Lori Howe Offers Poetry Workshop

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Join the Jackson Hole Writers for a free poetry workshop

Lori Howe, editor in chief of the ezine Clerestory Poetry Journal, will be doing a writing workshop on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, in the conference room at the Center for the Arts from 9 a.m. to noon. Email connie@blackhen.com to sign up. Preregistration is suggested as the space is limited.

All levels of writers are welcome and the workshop will have a holiday/holy day theme.

Lori’s latest book is Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains, due out on November 18, 2015 (Sastrugi Press). Forthcoming is: Voices at Twilight: A Poet’s Guide to Wyoming Ghost Towns, due out in May, 2016 (Elm Books).

Lori has a varied history, both on the ground and in the academic world. We are impressed. She is doctoral candidate in Literacy Studies at the University of Wyoming, from which she also holds an MFA in creative writing. Her scholarly work on creative approaches to improved writing and critical thinking skills for struggling, early-college writers has been accepted by journals such as Qualitative Inquiry and the Journal of Lifelong Learning. She teaches creative writing workshops with the Latina Project and is a member of the leadership team of the Wyoming Writing Project.  Poems from Cloudshade have been nominated for a Pushcart award, and the collection itself nominated for several first-book awards. It is available for pre-order via the Sastrugi Press web page, and readers who desire a personally inscribed copy can place a special order through the website.

The Writers will host a formal or informal reading for Lori and Clerestory poets on Friday, Dec. 4. The place has yet to be determined. We around the region and writers who attended the conference appreciated her publication of work by 2015 conference attendees, as well as the Open Window Review print edition of participants’ work in 2013. Kudos to Lori for her promotion of writing about the West.

Lori will be on tour around Wyoming through the winter months, doing readings and signings in bookstores and libraries.  This begins with a reading, fireside chat, and signing at Legends Bookstore in Cody, from 1:30-3pm on November 15. Additional dates and locations tba on the Sastrugi Press website Sastrugipress.com and at lorihoweauthor.com. Her current writing projects include a third collection of poetry, Benedictine Road, as well as a guide to teaching meaningful writing practice, Stories from Earth: Millennials, Literature, and Teaching Writing that Matters, with co-author Dr. Leslie Rush, and the novel Heaven of Olives, set in NYC, Andalusia, and Ethiopia. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming.

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Submissions Requested For Book To Celebrate 25 Years

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Commemorative Book

Possible Topics Expanded, So Read On

 

 

 

 

 

We are only a week past the fall equinox, but the Jackson Hole Writers Conference is looking ahead to the 25th conference, June 23-25, 2016. We are excited to have lined up most of our faculty, which will include Gretel Ehrlich,  Lynne Sharon Schwartz, poets Paisley Rekdal and Maria Melendez Kelson, and a roster of established editors and agents.

In the meantime, we are seeking submissions for a trade-size paperback about the conference: why people come, why people come back. Poet Naomi Shihab Nye and past success novelist David Abrams have sent in their offerings. It’s a good start, but we want anyone who attended our conference to get a shot at sharing their experience.

We hope to raise money with this book by sharing our commitment to and enthusiasm for what has become an important part of the writing community.  Tim Sandlin started the conference 25 years ago and it has blossomed under his continued leadership. We want to celebrate that.

Writing It Right, the working title for this collection, will focus on the experiences of those who have attended the conference: registrant, faculty member, volunteer or staff. We are looking for short pieces, no longer than 1200 words. While it is not intended as a literary anthology, we are open to literary musings, notes and observations. Perhaps a piece you brought to the conference and had critiqued: fiction, nonfiction or a poem. Even a haibun or journal entries can find their way into this collection.

