Come Write With Us At AWP! Call for Guest Bloggers–Thursday

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 6.35.57 PMGoing to the AWP Conference and Bookfair in Minneapolis? Concordia College–Assay’s home and sponsor–is the premier sponsor of AWP this year, and it’s Assay’s first AWP, so we’re really excited to count down the days! We’re looking for guest bloggers to write up reports of nonfiction and pedagogy panels, readings, interviews, and more, because we haven’t figured out how to clone ourselves and be in three places at once! (I’m sure I’m not the only one having a hard time deciding which panels to go to!) We’re also looking for bookfair reports and other write-ups of the goings-on. So many things to do and see! Check out Thursday’s schedule below of panels and if you’d like to claim a panel to write about, let us know in the comments. While these are not the only panels you could report on, remember that Assay is most interested in nonfiction, craft, and pedagogy. We’ll let others cover the fiction and poetry. We’re looking for summary of the panel/panelists, poignant quotes, and personal reactions–aim for 500-700 words. The goal is to give those who aren’t there a good idea of what went on. Then, once your blog post is ready, send it in the text of an email to assayjournal (at) along with a one or two line bio and we’ll post them to our blog ASAP. We’ll post the Friday and Saturday calls for bloggers in the next few days.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

9:00 am- 10:15 am

R105. Stranger than Fiction: Personal Essay in the Age of the Internet Room 101 D&E, Level 1 (Ben Tanzer, Megan Stielstra, Jamie Iredell, Wendy Ortiz, Anna March) What does it mean to write a personal essay in the age of the internet? And how do we decide what is truth when we as writers are expected to tangle with the pressure to create public personas? The personal essayists on this panel will discuss how they maneuver through these challenges–building brand, navigating social media, defining creative nonfiction, and yes, finding the truth in our writing, when the truth is filtered through the endless platforms that comprise our lives today.

R107. Thank You for the Surgery Room 101 J, Level 1 (Megan Levad, Peter Ho Davies, Pimone Triplett, V. V. Ganeshananthan, Jeffrey Schultz) When Higginson eviscerated Dickinson’s poems, she responded by thanking him for the surgery, and noting that it was not so painful as she’d supposed. However, many creative writing instructors feel they must avoid offering rigorous criticism, or risk gaining a reputation for sadism. But does pain serve a purpose in the revision process? In this panel, writers with diverging teaching philosophies will discuss what the writing workshop stands to gain—or lose—from stinging appraisals.

R111. Teaching in Prisons/Prisons in Teaching Room 200 H&I, Level 2 (Jessica Kinnison, Cody Leutgens, Jonny Blevins, Marc Nieson, Sarah Shotland) Panel discusses alternate venues for teaching creative writing, featuring educators from Words Without Walls, a partnership between Chatham University’s MFA program and a Pittsburgh prison, jail, and halfway house. Dialogue focuses on developing site-specific curriculum and creative writing pedagogy. Learn how to initiate, nurture, and greet programmatic challenges, and how the experience often launches writers toward wider engagement with educational justice among their literary citizenship.

R112. More than a Family Affair: Using Family History in Creative Nonfiction Room 205 A&B, Level 2 (Jeremy Jones, Bonnie Rough, James McKean, June Melby) We all have those oft-repeated stories of larger-than-life uncles and of the courtship of great-grandparents and of closeted skeletons in the old homeplace. But how do we take these passed-around stories and move them beyond family reunions? How do we determine what is the stuff of literary nonfiction and what is best relegated to family history? Panelists whose books come from presses large and small discuss effective techniques for collecting and crafting—and publishing—family lore.

R121. Breaking Stereotypes Room M100 H&I, Mezzanine Level (Susan Power, Stephen Graham Jones, Gordon Henry, Steve Pacheco, Carter Meland) Flowing through southwest Minnesota is the Yellow Medicine River where the Dakota came together to dig the yellow root of a plant used for medicinal purposes. Such is the spirit of Yellow Medicine Review in providing a platform for indigenous perspectives, in part to make possible the healing of an old but open wound: the persistent stereotyping of indigenous peoples. Four distinguished contributors of the journal come together to discuss how writers can counter and replace such stereotypes.

