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Class Catalog

Browse Fall & Winter Writing Classes!

Hugo House: Your best source for online writing classes in Seattle and around the world.

For more information on the schedule,  the various formats of our writing classes, and cancellation policies, check out our About page. Information about Scholarships can be found on its own new page. Or, go meet our talented instructors.

For help finding writing classes, or if you’ve registered for an online class but haven’t received a Zoom link, contact our registrar or call us at 206.322.7030.

All classes are in Pacific Time. All classes will take place on Zoom or our asynchronous learning platform, Wet Ink, through Winter quarter 2021.

If you would like to receive our quarterly catalogs in the mail, please contact us.


Winter Registration Dates

All registrations open at 10:30 am

$500+ Donor Registration (by phone only): November 20
Member Registration: December 1
General Registration: December 8


Early Bird Pricing November 30 through December 14:

  • $10 off classes that are one to three sessions
  • $20 off classes that are four to eight sessions
  • $30 off classes that are ten sessions or more

Early bird pricing will automatically apply at checkout. 

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Writing Toward & Against Identity

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken,” goes the famous quote quite ironically misattributed to Oscar Wilde—but the point still stands! In this multi-genre class, we will explore various practices in service of piecing together and presenting ourselves for the…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Porochista Khakpour

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Start Date: 12/05/2020 – 10:00 am

Porochista Khakpour

Porochista Khakpour was born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area. She has been awarded fellowships from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, Northwestern University, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Ucross Foundation, Djerassi, and Yaddo. Her work has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes. She is most recently the recipient of a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing (Prose).

Her debut novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects (Grove/Atlantic, 2007) was a New York Times “Editor’s Choice,” Chicago Tribune “Fall’s Best,” and 2007 California Book Award winner. It also made the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing shortlist, the Dylan Thomas Prize long list, the Believer Book Award longlist, and many others. Her second novel, The Last Illusion (Bloomsbury, 2014) was a Kirkus Best Book of 2014, a Buzzfeed Best Fiction Book of 2014, an NPR Best Book of 2014, one of Buzzfeed’s 28 Best Books By Women in 2014, an Electric Literature Best Book of 2014, a Volume1 Brooklyn Favorite Book of 2014, a PopMatters Best Book of 2014, one of Refinery29’s 2015 Books to Read in 2015, and one of Largehearted Boy’s 11 Favorite Novels of 2014. It was also one of Flavorwire’s 15 “Most Anticipated Books of 2014”, io9.com’s “Mind-Blowing Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Watch Out For in 2015”, The Millions “Most Anticipated” in their “The Great 2014 Book Preview”, Flavorwire’s “50 Excellent Fabulist Novels Everyone Should Read,”, and the Huffington Post’s “30 Books You NEED to Read in 2014.”

Her other writing (essays, features, reviews, cover stories, and columns) have appeared in or are forthcoming in Harper’s, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other magazines and newspapers around the world.

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Writing Diverse Characters

All Levels | What does it take to develop round and dynamic characters? Our discussion will focus on identity markers and how they influence the arts of fiction, inclusive of setting, plot, and conflict. In addition, this workshop will explore…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: DaMaris B. Hill

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Start Date: 01/31/2021 – 1:10 pm
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DaMaris B. Hill

DaMaris B. Hill, Ph.D, is the author of A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing (Bloomsbury, 2019), a searing and powerful narrative-in-verse that bears witness to American women of color burdened by incarceration. It was an Amazon #1 Best Seller in African American Poetry, and a Publishers
Weekly Top 10 History Title for the season. A scholar as well as writer, her other books are The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim
Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), and the chapbook, \Vi-zə-bəl\ \Teks-chərs\(Visible Textures),
(Mammoth Publications, 2015). Her work has appeared in African American Review, ESPNw, Sou’Wester, Sleet Magazine, American Studies Journal,
Meridians, Shadowbox, Tidal Basin Review, Reverie, Tongues of the Ocean, Women in Judaism and numerous anthologies.

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Ways to Think About Storytelling Structure

Storytelling structure is often thought of in architectural metaphors: think Freytag’s Pyramid, or even Alice Munro’s house (“A story is not like a road to follow… it’s more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while,…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Lauren Groff

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Start Date: 02/05/2021 – 1:10 pm
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Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff is the author of the novel The Monsters of Templeton, shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers, Delicate Edible Birds, a collection of stories, and Arcadia, a New York Times Notable Book, winner of the Medici Book Club Prize, and finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award.

Her third novel, Fates and Furies, was a finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kirkus Award. It won the 2015 American Booksellers’ Association Indies’ Choice Award for Fiction, was a New York Times Notable book and Bestseller, Amazon.com’s #1 book of 2015, and on over two dozen best-of 2015 lists. It also received the 2016 American Bookseller Association’s Indies’ Choice Award for Adult Fiction and, in France, the Madame Figaro Grand Prix de l’Héroïne. Rights have been sold in thirty countries.

Her work has appeared in journals including the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Tin House, One Story, and Ploughshares, and in the anthologies 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and five editions of the Best American Short Stories.

In 2017, she was named by Granta Magazine as one of the Best of Young American Novelists of her generation.

She lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband, two sons, and dog.

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The Image as Fuel for Writing (And Living)

All Levels | In this workshop, we’ll explore the art and craft of image-making. We’ll explore how developing a friendly relationship to image can help bring clarity and depth to our writing, as well as our everyday lives. We’ll begin…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Carrie Fountain

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Start Date: 02/06/2021 – 10:00 am
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Carrie Fountain

Born and raised in Mesilla, New Mexico, where her family’s multicultural history is deeply rooted, poet and novelist Carrie Fountain is the author of three books of poetry: The Life (Penguin, 2021), Instant Winner (Penguin, 2014), and Burn Lake (Penguin, 2010), winner of the 2009 National Poetry Series Award; selected by Natasha Trethewey, she also awarded the book this praise: “With grace and a keen attention to the implications of history, the poems in Burn Lake grapple with what it means to be tied to a place, knowing that our own losses are not only what is taken from us, but also what we take from others. ‘A road is the crudest faith in things to come,’ Fountain writes, suggesting the palpable longing that winds through these poems.” Fountain’s YA novel I’m Not Missing (2018, Flatiron Books)—which explores issues of abandonment, first love, splintering friendship, and forging ones’ own identity—is hailed as “utterly captivating, suspenseful, character-rich gift of a book” by Naomi Shihab Nye, and was a Bustle Best YA Book of July 2018. Her first children’s book, The Poem Forest (Candlewick Press, 2020) tells the story of American poet W.S. Merwin and the palm forest he grew from scratch on the island of Maui. She is currently adapting I’m Not Missing for the screen, working on a second YA novel, and finishing a third book of poems.

She is the 2019 Texas State Poet Laureate.

Fountain’s poems often use narrative to explore the tug of the unseen on the visible fabric of our days. In the wise, accessible, deeply emotional poems of Instant Winner, she captures a contemporary longing for spiritual meaning that’s wary of prepackaged wisdom, while in the poems of Burn Lake, she explore issues of progress, history, violence, sexuality, and the self. “Writing poetry has always been, quite simply, about trying to make sense of the experience of being in the world,” she said in an interview on Austin’s NPR station; then speaking about being a woman writer and mother of two, she continued, “I believe it’s a really daring political act to write about our bodies and our experiences with children.”

About her family history, Fountain has said, “My grandfather’s side of our family has been in southern New Mexico since before it became part of the United States in the Gadsden Purchase. My grandmother on my father’s side was born in Mexico and came to the U.S. to escape the Mexican Revolution. My mother is Scottish and German and was raised in New York City. She met my father in the Haight in San Francisco during his one year living away from Mesilla, in 1969. After my father was called home to take over the bar, my mother told him to come get her and marry her. So he drove his VW bug back to California and picked her up and drove her back to Mesilla. My mother had lived in Queens and San Francisco. Anyone who’s driven I-10 from, say, Tucson to Las Cruces, can imagine what a shock she was in for. Mesilla didn’t have paved roads until I was eight years old. We lived in an adobe house with a pot-bellied stove for heat. As a kid, I spent nearly every hour I wasn’t in school outside. We’d fish for crawdads in the ditches that brought water from the Rio Grande to the crops and orchards of Mesilla. We were wild, roamed free, came home at sundown covered in dust.”

Her honors include the Marlboro Poetry Prize, Austin Library Foundation’s Award for Literary Excellence, a residency with the Frank Waters Foundation, and Swink magazine’s Award for Emerging Writers. She was inducted in 2019 into the Texas Institute of Letters. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, Poetry, and The New Yorker, among many others.

She is the host of KUT’s This Is Just to Say, a radio show and podcast where she has intimate conversations on the writing life with other poets and writers, including such luminaries as Mahogany L. Browne, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Carmen Giménez Smith, Ellen Bass, Marie Howe, Erika Meitner, Naomi Shihab Nye, Roger Reeves, Maggie Smith, Sarah Ruhl, Ada Limón, and Jericho Brown.

Fountain teaches creative writing workshops across the country, and for a number of years has served as writer-in-residence at St. Edward’s University, where she mentors student writers and advises graduates interested in pursuing a career in writing. She earned a BA at New Mexico State University and an MFA at the James A. Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.

She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, playwright and novelist Kirk Lynn, and their two children.

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Gaining Good Ground

All Levels | What is the role of place in poetry? How do poems invite us to attend? In this class, we’ll explore how poems help connect us to the places we live and call home, allowing us to more…

Course Type: 2 Sessions  |   Instructor: Tess Taylor

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Start Date: 02/06/2021 – 1:10 pm
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Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor is a poet and the poetry critic for NPR’s All Things Considered and a columnist for CNN. Her most recent book is Rift Zone (Red Hen Press, 2020), which the Los Angeles Times called “brilliant.” In his
introduction to the collection, Ilya Kaminsky describes Taylor’s voice as “invaluable” and she is a “poet for our moment.” Her other books include Work & Days (Red
Hen Press, 2016), named one of the best poetry books of 2016 by The New York Times; The Forage House (Red Hen Press, 2013), a finalist
for the Believer Poetry Award which The San Francisco Chronicle called “stunning,” and the chapbook The
Misremembered World, which was selected by Eavan Boland for the Poetry
Society of America’s inaugural chapbook fellowship. In February 2020, Last West, an exciting book length commission from the Museum of
Modern Art, was published in conjunction with the MOMA show, Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures. ” Her work explores California and the
American West, her life as a critic, and the intersection of poetry and journalism.

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Backstory: Moving Forward, Looking Back

All Levels | Backstories help to create the contextual world of your story. They tell us what’s driving your protagonist to take action, and why. Knowing your characters’ individual, complex pasts will help you avoid writing stereotypes. In this workshop,…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Natashia Deón

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Start Date: 02/06/2021 – 10:00 am
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Natashia Deón

Natashia Deón is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel, Grace (Counterpoint Press)—which was awarded the 2017 First Novel Prize by the American Library Association’s Black Caucus (BCALA). The novel was named a Kirkus Review Best Book of 2016, a New York Times Top Book 2016, a Book Riot Favorite Book of 2016, The Root Best Book of 2016, and Entropy Magazine Best Book of 2016. Author Caroline Leavitt describes Grace as “exploring a teeming, post-Civil War world where the emancipation of slaves can be anything but freedom.”, and the Kirkus starred review praised it thus: “[T]his is a brave story, necessary and poignant; it is a story that demands to be heard. This is the violent, terrifying world of the antebellum South, where African-American women were prey and their babies sold like livestock. This is the story of mothers and daughters—of violence, absence, love, and legacies.” In the novel, Naomi, the narrator — the specter of a dead slave — watches over her child as she grows amid the turmoil surrounding the Civil War. At one point, Naomi’s ghostly presence is felt in the land of the living, where a character says to the wraith, “There’s no justice. Only grace.” (LA Times).

A UCLA creative writing professor, mother of two, Deón is creator of two popular L.A.-based reading series: Dirty Laundry Lit, a non-profit that focuses on introducing people to literature, and The Table. In 2017, she was a US Delegate to Armenia as part of the U.S. Embassy’s reconciliation project between Turkey and Armenia, in partnership with the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program.

A practicing attorney and law professor, Deón speaks to and for an abolition of the prison industrial complex—what she terms warehouses of people—through the reduction of prisons and penalties for crime. She is for rehabilitation — “real rehabilitation” — especially for those serving life sentences or have been sentenced to death. Her primary focus is drug offense sentencing reduction and rights restoration. Deón says, “My work is not primarily legislative or policy driven. My function as a lawyer is boots on the ground.” She birthed a 501c3 non-profit called REDEEMED the focus of which is to create a hub of services and relief for those who have been incarcerated or have been convicted of crimes.

In 2018, Deón created the Drunk Girls Bible Study podcast, promoted as “A real talk Christian podcast about the Word. (And we’ll try not to say bad words).”

Deón is the recipient of a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship, and has been awarded fellowships and residencies at Yale, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Prague’s Creative Writing Program, Dickinson House in Belgium, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside-Palm Desert. Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, Buzzfeed, LA Review of Books, The Rumpus, The Feminist Wire, Asian American Lit Review, Rattling Wall and other places.

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Poems of Affirmation and Praise

All Levels | How do we, in times of loss, praise what’s left? In this workshop, we’ll explore poems that do just that: affirm humanity in the face of challenge and darkness. We’ll learn how these poems tick and talk…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Danusha Laméris

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Start Date: 02/07/2021 – 1:10 pm
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Danusha Laméris

Danusha Laméris’ first book, The Moons of August (Autumn House, 2014), was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press poetry prize. Some of her poems have been published in The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, and Tin House. She’s the author of Bonfire Opera, (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series, 2020), and the recipient of the 2020 Lucille Clifton Legacy Award. Danusha teaches poetry independently, and was the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California.

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Unpacking the Prose Poem

All Levels | A favorite of the French symbolists and contemporary poets alike, the prose poem is an enigmatic, hybrid creature that wields the techniques of poetry but foregoes its line breaks. The poet James Tate went as far as…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Maya C. Popa

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Start Date: 02/21/2021 – 1:10 pm
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Maya C. Popa

Maya C. Popa is a Romanian-American poet and author of American Faith (Sarabande, 2019), which was a recipient of the North American Book Prize and a runner-up in the Kathryn A. Morton Prize judged by Ocean Vuong. She is also the author of two chapbooks, both from the Diagram Chapbook Series: You Always Wished the Animals Would Leave and The Bees Have Been Canceled, which was a PBS Summer Choice.

About American Faith, Deborah Landau says, “Maya Popa’s clear-eyed lyrics register with steady power a spectrum of 21st century violences. In poems that take on the devastating pressure of climate change, gun violence, and our threatened democracy, Popa uses her gift to grieve and in grieving forge song. Revelatory yet emphatically unsentimental, Popa’s unflinching distillations illuminate the facets of our broken world; there is much wisdom here, and grace, and heart.” And of her poetry Publishers Weekly reflects, “Child of immigrants, teacher, woman in a vulnerable body, the speakers of Popa’s poems seek to set the record straight, knowing how little anyone listens—to poetry, of course, but to other people in general. Popa’s questing and questioning lyric poems are kind company amid the uncertainty of the modern world.”

A selection of poems from her manuscript in progress received 2nd place in The Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize judged by John Burnside and Gillian Clarke, and she was recently Highly Commended in the Bridport Prize.

Popa is the recipient of awards from the Poetry Foundation, the Oxford Poetry Society, the Hippocrates Society in London, and the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland, among others. She is the Poetry Reviews Editor at Publishers Weekly and teaches poetry at NYU. She is director of creative writing at the Nightingale-Bamford school where she oversees visiting writers, workshops, and readings.

She holds degrees from Oxford University, NYU, and Barnard College and is currently pursuing her PhD on the role of wonder in poetry at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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The Ars Poetica and the Development of a Personal Vision

Intermediate | At some point, we have all written the poem on writing poems. Sometimes such poems are written simply to explore or expose our own processes, or to vent our frustrations over the challenges of writing. Writing the ars…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Vievee Francis

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Start Date: 02/28/2021 – 1:10 pm
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Vievee Francis

Vievee Francis is the author of three books of poetry: Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press, 2006), Horse in the Dark (winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Poetry Prize for a second collection, Northwestern University Press, 2016) and Forest Primeval (winner of the Hurston Wright Legacy Award and the 2017 Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award). Her work has appeared in numerous print and online journals, textbooks, and anthologies, including Poetry, Best American Poetry 2010, 2014, 2017, 2019, and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry. She has been a participant in the Cave Canem Workshops, a Poet-in-Residence for the Alice Lloyd Scholars Program at the University of Michigan, and teaches poetry writing in the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop (USA, UK, and Barbados). In 2009 she received a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, and in 2010, a Kresge Fellowship. She serves as an associate editor of Callaloo and an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.

