June 19–29, 2014
Schedule subject to change
All evening faculty and guest readings will be held in the Carriage Barn. All faculty, guest, and graduate lectures and all graduate readings will be held in Tishman Lecture Hall, unless otherwise indicated.
Thursday, June 19
- Noon–5:00 pm | Student Check-in, Commons Lounge
- 1:45 pm | Faculty Steering Committee Meeting, Cricket Hill Annex
- 3:00 pm | Core Faculty Meeting, Cricket Hill Annex
- 5:30–6:30 pm | New Student/Mentor Dinner, Yellow DR
- 7:00 pm | Faculty and Guest Readings: Bret Anthony Johnston and Dinah Lenney
- 8:30 pm | Welcome Reception, Student Center
Friday, June 20
- 9:00–10:15 am | New Student Orientation, Cricket Hill Annex
- 10:30–11:45 am | All-Community Orientation, Tishman Lecture Hall
- 11:45 am | Class Photo, Location TBA
- 1:00–2:30 pm | Craft Session: April Bernard and Alice Mattison—“The Loudmouth, The Worrier, The Fragile Genius: Some Problems—and Pedagogical Alternatives—in Teaching the Writing Class,” Tishman Lecture Hall
- 2:45–3:45 pm | Introductory Writing Workshops, locations on the front of your packet
- 2:45–3:45 pm | June 2014 Graduates Meeting, Cricket Hill Annex
- 4:00 pm | Denton Loving
- 4:20 pm | Jennifer Miller
- 4:40 pm | Ruth Mukwana
Saturday, June 21
- 8:20 am | Jodi Anderson: “In Search of Real Time: Writing With One Eye on Einstein.” The theories of relativity changed our definition of time from a chronological absolute to something more… well, relative. How can we explore the interrelatedness of real time and real life in our fiction? I turn to three great novels for help: Swann’s Way, To the Lighthouse, and Ada, or Ardor.
- 9:00 am | Chanelle Boucher: “Poetry and Collaboration.” The successes and failures of poetic collaboration.” This lecture will explore Anne Carson's elegy Nox as a written work, Carson's personal scrapbook of sorts, an international reading, and a reading set to music and dance. Can one piece translate so diversely and still be a successful venture on the part of the poet?
- 9:40 am | Patrick Boyle: “Remix Poetics: The Free-Floating Tools for Creation in the Digital Era.” How do we talk about poetry in the digital era? Where other arts grow, where does poetry stagnate? What elements connect our craft to the Information Age? We'll explore these elements and build a context for them as remix poetics.
- 10:30 am–noon | Craft Session: Rachel Pastan—“Writing Other People’s Sentences,” CAPA Symposium
- 1:00–3:00 pm | Writing Workshops
- 3:00–4:00 pm | Diversity Initiative meeting—all are welcome, CAPA Symposium
- 4:00 pm | Jana Gannon
- 4:20 pm | Joanne Proulx
- 4:40 pm | Cassie Pruyn
- 5:00 pm | Walter Robinson
- 5:15–6:45 pm | Faculty and Staff Dinner, Carriage Barn Fireplace Room
- 7:00 pm | Faculty and Guest Readings: Linda Kunkardt and Donald Hall
Sunday, June 22
- 8:20 am | James Brennan: “The Evolution of the Corporate America Novel: Conformity Through the Ages.” Sloan Wilson, said of his protagonist in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit: “. . . but one thing is sure: in the sixties, seventies and eighties, Tom Rath would grow into a different kind of individual.” Looking at Revolutionary Road, Something Happened, Fight Club, and Then We Came to The End may reveal otherwise.
- 9:00 am | Elizabeth Brown: “The Woman Who Walked into Doors and into my heart.” How does Irish author Roddy Doyle write such a convincing, heartbreaking tale of a battered wife? Doyle plays with chronology, much as Alice Munro does in her short stories. In this lecture, I will consider how these authors depose the tyranny of time to achieve different effects.