R122. Designing the Word Room M100 J, Mezzanine Level (Joshua Unikel, Jordan Bass, Franklin Vandiver, John Gialanella) If “the medium is the message” like Marshall McLuhan wrote, then how is the design of literary magazines contributing to contemporary writing? What can design aesthetics add to our experience as readers? Editors/designers from McSweeney’s, Seneca Review, Triple Canopy, and Sonora Review discuss graphic design, literary magazines, and the history of innovative design. Each will discuss his journal’s aesthetic and his own while also addressing the benefits and potentials of designing in the 2010s.

R126B. Long vs. Short: Nonfiction Storytelling in the Digital Age Room L100 H&I, Lower Level (Martha Nichols, Alan Davis, Kelly Sundberg, Mai Neng Moua, Richard Hoffman) Short-short writing is in vogue, and it’s a great match for online attention spans. But what gets lost when essays and other kinds of nonfiction storytelling are limited by word count? This diverse panel of editors and writers will focus on the pros and cons of flash nonfiction. Some like it long, others like it short, and all will address whether it’s OK to say goodbye to the traditional essay. Join the debate about what’s happening to literary nonfiction in digital formats—and why it matters.

10:30 am to 11:45 am

R136. Robert Bly and the Minnesota Writers’ Publishing House Room 101 J, Level 1 (Cary Waterman, Louis Jenkins, Kate Green, Tom Hennen) The Minnesota Writers’ Publishing House, started by Robert Bly in 1972, was modeled on the Swedish Writers’ Publishing House to shift power in publishing and give writers more influence. The first seven published chapbooks were selected and edited by Bly. Panelists will discuss their experiences with the House and Bly’s influence and read from their chapbooks and those of Tom McGrath, Keith Gunderson, Franklin Brainard, and Jenne Andrews.

R138. Teaching Artists Teaching Artists Room 200 D&E, Level 2 (Miah Arnold, Raj Mankad, Landon Godfrey, Chelsie Ruiz Buckley, Claire Helakoski) Creative writing’s pedagogical kinship to composition is oft considered, less so is our relationship to architecture, music, drama, dance, and the visual arts. We observed, interviewed, and harangued professors in these arts to discover: the teaching givens. These are what artists must know and produce to graduate; how work is created, presented, graded, and critiqued. Our discoveries offer thought-provoking possibilities that challenge and invigorate the norms of the creative writing workshop.

R141. The Voyage of Graphic Literary Forms Room 205 A&B, Level 2 (Mercedes Gilliom, Erica Mena, Tomasz Kaczynski, Brian Evenson, Diana Arterian) Four panelists who work at the intersection of graphic literature and translation discuss the challenges and benefits of transporting graphic literary forms from one language and culture to another. These writers, artists, and translators with backgrounds in comics creation, translation, editing, and publishing come together to share their experiences in reaching new audiences and markets for this expanding element in the creative writing landscape.

R145. Flat Lands and Open Waters: Reading Hybridity into the Midwest Room 211 A&B, Level 2 (Nickole Brown, Re’Lynn Hansen, Madelon Sprengnether, Alison Townsend, Rochelle Hurt) The paradigm of form has shifted to include hybrid works such as the poem novella, the lyric essay, the prose poem, and flash nonfiction. How do the challenges and rewards of living in the flatlands yield to a fluidity and hybridity in writing? These Midwestern authors, all published by the White Pine Press Marie Alexander series featuring prose poem and hybrid forms, will read work and discuss the confluence of aesthetics between living/writing from the midlands and having an openness to form.

R149. Intersecting Cultures: The Joys & Challenges of Writing the Tribe Room M100 D&E, Mezzanine Level (Daiva Markelis, Bayo Ojikutu , Achy Obejas, M. Evelina Galang, Helene Aylon) The five writers on this panel reflect a wide range of ethnic, geographic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds. They will explore the joys and challenges of writing about their subcultures—their tribes—groups that often intersect and overlap, raising complicated questions about terms such as diversity, diaspora, exile, homeland, insider, and outsider.

R150. Corporeal Complexities: Examining the Variant Body in Narrative Room M100 F&G, Mezzanine Level (Sherri Hoffman, Loretta McCormick, Kellie Wells, Peggy Shinner, Noria Jablonski) Too often the disabled or variant body is reduced to a narrative device used to explain or dismiss bad behavior, imbue a character with pathos, or to reinforce class, social, or economic stereotypes. This panel challenges the idea of these “other” bodies as simple narrative tropes. Instead, we seek to map both internal and external spaces that contemporary writers create and subvert by examining disability, illness, or altered bodies in their work.

