Thursday, November 19th (7 - 8pm EST) ONLINE via Zoom
WINTER POETRY READING, featuring
WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS POETS
JOVONNA VAN PELT • SARA EDDY • FAITH SHEARIN
We're no longer accepting RSVPs, but please join us on Zoom at the following link on 11/19/20, 7 - 8pm EST:
About the Poets
JOVONNA VAN PELT is a member of Straw Dog Writers Guild and, from her home base in Greenfield, a frequent contributor to Valley open mics and word stage performances. Jo has been a repeating finalist in the Poet's Seat competition; her work is included in the Compass Roads anthology edited by Jane Yolen. Unrelated Questions is her first published collection.
SARA EDDY is Assistant Director of the writing center at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts. Some of her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in the Threepenny Review, the Baltimore Review, and Spank the Carp. Her chapbook of poems about bees and beekeeping, Tell the Bees, was released in October of 2019 by A3 Press, and another chapbook of poems about food, Full Mouth, will come out from Finishing Line Press in October of 2020. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with a teenager, a black cat, a white dog, and three beehives.
FAITH SHEARIN's books of poetry include: The Owl Question (May Swenson Award), Moving the Piano, Telling the Bees, Orpheus, Turning (Dogfish Poetry Prize), Darwin's Daughter and Lost Language (forthcoming, Press 53).She has received awards from Yaddo, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Recent work has been featured on The Writer's Almanac and included in American Life in Poetry.
Course Outline / What Will Be Covered In addition to workshopping in the final four weeks, each week the group will focus on a separate craft topic.
Week One - Quality of Details / Language We will look at the many ways language and detail does important narrative work in flash, including implying backstory, pointing toward the heart/emotional core of the piece, creating thematic echoes, and more.
Week Two - Narrative Time Through discussion of several masterful pieces and short in-class exercises, we'll explore the different ways flash fiction writers manipulate narrative time. We'll talk about the different effects that result when time is condensed, blurred, sparsely sampled, fragmented, ballooned, etc.
Week Three - Openings We'll examine and talk about a number of brilliant flash fiction first lines, with an eye toward how they very quickly ground us in a place, while also setting up conflict, stakes, character, etc. We'll discuss the most important elements a flash opening should have, and what can be cut or condensed.
Week Four - Endings We'll talk about what some of the best options for an ending in flash fiction are, including how to leave the reader with that sought-after sense of "linger" that great flash pieces achieve.
Week Five - Playing with Structure Because of the brevity of the form, flash pieces often experiment with different structures, including "borrowing" from forms such as lists, letters, calendars, receipts, etc. We'll look at some creative and fun examples of these "hermit crab" pieces, discuss the relationship between form and content, then try our hand at a few of our own.
Week Six - Revision Flash fiction is created, ultimately, in the revision process. It's where everything expendable is cut out, lengthy descriptions are tightened into their barest essentials, and each word or phrase must earn its place. We'll talk about strategies and tips for cutting/condensing, as well as work through some guided in-class revision exercises together.
Understand the essentials of what flash fiction is and how it differs from other forms, through reading and discussing texts.
Generate a number of new flash pieces you're excited about in response to engaging, fun prompts.
Experiment with new styles, approaches, and forms in your fiction.
Gain confidence, inspiration, and accountability from a small group of fellow writers.
Receive thoughtful, supportive, and insightful feedback from the group and instructor.
Grow your skills as an editor of your own work, in particular cutting a piece down to its barest essentials.
"Can't say enough about PVWW, Joy, and her amazing team of teachers! Writing is very much about the ability to sit in your seat for hours and put pen to paper, but coming to PVWW has helped me build a community around my writing, breathe new life into my efforts, and get out of my own head a bit. And beyond that, I've learned lots of practical, nuts-and-bolts techniques that have vastly improved my work." - Emily Everett, Editor at The Common