Summer Writing Camps for Adults
Our series of summer Zoom writing classes is designed to rev up your writing practice. Dig deeper into your passion, or try something new. At the end of the week, you will depart with inspiration, momentum, and many solid pages written and ready for the next step.
HELP US SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY: We will donate $25 of every enrollment fee to one of the following local organizations doing vital work for people of color and underserved communities in the East Bay:
Roots Community Health Center, which uplifts local citizens impacted by systemic inequities and poverty.
East Oakland Collective, a community organizing group invested in serving the communities of deep East Oakland by working towards racial and economic equity.
Well-Made Boxes: A Generative Poetry Workshop
***To enroll, e-mail Jacques Rancourt: jacques[dot]j[dot]firstname.lastname@example.org
Yeats once wrote that a great poem ends with a sound like the click of a well-made box. With
poetry—which often operates on such concise economies of language—the opening and concluding lines carry more weight, and oftentimes the success of a poem depends on entering and exiting at just the right moment. While the opening line ushers the reader into the world of the poem, establishing mood, tone, voice, and stakes, the final line of a poem often serves as a turn, a revelation, or a reversal, sometimes causing the reader to end up somewhere they didn’t expect.
In this week-long, generative workshop class, we’ll be taking a look at openings and conclusions as a way to think more broadly about craft. We will use the master poems as a launching pad to write our own work, paying particular attention to the moments where we enter and exit a poem. In this five-day workshop, each participant will receive feedback on a poem through workshop and peer-review, and most importantly, they will benefit from a supportive community of writers.
Jacques J. Rancourt is the author of two poetry collections, Brocken Spectre (Alice James Books, 2021) and Novena (winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd prize, Pleiades Press, 2017), as well as a chapbook, In the Time of PrEP (Chad Walsh Series, Beloit Poetry Journal, 2018). A recipient of a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University and a Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, his poems have appeared in AGNI, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, New England Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. Raised in Maine, he lives now in San Francisco. Read more about Jacques's work here.
Opening Pages and Urgency
In this workshop, we'll do a close study of one story per class—four short stories and one piece of literary journalism—and pay close attention to opening pages.
These crucial pages teach us what a story will be about, what details we must pay attention to, and why we must keep reading. In each piece we read, we'll identify the sense of urgency that is present and consider how the writer carries that urgency through to the very end. We will apply the techniques of writers like YiYun Li, Chimananda Ngozi Adichie and Kevin Wilson to our own work.
In each class, we'll have time to write based on prompts inspired by the readings.
You'll be expected to read the assigned story prior to class. You may also continue your in-class writing at home. By the week’s end, you will have made significant progress on one story or started several.
Sindya Bhanoo’s debut short story collection, Seeking Fortune Elsewhere, was published by Catapult this spring. Her fiction has appeared in Granta, New England Review, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of an O. Henry Award, the Disquiet Literary Prize and scholarships from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers conferences. A longtime newspaper reporter, Sindya has worked for The New York Times and The Washington Post. She is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers and UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. Read more about Sindya's work here.