R155. Mining the Gap: Trauma, Memory, and Reimagined Pasts Room L100 D&E, Lower Level (Elizabeth Kadetsky, Elyssa East, Jessica Handler, Denise Grollmus, Rebecca McClanahan) The past is not fixed but subject to change. What haunts us may not be the past itself, but the unresolved secrets of our ancestors. Grief, trauma, and nostalgia can reshape our memories, erasing fragments or creating insistent, nonlinear repetitions. Five authors—of memoir, researched memoir, and narrative journalism—discuss their stylistic choices in portraying traumas and secrets handed down through families and cultures, the grief of others and themselves, and other distortions of memory.

R158. Confronting Our Fears: Turning Adversity into Art Room L100 J, Lower Level (Jo Scott-Coe, Michael Steinberg, Renee D’Aoust, Richard Hoffman, Meredith Hall) Seasoned memoirists know that writing about our personal misfortunes, fears, and demons can produce rich, even urgent, writing. But that is only true when we use those hardships and struggles not simply for confession or disclosure but as raw materials for creating literary works. Citing their own and others’ work, five writer-teachers will offer strategies designed to show aspiring memoirists how to transform frightening, disturbing experiences into artfully crafted, shared human narratives.

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

R164. Translation as a Love Affair: International Perspectives on Creative Process Room 101 D&E, Level 1 (Hélène Cardona, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs , Willis Barnstone, Martha Collins, Donald Revell) Did you ever fall in love with a book? So much that you felt the need to translate it? Working with Chinese, Hebrew, Greek, Korean, Latin, French, Spanish, Turkish, and Vietnamese, this panel’s poets, translators, and scholars discuss their roles as intermediaries, technicians, magicians, and alchemists working between languages to create inspired texts spanning cultural differences, geographic distances, and time. More than extending the life of original works, they make possible their renewal.

R169. A Lifetime of Experience in One Hour: The Art of the Craft Talk Room 200 D&E, Level 2 (Zack Rogow, Wilton Barnhardt, Sena Jeter Naslund, Wesley Brown) With the rise of low-residency programs and writing institutes, craft talks have become an important medium to inspire and to transmit methods to the next generation of writers. Experienced faculty members from low-residency programs will discuss their ideas on what makes a compelling craft talk. How do you generate a theme or question? What techniques, aids, or tools help in presentation? How do you create a talk that is dynamic and useful to students and stays with them in their lives as writers?

R178. Comics Confessional: The Allure of the Graphic Memoir Room M100 A, Mezzanine Level (Jim Miller, Jeffrey S. Chapman, Justin Hall, Nicole Oquendo) While superheroes clearly still dominate the American comic book landscape, extraordinary graphic memoirs have fueled the rise of the literary graphic novel: Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, David Small’s Stitches, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Why are comics such a compelling medium for autobiographical or confessional literature? This panel will examine how the visual medium provides authors with tools ideally suited for creating powerful, charged autobiographical literature.

R179. Beyond Gourmet Dinners: Food Writers of Outreach & Engagement Room M100 B&C, Mezzanine Level (Alice Julier, Ava Chin, Adam Wright, Eric LeMay, Dennis Chamberlin) Food writing is about capturing the uniqueness of civilization, about agriculture, ecology, culture, religion, war, and race. These writers will discuss their efforts to fight inequality and how they have found ways to use food to promote tolerance and diversity, from working with rural refugee immigrant farmers, to conducting urban foraging workshops, to teaching underprivileged children.

R183. Workshopping the World: Teaching Creative Writing Outside Academia Room M100 J, Mezzanine Level (Christopher Koslowski, Julia Velasco, Justin Brouckaert, Kathy Zlabek, Erin Elizabeth Smith) Is your workshop in a rut? All too often, the design of university creative writing courses defaults to a tried-and-true standard, failing to reflect the creativity of its participants. Panelists with experience teaching creative writing in prisons, writer’s retreats, enrichment centers, elementary schools, and ESL courses abroad will discuss what the university workshop can learn from their techniques in catering instruction to diverse audiences.

