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Writing & Poetry

The Summer Program Writing Workshops offer writers at all levels a full immersion experience, a week-long opportunity to deepen your understanding of story and language. Faculty is composed of authors with both long publishing records and extensive teaching experience, eager to help you begin, continue or complete your books, poems, stories and essays. 


View Courses Below
 

Making it Up: The Art of Writing Fiction

Making it Up: 
The Art of Writing Fiction 

Samantha Dunn

July 7–11 Course # AAWF Ø2

One-week session 

“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, ”Mark Twain supposedly said. This workshop will explore the art and craft of fiction, using a multitude of exercises to tap and enhance your own deep sources of creativity. If you have a vivid imagination, or if you are a storyteller who likes to embellish, or you want to look at your tales with a new perspective, the class will provide you with the tools to paint with words. Whether you are a beginner or are a prolific writer, you will walk away from this workshop with a better understanding of the structural elements that underpin all great stories. You will also be armed with new techniques for creating characters who come to life on the page, for creating vivid worlds with your words, and how to keep generating story ideas. All levels of writer will be able to apply the lessons. While writing fiction is often about finding the truth of the story, come prepared to make stuff up. And to write! Class time will be about practicing what we learn—bring plenty of pens and blank notebooks. By the end of the week, everyone will have at least one well-honed piece of fiction presentable for public consumption.

This workshop will meet from 9–noon each morning and again from 1–2pm in the afternoon for writing sessions.

Skill Level: All levels are welcome.

Tuition: $725

Enrollment limited to 12 students.

Samantha Dunn is the author of Failing Paris, a finalist for the PEN West Fiction Award, and the bestselling memoir, Not By Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life, as well as Faith in Carlos Gomez: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex and Salvation. Her work is anthologized in a number of places, including the short story anthology, Women on the Edge: Writing from Los Angeles, which Dunn co-edited. A winner of the Maggie Award for Best Personal Essay in a Consumer Publication, she is a widely published journalist regularly featured in O the Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and Ms., among others. A member of the Writers’ Guild, Samantha teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers Program and is program advisor for The Mark at PEN USA.


Writing Memoir

Writing Memoir

Amy Friedman

July 7–11 Course # AAWE Ø2 

One-week session

This workshop is for those just beginning and those whose work is well underway (and/or stalled), for those writing memoir, personal essay, or any work of creative nonfiction. The instructor will help you to develop and craft your work, and we’ll study the elements that help writing to sparkle, including characterization, setting, voice, dialog and theme.

Excerpts from published works will help to serve as inspiration, and five, ten, and fifteen minute exercises will jump-start your writing and offer guidance for your work. A portion of our workshop hours will be devoted to reading your work aloud, with feedback from both the instructor and your fellow students. You will also receive information on marketing and proposal writing (for longer nonfiction works).

Our goal will be to complete a full essay and/or chapter by week’s end. We’ll meet for four hours each morning, with afternoons devoted to individual conferences, writing and reading time. 

Skill Level: All levels are welcome.

Tuition: $725

Enrollment limited to 10 students.

Amy Friedman is the author of several memoirs, Kick the Dog and Shoot the Cat, Nothing Sacred: A Conversation with FeminismDesperado’s Wife, and most recently her co-authored memoir with Anne Willan, One Souffle at a Time: A Memoir of Food and France. Amy also writes the  long-running, world-wide syndicated newspaper column for children, Tell Me A Story. She often performs her personal essays at Spoken Word venues in LA and has published hundreds of stories, columns and articles. Amy also teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension,  and at the Skirball Cultural Arts Center.

*New* Screenwriting Revolution: Creating Successful Screenplays

Screenwriting Revolution:
Creating Successful Screenplays 

Barri Rosenblum Evins 

June 16–20 Course # AASW ØØ 

One-week session

Build the skills, knowledge, concepts, and relationships needed to make breaking into the industry a reality for screenwriters at all levels of experience and proficiency. Develop ideas with expert guidance, hone essential professional skills, and gain invaluable personal and industry insight. 

Advance Assignments provide the foundation for one-on-one work and include creating Ten New Ideas. At the end of the course, you will have developed a solid, marketable, and exciting idea, empowering you to advance to the next level in your career. 

