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Alexandra van de Kamp


May 2021

Poems for the Future — Myth and Spirit Make for Vision and Community

May 1 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm CDT

Join acclaimed New York City poet Patricia Spears Jones in a master class that explores the connection of myth and spirit in the creation of poems for and about the future. Whitman in his essay, “Democratic Vistas” charged poets with sustaining a credible and expansive democracy. But his road map and the myths he relied on no longer suffice.  

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The Best of Both Worlds: Welcoming Poetry and Poetic Elements into Your Prose—A Workshop with Jasminne Mendez

May 6 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm CDT

One of the greatest pieces of advice I received from a mentor once was: "You don't have to give up being a poet to write prose." In this generative writing workshop, we will explore the lyric and braided essay form and how poetry and poetic elements can be integrated into the narrative of a piece in creative and interesting ways. We will look at examples of essays that incorporate poetic strategies such as repetition, alliteration, imagery and even rhyme, and we will use prompts to create our own lyric or braided essays.

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Writing for Heroic Power: Homer, Dante & Virgil in Light of Modern Realities

May 13 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm CDT

Join Gemini Ink Board president Charles Massiatte on a contemporary exploration of Greek epics that will fuel the reader and writer in you. Dip back into the classics to re-envision our contemporary moment and discover templates for writing your own narratives, even epic ones, in new ways.

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June 2021

Perfectly Irresistible: Creating Sympathetic Characters

June 12 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm CDT

When a character is in trouble, as all protagonists should be, she can seem unsympathetic if she's focused only on her own problems. Her unhappiness, worry, and frustration may result in a character who appears judgmental, short-tempered, rude, and who wants to read about someone like that? The answer is that we all do, but only if she's complex enough to make us identify with and root for her, and the story ultimately shows her transcending those tendencies. This class will incorporate general methods for creating characters but with an emphasis on unlikeable ones, sharing examples and specific techniques for evoking reader sympathy and depicting character growth. Whether you write fiction or creative nonfiction, come ready to practice each technique by focusing either on a character of your own or one provided. You will finish with a handout, notes, and generated writing.

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Igniting the Story in Your Writing Process: A 2-Day Bootcamp with New York Times Bestselling Author Andre Dubus III

June 19 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm CDT

If I teach nothing in my writing classes, I teach this: do not outline your memoir (or novel or novella or short story or essay). Do not think out the plot, the narrative arc, the protagonist’s journey, whatever you want to call it. Instead, try to find the story through an honest excavation of the characters’ total experience of the situation at hand. Do that, and I promise the story will begin to write itself, with little help from the godly, intelligent, well-read, and ambitious author. But how, precisely, does one go about this “excavation”? And how, technically speaking, can we ignite a story into “writing itself”? Come to this workshop, and I will seek to demystify those writerly tools and skills that time and time again, if they are sharp enough, and if the writer can summon enough daily faith and nerve, can penetrate the mystery of story itself.

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Cultivating Fields: An Introduction to Writing Poetry with jo reyes-boitel

June 22 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm CDT

This class is built for the new poet, or for someone returning to poetry after some distance. Participants will have an opportunity to create new work from writing prompts and discuss different avenues into writing poetry. An overview of poetic tools, styles, and strategies will give way to the center of poetry: emotion, story, and breath. Participants will also gain an understanding of the workshop model and its alternatives, find ways to build their community of fellow creatives, and discuss how to stay self-motivated to keep writing. 

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