Course Catalog

A Poet’s Approach to National Novel Writing Month

All Levels. Every November, thousands of people jump-start their fiction projects during National Novel Writing Month. In celebration, this course will bring together writers whose primary background is in poetry to explore how to harness poetic skill to create great fiction. We’ll look at examples of writers working across genres, brainstorm and refine our own novel ideas, and support one another in adhering to ambitious writing schedules through Novel Writing Month—and beyond!

Instructor: Kristina Jipson

Class Type: 4 Sessions

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Start Date: 10/28/2017

No Class On: 11/11/2017, 11/25/2017

End Date: 12/02/2017

Days of the Week: Saturday

Time: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Minimum Class Size: 5

Maximum Class Size: 15

$211.50 Member Price:
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$235.00 General Price:

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Kristina Jipson

Kristina Jipson’s first book, Halve, won the Tupelo Press First/Second Book Award. She is the author of two chapbooks: Lock, Means, published by Dancing Girl Press, and How Void of Miracles, published by Hand Held Editions.

Teaching philosophy: Great creative writing teachers are better than therapists. Waiting outside the office of one of my own favorite teachers for our very first one-on-one meeting, I was alarmed to hear what I thought might be sobs coming from inside. Sure enough, when the door opened some minutes later, a teary but starry-eyed poet emerged. Don’t worry, she said to me, wiping her nose, everyone cries. And she was right. I held out for about fifteen minutes of discussing my poems, and then I too cried. So did the student who went in after me. Not because we were being criticized (we weren’t) but because we were being asked to really examine why we were writing and how much it mattered to us. We cried, and then we got excited. I don’t try to make my students cry, but I do believe that the very best writing teachers help students to think deeply about what they most want to say, and about who they most want to have hear it. Only by starting from a place of honesty and clarity about what each writer’s fondest hopes are for their writing can I be the facilitator—connecting students with the writing, ideas, strategies, and skills that will bring them closer to their own writing practices—that each writer deserves.

Writers I always return to: John Ashbery, Willa Cather, William Faulkner, Lyn Hejinian, Susan Howe, Edmond Jabès, Claudia Rankine, Marilynne Robinson, Jacques Roubaud, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Keith Waldrop, Virginia Woolf

Favorite writing advice: Write every day. That’s it. I’ve never heard a more valuable piece of writing advice than this. If you sit down to write every single day—even if it’s only for twenty minutes and even if you’re dog tired and all you manage to do is type a sting of clichés you’ll delete the next day—you’re a writer. Writers write. Everything else follows.

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