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Hybrid Forms: A Generative Workshop

with Erika Meitner

Genres: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry


Open to all levels

1 Session

Start Date: June 25, 2022
End Date: June 25, 2022
Day of Week: Saturday
Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm PT
Capacity: 16 seats
-4 seat left!
Member Price: $81.00
General Price: $90.00

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What are the loci where poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction meet? How do we generate writing that comes from our interactions with the world? In this workshop, participants will explore and create three different hybrid forms of writing: pieces based on the language of forms we encounter (and fill out) on an everyday basis (government, school, medical, etc.), pieces based on sustained lists and memories of objects, and pieces based on interactive and journalistic techniques. This is a participatory session where you will come away with three new pieces of writing.

Erika Meitner

Erika Meitner

“Erika Meitner is the quintessential 21st century storyteller bearing witness from the vantage point of a social critic with heart, humor, and an incomparable voice.” ―Carmen Giménez Smith

“Erika Meitner is known for what’s called ‘documentary poetry,’ which combines some of the journalistic work of the reporter with the subjective renderings of the poet.” —NPR Books

“Erika Meitner…taps into national conversations on topics including motherhood, infertility, terrorism, Judaism, school shootings, the 2016 election, and race. The poems feel straightforward in a way that adds to their urgency. ” —Jewish Book Council

Poet and writer Erika Meitner is the author of five books of poems and winner of the 2018 National Jewish Book Award for Poetry. Born and raised in Queens and Long Island, NY, Meitner is a first-generation American: her father is from Haifa, Israel; her mother was born in a refugee camp in Stuttgart, Germany, which is where her maternal grandparents settled after surviving Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Mauthausen concentration camps. In a conversation with Rachel Zucker in Commonplace, Meitner explains that much of her work arises from a commitment to writing accurately and respectfully about the small town in which she lives, and the challenges of writing as an engaged member of her community while being an othered outsider, a poet, a Jew, and the white mother of a black son.

Her newest collection, Holy Moly Carry Me (BOA, 2018) transports readers into the heart of southern Appalachia—its highways and strip malls, its fragility and danger—as the speaker wrestles with racial tensions, religious identity, gun violence, raising children, and the anxieties of life in the 21st century. With a refusal to settle for easy answers, Meitner’s poems embrace life in an increasingly fractured society, and they never stop asking what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves. “In her graceful fifth collection, Meitner displays a sense of urgency informed by parenthood in this strange and particularly turbulent American moment. Hyper-aware of both suburban and rural landscapes, Meitner uncannily describes their features,” praises Publishers Weekly. While poet sam sax says, simply: “Holy Moly Carry Me is a triumph!”

Meitner’s first book, Inventory at the All-Night Drugstore (Anhinga Press, 2003), won the Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize for Poetry. Her second book, Ideal Cities (HarperCollins, 2010), was selected as a winner of the 2009 National Poetry Series competition. Her third collection, Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls (2011) is “a sexy, funny, smart book full of crack-the-whip language’’, in the words of Beth Ann Fennelly. Meitner’s fourth collection of poems, Copia (2014), was published as part of BOA Editions’ American Poets Continuum Series. In a review of this collection, The Rumpus wrote: “When is it plenty? When is it enough? In Copia, Meitner gathers material from disparate places―big box stores, her grandmother, Yiddish speakers, her life in Blacksburg, VA, travel to Detroit―to consider these questions. The parts that she gathers, the fragments of language, the physical pieces of life, the things left behind, lost, abandoned are greater as a collection than any object individually. Things are more whole together, contained, bound. Meitner assembles plenitude only to ask, is plenty enough? That is the richness, the abundance of Copia.” Her sixth book of poems, Useful Junk, is forthcoming from BOA Editions in April 2022.

Her poetry and prose have been included in the anthologies Best American Poetry (2011), Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days (2010), and Best African American Essays (2010), The Way We Work: Contemporary Writings from the American Workplace (2008), and Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections (2008), as well as many journals, including The New York Times Magazine, The Southern Review, Slate, The Kenyon Review, Tin House, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and APR.

Meitner also creates larger-scale documentary photo/text projects on urban environments, including “This is Not a Requiem for Detroit” and “RNC CLE,” both commissioned by and published in Virginia Quarterly Review. She is currently working on a project on Miami and sea-level rise.