Here are some topics or approaches:

  • A “how to” or “how not to”
  • A vignette
  • Here’s what happens at the conference, full of surprises and quirks
  • Poem that came out of a workshop prompt, with discussion of the process
  • Found poem from the conference
  • Why you come back year after year
  • Expectations you came with, how those may have changed
  • The critique process: who reads what and why
  • Submissions: the joys and the terrors
  • Volunteers and what can happen
  • Ten books recommended by folks at the conference
  • I was there when such and such happened
  • Faculty writer, editor or agent who changed your life
  • A black and white photograph that says it all
  • Black and white illustrations
  • A graphic poem
  • A collection title that says it all
  • Something we haven’t thought of

The guidelines for content are fairly loose, but the editors will be looking for entertaining, enlightening and educational pieces. Just because you send something to us doesn’t mean we will accept it. We are looking for quality. This is for writers and we see it as a resource. We also see it as something to hand out to friends and family, so that they have an inkling about why we come to Jackson Hole in June and sit inside and write and talk about writing and getting published. We feel that the conference is about more than “just” getting published: it’s about meeting other writers, learning the craft, and spreading our wings with words.

Rather than query us about a possible topic, send it in. Surprise us. Surprise yourself with your observations.

The deadline is Dec. 6, 2015. Submissions must be in 12 point type, double-spaced, Word-compatible format, and in electronic form. 1200 word maximum. Poems no longer than 30 lines. Please preface the submission with a title page, listing the year(s) you attended the conference. Please include your name on each page, plus page number, so we get your offering in proper order. No paper submissions will be accepted. Please no PDFs or links to websites. Email questions to us through Contact on our website. Send manuscripts to us at: manuscripts@jacksonholewritersconference.com

 

JHHS Teacher Mary Hoeschler Receives Scholarship

Watch for details to come on the Cultural Council of Jackson Hole’s grant that has provided a scholarship for Mary Hoeschler. She got rave reviews from teacher/poet Matt Daly and JHHS teacher Walt Berling and JHHS head librarian Lori Clark-Erickson. So we are excited to announce this one.

Nina Swamidoss McConigley Craft Class

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Writing What You Know: Using Autobiography in Fiction
 
The old adage is to write what you know. Which is great — but as fiction writers, it’s sometimes safer to fictionalize what you know. In this craft class, we’ll talk about how to take real life experience and fictionalize it. Looking at published texts and with in-class writing (come prepared to write), we’ll discover how to write about what you know — and how to use the truth to go into imaginary places. — Nina

Sounds like it will be a beneficial workshop, with writing included! This craft class is on Friday at 1:45. Hands-on is the best. Nina is also going to be offering an amazing silent auction item. Time to sign up for the conference.

And Nina’s talk at 1 p.m. on Thursday will open the conference:
Jackalopes and Ganesha: Using a Mix in Writing
I’m looking forward to this: Wyoming mythical creatures and India’s elephant god who is the remover of all obstacles, according to yoga.

Local High School Students Receive Scholarships

Elizabeth ChambersJackson Hole High School student Elizabeth Chambers is one of four local area high school students attending the 23rd Jackson Hole Writers Conference on a scholarship. The scholarships are from a grant from the Cultural Council of Jackson Hole. We are excited that she is a repeat scholarship recipient as she added a lot to our conference last year and fully participated in the poetry track.

In addition to the registration fees, the recipients also can have three critiques with established writers.

Caroline Berner from the Community School, Maxine Hansford from Journeys School, and Riley Liljestrom, also from JHHS, also received scholarships thru CCJH.

We at the conference look forward to having these young writers attend.

I appreciate all of the recommendations from school officials and teachers on who would be good candidates for these scholarships. We hope to offer the same level next year.

 

Discount On Wyoming Conferences

VDcSLrbN_normalWyoming Writers Inc.’s 41st Annual Conference June 5-7 in Cheyenne. Early Bird Fee until May 15. Laura Pritchett, Kent Nelson and Aaron Abeyta headline their conference.

If you attend their conference, you can attend the Jackson Hole Writers Conference, June 25-27, at a $150 discount. It’s a great deal and you can make it a part of a Wyoming writing retreat/vacation.

Registration is easy. Then let us know that you are going to both conferences and we will assist you. Email us.

MFA Students Receive Scholarships

Carly Rita FraysierThree MFA candidates at the University of Wyoming have been awarded scholarships to the Jackson Hole Conference. We are excited to name Carly Fraysier (who is pictured above), Dominick Duhamel and  Randall Tyrone.

