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Conference at the Current


Read Gemini Ink Writers Conference Champions Transformation at The Current.

Saturday Panels



Solita: Chicanas in Solo Performance
(Location: La Habana)

Solo performances by three dynamic playwrights explore identity, gender, religion, the Mexican Diaspora, and political and social change: Marisela Barrera’s Tejana Trilogy, Anna De Luna’s My Arab Fall and Alison Vasquez’s La Flora de La Canela. Followed by Q&A.
Marisela Barrera, Anna De Luna, Alison Vasquez

Hybrid Genre: Science Fiction Meets Health in Heaven and Earth
(Location: Bolivar B)

Medical and environmental engineering experts use Heaven and Earth, a thought-provoking science-fiction novel, to discuss cadmium poisoning, a widespread health issue that goes unnoticed by the medical community and possibly even protected by government agencies.
Speakers: Arturo Riojas PhD, Robert S. Reyna MD, Valerie Chavez MD


Life on the Hyphen: Writing about the Mexican-American Border Amid Revolution, Cartels, and the Wall
(Location: La Habana)

As border dwellers, writers Seltzer and Flores use memoir and satire to consider their Mexican-American heritage and the dramatic upheavals and complex implications of negotiating “life on the hyphen.” Discussion ranges from a conscientious objector finding refuge on the border to revolution in Central America to changes the authors have experienced as writers. 
Speakers: Carlos Nicolas Flores, Robert L Seltzer

Writing Modern Midrash: Changing the Way We Understand the Hebrew Bible through Stories and Poems
(Location: Bolivar B)

Midrash was used for centuries by rabbinic scholars to elaborate on biblical texts. Modern midrashim give voice to the women who were previously silent or nameless and offer opportunity for contemporary interpretation. This panel will combine poetic and narrative examples with hands-on discussion on how to write a modern midrash.
Speakers: Marcia Goren Weser, Michal Lemberger, Bonnie Lyons

Narratives of Change: From the Classroom to the Community
(Location: Bolivar C)

Lanier High School in San Antonio offers a creative writing program where students work with local writers and nonprofit organizations to create a writing community within the classroom. The program’s coordinator, a spoken word poet and a community organizer share techniques and insights on encouraging and engaging students to promote change through art.
Speakers: Raquel Torres, Tiffany Jenkins, Christopher “Rooster” MartÍnez


The Transformational Power of Poetry—Voces Cósmicas, a force for change in the Community
(Location: Bolivar B)

Voces Cósmicas is a grass-roots eclectic group of local poets/writers who have impacted San Antonio’s Westside and Southwest side by performing and reading poetry at local library branches. Panelists will discuss advancing personal change through writing, the educational dynamism of poetry, and benefits to communities of increased access to the arts.
Speakers: Fernando Esteban Flores , Tom Porter, Jacinto Jesús Cardona, Liz Vera, Carlos Loera

Measuring the Harlem Renaissance—A Q&A with Dr Michael Soto
(Location: Bolivar C)

Measuring the Harlem Renaissance retells the familiar story of the Harlem Renaissance through the shifting lens of US census history and the rise of social scientific inquiry, highlighting innovations that might be pursued by humanists going forward.
Speakers: Michael Soto, Jessica Neal


Public Panel: Writing as Witness: What Kinds of Writers Are We?
(Location: Trinidad)
It is not enough to look; one must look with eyes that want to see. –Galileo
Is writing a public act, a kind of truth telling? Can creative writing address the ethical and political, as well as the aesthetic?  What does it mean to rip off the blindfold and reveal the senselessness of cruelty, war and oppression? How do we give voice to the ways we and others live our lives? What kind of writer—and witness—are we?
Speakers: Sheila Black, Brian Turner, Patricia Spears Jones, Anthony “The Poet” Flores, Bárbara Renaud González

Writing for Transformative Change With Testimonio: Storytelling, Activism, and Healing
(Location: La Habana)

Testimonio is primarily oral and often translates to the written in diverse ways, ranging from freshman compositions to blogs and speeches. Panelists will use personal stories to highlight the genre of testimonio as a form of writing for empowerment and activism, as a way to teach in our classrooms, and as a tool to engage in communal healing practices.
Speakers: Annette Portillo, Victorria Simpson-Gervin, Rose Rodríguez-Rabin

Spoken Word: Say it Like It Is
(Location: Bolivar A)

A dynamic group of San Antonio Spoken Word artists wield the magic of words and discuss the many ways spoken word empowers communities and individuals and creates new spaces for inclusiveness, diversity and under-represented voices.
Speakers: Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, Christopher “Rooster” MartÍnez, Shaggy (Jason Gossard), Sarah Maddux

Location, Relocation, Dislocation: Readings & Discussion by Four Poets
(Location: Partagas)

Through discussion and readings of their poetry, award-winning poets explore the impact on their work of moving geographically, linguistically and culturally, and the dislocations they have experienced, and how they navigate their new sense of “home.”
Speakers: Wendy Barker, Sharon Olinka, Octavio Quintanilla, Edward Vidaurre


Politics with Your Fiction or Memoir, Anyone?
(Location: Trinidad)

How can we write about issues of a political nature within the parameters of fiction and memoir? How do we touch on, or incorporate, political themes without creating flat characters and/or text that sermonizes? Panelists will discuss works they admire that have tackled political themes through narrative, and how those works have inspired or wrought change.
Speakers: Ramona Reeves, Jason Craft, Ito Romo, Paige Schilt, ire’ne lara silva

Documentary Poetry
(Location: La Habana)

How do poets engage with the complex personal, political, ecological, and historical questions around power, exploitation, appropriation and erasure? How does documentary poetry re-fashion the archive, the current event? Five writers discuss their research-based documentary work in response to world in a state of physical, ecological, and spiritual violence.
Speakers: Joni Wallace,John Pluecker, Allison Cobb, Octavio Quintanilla, Susan Landers

“We the People”: Writing Inclusive Spaces in Challenging Times
(Location: Bolivar A)

Five San Antonio community writers and leaders discuss how America is facing new challenges due to the assumption that people of color, women and people who are different are not to be considered part of “WE THE PEOPLE.” How can writers of color write towards unity and a more inclusive sense of American citizenship in challenging times?
Speakers: Antoinette Franklin, DL grant, Jo Reyes-Boitel, Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, Viktoria Valenzuela

The Journal as Practice: Writing as the gateway to the creative process, and a source of recovery, wellness, and healing
(Location: Partagas)

Panelists will explore the practice of journal writing as a method of igniting the creative process for blocked artists, its influence on us as observers in the world, and its mental and physical health benefits. Panelists will explore journaling and expressive writing as agents of change and its effect on soldiers with PTSD, survivors of genocide in Rwanda, and university students in San Antonio.
Speakers: Laura Van Prooyen, Luke Stump, Jen Osborne, Josh Robbins


Writing Inside Vermont: Providing Supportive Space for Incarcerated Women to Write Toward Growth and Change
(Location: Trinidad)

Since 2010, writing inside VT has provided structured, supportive space for incarcerated women in northern Vermont to write toward growth and change. This panel will invite listeners to experience the power of writing for change inside prison via a ‘sample class,’ followed by sharing stories of how the program changed two women, with an opportunity for questions at the end.
Speakers: Sarah W. Bartlett, Meg Reynolds

Creative Activism at Work: 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Texas Edition
(Location: La Habana)
100 Thousand Poets for Change is a grass-roots organization that brings communities together to call for environmental, social and political change. Texas poets will discuss how they have used this global movement to enact local change, and explore social issues that poets can affect through interdisciplinary and poetic activism.
Speakers: Viktoria Valenzuela, Edward Vidaurre, Jenuine Poetess

Reading and Discussion on the new anthology, Imaniman: Poets Reflect on Transformative Borders Through AnzaldÚa’s Work
(Location: Bolivar A)

Imaniman is a Nahuatlized Spanish word for “their soul” and is the title of a new anthology of poetry and essays based on Gloria Anzaldúa’s work. Performances will be followed by a discussion of what it means to be border writers who carry multiple borders within them, and how their creative labors have opened up the space to imagine change — in the world within and the world without.
Speakers: ire’ne lara silva , John Fry, Rodney Gómez, Joe Jiménez, César L. de León

Crime Fiction Against the Regime
(Location: Partagas)

Change defines the entire narrative structure of literary crime fiction. Radical, violent, unyielding. It is useful to examine the underlying social codes and assumptions of the genre’s protagonists in coming to terms with an unjust, even criminal, society. Panelists will examine specific works and authors whose characters defend right against wrong, often at great cost.
Speakers: Rod Davis, Eusebio Diaz, William Glenn

