The full archive of interviews with the professional writers, readers, and thinkers whose job is to start conversations about contemporary literature.
Amy Gerstler’s book of poems Index of Women, published last week by Penguin Books, depicts experiences of womanhood through a number of forms and perspectives, including a dramatic monologue from an aging opera singer, an ode to a head of lettuce, and prose poems recounting personal memories. The second poem in the collection, “Virginity,” builds an atmosphere around the experience of having sex for the first time, without ever naming the act itself. Through subtle details that hark back to adolescence—“passing notes rather than speaking” and “reading secret magazines a cousin stuffed / into the bottom of his sleeping bag”—Gerstler avoids cliché and develops the speaker’s voice using the oft-mythologized moment of losing one’s virginity, offering instead a sense of the speaker’s life that isn’t defined by sex. Write a series of scenes that study a character experiencing a key life moment without ever explicitly naming the experience itself. What is revealed or emphasized by gesturing to details that surround the experience?
Pik-Shuen Fung’s Ghost Forest, forthcoming from One World on July 13, 2021.
The 34th annual Summer Fishtrap Gathering of Writers will be held from July 12 to July 18 at the Wallowa Lake Lodge in Wallowa Lake, Oregon. In the event that the workshop cannot safely convene in person, the gathering will pivot to a virtual event; any decision to move the event online will be announced no later than May 1. The program features workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as panel discussions, craft talks, and readings. The theme for the 2021 conference is “Resilience” and features a keynote from nonfiction writer Craig Childs.
Summer Fishtrap Gathering of Writers, P.O. Box 38, Enterprise, OR 97828. (541) 426-3623.
The 23rd annual Green Mountain Writers Conference will be held from August 2 to August 6 at the historic Brandon Inn in Brandon, Vermont, a walkable Vermont village. The program features workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as discussions, one-on-one consultations, and readings. The faculty includes poets Justen Ahren, Joan Aleshire, and Verandah Porche; fiction writers Jensen Beach, Elizabeth Inness-Brown, and Stephen P. Kiernan; creative nonfiction writer Chuck Clarino; and poet and nonfiction writer Yvonne Daley.
Green Mountain Writers Conference, 47 Hazel Street, Rutland, VT 05701. (802) 236-6133. Yvonne Daley, Director.
The 2021 Elk River Writers Workshop will be held from August 15 to August 20 at Chico Hot Springs, a historic retreat in Pray, Montana, near Yellowstone National Park. The program features workshops, craft talks, outings, lectures, panel discussions, and campfire readings for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. The faculty includes poets William Pitt Root and Pamela Uschuk, poet and fiction writer Linda Hogan, poet and nonfiction writer J. Drew Lanham, and fiction and nonfiction writer Rick Bass.
Elk River Writers Workshop, Elk River Arts & Lectures, P. O. Box 2212, Livingston, MT 59047. CMarie Fuhrman, Director.
The 11th annual Chuckanut Writers Conference, cohosted by Whatcom Community College and Village Books in Bellingham, Washington, will be held online from June 21 to June 27. The conference features breakout sessions in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as keynote addresses, craft talks, author panels, and a faculty reading.
Chuckanut Writers Conference, 237 West Kellogg Road, Bellingham, WA 98226. (360) 383-3200. Kaitlyn Teer, Conference Chair.