- 9:40 am | Jasmin Darznik
- 10:30 am–noon | Writer-in-Residence Discussion: Donald Hall
- 1:00 pm | Keith Lesmeister
- 1:20 pm | Cathy Salibian
- 1:40 pm | Bridget Sampson
- 2:00 pm | Emily Mohn-Slate
- 2:30 pm | Bibi Deitz: That One Thing: Dubus and the Articulation of Character.” Andre Dubus is a master of cutting to the core of a character via simple methods of show and tell. I’ll examine his technique through various texts.
- 3:10 pm | Rachel Feingold: “Beautiful Disasters: Translating the Lyrical Language of Catastrophe.” Contemporary novelists Chabon, Diaz, and Patchett all portray catastrophic events using lyrical prose, in the voices of immigrant characters who wrestle with language as much as with the events themselves. I will define “lyrical prose” and explore how these authors write so beautifully about dramatic circumstances without straying into melodrama.
- 4:00 pm | 9th Annual Miller Softball Classic, Commons Lawn
- 7:00 pm | Faculty and Guest Readings: April Bernard and Paul Yoon
Monday, June 23
- 8:20 am | Libby Flores: “Always On My Mind: Obsessional Characters and Narrative Drive.” Obsessional characters single-mindedly want something, as seen in the work of Vladimir Nabokov, Tillie Olsen, and Lydia Davis. I will explore how these dissimilar writers use language to convey the singular urges of their obsessive characters, manipulate syntax to heighten the stakes, and ultimately propel a desire that builds narrative drive.
- 9:00 am | Jay Hodges: “Some Assembly Required: Storytelling Using Non-linear Structure.” I will discuss how authors Mary Robison, Lorrie oore, and Virginia Woolf create anticipation and keep readers reading without offering the security of conventional linear form.
- 9:40 am | Didi Jackson: “Reverse Ekphrasis.” When a poet is moved deeply by a visual artist’s work, she is often compelled to write a poem in response to or in conversation with that piece. The term used for such poetry, ekphrasis, is a word that derives from the Greek meaning to recount, describe, point out, or explain. But what do we call it when the inspiration is in reverse, when the poet inspires the visual artist? This lecture will take a closer look at the less discussed tradition of “reverse ekphrasis.” We will examine the vital interchange between the dynamic artistic and poetic pairings of Robert Motherwell and Federico Garcia Lorca, Grace Hartigan and Frank O’Hara, and Jenny Holzer and Henri Cole.
- 10:30 am–noon | Faculty Craft Session: Dinah Lenney—“The More You Remember, the More You Remember.”
- Noon | Second New Student Orientation Lunch, Purple DR
- Noon | Graduate lunch with Dean Isabel Roche, Yellow DR
- 1:00–3:00 pm | Writing Workshops
- 4:00 pm | Katie Slezas
- 4:20 pm | Jennifer Urbanek
- 5:00 pm | Jodi Anderson
Tuesday, June 24
- 9:00 am | Ani Kazarian: “The Armenian Genocide and the Experience of Exile Through the Literature of William Saroyan and Michael J. Arlen.” The Armenian Genocide of 1915 created a widespread diaspora and perpetuated deep cultural wounds that are prevalent within the Armenian-American community today. I will delve into the works of William Saroyan and Michael J. Arlen, focusing on the cultural wounds of the last century, the experience of exile, how the community survived, and the ways in which writers explore these issues.
- 9:40 am | Jennifer Leija: “The Author’s Reading: History, Challenges, and Yours.” A brief exploration of writers reading their work for an audience, why it’s difficult (but important), and how to do it better.
- 10:30 am–noon | Associate Faculty Lecture: Susan Choi: “Knowing and Forgetfulness: The Case Against Expertise.” The case for expertise is clear: the writer who has served in combat has an obvious advantage when writing a war novel; the writer who has lived abroad can vividly evoke that foreign setting without having to use a guidebook. But what about the case for lack of expertise? What about the case for having forgotten those special details, or for never having known them in the first place? I'd like argue that a lack of expertise isn't merely a disadvantage for which writers can compensate, but an actual advantage that can make a unique contribution. I'd like to suggest that not-knowing, or just-plain-forgetting, enhances the capacities of the imagination, enables smarter curation of those things we include in our fiction, and pushes our work deeper into unexplored terrain. Having spent more than my fair share of time researching novels, I'd like to suggest that there are real benefits to researching less—to taking our chances with not being experts.
