SCHEDULE DESCRIPTIONS

2002 Seminar
Writers' Workshops
January 13 - 17, 2002

Please direct any questions to:
Miles Frieden, Executive Director
1-888-293-9291 (toll free)
Email workshops@keywestliteraryseminar.org


Workshops' Schedule
Workshop/Event
Day/Days
Dates
Time
Orientation Dinner
at La Concha Hotel
Sunday January
13
7 PM
Book Signing and Reception
at La Concha Hotel
Monday January
14
7 PM
Individual consultations with Workshop Presenters.
(Each person is scheduled once in the afternoon)
Roaming in the Heart’s Field
  with Paulette Bates Alden
Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs. January
14, 15, 16, 17
10 AM to 1 PM
Geography at Home and Abroad
  with Madeleine Blais
Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs. January
14, 15, 16, 17
10 AM to 1 PM
Finding the Form in the Stone
  with Merrill Joan Gerber
Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs. January
14, 15, 16, 17
10 AM to 1 PM
Place:
Inside and Outside of the Poem

  with Rebecca Seiferle
Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs. January
14, 15, 16, 17
10 AM to 1 PM
The Writer, the Editor, the Agent and the Teacher
  with Tim Seldes and Susan Shreve
Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs. January
14, 15, 16, 17
10 AM to 1 PM
Using Imagination, Memory and Metaphor to Locate the Near and Far
  with Valerie Miner
Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs. January
14, 15, 16, 17
10 AM to 1 PM

Workshops
  Roaming in the Heart’s Field:
What Place Means to the Writer and the Writing
with Paulette Bates Alden
Email: info@paulettealden.com
Web Site: www.paulettealden.com
Paulette Bates Alden
Paulette Bates Alden


In her essay “Place in Fiction,” Eudora Welty says that “being shown how to locate, to place, any account is what does most toward making us believe it... Feelings are bound up in place.... Location is the crossroads of circumstance, the proving ground of ‘What happened? Who’s here? Who’s coming?’ - and that is the heart’s field.”

In this workshop we will explore the heart’s field of place through discussion of what such concepts as region, land, and “home” mean to us as people and writers; we’ll study examples of writing which evoke place very strongly, analyzing what goes into such writing and how and why it affects us; and we’ll do writing exercises designed to mine the meaning and feelings associated with our own places, generating in the process ideas, stories, and memoirs. There will be opportunities for reading aloud or manuscript critiquing by the group. This workshop is appropriate for fiction and memoir writers whose work is grounded in place.

Paulette Bates Alden is a displaced Southerner (Greenville, S.C.) living in Minneapolis. As one reviewer said about her collection of short stories, "Feeding the Eagles", “Miriam [the main character in interrelated autobiographical stories] is an expatriate Southerner...about as far, spiritually at least, from the South of her childhood as she can be. Despite the distance and maturity, though, she keeps returning to the people and places which, like the sound of katydids on a sticky night, whine in her memory” (David Dawson, The New York Times Book Review). Her memoir, "Crossing the Moon", also explores the influence of place: “It still surprises me that I’ve ended up here, in the Midwest, the middle, but maybe it’s fitting somehow, halfway between the two great poles of my life, my South Carolina girlhood of white gloves and panty girdles, and my California twenties of free love and consciousness-raising.”

Biography:
Alden graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studied with Max Steele and Louis Rubin, Jr., and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where she studied with Wallace Stegner and Tillie Olsen and where she taught for three years as a Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing. The recipient of numerous awards, including a Bush Foundation Fellowship, a Loft-McKnight Award, and two Minnesota State Arts Board grants, she has taught extensively, at the University of Minnesota, where she received a distinguished teaching award, at Carleton College, at St. Olaf College and at the Split Rock Arts Program in Duluth.

This will be Paulette's third Seminar workshop. When things aren’t whining in her memory too much, she critiques manuscripts and provides individual consultation for writers via her web site: www.paulettealden.com.

What students say about Paulette Bates Alden:
"Paulette is an excellent instructor - well-organized, welcoming, extremely competent, humorous, gentle, manages her classroom exquisitely. She generously opened her personal library to us. She's very encouraging - both by praising our efforts and taking us seriously enough to challenge us to perform more complete work. Not only was it important to her that we receive the assistance we needed for this class, but that we see ourselves as writers in that we put our immediate work into a larger context."

"Best writing workshop/course I ever attended and believe me, I've seen a few!"

"Excellent knowledge of subject area; excellent control of group; great empathy for difficult disclosures; honest feedback - astute; excellent helpful hand-outs; I feel like I'm getting help from a master writer."

"Paulette is a wonderful teacher - patient, informative, clear, articulate and helpful. She does a nice job of balancing didactic information, stimulating discussion and giving constructive feedback. She creates an atmosphere where others feel their thoughts and opinions are heard and respected."

"Paulette has been a wonderful resource and offered valuable insight and criticism which has served to deepen and significantly improve my writing. She has a gift for helping a writer identify what it is they truly want to say in a work, and helping them recognize when they are (or are not) giving voice to that message."

  Geography at Home and Abroad
with Madeleine Blais
Madeleine Blais
Madeleine Blais


This workshop is dedicated to the notion that "nothing happens nowhere" and unless a writer always takes particular pains with setting up latitude and longitude, the reader will be ill served and start to feel cranky, as if suffering from a kind of jet lag. Place can be a character, it can be an agent of change, it can shape destiny and undermine it. The abiding need to tether the reader in time and place is an equally cogent consideration whether the writer is working in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Participants are encouraged to read the work of the presenters at the seminar in order to have as much as possible a shared vocabulary of various models of this kind of approach. In this workshop we will engage in some writing exercises designed to result in writing that both saturated in and haunted by geography.

Biography:
Madeleine Blais won a Pulitzer Prize as a feature writer for TROPIC Magazine of the Miami Herald before joining the journalism department at the University of Massachusetts. She is the author of "THE HEART IS AN INSTRUMENT: Portraits in Journalism," "IN THESE GIRLS, HOPE IS A MUSCLE," and "UPHILL WALKERS: MEMOIR OF A FAMILY", about which Anita Shreve said, "I can't remember having read a memoir inwhich I've trusted the writer as much, or been as charmed." She first came to Key West in 1979 on a newspaper assignment to interview Tennessee Williams, and taken as she was by the pink cabs, buckling sidewalks, night-blooming jasmine, and the promise of the best fish sandwich in the world at every other restaurant, she has returned as often as possible in the intervening years. This is her second Seminar workshop.

  Finding the Form in the Stone
Discovering The Shape Of Our Stories
And Memoirs In Place And Time

(with special emphasis on autobiographical fiction and memoir)
with Merrill Joan Gerber
Email: (mjgerber@cco.caltech.edu)
Web Site: www.cco.caltech.edu/~mjgerber
Merrill Joan Gerber
Merrill Joan Gerber
Photo by Lesley Dahl


Michelangelo believed that a block of marble already contained the figure within but not until he saw it clearly could he begin to chisel away the extraneous material. In a sonnet he wrote: "The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has…"

In our workshop we'll explore the general mass of emotion and action we're trying to bring into focus in our work, discover whether an idea is ready to bring forth or needs more time and distance till we can discover the shape of it. We'll look at the "hot spots" in our minds, events we come back to thinking about often, places that burn their images into us, characters (friends, lovers, relatives, enemies) whose behaviors we are trying to understand. We'll consider the fine line between fiction and memoir, and which form is best to express our vision. Sometimes our perceptions are heightened tremendously during periods of travel, so we'll also explore travel memoirs and fiction set in foreign places. (We'll read some of the best examples of these.)

We'll talk about how we use autobiography in fiction. Flannery O'Connor said that anyone who has lived to the age of five has enough to write about for the rest of her life. Philip Roth, similarly, supports this view: "For me, as for most novelists, every genuine imaginative event begins down there, with the facts, with the specific, and not with the philosophical, the ideological or the abstract." The places where we grew up, the places we have visited, the places we imagine and all that has occurred, and could occur (and will occur in them by our invention) will be our subjects.

Please bring a story or section of a novel to share and work on during theworkshop.

Biography:
MERRILL JOAN GERBER's prize-winning novel, THE KINGDOM OF BROOKLYN, is drawn from her childhood memories of growing up in Brooklyn. It was awarded the Ribalow Prize from Hadassah Magazine for "the best English-language book of fiction on a Jewish theme". Her new novel, ANNA IN THE AFTERLIFE explores the landscape in which her character has special insights into her own history during the four days between her death and burial. She has published five volumes of short stories : ANNA IN CHAINS, THIS OLD HEART OF MINE, CHATTERING MAN, HONEYMOON, STOP HERE MY FRIEND and five novels-- among them KING OF THE WORLD, winner of the Pushcart Editor's Book Award. Her non- fiction memoir, OLD MOTHER, LITTLE CAT: A WRITER'S REFLECTIONS ON HER KITTEN, HER AGED MOTHER...AND LIFE was based on her mother's seven year stay in a nursing home. She has recently finished a travel memoir called BOTTICELLI BLUE SKIES: AN AMERICAN IN FLORENCE. Her short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Mademoiselle, Redbook and many other magazines, as well as in literary journals such as The Sewanee Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, The Chattahoochee Review and The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Southwest Review, and Salmagundi. Her story, "I Don't Believe This," won an O. Henry Prize award in l986 and a more recent story, : "This Is A Voice From Your Past" was included in The Best American Mystery Stories 1998 (though she never writes "mysteries.") She has published essays and memoirs in Commentary, The Sewanee Review, and The Writer. She earned her MA in English from Brandeis University and was awarded a Wallace Stegner Fiction Fellowship to Stanford University. She presently teaches fiction writing at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

Merrill Joan Gerber invites you to visit her website at www.cco.caltech.edu/~mjgerber Or contact her by e-mail at mjgerber@cco.caltech.edu

  Place:
Inside and Outside of the Poem
with Rebecca Seiferle*
Rebecca Seiferle
Rebecca Seiferle

We will spend much of our time together in in-depth discussions of some of the poems that you submitted with your application. You will have the opportunity to read each other's poems in advance and to write thoughtful, constructive comments on them prior to each workshop session. We will explore the role that Place might have in your writing, but not to the exclusion of other factors that help to make a successful poem. Participants should be prepared to write new poems during the time that they are in Key West and to offer these up at workshop sessions as well. Applicants should submit, in advance, 5 poems that they would like to have critiqued--poems that you may be having trouble with and which are not quite ready for publication. Not all of these need focus on Place.

Biography:
Rebecca Seiferle is the author of three poetry collections. Her first book, The Ripped-Out Seam, which included two full-length manuscripts– The Ripped-Out Seam and Volte–won the Bogin Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Writers’ Exchange Award, the International Writers’ Union Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the 1993 Paterson Poetry Prize. Her latest poetry collection, Bitters, was just published by Copper Canyon in October, 2001.

Poems from her second collection, The Music We Dance To won the Hemley Award from the Poetry Society of America and were included in The Best American Poetry 2000 and The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women. Her work has also been anthologized in Saludos: Poems de Nuevo Mexico and New Mexico Poetry Renaissance and appeared in many magazines and journals.

Seiferle’s translation of Vallejo’s The Black Heralds has been accepted by Copper Canyon Press and her previous translation of Vallejo’s Trilce was the only finalist for the 1992 PenWest Translation Award. Her translations are also forthcoming in Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry in early 2002.

Seiferle has also published essays on translation in Translation Review, poetry reviews in Calyx, Harvard Review, and the Marlboro Review, and creative non-fiction in The Sun and Global City Review. Seiferle is Founding Editor and Publisher of www.thedrunkenboat.com, an online magazine of international poetry and translation. Her essay on internet publication is forthcoming in WithoutCovers from Purdue University in 2002.

Seiferle has a MFA from Warren Wilson College. She has taught creative writing at San Juan College and at various residencies in the New Mexico Arts Program for over a decade. She has taught at the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, Gemini Ink’s Summer Festival, and been a visiting poet at a graduate workshop at Sarah Lawrence College. After growing up in a multitude of locales–by the time she graduated from high school, she had attended over twenty different schools across the country, Seiferle found the landscape and culture of New Mexico a defining reality for her poetry. She lived with her husband and children for twelve years on 9.5 acres in the high desert, hauling water, generating their own electricity, raising Alpine dairy goats, and writing the first poems that she was willing to keep. She now lives in Farmington, New Mexico with her husband and three children.

Web Site: www.thedrunkenboat.com

* This workshop was previously scheduled to be lead by Judith Minty. Ms. Minty regrets she will not be able to attend.

  The Writer, the Editor, the Agent and the Teacher
with Tim Seldes and Susan Shreve
Susan Shreve
Susan Shreve


Timothy Seldes
Timothy Seldes


Susan Shreve and Tim Seldes have each given very successful workshops at the Seminar. This year they have agreed to teach a workshop together. Tim was Susan's agent; Tim is now Susan's husband. They know the business inside out. And even more amazing, they like working together.

We will focus on workshop submissions and discuss with writers the various ways of looking at manuscripts from the point of view of a teacher, an agent, and an editor. In the process we will also explore the ways in which writers, editors and agents interact and provide practical suggestions for manuscript improvement and placement. We do not anticipate doing in class exercises. This workshop is intended for advanced writers only, though previous publication is not a prerequisite. Applicants MUST submit 10 pages of a work in progress.

Biography:
Timothy Seldes has spent most of his professional life in book publishing; beginning with 17 years at Doubleday where he was the Managing Editor of the Trade Department. He also worked at Harcourt Brace, the New American Library and Macmillan. Outside of book publishing, he was Assistant Publisher of The New York Post and the Public Information Officer of The Welfare Island Development Corp. He was Chairman of the Board of Poets & Writers for many years. Since 1972, he has been the President of Russell & Volkening, Inc., a literary agent which represents such authors as Annie Dillard, Marian Wright Edelman, Nadine Gordimer, Jim Lehrer, George Plimpton, Howell Raines, Dan Schorr, Ntozake Shange, Anne Tyler and Eudora Welty.

He is married to the author Susan R. Shreve (who was with the Seminar in 1999 for the American Novel, as a moderator and workshop leader) and divides his time between Washington, D.C. and New York City.

Biography:
Susan Shreve was the founder of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at George Mason University and served as its director for three years. She has been a Professor of English Literature at George Mason for twenty-two years.She has been a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Princeton, Columbia, Bennington and George Washington University, as well as a Bread Loaf Writing Fellow and Staff. In addition to her works of fiction, Susan has written twenty-three books for children published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and William Morrow, among others. From 1985-1995 she wrote and delivered short documentary essays for the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour. Her novel "Daughters of the New World" was seen as a four part mini-series produced by Warner Brothers in the Fall of 1998. "A Country of Strangers" has been optioned for film and "The Visiting Physician" is in development as a new series for NBC.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • A Fortunate Madness, Houghton Mifflin, 1974
  • A Woman Like That, Atheneum, 1977
  • Children of Power, Macmillan, 1979
  • Miracle Play, William Morrow and Co., 1981
  • Dreaming of Heroes, William Morrow and Co., 1984
  • Queen of Hearts, Simon and Schuster, 1987
  • A Country of Strangers, Simon and Schuster, 1989
  • Daughters of the New World, Doubleday, 1992
  • The Train Home, Doubleday, 1993
  • Editor with Marita Golden of an anthology of essays and stories, Skip Deep: Women and Race, Doubleday, 1995
  • The Visiting Physician, Doubleday, 1996
  • Editor with Porter Shreve of an anthology of original essays on justice, Outside the Law: Narratives on Justice, Beacon Press, 1997
  • The first of a series of books, including How We Want to Live: Narratives on Progress, 1998.

  Using Imagination, Memory and Metaphor to Locate the Near and Far
with Valerie Miner
Web Site: http://english.cla.umn.edu/faculty/Miner/miner.htm
Valerie Miner
Valerie Miner


“Those dark Arkansas roads, that is the sound I am after.”
Miles Davis

“Spirit of Place”: Such writing calls upon an imaginative interpretation of geographical locale, social context and historical moment. “Place” is a verb as well as a noun. In this workshop we will “take place.” We’ll be dealing with dialect, music, the angle of the sun, moisture in the air, cultural tradition, whispers of the spirits. Setting is action and being and states of being. Artistic prose is just as musical as poetry and we will be attending to the rhythm of one word breathing against another. We will listen as we write.

In our workshop we will be doing exercises, critiquing manuscripts, discussing published literature and engaging in individual consultations. We will focus on finding our own voices and styles while developing craft skills that will carry those voices into a larger world. The workshop welcomes people interested writing narrative non-fiction, short stories or novels. We will concentrate on generating fresh work which will enhance ongoing projects or which will provoke participants toward new ground.

I don’t know whether I am first a writer or a traveler, but I became interested in exploring and storytelling early in my childhood. In the kitchen, I listened to my mother’s memories of her native Edinburgh, window-shopping along Princes Street, errands to the corner shop to buy chipped fruit and The News of the World. Out in our back garden, I sat on the lawn while my seaman father tied up his beefsteak tomatoes, drank iced tea and described the brilliant fabrics he had seen in Argentina and the tasty seaweed he had eaten in Japan. During the many months he was on the ocean, I awaited his return, eager for more stories and especially eager for the new doll he would bring dressed in a local fashion. Those dolls from Korea and Japan and Holland and Jamaica and the Dominican Republic now sit together on my bookcase. Just as I always knew each one had a distinct personality, I knew this personality was related to her place of origin.

As an adult I lived abroad for ten years in England, Australia, India, Canada and other countries and traveled widely in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Now I faced ethical and moral and spiritual questions about the differences between visiting and trespassing, describing and appropriating. Such travelling made coming “home” that much more fascinating because I now knew other places (settings) to which I compared familiar food and voices and climate. Home became something smaller and larger and far more complicated than the place I left. And I was never able to think about home again without seeing it on a map—in context. Home wasn’t the center of the world any more, but it was finally in the world.

I want to bring carry some of these questions into the workshop as we describe the near and the far. We’ll explore what “home” brings to our artistic rendition of traveling and how our outside journeys have enlarged our comprehension of the place(s) we call home.

Biography:
Valerie Miner is an award-winning writer of ten books. Her six novels include RANGE OF LIGHT, A WALKING FIRE and WINTER’S EDGE. Her two story collections are TRESPASSING and MOVEMENT. She has also published RUMORS FROM THE CAULDRON: SELECTED ESSAYS, REVIEWS AND REPORTAGE. Her new book, THE LOW ROAD: A SCOTTISH FAMILY MEMOIR appears in September, 2001.

Valerie Miner has contributed work to Salmagundi, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, TheVillage Voice, New Letters, Gettysburg Review, The Women’s Review of Books, The Nation, The T.L.S. and many other journals. Her stories and essays are published in over fifty books and anthologies.

She has won fellowships and awards from The Rockefeller Foundation the N.E.A., The Jerome Foundation, The Heinz Foundation, The Australia Council Literary Arts Board and the Fulbright Commission and many other sources.

Valerie Miner won the 1999 University College Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Minnesota where she is a Professor of English and Creative Writing. She taught at U.C. Berkeley for 11 years. She has also been on the senior faculty at Bread Loaf, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, Writers at Work, the Aspen Writers Conference, The Port Townsend Writers Conference and many other workshops. She travels internationally giving readings lectures and workshops. You are invited to visit Valerie Miner’s web page.

What Writers Say about Valerie Miner:

“Miner is a writer of reach, audacity, range, uniquely important to understanding our time….A poet of the city, the everyday urban life, she gives us its beat, its struggling human beings, its worklife, its politics, its interrelationships….A USA seldom portrayed.”

Tillie Olsen


“RANGE OF LIGHT is Valerie Miner’s most skillful novel yet. Her exploration of the dynamics between two friends is subtle, profoundly moving, and true. Miner’s stunning descriptions of these mountains map a mysterious upland world.”

Lisa Alther


“Here’s a good big story of Cora’s journey home across a continent and twenty years. Valerie Miner’s gift is to make us see tha the issues we often think of as political are really deeply personal. This is the mission of our best fiction. A WALKING FIRE is a worthy pilgrimage and a welcome book.”

Ron Carlson


“Ms. Miner is a brilliantly and authentically important novelist, one of a handful of American novelists with guts.”

Ishmael Reed


“THE LOW ROAD is a richly imagined family history; beautifully written, deeply felt.”

Vivian Gornick



What Students Say About Valerie Miner:

“I have really enjoyed this class. It’s been helpful and meaningful on so many levels—improving my craft, exploring my identity as a writer, sharing thoughts in a safe place. I think she did a marvelous job of facilitating this class and allowing everyone’s voices to be heard. I greatly appreciate her organizational skills and the time and care she obviously put into the class. A great experience.”
“Her support, encouragement, and also careful consideration of practical and realistic goals have tempered my tendency to make unrealistic demands on my own work while pushing me to produce the best writing I’m capable of.”
“Valerie is tremendously supportive of student work and student professional development—a rare and valuable combination.”
“She keeps discussions structured and to the point, is highly knowledgeable about her material and best of all, manages to instill some of her own real enthusiasm to students. She’s wonderful.”
“The work I produced in Valerie’s seminar was amongst my best, because she inspired me to stretch my capacity as a writer and a critical thinker.”


January 10-13, 2002 Seminar
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