R185. New Frontiers: Paving Space for Emerging Talent Off the Conventional Page Room L100 B&C, Lower Level (Celia Johnson, Amanda Bullock, Sarah Bowlin, Michelle Brower, Meredith Kaffel) Agents, editors, and publishers are discovering new voices off the conventional page, in creative communities both on- and offline. These communities are forged through innovative concepts, such as a storytelling extravaganza on Twitter, a bookish showdown in a lively setting, or literary speed dating with agents and writers at a popular bookstore. Five publishing pros discuss how these new frontiers in publishing lead to the discovery of new talent and help foster emerging careers.

R186. For Their Own Purposes: The Craft of Intertextuality Room L100 D&E, Lower Level (Christian Gerard, Katharine Coles, Dexter Booth, Michael Mejia, Nicole Walker) When Eliot said, “Good writers borrow, great writers steal,” he was acknowledging what we all know: every written work talks to and from other writings. Some writers engage other texts explicitly, as in erasures or centos; some work more slyly. In their poems, novels, and essays, the writers on this panel play joyfully in and with the words of others. They will discuss their techniques and various challenges (including copyright issues) and pleasures of bringing their thefts into the open.

R188. “Fashioning a Text”: Discovering Form and Shape in Literary Nonfiction Room L100 H&I, Lower Level (Michael Steinberg, Elyssa East, Pat Madden, Michael Downs, Robert Root) Structure in nonfiction is often regarded as tandem or secondary to other concerns (voice, content, subject matter). Five writer/teachers–essayists, memoirists, and journalists maintain that “fashioning a text,” that is, discovering a work’s shape, is central to the drafting process. Citing theirs and others’ work, panelists will discuss the essential connection between their material and the forms they choose. In addition, they will explain when and how they decided what those forms would be.

R189. Writing Mental Difference: A Multigenre Panel Room L100 J, Lower Level (Jorge Armenteros, Steven Cramer, Leslie McGrath, Suzanne Paola Antonetta) The mind generates every word we write. We listen to the stream of words as it springs from thought and perception and render them as literary art. But how do we write or mentor students from the perspective of those who lie outside the mental norm? Four diverse writers will discuss how minds different from the norm have influenced their work. Harnessing the inspirational force of neurodiverse perspectives, they will share their poems, prose, and perspectives of writing about mental difference.

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

R197. Why Did You Write That? The Problem of Urgency Room 101 D&E, Level 1 (Julie Sheehan, Susan Scarf Merrell, Whitney Gaines, Zachary Lazar, Lou Ann Walker) Compelling. Taut. Inevitable. That gotta-read-it quality of urgency can doom a manuscript by its absence, no matter the genre. Writers like the panelists, who regularly read manuscripts as editors, reviewers, or thesis advisors, can spot a lack of urgency a mile away—except, perhaps, in their own work. What makes urgency so hard to assess in oneself? Is there a litmus test? What helps wrestle it onto the page? And does too much of what gets published lack this enlivening, essential quality?

R202. Teaching Graphic Memoir Room 200 D&E, Level 2 (Elizabeth Cohen, Mimi Pond, NIcole Georges, Corky Parker, Celia Bland) Panel discussion with audience Q&A on the topic of the graphic memoir as a teaching tool for college undergraduates and graduate students. Participants will each give a ten-minute presentation of their graphic memoir work and ways they have used the genre pedagogically to teach writing skills such as point of view, description, handling time, and sequence and character development. There will be an instructive exercise at the end.

R207. Tapping A Vein: Reading the I-35 Corridor Room 208 A&B, Level 2 (Constance Squires, Doug Dorst, Christie Anne Hodgen, Julie Schumacher, K.L. Cook) From Duluth, Minnesota to the Mexican/American border at Laredo, Texas, Interstate 35 runs through the heart of the country, a rich vein of history and culture that connects the Rio Grande to Lake Superior by way of Tornado Alley and the Corn Belt. Proving that literary culture thrives in “the flyover states,” this panel brings together fiction writers from writing programs along the I-35 corridor, showcasing the rich variety of voices writing fiction in and about the middle of the country.