- 1:00 pm | Chanelle Boucher
- 1:20 pm | Patrick Boyle
- 1:40 pm | James Brennan
- 2:30 pm | Keith Lesmeister: “This was the Summer Everything Changed.” Narrators occasionally preface the events of their story by giving away revelatory information (i.e.: the title of this lecture) or simply telling of their interest ("The day I'd like to discuss"). We'll take a closer look at this narrative vantage point and show how authors Richard Ford and Ethan Canin use this strategy in effective ways.
- 3:10 pm | Denton Loving: “Defining Sense of Place in Literature and Fighting the Corresponding Regional Label.” In attempting to define “sense of place,” this lecture will identify the most common ways that writers use physical landscapes—both natural and manmade—to affect characters and their stories. Additionally, we will examine how writing with a strong sense of place is sometimes marginalized as regional despite the benefits.
- 4:00–5:00 pm | First meeting of January 2015 graduates, Cricket Hill Annex
- Dark Knight—No Readings
Wednesday, June 25
- 10:00 am–noon | Writing Workshops
- 1:00 pm | Jennifer Miller: "Frugality and Fruitfulness: the Life and Poetry of Robert Francis (1901–1987)." This lecture will look at how Robert Francis’s eccentric, ascetic life and meticulously crafted short poems go hand and hand. Come find out why Francis’s poetry deserves to live on—and why even non-poets should hope that it does.
- 1:40 pm | Ruth Mukwana: “Why come the single story on Africa: why and how it can be changed.” This lecture explores what has led to the single stereotype story and how a 'complete' story, written with compassion, empathy and dignity can change this. We will review colonial, post and contemporary writers as well as the media and the humanitarian aid.
- 4:00 pm | Elizabeth Brown
- 4:20 pm | Jasmin Darznik
- 4:40 pm | Bibi Deitz
- 5:00 pm | Rachel Feingold
Thursday, June 26
- 8:20 am | Jana Gannon: “F@ck! An Explicit Examination Into Language.” How do writers spend their bad word currency? This lecture explores several approaches to crafting forbidden language—the choice to use it, abuse it, avoid it, or simply make shit up. Examples for this lecture include; Ed Ochester, Philip Larkin, Charles Bukowski, Hemingway, and David Foster Wallace.
- 9:00 am | Joanne Proulx: “Breathing Underwater: Moments of Resonance in Literary Fiction.” Exploring works by Carver, McCarthy, Steinbeck, and Schwartz, I will discuss a pattern found in resonant moments in fiction and how, like our characters, we must fall still and sink deep if we hope to create work that shimmers. Special Guests: Oprah Winfrey, Sven Birkerts in swim goggles and a speedo.
- 9:40 am | Cassie Pruyn: “Elizabeth Bishop's Questions of Travel.” In this lecture, we will explore the relationship between travel and observation in Bishop’s work by looking at her collection Questions of Travel. We will consider the ways in which travel may have freed up Bishop’s creative response to her past. How does one landscape release the memories of another?
- 10:30 am–noon | Faculty Craft Session: Ben Anastas, CAPA Symposium
- 1:00 pm | Libby Flores
- 1:20 pm | Jay Hodges
- 1:40 pm | Didi Jackson
- 2:30 pm | Walter Robinson: “Is Literature Good for You? Says Who?” A recent scientific study claiming that reading literary fiction is an effective tonic for the development of empathy brought a smile to the thin and discouraged lips of writers everywhere, but a closer look reveals both less and more to celebrate about literary fiction that the study authors anticipated.
- 3:10 pm | Erin Kate Ryan: “Smash the Page.” A brief compendium of the flaws in Walter Robinson's lecture.