Meitner attended Dartmouth College, Hebrew University, and the University of Virginia, where she received her MFA in Creative Writing as a Henry Hoyns Fellow, and her MA in Religious Studies as a Morgenstern Fellow in Jewish Studies. Meitner was a US-UK Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in Creative Writing and the Diane Middlebrook Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She was also the recipient of the 2021 Poetry Society of America’s Cecil Hemley Memorial Award.

In addition to having taught creative writing at UVA, UW-Madison, and UC-Santa Cruz, Meitner has worked as a dating columnist, an office temp, a Hebrew school instructor, a computer programmer, a systems consultant, a lifeguard, a documentary film production assistant, and a middle school teacher in the New York City public school system.

Meitner is currently a Professor of English at Virginia Tech. She lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Each class description includes a breakdown of what you can expect in terms of in-class activity, feedback, and homework (if any). 

Generative means you’ll be generating new writing, either in class or at home between classes.

Workshop means you’ll be sharing work to be read and critiqued by your instructor and classmates and that you will also be critiquing the work of your peers. 

Reading means you’ll be doing close reading of a work with an eye toward craft. 

Craft discussion means you’ll be looking at the tools writers use to do that thing they do so well and then trying it out yourself.

Class levels are designed for various stages of the writing journey. Simply self-select the level that sounds best for where you’re at. 

Introductory: This is your first creative writing workshop, first writing class since high school, or first foray into a new genre or form. You’re looking to try something new, kickstart your writing, and/or establish yourself in the fundamentals.

Intermediate: You have a strong understanding of writing fundamentals and are eager to deep dive into craft. You’re honing your writerly identity and voice through independent projects. In workshop, you look for constructive feedback and are ready to do writing and reading outside of class.

Advanced: You’ve written a significant body of work and have taken it through several stages of revision. You’re getting ready to publish or are in the early stage of publishing, and you’re interested in refining the skills that will take you to the next level in the literary industry.

All Levels: You are any of the above and are looking to play with new possibilities.

You’ll get your class information, including Zoom link if applicable, three days before the first day of class.

Write With Hugo House is our free monthly write-in program, operated in partnership with the Seattle Public Library. Two take place onsite at SPL locations, one takes place online. 

Sliding-scale classes are offered every quarter. Find them in our Class Catalog.

We announce flash sales, early bird periods, and special deals through our e-newsletter; sign up at the bottom of this page.

At this time, we offer payment plans on classes 8 sessions and up. Email with the name of the class you’re interested in to set up a payment plan.

Asynchronous classes are perfect for students that need flexibility!

During an asynchronous class, instructors release new lessons once per week. Students then have one week to complete that lesson and any accompanying coursework. You’ll learn as much as you would in a traditional class but with the flexibility to work at the best times for your schedule!

While there are no live sessions, asynchronous classes are still a lively and rigorous experience. Async classes are not static lessons but an adaptable and energetic community space. Be ready to work in a collaborative environment, giving and receiving feedback on your writing, participating in discussions, and growing your writing practice in a way that works best for you.

Asynchronous classes take place through the website Wet Ink. Students receive an invitation to the class and to set up a Wet Ink account on the start date of the class. Each week of the class, a new lesson will be available through the Wet Ink portal. Classes close two weeks after the end date, and students receive an email containing their content from the class when it closes.

Hugo House will only process refund requests that are submitted 5 business days or more before the class start date. To request a refund, log in to your account, go to “My Account,” select the “Orders” tab on the left-hand side, click the appropriate order, and request a refund for your specific class. Administrative fees apply. Please see our full refund policy here.

In general, we do not record classes. However, an exception if a student has specific access needs.

We encourage students to only sign up for classes that fit with their schedule.   

We do not tolerate racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, transphobic or any other oppressive behaviors, regardless of who commits them. Please check out our full community guidelines by clicking here. If an instance of community guidelines are violated and not resolved within the classroom, students may let us know by filling out the student incident report.

If Hugo House needs to cancel a class for any reason, you’ll receive a full refund.

Hugo House members get to register early for classes – a full week before they open to the general public!, receive a 10% discount on events and classes, and more. See the full list of membership benefits here!

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If you’re interested in contributing your skills, Hugo House accepts volunteer applications for a variety of roles, including event support, administrative tasks, and more. Learn more on our Volunteer page.

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