Carly is from Vermont originally and is working on an MFA in nonfiction with a combined concentration in environment and natural resources. Dominick (pictured below) was raised in California and is working on a novel.IMG_7585 Randall has a BA from the University of Houston and is working toward an MFA in poetry at UW. He is pictured below.

Randall Tyrone

A University of Nebraska graduate English student, Alexandra McKeone, also has been awarded a scholarship to attend this year’s conference. She is working on a collection of essays, Finding Home.McKeone_photo

The funds for these scholarships were made possible by our conference Silent Auction. The auction is on again this year, so watch for details.

Wondering about copyrights

thCheck out Writing Wyoming’s Feb. 10 blog.

We all need to be educated on this issue, especially as we approach publication, whether in a literary magazine, mainstream blog, or by a publisher.

 

Prepping Your Work For the Conference

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Don’t be afraid to spend a little time fine-tuning your manuscript before turning it in for conference readers. Do some of the work ahead of time and you will have a better time of it.

Writing Wyoming again comes to the rescue with some ideas you can actually use. Check it out this Guest Post by Jennifer Top. Sign up for the weekly blog posts by filling in the Follow by Email box. Easy.

 

Testing The Waters

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Ever wondered about webinairs and on-line editing services. Jackson Hole Writers Conference past participant Jennifer Jellen recently took a chance and signed up for a a Writer’s Digest webinair. This is her take-home message:

So much of writing is focused on adding— whether it be developing rich characters, building fantastic worlds, or creating beautiful sentences— that we sometimes forget how essential subtraction can be. Enter the art of editing, that final stroke by which you carve away every nonessential bit, lightening and enlivening your work so that its true heart can show.

I thought I had this part down. Coming from a long line of stoic Teutons, I have no problem wielding a literary ax. Delete that chapter? No problem! Cut that character? He was boring anyway! But a recent webinar with literary agent Kate McKean of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency showed me that I was missing the point. Editing, it turns out, is much more than hack and slash; it’s a subtle art that, when properly applied, refines your connection with the reader, stripping away any artifice that might get between your audience and your story.

As we gear up for this year’s Jackson Hole Writers Conference, I thought I’d share a few of the many gems that Ms. McKean revealed during her talk.

  1. Let your characters find their end before you commit to their beginning. This sounds a little counter-intuitive, but it’s essential. No matter how well we plan and plot, characters and ideas evolve as we write. Sketch in your beginning, write to the end, and then come back to edit the beginning once you truly know your characters and their whole tale.
  2. Don’t be afraid to jump ahead. This is one of the best writing suggestions I’ve ever received: Insert the abbreviation TK when you’re uncertain or stuck. TK stands for To Come (apparently TC means something else entirely). So if you don’t know what happens next, or are unsure of a detail, simply write TK and move on. You’ll maintain your momentum and later, once the story is fully formed, you’ll be able to fill in those gaps.
  3. Use an active voice whenever possible. When we switch to a passive voice—He was struck by the teacher—we create a space between the reader and the story, whereas the active voice—The teacher struck him—keeps the reader in the moment. Sometimes, we slip into a passive voice without even realizing it. A great way to double check is to search your work for the word by and look at the associated verbs.
  4. Remove anything unessential. We’ve all heard the advice about going easy on the adverbs, but other words can add unnecessary bulk as well. Intensifiers such as very, really, and just don’t advance your story. They don’t tell the reader anything important; they simply act like literary cholesterol, clogging up the arteries of your story and making it harder for things to flow.
  5. It’s not the agent’s or editor’s job to fix your problems. Today’s agents and editors don’t have the time to take a rough, raw work and transform it into something great no matter how much they love the premise, the characters or the writing. It’s our job as writers to craft the best possible story, to hone it through good editing, and then to collaborate with agents and editors to polish and publish it.

Ms. McKean’s webinar was a great source of information on the subtleties of editing and their importance to all writers. The webinar was offered through Writer’s Digest online and was well worth the small fee I paid to attend. While I generally don’t recommend paying for advice, this was truly a great learning experience and I hope her tips will help you as well. You can find Kate McKean on Twitter (@Kate_McKean).

 

–Jennifer Jellen