During our time together, we will not only develop our writing and revision skills through writing exercises and workshop, but we will challenge the boundaries of what writing can be and what it can accomplish with the goal of becoming better readers. Writers should come to the first session with a draft of a piece or an idea they are excited about.
This workshop will be both generative and revisionary, and weekly readings will examine the role of writing in a current, ever-changing context. We will work under the assumption that good writing most often arises from significant engagement with other artistic media, cultural observations, and honest personal reflection, rather than received ideas of how poetry or prose should be written.
While we will primarily explore the genre of short fiction, we will equally confront received genres and engage with hybrid works such as prose-poems, lyric essays, and multimedia forms. What exists in-between the segregated bookstore shelf?
We will start each class with a 10-minute generative writing exercise. Please come prepared to class with something to write with. Opportunities to (voluntarily) share will be afforded to any spare time at the end of the meeting period.
Each week, we will close-read and discuss works by Anne Carson, Ocean Vuong, Maggie Nelson, Carmen Maria Machado, Kafka, Claudia Rankine, James Richardson, George Saunders, and more. All material will be provided. The goal of these readings will be to help inform and inspire your work, while also strengthening your abilities as a reader.
All good art comes from a place of vulnerability and openness. While we will not discuss our personal problems, the workshop environment still has to be understood as a safe environment for everyone. In your work, violence of any form targeted at a colleague will not be tolerated. You are allowed to be honest but at the same time are expected to be empathetic, mature, and use your common sense whenever you offer constructive critiques.
Each writer will be workshopped for 30-45 minutes. You are to bring a copy of your piece for each person to our meetings the week before you are scheduled to workshop.
Please print and bring pieces up for workshop, add legible comments/line edits before our meetings, and hand in your marked-up copy of your colleagues’ work to the author after workshop.
Prose pieces should be around 5-30 pages double spaced, but please contact me if more or less space is needed.
Feedback for your colleagues’ work is essential to creating a comfortable, reciprocal workshop environment, therefore it is highly recommended to write out a thoughtful response to your colleagues’ pieces.
New York City is filled with many amazing literary events often free to the public. We will occasionally attend readings, screenings, performances, and lectures inside and outside of Think Olio that are relevant to our discussions.
Reading assignments will be given on the schedule, but will also be posted weekly to our email chain.
Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.