This week’s Writers’ Center workshops delve into the vibrant lives of the imagination and the elegy.
Week Two’s poet-in-residence, Marcus Wicker, will lead a workshop titled “Ode, Elegy, Aubade, Invective: Strategies for the Letter Poem.” Janice
Eidus, prose writer-in-residence, will teach a workshop on “The Beating Heart of Your Fiction.” Both writers will give readings of their work at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 1 in the Hall of Philosophy.
Wicker is the author of the poetry collections Maybe the Saddest Thing and Silencer. Both works received various accolades, including the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for New Voices and the National Poetry Series award. He is currently a professor at the University of Memphis and the Southern Indiana Review poetry editor.
Wicker’s class will explore the intimacy of letter writing in a digital era of texts and tweets and how those skills translate into poetry. The workshop will blend generative prompts and class critiques, and use examples from poets such as Pablo Neruda and Louise Glück.
Atom Atkinson, director of literary arts, said students will have the opportunity to dive into the “various forms one can employ, from ode to aubade, when attempting to write letter poems, a kind of correspondence with the world that a lot of us are searching for new ways to do.”
Eidus is the author of multiple novels, including The War of the Rosens and The Last Jewish Virgin: A Novel of Fate. She also authored the short story collections, The Celibacy Club and Vito Loves Geraldine. This is her third visit to Chautauqua; she was previously a prose writer-in-residence in 2011.
Eidus’ workshop will treat fiction as the work of the imagination. By weighing the emotional and the logical, Eidus will help students find their writing voices and speak truth to their imaginations.
Eidus uses visual arts as one technique for creating writing prompts in her workshops. In one such exercise, students will choose from a selection of “amazingly evocative” photographs, ranging in style from journalistic to imagistic, to generate prose.
Through her classes, Eidus hopes to encourage students to “tap into that intuitive place … yearning to come out from deep within them” to enhance and sustain their imaginations.
“I always describe my writing workshops as being serious fun. There’s so much imaginative and intuitive work going on. … There’s so much joy in being able to really learn next steps,” Eidus said. “But they’re also very serious, because at its heart they are serious explorations of the creative world.”
Both writers will give Brown Bags this week. Wicker will speak at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3 and Eidus will speak at 12:15 p.m. on Friday, July 6 on the front porch of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall.