Workshops are at the heart of the Juniper Institute. Here, writers generate new work and present that work, or other work-in-progress, to their assigned faculty workshop leaders and peers. Workshop sizes are kept small so that every writer’s work gets dedicated attention. In addition to focusing on specific pieces of writing, writers actively interrogate larger issues of form, style, content, language, and process.
Every workshop has its own climate and conventions: some lean toward the generation of new work, some toward the honing of existing pieces, and others emphasize a combination of both. While details are subject to revision, here?s how the 2015 faculty describe their approach to their Juniper workshops:
Poetry Workshop with Heather Christle:
Poetry Workshop with Matthea Harvey:
In our week together we will take a look at your poems and where they might travel, taking movement as our guiding theme, whether through time, space, voice, subject, form, or any of the other opportunities for motion we discover together. Our focus will be on your work, but to bolster those conversations we will also discuss other texts: poems that jump to and fro, poems that roll, poems that lie in stillness. We?ll try out some experiments with various forms of writing in motion, so please come prepared to generate new lines, and with a good sense of adventure. Along the way we will consider what we might learn from the movement of beings and objects from other fields, and?if luck is on our side?grow bold and ambitious in response.
Poetry Workshop with Zachary Schomburg:
Poetry Workshop with Dara Wier:
In our workshop, we will zero in on the poem's narrative while keeping in mind ideas of restraint and concision in language, of letting go of the need to explain and contextualize its ideas and images, in order for a poem to accomplish a lot in a little space. We will learn to complicate a poem's narrative by not strangling it. We will read and discuss the success of the narrative within a few short poems published recently by our contemporaries, and then we will spend the majority of our time doing just that for each other's poems.
Fiction Workshop with Brian Evenson:
Fiction Workshop with Noy Holland:
We'll focus in this workshop on how good writing gets better, and look at revision as a strategy not only for making work better but for exploring new directions. The focus of the workshop will be your stories, and I'd ask you to bring with you a story that you'd like to revise and don't mind playing with. We'll look at cases of editorial revision (such as Lish's revision of Raymond Carver's work), dramatic authorial revision (such as Wells Towers' publishing two versions of the same story), think about structural revision and sentence revision, explore exercises related to revision, and, above all, think specifically about the story you bring, what it's doing, and where it might go next. We'll look at 2-3 stories per class.
Fiction Workshop with Joy Williams:
Participants’ new, raw material will provide the basis for this workshop. We will be working on three to four stories per session; the last session will be devoted to individual manuscript consultation (number of participants permitting). In addition to working with participant’s manuscripts, we’ll also be discussing some (more or less, classic or strange) stories to explore the techniques to make them effective.
Creative Nonfiction Workshop with Paul Lisicky:
The ideal writing workshop is a place where a variety of forms are encouraged and respected, where we attempt to create a version of a model literary community: a thriving ecosystem, as Richard Powers might call it, rather than a monoculture. It requires an openness at every turn, a dedicated generosity, and a willingness to consider each piece on its own terms. We'll look at a variety of outside work (Nick Flynn, Peter Trachtenberg, Mary Gaitskill, among others), but your writing will be our primary text. We'll make time for in-class exercises and relevant discussion. Along the way, we’ll work hard, have fun, and make sure delight isn’t an enemy to seriousness.