R209. Detours of Intention: Travel Writing, Privilege, and Perspective Room 211 A&B, Level 2 (Tom Montgomery Fate, Sandi Wisenberg, Michele Morano, Tim Bascom, Miles Harvey) “Travelers don’t know where they’re going. Tourists don’t know where they’ve been,” writes Paul Theroux. Tourists look; travelers see, conscious of their perspective. Which is why many writers who travel are concerned less with destinations than with the journey itself, less with being an accidental tourist than with being an intentional detourist. This panel of writers will explore the problems and promise of this kind of travel and of writing from the perspective of a privileged outsider.

R214. Women Writing War Room M100 F&G, Mezzanine Level (Emily Tedrowe, Jehanne Dubrow, Katey Schultz, Cara Hoffman) Writing about her war-haunted novel Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf asks: Have I the power of conveying the true reality? Her question reflects many of the tensions in women’s war poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. How does gender disrupt conventional narratives of war? Do women tell different war stories? And how are issues of authority, credentials, and truth relevant to women currently writing about the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq?

R215. New Directions in Nonfiction: The Normal School’s Midwestern Essayists Room M100 H&I, Mezzanine Level (Kirk Wisland, Natalie Vestin, Matthew Frank, Karen Hays) Best American Essays editor Robert Atwan calls the Normal School “indispensable for anyone interested in discovering new directions in the contemporary essay.” Running the gamut from eclectic and experimental to traditional essay and memoir, the Normal School publishes more than two-dozen nonfiction pieces each year. Contributors from Minnesota and the Upper Midwest will read and discuss process, craft, and form, while exploring the contemporary essay and considering how the Midwest factors into their work.

3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

R224. How I Taught Then, How I Teach Now Auditorium Room 1, Level 1 (Joseph Scapellato, Derek Palacio, Cathy Day, Matt Bell, Jennine Capó Crucet) When experience forces us to challenge the assumptions that underpin our teaching philosophies, how do we sensibly revise our syllabi, course element by course element? In this panel, five teachers of writing share what they grew into knowing. They will describe how an active awareness of their changing assumptions changed their courses for the better. Practical before-and-after examples of course materials promise to make this panel useful for beginners and veterans alike.

R226. Composing and Critiquing in Color: Students and Teachers on Feedback Auditorium Room 3, Level 1 (Maria Vera Tata, Hamoun Khalili Hosseinabad, Rebecca Fortes, Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes, Iris Mora) Feedback is notoriously unpredictable and when writers of color present their work, many classmates donʹt even know how to speak about the racial/cultural issues present. Frustration and anger may arise, leading them to seek feedback from mentors of color, oftentimes their former instructors. Three generations of writers—three undergraduates, an MFA TA, and teacher—will discuss the sensitivity desired to fully articulate the importance of culture and diversity in evaluating student writing.

R229. A Tribute to Joy Harjo and Linda Hogan Room 101 D&E, Level 1 (Pamela Uschuk, Luis Alberto Urrea, Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan) Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts presents a literary tribute to Joy Harjo and Linda Hogan. Guest editors Luis Alberto Urrea and Pam Uschuk will read prose and poetry honoring Harjo and Hogan in Cutthroat’s 2015 special print edition. Harjo and Hogan will read selections from new work. Muskoge Creek, Harjo won a 2014 American Book Award and the Pen West Award for her memoir Crazy Brave. Chickasaw, Hogan writes across genres. Her novel, Mean Spirit, was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize.

R234. The Essay Blinks: Multimedia Writers on Crafting the Visual Essay Room 200 D&E, Level 2 (Mark Ehling, Amaranth Borsuk , Sarah Minor, Eric LeMay) As literary publishing adjusts to the presence of both small-scale presses and web-based magazines, more publishers are adapting to and even selecting for writing that experiments visually. But what makes a multimedia essay? And what makes a good one? Specifically, which techniques render multimedia elements inextricable from rather than extraneous to a text? On this panel, four writers focus on the craft of visual texts and address how ancient essay forms are thriving in the newest media.

R235. North of North of the Heart of the Country: North Dakota’s Bioregional Imagination Room 200 F&G, Level 2 (Peter Grimes, Taylor Brorby, Heidi Czerwiec, Debra Marquart, Brenda Marshall) Do the climate and culture, geology and history of a place imprint themselves on authors? Until recently, North Dakota was the least-visited state in the union. Now the site of the largest oil find in North American history, the state is in flux and booming. As the ground shifts, its writers respond. This panel celebrates the bioregional imagination of writers who hail from the Red River Valley, the wind-beaten plains of wheat and flax, and the shadowy buttes and badlands of oil country.