Sunday Panels



Ecopoetics of Deceleration: Writing Toward Planetary Well-being
(Location: Trinidad)
Writing towards planetary well-being begins with deceleration, a re-imagining of the scale and temporality of resistance. Through her experience with the online journal Deceleration, Marisol Cortez reflects on what it means to shift from environmental crisis to environmental peacemaking. As examples of eco-justice poetics, Kamala Platt looks to the poetry of Emmy Pérez and Amalia Ortiz.
Speakers: Kamala Platt, Marisol Cortez

From Discord to Discourse: Creating Spaces for Understanding
(Location: Bolivar A)
In a time of political and social discord, how can we as writers create spaces where difficult and necessary conversations can occur? Through an examination of poets from underrepresented communities, this panel will explore how writers can navigate the tension between discord and discourse to craft a space of awareness and possibility through language.
Speakers: Eric James Cruz, Jo Reyes-Boitel, Daniel García Ordaz, Laura Healy


What Does It Mean to be An American?
(Location: Trinidad)

There are many definitions of what it means to be an American. Five panelists from different backgrounds and perspectives discuss what “being an American” means to them and how our perspectives on this subject influence our work as writers and our ability to engage others in a wider cultural discussion.
Speakers: Jasmina Wellinghoff, Sheila Black, James Adair, Juan Tejeda, Lahab Assef Al-Jundi

Subversive Verse: Lyrical Provocateurs on Wielding Change Through Words
(Location: Bolivar A)
A panel of poets representing a wide range of aesthetic styles and backgrounds will address the ways poetry can turn reality on its head and challenge the too-easily-accepted. Through choices made in subject matter, point-of-view and style, these poets will discuss how they opened up new potential for innovation in their work.Speakers: Patricia Spears Jones, Pablo Miguel Martínez, Joe Jiménez, Alexandra van de Kamp


Transforming Communities through Creative Education
(Location: Trinidad)

Gemini Ink’s Writers in Communities teachers discuss the joys and complications of teaching creative writing workshops in various community settings. We will speak to our personal teaching philosophies and how we have connected with students of various ages and backgrounds, many of whom have no previous exposure to creative writing techniques.
Speakers: Jim LaVilla-Havelin, Joy Jimenez, Kamala Platt

Mythos & Metamorphosis: Writing the Past to Form the Future
(Location: Bolivar A)

By reflecting on who we were—weaving our past into personal mythologies—we can envision who we could be. Join us for close readings and guided writing based on works by poets Patricia Spears Jones and Judy Jordan, whose work invites readers to embrace a metamorphosis only possible through reflection and self-exploration.
Speaker: Aaron Deutsch


Anatomy of a Novel: Contemporary Perspective
(Location: Trinidad)

This panel will briefly cover the historical trajectory of the novel, from the traditional structure of the novel established by 19th century writers to innovative contemporary approaches. Panelists will present unique examples of technique, such as plot, characters or quality of narrative, to highlight the dynamism of modern novel writing.
Speakers: Mo H Saidi, Nan Cuba, Cary Clack, Jimmy Adair, Harold Brannan

The Windward Review: Expressing an Evolving, Multidimensional Border Culture
(Location: La Habana)

Explore the process of transforming a local student journal, The Windward Review, into an international one that celebrates the multidimensional border culture in the South Texas Coastal Bend. How does creating a cultural and political space for diverse contributors and readers deepen commitment to editorial craft? How does an evolving journal contribute to an intersectional and fluid border region?
Speakers: Robin Carstensen, Juliana Aguilar, Joshua Espitia, Chuck Etheridge, Zoe Ramos, Kristen Ruggles

What Veterans Can Teach Us about Compassion
(Location: Bolivar A)

Authors writing through the lens of military service explore the role of compassion in writing, with particular attention given to how the unique military experience can become a spur for change. How can writing as witness be envisioned as not only politics, resistance and reportage but also as a tool towards a more expansive look at ourselves and our connection to those around us?
Speakers: Sarah Colby, Brian Turner, Brandon Lingle, Vincent Cooper

Navigating the Changing World of Publishing
(Location: Bolivar B)

Join a Literary Manager, a Director of a University Press, an independent publisher and an author as they present their diverse experiences and expertise on the quickly evolving and unpredictable world of contemporary publishing.
Speakers: Marilyn Atlas, Tom Payton, Juan Tejeda, Bárbara Renaud González


Writing on the Rio: An Exploration of San Antonio’s Evolving Literary Image
(Location: Trinidad)