The week culminates in a talk with three working industry professionals, an agent, development executive and studio executive or manager, followed by lunch with the pros and the opportunity to build personal relationships. The afternoon is devoted to pitching your idea to these pros, with a generous amount of time available for feedback from them on the concept, market potential, pitching technique and advice on how to move your work forward in the marketplace.

Over the course of the week you will:

Understand the Industry from The Inside

Create Concepts that Ignite Industry Interest

Harness Your Passions and Showcase Your Strengths

Craft and Shape Ideas then Pitch with Skill and Confidence 

Transform Structure from Biggest Fear to Best Friend

Shape and Refine Stories on a Single Page to End Endlessly Rewriting

Acquire Powerful Tools, Techniques and Templates Making Your Writing Process Faster and More Successful

Skill Level: Open to all levels: aspiring, novice and experienced screenwriters will all benefit.

Tuition: $725

Lab Fee: $50 (Includes numerous handouts and industry guests.)

Enrollment limited to 15 students.

Bari Evins is a working film producer who has sold pitches and specs to all the majors. Barri created Big Ideas Seminar to give aspiring screenwriters what it takes to break into the business, providing professional techniques and powerful tools to achieve their dreams. Barri has taught at studios including Pixar, DreamWorks Animation and Blizzard, the UCLA Producers Program and AFI. A sought after Script Consultant and Pitch Doctor, she’s spoken at conferences including Great American PitchFest, Screenwriters Expo and Screenwriters World. She is a columnist for ScriptMag.com. www.bigBIGideas.com


Poetry Week: Track I

Poetry Week July 7-11, 2014 
Coordinator: Ed Skoog

Track I: New Poems

Faculty Poets: Natalie Diaz, Troy Jollimore
Guest Poets: Brendan Constantine, Matthew Dickman

July 7–11 Course # AAWP Ø2A

One-week session 

This special week of poetry is open to anyone with an interest in writing poetry, following the long-held Idyllwild Arts tradition of building a diverse community of voices to enrich the conversation, from enthusiastic beginners to emerging and established poets. Five days of workshops, craft talks, readings, and lively discussion under the pines will focus on helping participants write new poems and explore new ideas.

Poetry Week offers two tracks, New Poems and Towards A Book. Participants in New Poems will work with two workshop leaders on writing, revising and critiquing new poems. Small class size will ensure that each participant receives individual attention and advice about his or her development as a writer. Participants in the Towards A Book track will work with Ellen Bass on a small, representative set of poems submitted prior to Poetry Week to develop ideas about manuscripts such as a chapbook or a full collection. See separate course description.

The tracks run concurrently from 9–noon, and all participants join together for craft talks by faculty and special guests from 2-4 p.m. and evening readings by students and faculty. Faculty readings followed by book signing. Ed Skoog will be available for individual critiques by appointment throughout the week.

Skill Level: All levels are welcome.

Tuition: $725

Enrollment limited to 10 students per track.

Natalie Diaz was raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012. She won a 2012 Lannan Literary Fellowship, the 2012 Narrative Prize from Narrative Magazine, and a 2012 Native Arts & Culture Foundation Artist Fellowship. She is on the IAIA Low Residency MFA faculty. Diaz currently lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, and works with the last remaining speakers at Fort Mojave to teach and revitalize the Mojave language.

Troy Jollimore is the author of At Lake Scugog: Poems, and Tom Thomson in Purgatory, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. As a philosopher he has authored On Loyalty and Love’s Vision. He has published poems in the New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Poetry, The Believer, Tin House, and elsewhere, has received fellowships from the Stanford Humanities Center and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow. 
 

Brendan Constantine  (Guest Poet) holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of three collections of poetry and his work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably FIELD, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Zyzzyva, and L.A. Times best seller The Underground Guide To Los Angeles. He currently teaches poetry at The Windward School in West Los Angeles. Brendan also regularly offers workshops for hospitals, foster-care centers and with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. www.brendanconstantine.com 
 

Matthew Dickman (Guest Poet) is the author of Mayakovsky’s Revolver (W.W. Norton, 2012) and All-American Poem (American Poetry Review/ Copper Canyon Press, 2008) and the recipient of the Honickman First Book Prize, the May Sarton Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Kate Tufts Award from Claremont College, and the 2009 Oregon Book Award. He is co-author of the forthcoming 50 American Plays from Copper Canyon Press. He has also received residencies and fellowships from The Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas; The Vermont Studio Center; The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown; and The Lannan Foundation. His poems have appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, and the New Yorker, among others. 

