Giving Voice: A Festival of Writing and the Arts
September 23, 2016
Form and Pattern vs. Chaos: A Workshop on Poetry Basics
Marilyn Nelson, Poetry
Poetry traditionally uses formal aspects to control the randomness of ordinary language. A poem is a made thing, a built thing, a language shaped by pattern to make it digestible, powerful and contained. In traditional verse, pattern was established by form and meter; lines had set numbers of beats and rhymes and alliteration came at predictable places. Nowadays, most poetry written in English is written in free verse, rather than in traditional forms, and this presents a unique set of problems. Since free verse poets cannot rely on the authority of an accepted "classical" form, they must develop authority through consistency and variance of pattern. The poet must learn how to keep some natural chaos in the poem, but since we can only "control" the chaotic aspect by imposing structure on it, it makes sense that we should practice using structure and form, the parts that we can control and learn. And although too much control risks forcing the poem into a stilted shape and ruining it, we must learn to keep our writing balanced and in that delicate middle ground where the best poetry happens. In this workshop we will learn and practice some elements on linguist form and pattern.
Welcome to My World: Bringing Readers with You
Chris Hoke, Nonfiction
People who don't come from our neighborhoods, our side of the world, often fail to understand us. In this workshop, we will look at creative writing where the writer acts as a kind of deep tour guide—taking readers into one's own world, pointing out what only an insider would see and understand. But when we start looking around our homes, our streets, the hallways—or even cells—we know so well, in order to teach outsiders...we discover the music and the pain of our place in ways we never thought about before. By teaching the outsider, we come to discover our own place anew. As we write, we will look at the writing of Jamaica Kincaid on her home island in the Caribbean, my own writing about the jail where I work, as well as the writing of a teenager locked in solitary confinement. Come prepared to be honest, unafraid of confronting the reader in second person voice, and using all of your senses to take readers with you.
Drawing From a Deep Well: Story Invention and Process
Gina Ochsner, Fiction
Writing is an act of faith. Writers not only believe, but rely upon words availing themselves when needed. But what can a writer do when the words don’t arrive? This session addresses a phenomenon nearly every writer encounters: the need to write while simultaneously feeling unable to do so. We will talk about where story ideas come from, how to “jump-start” writing when ideas seem absent, and how to develop ideas. We’ll be trying out techniques and don’t be surprised if you leave this session with several story starts in hand.
The Art of the Critique
Writers are often subject to criticism from different sources, and most have experienced both positive and negative critique environments as they've progressed in their writing. Through many of her own personal experiences, BettySoo has learned that connecting with other artists to create a community can be mutually affirming to writers, as artists and as people, without sugar coating where writing might be improved. Participants in this workshop will learn about critical elements of a good critique environment, have an opportunity to ask questions, and have time to critique their own works that they bring along if they are feeling brave.
Songwriting: Telling a Story
Although there are many songwriting techniques, this workshop will focus on story songwriting. Students will explore meter, form, and rhyming techniques that are often employed when telling individual stories through music and lyric. Students will then work together to compose a song, carefully crafting lyrics to communicate a specific story with characters, locations, actions and emotions. This workshop is offered only in the morning.
What’s in a Scene?: Screenwriting Fundamentals
In fiction, scenes can be quite fluid without concrete boundaries; in screenplays, however, scenes are much more distinct. More importantly, the scene is the essential building block of the script. Without them, the script will have little form and progression. In this workshop, we will examine the parameters of scenes in feature-length scripts by looking at a few examples and then practice scene-making strategies in scenes we create from scratch. This workshop is offered only in the afternoon.
Writing Poems: "The Soul is Like a Buffalo"
Traci R. Letellier
How do poets use metaphor, associations, and the repetition of words and sounds to create layers of meaning within a poem? How can you use these same techniques? Come to this workshop with pen and paper; leave with a poem! This workshop is offered only in the afternoon.
Fun-Sized Fiction: How Less Can Be Just Enough
Creating flash fiction can help writers to learn to maximize their impact by stripping their stories to the bare minimum. This workshop will cover the basic requirements of a good story and how to slash through unnecessary details to get to those required elements. Participants will be given the opportunity to analyze examples of very short fiction together, and then practice formulating ideas for their own "bite-sized" stories. This workshop is offered only in the morning.
If you are interested in acting, come and try Readers Theater, a dramatic presentation of a written work in a script form. Readers read from a script, so there is no memorization. The focus is on reading the text with expressive voices and gestures. Participants will work on characterization, facial expressions, and use of inflection. Limit 12 students per workshop.
Drama I: Intro to Improvisational Theater and Other Scary Things
All participants will be encouraged to exercise their creativity through drama games and improvised settings. Presentation will be improvisational within framework decided by instructor and will include all participants. Limit 15 students per workshop.
Calligraphy: The Medieval Art
David R Andrus
The very shape of our Roman alphabet depends, in part, on the kind of marks made by a quill from the 3rd feather on the left wing of a goose. Carve it right with a pen knife, dip it in ink and start to write like a medieval scribe. We will have some goose quills, a lot of flat-nib pens and some calligraphic markers for you to experiment with and some printed materials you can take with you. Come learn to make some 500 year-old letters. (Alas, scribes are typically right-handed and this skill is a bit of a challenge for lefties.)
Squeegee Time: A Screen Printing Workshop
This class gives students a basic introduction into the “Art Poster“ screen printing process. We will look at “gig” and “art" poster, talk about the techniques of producing the posters, and then practice those techniques by pulling a few prints during the class. Limit 15 students per workshop.
Introduction to the Traditional Dark Room
Students will have the opportunity to study the traditional process of gelatin silver development as conducted in the traditional (chemical) darkroom. Each group will receive a film negative and will themselves develop an 8x10 silver print that they may keep as a memento of the day. The workshop does not require any previous knowledge of tradition. Limit 12 students per workshop.
A basic introduction to creating prints by hand using an etching press. We will create artwork with ink on plexiglass, and then transfer those images to paper to make a unique "monotype" print. This fast but interesting process does not require any previous drawing or painting experience. Limit 12 students per workshop.
An introduction to digital sculpting using Sculptris for creating an organic 3D character on the computer. Sculptris provides a very intuitive approach in creating 3D models on the computer. This application can be downloaded for free at: http://www.pixologic.com/zbrush/downloadcenter/
The Tools of the Trade
Discover the magic of making a short (very short) stop-motion film — the lights, camera, and action. Students will experience and participate in the process.
Cross-Genre Pedagogy Workshop
Writing well is about paying attention more than anything else: paying attention to the world around you, paying attention to what you think of it, paying attention to other people’s writing and what makes it interesting. Paying attention takes practice, of course, as does articulating what you notice in such a way that others can see through your eyes. Teachers attending this workshop will come away with a quick, fun pedagogical approach to creative writing that will help students pay attention to and write well about the world around them.
State of Arkansas Professional Development credit available
Creative Nonfiction Pedagogy Workshop
Chopped Lit: Cooking Up Exciting Poems and Short-Shorts out of Ordinary Classroom Offerings
In the spirit of the reality-based cooking show Chopped, students are invited to compete with one another to cook up the best poems and stories from shared “baskets” of words serendipitously provided by their textbooks. A rotating panel of student-judges lead mini-workshops in creative writing.
State of Arkansas Professional Development credit available