Publisher and editor Bryce Milligan will lead a discussion of San Antonio’s multi-faceted literary heritage with noted Chicano Scholar Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto and distinguished author Carmen Tafolla. The panel will examine the long history of writing in the River City, from the Spanish colonial period through the Chicano movimiento.
Speakers: Bryce Milligan, Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Dr. Carmen Tafolla

Interviewing Female Elders: An Act of Storytelling and Subversion
(Location: La Habana)

This panel will explore how telling the stories of women over 80 is a subversive act in a culture that discounts women as they age. Panelists will explore challenging stereotypes through art, including the process of interviewing elders and getting a non-stereotypical book out into the world.
Speakers: Jen Hamilton Hernández, Deb Field, Linda Harris, Bonnie Lyons

Fact versus Fiction: Storytelling in the 21st Century
(Location: Bolivar A)

Award-winning fiction and nonfiction writers discuss how they handle, wield and even manipulate both fact and the imagination to weave compelling stories. How can lyricism merge with lived experience to create riveting stories supple enough to respond to our times?
Speakers: Helena María Viramontes, Jan Jarboe Russell, John Phillip Santos, Bernadette Smyth

Writing La Familia
(Location: Bolivar B)

The recent US election and the increasing wave of hate speech/sentiment throughout the country has necessitated an exploration of how we, as poets in the lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, have turned to the idea of family/family history/family ties as a nourishing and motivating force that allows us to write for change.
Speakers: Nayelly Barrios, César L De León, Celina Gómez, Rodney Gómez, Lina Suarez, Edward Vidaurre


Writers Without Readers: How Can We Build a Better City for the Written Word?
(Location: La Habana)

San Antonio is a city that celebrates its rich cultural diversity, but despite being the 7th largest city in the US, it ranks 60th in reading literacy. This lively discussion will explore the intersections between literacy, cultural heritage and engagement with the written word to ask how we can develop San Antonio and cities nationwide into places in which the written word is celebrated by a diverse and engaged population.
Speakers: Tom Payton, Katy Flato, Elizabeth Fauerso, Deborah Valdez, Claudia Guerra

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Thu, JULY 20


Real Women Have Words
Special Pre-Conference VIP Event–Fundraiser with our friends at the Roosevelt Library

Fri, July 21


Conference Registration, Mango’s Terrace (Hotel Lobby)


Welcome Reception, Mango’s Terrace (Hotel Lobby)
Free and Open to the Public
Cash Bar and light fare, Spoken Word performance by Diamond Mason


Viva Tacoland Reading, 103 W Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78212
Free and Open to the Public
Readings by conference panelists and attendees in a relaxed, beer garden setting.
Spoken Word Artist Christopher “Rooster” Martínez emcees.

Sat, July 22


Registration opens (Hotel Lobby)


Coffee and light breakfast fare (La Habana Room)


Keynote Address by Pablo Miguel Martínez (La Habana Room)
Change is As Change Does: The Macro and the Micro of It


Writing Workshops, see schedule


Panels, see schedule


Book Fair, Mango’s Terrace (Hotel Lobby)


Networking Lunch (La Habana Room)
Clay Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Kirkus Media, guest speaker
Boxed lunches and beverages provided for attendees enrolled for full conference.


Panels, see schedule


Mango’s Terrace Readings (Hotel Lobby)
A relaxed reading featuring conference panelists/attendees


Saturday Evening Reading & Reception
El Centro de Artes at Historic Market Square, 101 S Santa Rosa Ave, San Antonio, TX 78207
Free and Open to the Public
Featured readings by Brian Turner, Patricia Spears Jones, Helena María Viramontes and Octavio Quintanilla.
Reception and cash bar. Live music by Miguel Angel Garza.

Sun, July 23


Registration opens (Hotel Lobby)


Coffee Station opens (La Habana)

9am-12:30pm, 9:30-1pm

Writing Workshops, see schedule


Panels, see schedule


Lunch break. Sandwiches and Salads available through Mango’s Terrace Expresso’s Café.


Panels, see schedule


Closing Speaker/Panel: Moderated by Tom Payton, Director of Trinity University Press
“Writers without Readers: How Can We Build a Better City for the Written Word?”


Closing Reception in Tiki Bar (Hotel Lobby)

Cash Bar, Light Snacks, Mingle with our visiting writers and conference attendees one last time!

