Brush Up Your Poetry or Prose, Thanks to the Chautauqua Writers’ Center

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The Chautauqua Writers’ Center will offer a prose workshop focused on place as well as an advanced poetry workshop to students in Week Five.

Writers Tom Noyes and Jim Daniels, both Writers’ Center returnees, will lead the workshops.

Noyes will serve as the prose writer-in-residence, and Daniels will serve as the poet-in-residence for Week Five.

Both writers will also give public readings at 3:30 p.m. Sunday on the porch of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall.

Noyes is the author of three short story collections, the most recent of which is Come by Here: A Novella and Stories. He previously taught at the Writers’ Center in 2013 as a “last-minute replacement,” and said he was excited to be back this year.

Noyes’ workshop is called “Writing in Place,” and he wants to teach his students how place can “feed a story” and not just be a secondary element in their work.

“I want to explore ways in which place can fuel theme, influence character and be an important element of plot,” Noyes said.

Place can be a “primary driving force in the narrative” of many stories, Noyes said, something he hopes his students will take away from the workshop. He said writing and looking at the world as a writer is an amazing way to appreciate the diversity and dynamics that surround people.

“I think writers see the world in deeper and broader ways than the average citizen, maybe,” Noyes said. “I think it’s a rich way to live life.”

Daniels is the author of multiple works, including his recent poetry collection Apology to the Moon. He’s also interested in screenwriting and has written four screenplays.

Daniels is a frequent workshop leader at the Writers’ Center and has a relationship with Chautauqua Institution that spans more than 20 years. He first taught at the Writers’ Center in 1992, he said, and has been lucky enough to see it grow and expand over the years.

With his advanced poetry workshop this season, Daniels wants to help his students get “nuts and bolts” feedback on their work. The workshop will focus on previously written work.

“Of course, I’m always willing to give writing assignments if someone wants it,” Daniels said.

He said he also plans to discuss publishing and revision with his students, something that advanced students are usually more interested in.

A broader sense Daniels hopes his students take away from the workshop is what it means to make a career out of being a poet.

“Once they put the effort into the poem, [it’s about] what are some of the next steps to get their work out into the world and strengthen the work as much as possible so it has a better chance of getting out into the world and getting published,” Daniels said.

In addition to leading their workshops, Daniels and Noyes will give Brown Bag lectures at Alumni Hall during the week. Daniels’ Brown Bag, called “Turning Poetry into Film,” will be at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday in the Alumni Hall Ballroom. Noyes’ Brown Bag, called “The Geography of Story” will be at 12:15 p.m. Friday on the porch of Alumni Hall.


The author Ryan Pait

Ryan Pait gets a different haircut every summer to keep the people of Chautauqua guessing. This is his fourth summer at The Chautauquan Daily, so if you’re tired of him, that’s OK. He recently graduated with his master’s degree in literature from Western Kentucky University. Don’t ask him about what he’s doing after this summer, but do ask him about the Nicole Kidman renaissance, the return of “Game of Thrones” and what he’s reading.