Ed Skoog, Coordinator (MFA, Creative Writing, University of Montana) is author of Mister Skylight, a collection of poems (Copper Canyon, 2009) and Rough Day (Copper Canyon, 2013), as well as many stories and poems in literary magazines such as The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, The New Republic, American Poetry Review, and Narrative. He has been awarded fellowships from  the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and The Lannan Foundation. He has been a writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House, George Washington University, and The University of Montana. He is a past chair of creative writing at Idyllwild Arts Academy.

 


*New* Poetry Week: Track II

Poetry Week July 7-11, 2014
Coordinator: Ed Skoog 

Track II: Towards A Book

Ellen Bass

July 7–11 Course # AAWP Ø2B 

One-week session

This workshop is for poets who are on their way to compiling a book or chapbook and want to make each poem as absolutely strong as it can be. Each day we will look at one aspect of the craft to support the revision process. Possible topics will be: discovery, description, image and metaphor, sentiment and sentimentality, and de-cluttering. We’ll read stellar poems from contemporary poets to illustrate these concepts and inspire us. We’ll also look at examples of revision in model poems so you can get an inside view of how some poets have worked and re-worked their poems to bring them from “there” to “here.” How different Yeats’ poem, Among School Children, would be if, instead of the famous line, “How can we know the dancer from the dance?” he’d left it as it was in the first draft, “It seems the dancer and the dance are one!”

We’ll discuss and critique one poem a day from each poet, so by the end of the workshop, you’ll have detailed feedback on five poems that you then can apply to the rest of your manuscript. The feedback will be presented in a way that will help you not only make these poems better, but become a stronger poet for the new poems you have yet to write. 

This Poetry Week track will run concurrently with New Poems from 9am to noon, and all participants join together for craft talks by faculty and special guests from 2-4 p.m. and evening readings by students and faculty. 

Skill Level: Poets who are ready to revise courageously in service to the poem.

Tuition: $725

Enrollment limited to 10 students.

Ellen Bass poetry books include Like A Beggar (Copper Canyon, 2014), The Human Line, Mules of Love, and the groundbreaking anthology of women’s poetry, No More Masks! She is co-author of The Courage to Heal and Free Your Mind. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The New Republic, and The Kenyon Review. Among her awards is a Pushcart Prize, Pablo Neruda Prize, Larry Levis Prize from Missouri Review, and New Letters Prize. She teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University.
 

Brendan Constantine  (Guest Poet) holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of three collections of poetry and his work has appeared in numerous journals, most notably FIELD, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Zyzzyva, and L.A. Times best seller The Underground Guide To Los Angeles. He currently teaches poetry at The Windward School in West Los Angeles. Brendan also regularly offers workshops for hospitals, foster-care centers and with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. www.brendanconstantine.com 
 

Matthew Dickman (Guest Poet) is the author of Mayakovsky’s Revolver (W.W. Norton, 2012) and All-American Poem (American Poetry Review/ Copper Canyon Press, 2008) and the recipient of the Honickman First Book Prize, the May Sarton Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Kate Tufts Award from Claremont College, and the 2009 Oregon Book Award. He is co-author of the forthcoming 50 American Plays from Copper Canyon Press. He has also received residencies and fellowships from The Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas; The Vermont Studio Center; The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown; and The Lannan Foundation. His poems have appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, and the New Yorker, among others. 

Ed Skoog, Coordinator (MFA, Creative Writing, University of Montana) is author of Mister Skylight, a collection of poems (Copper Canyon, 2009) and Rough Day (Copper Canyon, 2013), as well as many stories and poems in literary magazines such as The Paris Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, The New Republic, American Poetry Review, and Narrative. He has been awarded fellowships from  the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and The Lannan Foundation. He has been a writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House, George Washington University, and The University of Montana. He is a past chair of creative writing at Idyllwild Arts Academy.

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