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Meditative Expectancy: Poetry as Daily Practice

Intermediate | How do we change when we write every day? How do we train the mind to make associations more quickly, to render our subjectivity into language with greater ease and fluidity? In this class, we will come together…

Course Type: 4 Sessions  |   Instructor: Mark Wunderlich

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Start Date: 03/02/2021 – 1:10 pm
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Mark Wunderlich

Mark Wunderlich's most recent book, God of Nothingness will be published by Graywolf Press in 2021. His other books include The Earth Avails, which received the Rilke Prize, Voluntary Servitude, and The Anchorage which received the Lambda Literary Award. He has published poems in the Paris Review, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, and his work has been widely anthologized. He has received fellowships from the NEA, the Amy Lowell Trust, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Wallace Stegner Fellowship Program and the Fine Arts Work Center, and elsewhere. He is the director of the Bennington Writing Seminars graduate writing program and has served on the Bennington College literature faculty since 2003. He lives in New York's Hudson Valley near the village of Catskill. More information can be found at www.markwunderlich.com.

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Naked Poetry: Finding the Courage to See Ourselves

All Levels | This exploratory, generative poetry workshop is designed to highlight the severe and beautiful truths of our lives and where in language we strike our greatest freedom. Based in the belief that poems that are pure, honest, and…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Major Jackson

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Start Date: 03/06/2021 – 10:00 am
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Major Jackson

Major Jackson is the author of five books of poetry, including The Absurd Man (2020), Roll Deep (2015), Holding Company (2010), Hoops (2006), and Leaving Saturn (2002), which won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for a first book of poems. His edited volumes include: Best American Poetry 2019, Renga for Obama, and Library of America’s Countee Cullen: Collected Poems. A recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Major Jackson has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress.

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Writing the Duplex

In this 90-minute class, Jericho Brown will lead students through an exercise for writing a duplex poem — a form he invented that blends the ghazal, the sonnet, and the blues. Each student should bring 14 disparate lines of 9–11…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Jericho Brown

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Start Date: 03/07/2021 – 1:00 pm
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Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown is the recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Arts. His first book, Please (New Issues, 2008), won the American Book Award, and his second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon, 2014), was named one of the best poetry books of the year by Library Journal. His poems have appeared in The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The Best American Poetry.

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The Architecture of Story

All Levels | Story structure is a taboo subject in a discussion of literary fiction, and yet is all too often our greatest stumbling block. Ever started what you hoped would be a long project only to get stuck on…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Sunil Yapa

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Start Date: 03/14/2021 – 1:10 pm
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Sunil Yapa

Sunil Yapa
Sunil Yapa is the author of Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist (Lee Boudreaux Books, 2016), a finalist for the 2017 PEN/Faulkner award, and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. It was also named one of the best books of 2016 by Amazon, Time Magazine, The Washington Post, Bustle, and others.

Yapa’s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in American Short Fiction, Guernica, O Magazine, Poets & Writers, The Margins, Hyphen, Slice, LitHub and others. He is the recipient of the 2010 Asian American Short Story Award, sponsored by Hyphen Magazine and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in New York, and has received scholarships to The New York State Summer Writers’ Institute, The Norman Mailer Writers’ Center in Provincetown and The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

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Writing Great Sentences

We’ll examine sentences from an array of authors and genres, analyzing how form and content align. We’ll look at structure (e.g. a “pocket” that hides or safeguards and a “u-turn” that surprises or subverts), diction (coinage, descriptions, word shifts), sound…

Course Type: 1 Session  |   Instructor: Geraldine Woods

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Start Date: 03/20/2021 – 10:00 am
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Geraldine Woods

I’m the author of a stack of grammar books (English Grammar For Dummies, English Grammar Workbook For Dummies, Webster’s New World Punctuation: Simplified and Applied, and more) and an educator with four decades of experience teaching every level of English from 5th grade through AP. My most recent book, 25 Great Sentences and How They Got That Way (Norton, 2020), explores the techniques authors use to make their writing more effective. My only remotely cool moment came when I was interviewed by a reporter from MTV about the decision by “Panic! At the Disco” to drop their exclamation point.

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