness of the Northwest, the avenues of Washington, D.C., the coal fields of West Virginia, and an endless stretch of airplanes and hotel rooms from New York to Texas to California.
These poems 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, sex, and intimacy. We are offered poems addressed to family, friends, poets, and political rivals — all in a masterful idiom Robert Pinsky has called Biespiel’s “own original grand style.”
PUB DATE: OCTOBER 1, 2013
Teaching Fellow Emily Whitman is teaching the Writing Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels workshop this summer, Sep 12 - Oct 10.
Sometimes people ask me why I write books for kids and teens. Telling them all the reasons would take longer than they’ve bargained on. So I’ve made a list. Maybe I should keep copies in my bag to hand out as needed.
- Kids don’t settle for boring. You need to keep your story moving, the voice fresh, the world alive.
- Your protagonist is a kid or a teen. That means—
- Everything is changing. Friends. School. Bodies. Family. The world. That’s a lot of low-hanging fruit, ripe for the grabbing. After all, fiction hinges on moments of change.
- Faced with this change, your hero doesn’t have the experience to know if things will turn out all right. He’s dealing with a choice and its consequences for the very first time. First times are like standing on top of a cliff wondering whether you’ll survive the jump. That terror and exhilaration fuel your story.
- Terror? Exhilaration? That’s right, you remember when you were a kid. You still have access to the feelings, discoveries, and experiences of that time in your life. Your character can channel that intensity. Like the great editor Ursula Nordstrom said when asked about her qualifications to work on books for kids, “Well, I am a former child, and I haven’t forgotten a thing.”
Notes from David Biespiel, President of the 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."
"All sorts of excellent pieces of writing get started and finished here. That's what it means to be a literary studio."
"I realize now that the divide between Modernist American poetry and, let's call it, Rilkean American poetry is largely unnecessary. Poetry can be both a repository of wisdom and contain revolutionary feeling -- even in the same poem."
"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."