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The book fair takes place Saturday, July 22, 10-5pm

Book Exhibitor Package

Cost is $50 for a full table and includes:

  • 6 foot table with table cover
  • Two (2) Exhibitor badges
  • One (1) Listing in the conference schedule, if submitted by print deadline date.
  • One (1) Listing on the Gemini Ink website, with a link to your webpage.
  • Two (2) Author signings listed in the conference schedule, if submitted by print deadline date (see below).

Half table exhibit packages are available for $25—receive one (1) exhibitor badge.

Author Signings

If you are interested in scheduling author signings at your table on July 23, please submit the following information before July 7, 2017:

  • Name of author
  • Time that the signing will take place

Important Print Deadline: July 8

  • Conference Schedule Listing
  • Author Signing Listing

Once purchased, please email the following to Anisa Onofre

  • The name of your press
  • Press logo (jpg or png)
  • A brief description of your press
  • A link to your webpage
  • Author signings information, if applicable

Purchase Exhibitor Space

$50 for a whole table; $35 for half table


Marilyn Atlas is a talent and literary manager, award-winning producer, and writer. She has produced films such as Real Women Have Curves for HBO, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival; a variety of programming for the cable/ pay TV market, and co-produced several live theatre productions, including To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, which was made into a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Gallagher. She is the co-author of the ground-breaking screenwriting guide Dating Your Character (Stairway Press 2016). Marilyn has long been committed to issues surrounding diversity in Hollywood and has been a guest speaker at various colleges and writers’ colleges all over the country. A member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, she has spoken at many of their writers’ and producers’ retreats, and is a founding member of Women in Film’s Luminas Committee.

Pablo Miguel Martínez’s collection of poems, Brazos, Carry Me (Kórima Press), received the 2013 PEN Southwest Book Award for Poetry; its judge’s citation notes that Martínez is “a highly perceptive observer and scholar of our human frailties and common history.” Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sandra Cisneros praised Brazos, Carry Me as her favorite book of 2013. His chapbook, titled Cuent@, was published by Finishing Line Press in February 2016 as a result of the manuscript being selected the First Honorable Mention in the Press’ 2014 Open Chapbook Competition. Martínez is a Co-Founder of CantoMundo, a national retreat-workshop for Latina/o poets. He resides in his hometown, San Antonio, Texas, where he works in the not-for-profit sector. Currently, he is at work on a mixed-genre memoir.

tom payton2Tom Payton has been in the book and publishing industry for more than 25 years. Payton has served on industry boards and committees for the Publishers Association of the South, the Georgia Center for the Book, and other organizations. He has participated in or moderated discussions at an array of literary conferences, book festivals, and continuing education classes nationally. He has experience in all aspects of the business including acquisitions, project development, digital content, publicity, marketing, sales, subsidiary rights, special events, contracts, manufacturing, and financial analysis. His work with Trinity primarily focuses on digital project development, books in architecture, urban planning, sustainability, literature/history of place, and Texas and Southwestern regional interests, developing co-publishing partnerships, and marketing and sales. In San Antonio he has written for several publications and has worked with Texas Book Festival/San Antonio and Gemini Ink. He has served on the board for Say Sí, an advisory board for the Center for Non-Profit Support at the San Antonio Area Foundation, and he works with several other volunteer and civic organizations including the Terrell Heights Neighborhood Association. He blogs on a variety of topics at He is a native of Georgia and a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Octavio Quintanilla is the author of the poetry collection, If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014). His work has appeared in SalamanderRHINOAlaska  Quarterly ReviewSouthwestern American LiteratureThe Texas Observer, and elsewhere. He is a CantoMundo Fellow and holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. He is the regional editor for Texas Books in Review and teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the M.A./M.F.A. program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.

clay smithClay Smith is the Literary Director of the San Antonio Book Festival. He is also the editor-in-chief of Kirkus Reviews and former literary director of the Texas Book Festival. He was elected to the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle in 2015 and has written for the New York Times Book Review, among other publications. He is a graduate of the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at NYU and began his journalism career at the Austin Chronicle and talks about books regularly on the public radio program “Texas Standard.”

patricia spears jones copyPatricia Spears Jones is the author of four collections of poetry: A Lucent Fire: New & Selected Poems (White Pine Press, 2015), Painkiller (Tia Chucha Press, 2010), Femme du Monde (Tia Chucha Press, 2006), and The Weather That Kills (Coffee House Press, 1995). She has been the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the 2017 Jackson Poetry Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for American Poets. Other honors include fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Goethe Institute, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Brian Turner is a poet and memoirist who served seven years in the U.S. Army. He is the author of the memoir My Life as a Foreign Country (2015) and two poetry collections, Phantom Noise and Here, Bullet, which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award and the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, among other distinctions. He is the author of the poem “The Hurt Locker,” which inspired the 2009 Academy-Award-winning film. Turner’s work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times, and other fine journals.

