The Chautauqua Writers’ Center’s Week Six writers-in-residence, Allison Joseph and Jess Row, will explore poetry and prose beyond cultural divides in their workshops this week.
Both writers will also give public readings of their work at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 29, in the Hall of Philosophy.
Poet-in-residence Joseph’s workshop is titled “Learning from World Masters: Poetry, Politics and Poetic Liberation” and aims to broaden students’ horizons by familiarizing them with non-U.S. poets.
Joseph is the author of multiple poetry collections, including Confessions of a Barefaced Woman and Soul Train. She is editor of Crab Orchard Review and publisher of No Chair Press. She also directs Southern Illinois University’s MFA program in creative writing.
Her students will analyze different poets in order to learn how they can challenge themselves to move beyond their comfort zones and natural poetic urges.
In an interview with Atticus Review, Joseph said her favorite part about her job was “bringing new writers into the fold through teaching and editing.”
“It’s fun to see someone grow as a writer, moving from their first workshopped poems to publishing their earliest poems to having a book accepted for publication. It’s great to see poets with persistence succeed.”
-Allison Joseph, Poet-in-residence, Chautauqua Writers’ Center
Prose writer-in-residence Row’s workshop is called “Places That Scare You: Writing Short Fiction About Race, Culture and Identity.”
Taking cues from short story writers such as Gish Jen and Eudora Welty, students will learn how to write fiction about issues that are painful, troubling and considered controversial, Row said.
These writers approach complex and difficult subjects that “many writing workshops try to avoid” in ways that may be direct, funny, lyrical or poetic, according to Row.
Row teaches at The College of New Jersey and has published short story collections The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost, and a novel, Your Face in Mine. His writing has appeared in multiple publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review and The Atlantic.
In the workshop, Row and his students will try to understand why the subjects of race, culture and identity are so difficult to write about and why writers often face resistance.
The class will participate in exercises in listening, writing monologues, satire and considering conversations between people of different cultural backgrounds.
He encourages his students to be as “unflinching” as possible, and hopes they leave the workshop “freed up to say things and describe things (they) haven’t had the language for previously.”
Both writers will give Brown Bags this week. Joseph will deliver hers at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, July 31, and Row will give his lecture at 12:15 p.m. Friday, August 3, both at the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall.