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Workshops are funded in part by Humanities Nebraska. 

Writing Classes & Workshops 

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Toby Altman
Writing with the Image

Saturday, February 18th 10:00a CST

The image is typically treated as one tool among many in the poet’s toolbox. You use an image, to make a point, to ornament an idea. But images are really the building blocks of poetry—not an ornament, but the structure itself. In this class, we’ll study the work of Jenny Xie, a poet who shows how powerful images can be, when they stand on their own, asking us to find connections between them; or, alternately, to pause on each image, savoring its particular pungency. And we’ll talk about practical strategies for putting the image at the center of our own writing. What kind of poem emerges when your images are allowed to assemble into unpredictable, unexpected constellations, when your images are magnetized by each other?

TOBY ALTMAN is the author of two books, Discipline Park (Wendy’s Subway, 2022) and Arcadia, Indiana (Plays Inverse, 2017). He recently received a 2021 Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has held residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, the Millay Colony for the Arts, and MacDowell, where he was the 2020 Stephanie and Robert Olmstead Fellow. His poems can be found in Gulf Coast, jubilat, Lana Turner, and other journals and anthologies; his articles and essays can or will be found in Contemporary Literature, English Literary History, and Jacket2. He holds an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a PhD in English from Northwestern University. He is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Beloit College.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Katie Ford
Creative Varieties: 5 Poems Finding Their Way

Saturday, May 20th 10:00a CST

How do poets find entry points to their poems? Is it via the image, a poetic form, an idea, an emotion, or something less easily named? In this short class, I’ll offer my sense of how vastly different creative practices can be engaged to enlarge one’s poetic vision and articulation. The mind of haiku is not the mind of free verse, for instance, yet both minds can be beautifully activated through study and practice. We’ll traverse international terrain to discuss poems that I hope will inspire you to begin and begin and begin, but not always in the same way. . . . All levels of experience are welcome! 

KATIE FORD is the author of four books of poems, Deposition, Colosseum, Blood Lyrics, and If You Have to Go, all published by Graywolf Press. Blood Lyrics was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Rilke Prize. Colosseum was named among the “Best Books of 2008” by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

She completed graduate work in world religions, theology, and poetry at Harvard University and received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has taught poetry and creative writing for over 20 years around the country. She is currently a Professor of Creative Writing and lives in South Pasadena with her daughter.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Matt Mason
F-it, Let's Just Write a Sestina

Saturday, September 23rd 10:00a CST

The sestina is a 12th Century French form of poem that's 39 lines long. Yes, that one-sentence description raises red flags, doesn't it? Many fear it. But the world is falling apart anyway, before we all die, let's just do it, let us write a damn sestina.

We'll talk about more recently-written sestinas to get familiar with the form, then plot our ascent using maps, graphs, depth charts, and sorcery (the first three are there as a tongue-in-cheek lie, the 4th, though, is the truth).

ARE YOU WITH ME!?

MATT MASON is the Nebraska State Poet and was Executive Director of the Nebraska Writers Collective from 2009-2022. Through the US State Department, he has run workshops in Botswana, Romania, Nepal, and Belarus.

Mason is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Nebraska Arts Council.

His work can be found in The New York Times, on NPR’s Morning Edition, in American Life in Poetry, and more. Mason's 4th book, At the Corner of Fantasy and Main: Disneyland, Midlife and Churros, was released by The Old Mill Press in 2022.

Matt is based out of Omaha with his wife, the poet Sarah McKinstry-Brown, and daughters Sophia and Lucia. Find more at: https://matt.midverse.com/

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Jen Harris
Defying the Internal Censor

Saturday, March 18th 10:00a CST

Modeled after The Writing Workshop KC, founded by Poet Jen Harris, Defying the Internal Censor will involve prompt based writing and sharing of these “sh*tty first drafts.” For the novice and professional alike, this writing workshop is about making time for your creative practice, building confidence in your inherent creative talents, expanding your experience, building a supportive and authentic community and, of course, defying the internal censor. By attending you can expect:

- A vulnerability and authenticity triathlon - This is not a critique workshop

- Positive feedback only

Take a chance. All will be revealed upon attendance.

JEN HARRIS is a sought-after performance artist and co-host of Confessing Animals Podcast, interviewing seasoned and fresh-faced artists of every genre to discuss how to make creativity work within the complexities and challenges of adult life. She is the founder and host of The Writing Workshop KC, whose mission is to nurture creative curiosity and inspire confidence within prompt-based writing workshops.

Jen is particularly passionate about reaching queer people and those struggling to thrive within the multitude of oppressive systems. From dive bars to performance halls worldwide, reaching audiences in the thousands from ages 10-80, Jen cultivates passion and emboldens the aspirational through her work.

She is inspired to eradicate the toxic mythology of the hapless creative, offering her students the opportunity to create, develop, edit and perform their work before engaged, paying audiences, all the while seeking validity in the process and not the outcome.

Jen challenges her students to defy the internal censor, revive or discover the joy of creating and offer themselves the gift of fulfillment through art.

Featured on NPR, TEDx, Button Poetry & Write About Now Poetry & Queer Eye, KC’s Best Poet 2021, Advocate Magazine’s Champions of Pride award 2021, Harris is the author of 3 books of poetry and the recipient of numerous accolades. 

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet
I Stop Somewhere Waiting for You: Adventures in the Poetic Second Person

Saturday, June 10th 10:00a CST

The poetic you can be notoriously slippery—pointing to speaker, reader, or beloved; to “one" or the other. Combine this slipperiness with a readiness to change (and be changed by) the poem's voice and syntax, and the second person becomes a powerful tool for poets interested in the speaker's relationships with reader, self, and other. Together we'll read, write, and experiment, exploring the many possibilities (and a few pitfalls) of the second person. 

LISA GLUSKIN STONESTREET is the author of The Greenhouse (Frost Place Prize) and Tulips, Water, Ash (Morse Poetry Prize). Her poems have appeared in journals such as Plume, Zyzzyva, and Kenyon Review and anthologies including Nasty Women Poets and The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she reads, writes, edits, teaches, and works one on one with writers from her backyard Poetry Shack. She has terrible handwriting but is surprisingly good at math. lisagluskinstonestreet.com

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Kelly Weber
Tongues in a Greening Field: "Queering" Ecology Through Poetry

Saturday, November 4th 10:00a CST

There is a rich tradition of ecological and pastoral writing by queer authors. Despite this--or perhaps because of it--it can be hard to define just what makes nature writing or ecology "queer." How can "queer ecology" explore and and trouble the definitions of "natural" and "unnatural"? How can queer ecology open up the way we understand our kinship and community with each other and with the natural world? How can we "queer" the way we think about ecology and the way all of life is connected?

In this class, we will explore these questions as we study pastoral and ecological poems by queer authors. We will discuss the many ways poets can "queer" ecology.

At the end of the class, we will practice writing some poems of our own that think about ecology in queer ways. Individuals of all identities are welcome and encouraged to join--we can all practice "queering" the way we think about ecology and the natural world! Beyond identity, queer can be a verb, an action, a mindset as we all consider the way our bodies and minds live in the web of ecological existence. Let's all practice some queer thinking together!

KELLY WEBER (she/they) is the author of We Are Changed to Deer at the Broken Place (Tupelo Press, forthcoming December 2022) and You Bury the Birds in My Pelvis, winner of the 2022 Omnidawn First/Second Book Prize (forthcoming October 2023). She is the reviews editor for Seneca Review. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in a Best American Poetry Author Spotlight, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Southeast Review, Salamander, The Journal, Passages North, Foglifter, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from Colorado State University and lives with two rescue cats. More of their work can be found at kellymweber.com.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Ryan Boyland
Make-Believe in the Modern Age

Saturday, April 15th 10:00a CST

Have you ever thought about what it was like to live as a brick? Or Sweeney Todd? Or maybe even Superman? From the Academy of American Poets, persona poems are poems in which the poet speaks through an assumed voice, creating a distance between the writer and speaker that can result in finding  new truths previously left unconsidered.

 

In this workshop, we will be using the persona poem to convey thoughts, feelings, and ideas through the voice of a character of the author's choosing. In a phrase, telling our own stories through a perspective other than our own--finding our voice in another's mouth.

RYAN BOYLAND is a writer, wanderer, medical student, and amateur astronomer currently based out of Omaha, Nebraska, where his love for both science and poetry motivates him to combine the two at every opportunity.   

His work addresses issues of identity, love, and death. And stars. Because they’re cool. His goal through his performance is to touch minds and hearts around the world and considers it a victory every time he can do so.

Ryan and his work have been featured on Button Poetry, Poets and Writers, Nebraska Public Media, through Larksong Writers’ Place, in Omaha MagazineThe Cookout Literary Journal, and can be found on SoundCloud, Facebook, and YouTube.

When not writing, Ryan enjoys listening to music, stargazing, and being Black, mixed in with the occasional intense discussion regarding the validity of the Star Wars prequels.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

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Meghan Sterling 
Submerged in the Sublime: The Expression of Self-Hood through the Modern Sonnet

Saturday, August 26th 10:00a CST

The modern sonnet, a short, sweet, 14-ish lines of poetry, can be the perfect container for expression. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Diane Seuss writes, "The sonnet is an endlessly fluid, reimagined form. It has been hushed, lushed, fragmented, fogged, elated, flipped and freaked by everyone." While the traditional sonnet most of us learned in school is a rigid puzzle with many rules, the modern sonnet can be a brief adventure, an exploration with only a few rules--all which are made to be broken. In this generative workshop, we will dive into the beauty and intensity of the modern sonnet--looking at examples by Diane Seuss, Edna St Vincent Millay, Gerald Stern, and Lucille Clifton, to discover the ways breaking the bounds of the sonnet form can set us free.

MEGHAN STERLING'S work has been published or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Rhino Poetry, Nelle, Colorado Review, Rattle, and many others, and has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes. Her debut poetry collection, These Few Seeds (Terrapin Books), came out in 2021 and was a Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize in Poetry. Her chapbook, Self-Portrait with Ghosts of the Diaspora (Harbor Editions) her collection, Comfort the Mourners (Everybody Press) and her collection, View from a Borrowed Field, which won Lily Poetry Review’s Paul Nemser Book Prize, are forthcoming in 2023. She is program director at Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. Read her work at meghansterling.com.

After you register, you will receive an "admission ticket" with the zoom link information on it.

$35 or FREE to Members

Annual Membership $35

Nebraska Poetry Society

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The Nebraska Poetry Society is a non-profit 501c3 organization.

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