Helena María Viramontes is the author of The Moths and Other Stories and two novels Under the Feet of Jesus and Their Dogs Came With Them.  She has also co-edited with Maria Herrera Sobek, two collections: Chicana (W) rites: On Word and Film and Chicana Creativity and Criticism. A recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the John Dos Passos Award for Literature, and a United States Artist Fellowship, her short stories and essays have been widely anthologized and her writings have been adopted for classroom use and university study. Her work is the subject of a critical reader titled Rebozos De Palabras  (University of Arizona Press). A community organizer and former coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association, she is a frequent reader and lecturer in the U.S. and internationally.  Currently she is completing a draft of her third novel, The Cemetery Boys.

Check out The Writer’s Desk: Where Helena María Viramontes Finds Her Inspiration at The Rivard Report.

Featured Local Readers



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When registering for the conference, please state the workshop you will take, or tell us if you are not going to be taking one at all. Space is limited. Register at this link.


SATURDAY, JULY 22, 9AM–12:30pm


Re-imagining Other Worlds Through a Political Lens

Instructor: Helena María Viramontes


Imagination is political. Iris Murdoch described it as “a spontaneous intuitive capacity” to form an experience “intellectually ordered and sensuously based.” In this workshop, we will experiment with different angles on fiction writing to challenge and widen our perceptions, our empathy, and, ultimately, our reality. We will discuss various components of imagination and try our hand at expanding our repertoire of points-of-view, story structure, and sources for our fiction to create compelling stories based on a diverse range of lived experience.


Democratic Vistas: Poetry-Making Now

Instructor: Patricia Spears-Jones


Walt Whitman said that democracy is the job of the poet. As Patricia Spears-Jones declares, “We got the words” and, as poets, words are what we need as we deal with the challenges of our times. In this workshop, we will look at divergent, even luxuriant, ways to consider poetry-making: how can it remain intimate and intricate while so much is going on around us? what feels right for us as poets and writers? what is most troubling us? We will combine reflection with the creation of new work and spark ideas for future poems. We’ll have some allies on this journey: Allison Hedge Coke, June Jordan, Ron Padgett, Gregory Pardlo and Marilyn Chin.

Suggested: Please read Whitman’s “Democratic Vistas” before we meet.


Memoir as Interior Renovation

Instructor: Brian Turner


In this intensive workshop, we’ll offer critique and feedback on the memoir you’ve begun, and discover ways to expand and explore the work you’ve already created. With a literary tool belt and an eye toward renovation, we’ll knock out some of the walls, put in skylights, and revamp the inner corridors so that all of the rooms interconnect with one another.

Required: You must turn in 10-20 pages of a memoir-in-progress prior to the course so that Mr Turner has time to fully read your writing sample. The absolute deadline for submission of memoir samples is July 15, but early submission is encouraged.

Please submit at this link:


Fiction, Screenwriting 9:30-1pm

Creating Memorable, Three-Dimensional Characters

Instructor: Marilyn Atlas


How do you bring memorable, three-dimensional characters to life enough to make them feel like real people? In this open-genre workshop, we will view and analyze movie/TV scenes to see what makes the characters unforgettable, and study non-stereotypical characters to see what we can learn from them. We will examine the power of subtext: how to embed details of motivation—thoughts, goals, secrets, flaws, delusions—into physical behavior, speech patterns and habits that echo throughout your story. Come to class with your most important characters in mind, and leave with a better understanding about how to bring them to life.


Poetry 9-12:30pm

The Poet As Witness: Writing to Inhabit the World

Instructor: Octavio Quintanilla


How can we write poems that make vital connections between the self and the world? Must we personally be subjected to extreme conditions, such as war, imprisonment or torture, to feel strongly about suffering and write about it. “Our link to the suffering of others is that we care about it,” wrote Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux, “and what we care about we tend to put into our writing.” In this generative workshop, we will consider issues that matter to us most. By studying ways in which poets have borne witness to suffering, we will write our way out of the dark.


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