The Virginia G. Piper
Center for Creative Writing

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Get Lit Archive

Over four years of salons in Phoenix

Before the Piper Center began organizing Get Lit in September 2019, local literary magazine and community organization Four Chambers Press presented over 40 installments of Get Lit between July 2015 and August 2019. 

To learn more about the history of Get Lit, you can keep reading or learn more about Get Lit.

You can also view this month's salon, meet this month's host, view past salons, or meet past hosts.

2015 Salons

    • Literary Artifacts with Rosemarie Dombrowski (July 2): What makes something a literary artifact? Is it an author's reputation, style, or technique? What are our most prized and iconic books? How might we create artifacts for future generations of readers?
    • Creativity with Tristan Marshell (Aug 6): What is creativity? How is it affected by intelligence, imagination, and experience? How can we focus on experience to create credible work?
    • Fiction with Dan Hull (Sep 3): All stories are Fiction. Fiction will save the world.
    • The Great Poetry V. Prose Debate with Charles Brownson (Oct 1): What is the difference between poetry and prose? Is it formal? Is it content? Does the term “prose poetry” make any sense?
    • Education with John Harvell (Nov 5): Why do we teach literature to young people and how do we determine which literature is the most relevant?
    • Off (Dec 3)

    2016 Salons

      • Gender Bias, Sexuality and Taboo with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Jan 7): Henry Miller, John Updike, and Charles Bukowski made it onto the Flavorwire list entitled “The Top 10 of Writing’s Filthiest Pervert Geniuses.” But A.M. Homes had her moment of controversy with The End of Alice and then fell off the map, Erica Jong has been dormant since Fear of Flying, and Anais Nin is 70 years dead. If we're so enamored with perverted men, why has so little changed with regard to women writing the sexually explicit and broaching taboos?
      • Off for Kim Kyung Ju (Feb 4)
      • Poetry, Performance, and Spoken Word with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Mar 3): What is the relationship between poetry and performance? How do contemporary artists like Kendrick Lamar and LSTNR use poetry in their performance? Is page poetry boring or anesthetic? How can we translate the energy of performance into qualities on the page?
      • The Medicalization of Poetry and the Literature of Illness with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Apr 7): Are communities of physical and cognitive difference defined through different forms of literature? Does literature articulate a medical narrative differently from history or reports? Is literature important in the healing / therapeutic process?
      • Spirituality and Literature with Rosemarie Dombrowski (May 5): How is spirituality different from religion? How is the spiritual quest portrayed in the Western literary tradition? How can poetry confess collective desires or enact new spiritual quests without devolving into personal narrative?
      • Stand-up Literature (June 2): What is the role of humor in a poetry reading / performance? How does poetry intersect with stand-up comedy? Is this even a thing?
      • The Apocalypse, Neuroses, and OCD with Rosemarie Dombrowski (July 7): Why are we so enamored with post-apocalyptic scenarios in literature? Is there something wrong with us if we think it's funny? Is it just because some of us are neurotic, obsessive compulsive, or otherwise slightly off balance (or does it speak to some kind of larger fascination in society)?
      • Off for Poetry Summer Social (Aug 4)
      • Social Justice and the Poetry of Witness with Rosemarie Dobmrowski (Sep 1): What is the critical capability of literature? Can literature alter the discourse and create real political or social change? Do we have ethical responsibilities as readers? As writers? As human beings?
      • Planes, Trains, and the Globalized Society with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Oct 6): Have you heard about the Amtrak Residency for Writers? Have travel and writing become less isolated and more communal? Has it become harder to be alone? Is this changing the way we write and perceive the self? Can we expand this conversation to technology more generally speaking?
      • Off for Elections (Nov 3)
      • Geeking Out, Comic Books, and Pop Culture with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Dec 1): Where do comic books and graphic novels stand as an art form? Is there a collapse happening between high and low culture? Are we comfortable with the term nerd?