- 4:00–5:00 pm | Second Meeting of January 2015 Graduates, Cricket Hill Annex
- 5:00–7:25 pm | Graduate and Faculty Dinner, Carriage Barn Fireplace Room
- 7:30 pm | Faculty and Guest Readings: Maria Bustillos and James Wood (note later start time)
Friday, June 27
- 8:20 am | Cathy Salibian: “Writing your ancestry.” You interview people, comb through archives, ponder photographs, trace the journeys of objects. You mine memory, mail cheek swabs to a lab. You listen to the ancestral language, visit homelands, dance the old dances. Then you write—and contribute to the next stage of your own culture.
- 9:00 am | Bridget Sampson: “Mavis Gallant: Voice and the Short Story.” The other Canadian short story master, Mavis Gallant: Ex-patriot European glamour, exquisite language, and the pessimism of a post-World War II psyche. We’ll look at Gallant’s life in Paris and at her take on the short story. The lecture focuses on her childhood tales, particularly on the Linnet Muir stories.
- 9:40 am | Emily Mohn-Slate: “Charlotte Mew’s Peculiar Music.” Siegfried Sassoon called her “the only poet who brought a lump to my throat”; Virginia Woolf praised her work as “very good and interesting and unlike anyone else”; and Marianne Moore called her poems “above praise.” Why should we read Charlotte Mew?
- 10:30 am–noon | Panel: Maria Bustillos, Sven Birkerts, and James Wood with Mariko Silver—“What is a Book? A Conversation.”
- 1:00–3:00 pm | Writing Workshops
- 4:00 pm | Ani Kazarian
- 4:20 pm | Tara Kelly
- 4:40 pm | Jennifer Leija
- 5:00 pm | Erin Kate Ryan
- 5:00 pm | Parturition Meeting for Graduates, Tishman—immediately after the final reading.
- 7:00 pm | Faculty and Guest Readings: Susan Cheever and Brian Morton, Deane Carriage Barn
- 8:30–9:00 pm | Labyrinth Lighting Ceremony, Commons Lawn (The Labyrinth will remain lit until shortly after midnight.)
- 9:30 pm | Concert, Student Center/DownCafé, with Eli Burrell and Jen Hinst-White opening for the Dog House Band
- 11:00 pm | Sky Lantern Lighting at Labyrinth, Commons Lawn
Saturday, June 28
- 8:20 am | Katie Slezas: “A Dissection of Nonlinear Memoir. “ This is an exploration of how memoirists Joan Wickersham, Maureen Howard, and Abigail Thomas have structured narratives using thematic connections rather than chronology to organize the unraveling of events on the page. I will also discuss the risks and benefits of employing a nonlinear strategy.
- 9:00 am | Jennifer Urbanek: “Salvador Dali the Polymathic Polymorphous Genius.” Much of Dali's poetry and philosophic writing are long out of print. His poetry and novel were extolled by Lorca. We will examine verse that survived through their correspondence. Attention will be given to his use of science and symbolism and the paranoid critical method he developed.
- 9:40 am | Tara Kelly: “The Literature of Love and Loss: Lamenting The Dead.” To write about love, loss, death and dying is to take on big subjects; massive in scope, weighty in emotion, and elusive to define. To elevate the writing to the status of literature makes it all the more difficult. Poets may do it best, but this lecture will examine a particular niche in nonfiction writing—the grief memoir. Considering the works of Joan Didion, Donald Hall, Calvin Trillin, Julian Barnes, and others.
- 10:30 am–noon | Life of Letters conversation: Jill Schoolman, Tishman Lecture Hall
- 4:30 pm | Grads and Faculty to VAPA D-208 to don robes for graduation
- 5:00 pm | Commencement Ceremony, Usdan Gallery
Commencement Speaker: Sonia Sanchez
- 6:15 pm | Reception, Greenwall
- 6:45 pm | Graduation Dinner, Greenwall
Faculty Speaker: April Bernard
Graduating Student Speaker: Walter Robinson
- 9:00 pm | Graduation Dance, Student Center
Sunday, June 28
- 9:00–11:00 am | Writing Workshops
Monday, June 29