R239. Periodically Speaking: How to Bring Lit Mags Into the Classroom Room 208 A&B, Level 2 (Kathy Daneman, Jen Acker, Martha Cooley, Minna Proctor, Rebecca Chace) Actively integrating lit mags into course curricula while providing opportunities for one-on-one interaction between lit mag publishers and creative writers promotes a new generation of active readers and productive members of the literary community. Professors and lit mag editor/publishers discuss their experiences bringing lit mags into the core of their teaching.

R240. Practical Approaches to Teaching Creative Writing in Urban Public Schools: What Works? Room 208 C&D, Level 2 (Mary Anna Evans, Tim Lynch, John Henry Scott, Christopher Cervelloni, Gerard Breitenbeck) As a project of the Rutgers-Camden Office of Civic Engagement, university students ranging from undergraduates to experienced classroom teachers studied the history of the troubled school system in Camden, New Jersey, received training in teaching creative writing to urban youth, and completed a teaching practicum in local public schools. Panelists will share practical pedagogical and digital media strategies that are transferable to other universities interested in developing similar civic projects.

R244. Neither Here Nor There: Third Culture Writers and Writing Room M100 B&C, Mezzanine Level (David Carlin, Xu Xi, Michelle Aung Thin, Mieke Eerkens) Third Culture Kids are the offspring of parents from different cultural backgrounds who live transcultural and transnational lives. This session discusses the notion of the Third Culture Writer: writers whose work emerges out of the personal experience of culturally and geographically hybrid perspectives. Hear firsthand as a panel of variously hyphenated Asian, Australian, American, and European Third Culture Writers reflect on how they creatively negotiate being globalised on a human scale.

R250. Writing the World: Politics and the Creative Writer Room L100 B&C, Lower Level (Tony Eprile, Christopher Merrill, Rachel Kadish, Andres Carlstein) Writers who grapple with history, politics, and social change are recognized internationally as moral as well as artistic leaders. Yet societally engaged writing comes with craft, personal, and professional challenges. We will explore such issues as the specific hurdles involved in presenting other countries to an American audience; the resistance to international writing in academia and in the publishing world; and the challenge of crossing lines of race or ethnicity on the page.

R252. Mr. Capote’s Nonfiction Novel: A 50th Anniversary Retrospective of In Cold Blood Room L100 F&G, Lower Level (Kelly Grey Carlisle, Ned Stuckey-French, Joe Mackall, Bob Cowser, Dinah Lenney) 2015 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the serial publication of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, a seminal work in the genre we now recognize as creative nonfiction. Writers, editors, and critics assess the book’s legacy, as well as the aesthetic and moral issues it raises. How did nonfiction writing change as a result of the book? In what ways does the book continue to influence contemporary writers? How has the experience of reading it changed since its first publication?

R253. Recent Trends in Creative Nonfiction Room L100 H&I, Lower Level (Janet Heller, Laura Julier, Hila Ratzabi, Kim Wyatt) Four editors and writers of creative nonfiction discuss recent trends, including the larger role of creative nonfiction in literary journals, its different types, hybrid forms combining different genres that have emerged from it, and its importance in English and creative writing programs. Panelists will also share advice to writers about contests and about publishing CNF.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

R262. Overcoming the Challenges of Workshopping Book-Length Narratives Room 101 F&G, Level 1 (Lex Williford, Michael Martone, Valerie Miner, José de Piérola) By focusing on the short story or narrative essay in isolation from the larger context of the book, graduate fiction and nonfiction workshops too often don’t prepare students to write their MFA theses, publishable book-length narratives—novels or memoirs, novels in stories, or collections of stories or essays. This panel will consider a few varieties of the narrative book and a few innovations for helping students focus on both the part and the whole in workshops for the book-length narrative.

R269. Genre 2.0: Game-Based Learning and Creative Writing Room 205 A&B, Level 2 (Long Chu) Game-based learning fuels student engagement in the twenty-first century. Video gaming, coding, game design, and technology form a sort of genre 2.0 for the art of storytelling. As writers and educators who depend on the craft of creative writing, can we embrace such a technologically advanced generation of young thinkers and help them evolve into writers? Panelists will discuss how this new world order of storytelling has impacted and engaged young writers.