      2017 Salons

        • Off for New Years (Jan 5)
        • Alternative Facts, Media, and Social Responsibility with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Feb 2): Trump isn't going away. What is the responsibility of the media? What is the responsibility of literature? How can literature provide alternative perspectives to television and news? 
        • Confessionalism, Black Poets, and the Canon with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Mar 2): What is confessionalism? What is post-confessionalism? How does this relate to our definition of the literary canon? Who gets included?
        • Trauma, War, and the American Experience with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Apr 6): What does life look in poetry? What does life look like in America? Are we living in a state of trauma? To what extent are we products of war?
        • Identity Politics, Authority, and Representation with Rosemarie Dombrowski (May 4): We're thinking about Dana Schutz being a white woman and painting a picture of Emmet Till. We're thinking about Viet Thanh Nguyen being a Vietnamese Refugee and writing about Vietnamese Refugees. What is the relationship between identity and art? Can we separate the creator from the created? Who has the right to represent certain kinds of experience?
        • Response, Mixed Media, and Collaboration with Rosemarie Dombrowski (June 1): What is the power of collaboration across different mediums? What are the politics? What is the responsibility of response? What forms do successful collaborations take?
        • The Body with Rosemarie Dombrowski (July 6): How do we represent the body in literature? What about other people's bodies? What kinds of assumptions--race, gender, age, sexuality, ability--structure our perceptions and discourse? How do we give voice to the body on the page?
        • Climate Change, Poetry, and the End of the World with Rosemarie Dombrowski  (Aug 3): What is the relationship between science and literature? What does it look like when the poet intersects with the natural sciences? Can poetry engender an immediacy to the environmental crisis that facts and figures can't?
        • Girl Power, Gender Stereotypes, and 4th Wave Feminism with Rosemarie Dombrowski  (Sep 7): How do we construct women in contemporary literature? What are feminity's archetypes and tropes? How do they reduce and distort our humanity? How can we revise, repurpose or subvert them in the context of fourth wave feminism and the modern day?
        • Capitalism with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Oct 5): What is the ideology of capitalism? What are the material realities underlying our social, cultural, and artistic forms? What is the relationship of literary devices like plot, character, and structure to the larger economic system? What are our alternatives? What comes next?
        • Rupi Kaur, Instagram Poets, and the Politics of Craft with Kat Hofland (Nov 2): In the last two years, Rupi Kaur's MILK AND HONEY has been translated into 25 languages, sold 2.5 million copies, and spent 77 weeks on the New York Times Trade Paperback Bestseller list. Her second book, THE SUN AND HER FLOWERS, has already sold over 700,000 copies and hasn't even been released. While Kaur is clearly successful, many have crticized her simple, accessible, and emotionally vulnerable verse for what is more or less a lack of craft. What do we mean when we say someone is or isn't a 'real' poet? Is 'poetry' an elitist and exclusionary institution? What are the politics of consuming art within a larger cultural marketplace? Is Kaur's poetry actually good? Who gets to define 'good'? Who gets to define poetry? Is saying something is 'good' just another way of saying we like something or can it actually be good? Should we even be talking about this? Are we just adding to the hype? Does this have to be a good or a bad thing for poetry? What *is* poetry? What does Rupi Kaur's success mean? 
        • The Market with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Dec 7): Are you tired of writing query letters and tracking submissions? What does the publishing industry look like? What kind of pressures or influences does it exert on the artistic process? What are the effects of labeling and packaging for a larger audience? What is the tension or relationship between the artistic and commodity form? What does it mean to market one's work?

