The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Find Upcoming Classes and Workshops

Date: Saturday, August 4, 2018, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Type: Workshop
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction
Our world is full of misheard conversations, misread labels, misspoken phrases, old postcards from unknown lovers, lists from angry children found on a jog —these are the hidden gems of the creative process. From found texts and influences, participants will be encouraged to write in collaboration and examination of these found items.

Date: Saturdays, August 4 - 11, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Type: Lecture, Seminar
Genre: Crime Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction

Join renowned writer James Sallis for a two-day, eight-hour intensive course on the fundamentals of writing good fiction— including the foundation, cornerstones, edges, and walls. Writers will gather over two half day sessions to get moving, get back on track, and get motivated to write! This intensive course will cover an overview of the multitude of choices you have as a fiction writer and how those choices interconnect to give a story its specific signature, density, and weight.


Date: Tuesdays, September 4 - 18, 2018, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Hybrid, Poetry

Paul McCartney’s song “Yesterday,” Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are just a few creations that have come from dreams. But are the symbols of language and dreams arbitrary? Allegorical? Archetypal? How do dreams inform the creative process? This workshop looks deeply at the symbolism of dreams and the language of the subconscious, primarily from a Jungian perspective.


Date: Saturday, September 8, 2018, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Hybrid, Poetry

This workshop explores list-making as a way of bringing new poems into the world. We encounter lists every day, both sacred and mundane: to-do lists; top-ten lists; memorial lists of the dead; a list of names for colors. Following models of poems, older and contemporary, we will make our own list-poems with the use of generative prompts. These exercises will reveal how we put order to memory in that crossroads of inventory and invention. By finding creativity in the everyday, we spark our imaginations and inspirations to embark on an exploration of our own poetry and words.


Date: Monday, September 10, 2018, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture
Genre: Fiction, Flash, Short Stories

Micro fiction. Flash fiction. Sudden fiction. The short-short story. While the form has many different names, styles and approaches, what unifies them all is a dedication to saying something meaningful in a compact space. This course will explore many examples of short-short fiction in an effort to refine our own ability to see how small space is maximized for big expressive results.


Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Type: Discussion, Workshop
Genre: Fiction

"Vivid detail is the life blood of fiction...in all major genres, the inner strategy is the same: the reader is regularly presented with proofs - in the form of closely observed details - that what is said to be happening is really happening." - John Gardner, The Art of Fiction

 


Date: Mondays, September 24 - November 12, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Type: Workshop
Genre: Science Fiction, Short Stories, Novels, Crime Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Genre Fiction

The Piper Writers Studio hosts novelist and fiction writer James Sallis for an eight-week advanced fiction workshop for individuals who are actively working on a fiction project, are looking to publish, or have already published work. During this course, students will receive:


A Deeper Image: A Poetry Workshop
Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Poetry

In this course, students are invited to develop an acute awareness of their senses in order to write more visceral, striking poems. We will discuss examples, contemporary and ancient, to initiate a practice that draws on figurative language, synesthesia, and the disavowed parts of self to plunge beneath the bland methods that tend to preempt or deplete many poems of our era.


Date: Tuesdays, October 2 - 23, 2018, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Seminar, Workshop
Genre: Creative Nonfiction, Memoir

In this course, participants will be invited to "sing the body electric" (thanks, Whitman) ... in memoir. Through in-class exercises, discussions, and group workshop of manuscripts, each participant will attempt to locate his, her, their body's story and history. Through our writing and mentor texts, we will trace how what we think, what we believe, and who we are has grown out of our embodied experiences. George Lakoff and Mark Johnson argue that reason "is not, in any way, a transcendent feature of the universe or of disembodied mind.


Date: Thursdays, October 4 - 25, 2018, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture, Workshop
Genre: Screenwriting, Stageplays

This course takes students on a journey through the necessary information, tools, and exercises for the beginning screenwriter to start the first draft of a feature-length screenplay. Over the course of four weeks, individuals will be involved in in-class writing assignments, discussions on screenplays verses other formats, and learning techniques such as the 3-Act Structure and 10 Plot Points, Character Analysis, World-Upside-Down Overview, and formatting. Participants will present their screenplay drafts for feedback from others and also give feedback to the other individuals in class.


Date: Saturday, October 20, 2018, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Experimental, Stageplays

Performance narrative is for every writer—those who may want to add new elements to one’s current writing style or those who are interested in writing performance pieces. Together, let us explore contemporary writers (Carla Harryman, Ron Allen, Amiri Baraka, Adrienne Kennedy and Nova Baize) who have moved descriptive narrative into experimental performance. As a class, we will consider a social problem, and then in groups create a narrative work and add performance elements. In brief and playful revisions, text arrangement will indicate sound and pace dynamics.


Date: Saturday, October 27, 2018, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Workshop
Genre: Poetry

A poem contains multiple kinds of intelligence. Beneath the meanings of the words that make up a poem, other forms of meaning strive to be felt. This workshop will explore two of the most prominent of those alternate intelligences: musicality and image. Following the poet Louis Zukofsky’s sense, “Lower limit speech / Upper limit music,” we’ll seek ways, through readings and through in-class experiments, to re-awaken our ear to the musical intelligence undergirding language.


Two Poetry Workshops
Andrea Scarpino

Date: Friday, November 16, 2018, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, November 17, 2018, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Type: Workshop
Genre: Poetry

Join teacher, poet, author, and Piper Writers Studio Visiting Faculty, Andrea Scarpino for two unique poetry workshop opportunities on Friday, November 16 and/or Saturday, November 17. If you bundle both classes for the Poetry Writers Intensive, you save even more!

Scarpino joins the Piper Writers Studio from St. Louis, Missouri and will be in town for only these two days to work with writers around the valley on building their skills in poetry as witness and in consideration of the body. Seats are limited, so register early.

 


Date: Mondays, December 3 - 10, 2018, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Type: Generative Workshop, Lecture
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction

We sit on the edge of possibility. From Roddenberry’s sliding doors and tablet PCs to Atwood’s dystopian floods, our stories point the way to possible futures. This is a class about writing those futures. Participants will explore the basic elements of creating strong fiction and learn how to weave those elements into the extraordinary worlds we carve out of fringe science and the environmental issues shaping our tomorrows. Participants will engage with existing genre work ranging from Bacigalupi to Zelzany to learn the finer points of craft.