R271. Creating Effective Online Workshops Room 208 A&B, Level 2 (John Larison, Melissa Febos, Syreeta McFadden, Frank Montesonti, Tim Z. Hernandez) Join four seasoned online instructors and administrators as they explore the best practices of web-based creative writing pedagogy. How do we create a welcoming community within our online workshops? How do we ensure—and assess—academic rigor within the online creative writing classroom? How can we hybridize the traditional classroom with the online environment to maximize student success?

R274. Tender Moments: The Role of Tenderness in Men’s Narratives Room 211 C&D, Level 2 (Allen Braden, Kevin Clark, Dinty Moore, Jill McCabe Johnson, James Engelhardt) We bear the sole, relentless tenderness, Pablo Neruda wrote in his Sonetas de Amor. How do concepts such as tenderness, compassion, nurturing, and affection fit in contemporary men’s writing? What roles do vulnerability and tenderness play in men’s personal narratives? Join the conversation as the series editor and four contributors to the anthology Being: What Makes a Man, discuss the role of tenderness in masculine narratives in a world that frequently tells men to Man Up! and Be a Man!

R278. Everyday Oddities: Natural Fact and the Lyric Essay Room M100 F&G, Mezzanine Level (Joni Tevis, Christopher Cokinos, Brian Oliu, Chelsea Biondolillo, Colin Rafferty) What happens when the lyric essay, a form that embraces the fragmented and enigmatic, attempts to engage with the hard facts of the natural and historic worlds? In this round-table discussion, five essayists discuss how their research has expanded their understanding of the genre’s potential, how they’ve maintained the lyric essay’s experimental bent while remaining fact-checkable, and how they’ve written essays that merge the slipperiness of personal experience with the hard truth of fact.

R283. God Made Flyover States: Writing the Rural Midwest Room L100 D&E, Lower Level (Mary Stewart Atwell, Matthew Fluharty, Anne-Marie Oomen, Mardi Jo Link, Jeremiah Chamberlin) The Midwest occupies a richly complicated terrain within the American literary imagination. Though home to some of our most distinguished writers, it is better known for endless cornfields, tornados, and funny accents than for literary greatness. How do writers deeply invested in the culture of this overlooked region honor its past while negotiating ingrained stereotypes? This panel will offer a series of perspectives and creative practices as diverse as the contemporary rural Midwest.

8:30 pm to 10:00 pm

R303. #AWP15 Keynote Address by Karen Russell, Sponsored by Concordia College Main Auditorium, Level 1 (Karen Russell) Karen Russell’s novel, Swamplandia!, chosen by The New York Times as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2011,” was long-listed for the Orange Prize, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is also the author of the celebrated short story collections, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Vampires in the Lemon Grove. The recipient of fellowships from the American Academy in Berlin and the MacArthur Foundation, she has been featured in the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list, was chosen as one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, and received the “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation.


  1. I would be interested in blogging about Workshopping the World: Teaching Creative Writing Outside Academia. Also, I plan on attending the tribute to Joy Harjo and Linda Hogan and I’d be happy to write about it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d like to claim “More Than a Family Affair.”
    Mardi Jo Link
    (I’m on the “God Made Flyover States” panel and really hope someone claims it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d love to take this one

    S233. Alternative Fuel Sources: Powering the Non-narrative Essay. (Lia Purpura, Brenda Miller, Juliet Patterson, Kimberly Meyer) When story is not the main concern, what keeps us reading? How can voice, structure, or research provide a pressurizing frame—and a pleasing shape—for nonfiction material? We will explore these questions through readings that rely on elements other than narrative for forward momentum, in the tradition of the idea-driven essays of Montaigne, Shonagon, and others. Essayists who have published nonfiction that depends on something other than narrative will read from and discuss their work.


  4. I would like to report on :
    R149. Intersecting Cultures: The Joys & Challenges of Writing the Tribe Room M100 D&E, Mezzanine Level (Daiva Markelis, Bayo Ojikutu , Achy Obejas, M. Evelina Galang, Helene Aylon) The five writers on this panel reflect a wide range of ethnic, geographic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds. They will explore the joys and challenges of writing about their subcultures—their tribes—groups that often intersect and overlap, raising complicated questions about terms such as diversity, diaspora, exile, homeland, insider, and outsider.


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