        2018 Salons

        • Cat Person, Sexual Politics, and the Aesthetic of Relatibility with Natasha Murdock (Jan 4): On Monday, December 11th, 2017, the New Yorker published a short story by author Kristen Roupenian entitled "Cat Person", which follows the protagonist--Margot, a 20 year old female college student who works at a movie theather--as she negotiates an awkward, short-lived relationship with Robert (a man in his early thirties). For whatever reason--the depiction of mediated relationships through text messaging and technology, the bad sex, male fragility, millenial narcissism, consent, #metoo--Cat Person immediately went viral, sparking the meme / twitter account "Men React to Cat Person" and articles in the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Economist, Slate, Esquire, Vox, USA Today, and more.Interestingly, many initially mistook Roupenian's work for a personal essay or memoir (rather than a crafted work of fiction). And while Roupenian's story is clearly connecting with people's individual experiences amidst a larger resonance in the collective social consciousness, the phenomenon also raises interesting questions about the ways we interact with text. Why is Cat Person so popular? How is social media changing the way texts are produced, disseminated, and read? Was Roupenian's short story mistaken for nonfiction because of her gender? Is relatability the ultimate metric for evaluating a text's worth?
        • Pop-up: Writing in the Age of Trump with the ASU MFA in Creative Writing Program (Jan 27): What does it mean to write American literature in the context of the new American president? Has literature taken on a greater social function? Has your own writing changed? Do writers have a responsibility to be more politically engaged?
        • Zines, Print culture, and DIY with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Feb 1): What is the history of zine culture? What are the aesthetics? What are the politics? Is something underground necesarily anti-commerce? Is there a tension or opposition between DIY and craft? 
        • Public Art with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Mar 1): What does it mean for a piece of writing or literature to be public art? Does that mean other art is private? Who are we defining as the public? What does the creative process for something like this look like? What makes something a good example of public art?
        • Fandom with Tim Ness and Rebecca Mestek (Apr 5): Who owns a character? Should fans have input on the direction of stories? Do creators need to be a part of the community to whom their characters belong? While we'll use comics as a jumping-off point due to their serial nature, all are welcome to contribute to the conversation with stories they find meaningful.
        • Working Hard for the Money with Alex Ozers (May 3): What does the writing life look like? What about success? How do we find time for what we actually want to do? How do we balance the pressures of economy and capitalism with a creative pursuit?
        • I Liked the Book Better with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Jun 7): How do we adapt novels, poems, and other forms of literature into movies? What similarities and differences exist between text and visual media? What are the politics?
        • Off due to Holiday (July 5)
        • Man Overboard with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Aug 2): How are men constructed in literature? What does a male perspective look like? How have representations of masculinity changed?
        • Painting the Town Red with Rosemarie Dombrowski (Sep 6): This spring, the Phoenix Mural Festival stirred a small-town scandal and controversy in certain historic neighborhoods, who felt that the recent spate of public painting was damaging home values and changing their sense of place. Two years ago, Paint Phoenix raised concerns regarding street art and grafitti. All of this being the case, should people be allowed to paint murals on their property? What do we define as property? Who gets to define property? Does it matter if the murals are good? Who gets to determine the good?
        • Off (Oct 4)
        • Sing a Song or Small Rooms with Grace Rolland of Rising Sun Daughter (Nov 1): What is the process of song writing? How do song writers employ the techniques and devices of poetry? How can creative writers conceptualize and employ tone? Or: Does the size of an audience matter? What are the differences between large and small rooms? Is the intimacy of a performance inversely correlated with the size of an audience?
        • Cringeworthy with Estrella Esquilín (Dec 6): Why do we watch stupid things on social media? Why do we click bait? How is our pleasure guilty? What kind of love is hate? From tweets and texts to fake news and song lyrics, Estrella will lead attendees down a click hole of unsettling pop culture material and explore how widespread access to technology is affecting our daily lives.

        2019 Salons

        • Imposter Syndrome (Jan 3): What does it mean to be a writer? How do we identify ourselves in terms of practice, profession, or membership in a larger artistic or cultural community? Is it simply a matter of being published? Making money? Just writing? Why do we even need to identify ourselves at all? 
        • Writer's Block with Carly Schorman of Yab Yum Music and Arts (Feb 7): What is writer's block? Where does it come from? Is it real? How do we get around it? What can we do if we're stuck? Do we need to feel inspired to be able to write? Is inspiration sustainable? Are we just psyching ourselves out? 
        • Spare Change with Anna Flores (Mar 7): How do politics depend on our identities? How are our identities created by narratives? If our country is a story, who gets to write it? Who is it addressed to? Are they good writers? Do they need help editing? How can storytelling function as a tool for political disruption and legislative change?
        • Voice with Nishta J. Mehra [Cancelled due to Venue Closure] (Apr 4): How do we a know a voice is authentically ours? Where do our voices come from? Who is talking when we talk? Can our voices change? Is it natural? Can we make it deliberate?
        • Readings (May 2): Why do we go to readings? Do we enjoy them? What makes for a good reading? What makes them boring? How can we create or something more participatory or immersive? How can we challenge ourselves to innovate on traditional modes of presentation? What are the possibilities for performance within a text?
        • The Revolution Will Not Be Institutionalized (June 6): What are the tensions between looser, DIY groups and more formalized organizations? How do cultural activities progress and grow? What do you gain in bureaucracy and process? What do you lose? Why are we producing culture if we don't want it consumed? What role do institutions play in cultural communities?