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WRITING ON THE DOOR VIRTUAL POETRY CONFERENCE

April 23 - April 25


             

Join us online for an amazing two-plus days of poetry readings, conversations, and craft talks. Faculty includes Mauricio Kilwein Guevara, Donna Hilbert, Sean Hill, Su Hwang, Ed Bok Lee, Denise Low, January Gill O’Neil, and Michael Torres. Keynote addresses by Naomi Shihab Nye and Kwame Dawes.

The conference starts with a reading by four of our presenters on Friday, April 23, 7 pm Central Daylight Time followed by social time for participants. Saturday and Sunday feature conversations and craft talks with our poets and keynote talks. Saturday evening features another reading by four presenters followed by social time for participants. Sunday evening features an open mic reading for conference participants.

SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE

Friday, April 23

 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Poetry Reading with Donna Hilbert, Sean Hill, Su Hwang, and Michael Torres

8:30 – 9:00 pm

Optional social break-out rooms to meet other participants

 

Saturday, April 24

8:45 – 9:00 am

Welcome and orientation

9:00 – 10:15 am

Conversation with Donna Hilbert and Michael Torres

10:30 am – noon choose one

Hitting the Sweet Spot: Where Lyric and Narrative Connect with Donna Hilbert

Artistic Failure as Origin Story with Michael Torres

1:30 – 2:45 pm

Conversation with Sean Hill and Su Hwang

3:00 – 4:30 pm choose one

A Time for Poetry: Serenades, Nocturnes, and Aubades with Sean Hill

How to Structure a Manuscript: A Journey with Su Hwang

4:45 – 5:30 pm

Keynote Talk with Naomi Shihab Nye

7:00 – 8:30 pm

Reading with Mauricio Kilwein Guevara, Ed Bok Lee, Denise Low, and January Gill O’Neil

8:30 – 9:00 pm

Optional social breakout rooms to meet other participants

Sunday, April 25

9:00 – 10:15 am

Conversation with Mauricio Kilwein Guevara and January Gill O’Neil

10:30 am – noon choose one

A Sampling of Microbrews with Mauricio Kilwein Guevara

Writing Poetry in Uncertain Times with January Gill O’Neil

1:30 – 2:45 pm

Conversation with Ed Bok Lee and Denise Low

3:00 – 4:30 pm choose one

Grand Inquisitions with Ed Bok Lee

Coal Into Diamonds: Memories Transformed into Memoir, Poetry and/or Prose with Denise Low

4:45 – 5:30 pm

Keynote Talk with Kwame Dawes

7:00 – 8:30 pm

Open mic reading for participants

DETAILED SCHEDULE

 FRIDAY, APRIL 23

7:00 – 8:30 pm

A Poetry Reading with Donna Hilbert, Sean Hill, Su Hwang, and Michael Torres

8:30 – 9:00 pm

Informal breakout rooms to meet other participants in tomorrow’s sessions

 

SATURDAY, APRIL 24

8:45 – 9:00 am

Welcome and Orientation by Jerod Santek, Artistic Director, Write On, Door County

9:00 – 10:15 am

A conversation with Donna Hilbert and Michael Torres, moderated by Jerod Santek

10:30 am – 12:00 pm choose one

Hitting the Sweet Spot: Where Lyric and Narrative Connect with Donna Hilbert

The best workshop is reading great poems. What poems do you return to over and over? What poems do you recite in your mind for comfort, or for assurance that you are not alone in a sea of uncertainty? What makes great poems come alive on the page? I find the poems I most often return to hit “the sweet spot” on the lyric-narrative continuum. We will look at exemplar poems. We will talk about where our own poems land on the continuum and what that means for the editing process. We will do a generative exercise or two.

Artistic Failure as Origin Story with Michael Torres

Over the years I’ve found myself returning to stories of my early attempts at being an artist, and thinking about what those stories say about my path as a writer. It’s been valuable to reflect on those experiences—moments of embarrassment yes, but also moments that provided wisdom and motivation. In this craft talk and generative workshop, we’ll discuss the importance of knowing, remembering, and honoring our artistic origins. I’ll tell you about (at least) one of my early artistic failures and how it affects me today. I’ll also leave some time for you to think back and write about our own artistic journey, failures and all, as a way of remembering where and what we come from.

1:30 – 2:45 pm

A conversation with poets Sean Hill and Su Hwang, moderated by Lauren Ward

3:00 – 4:30 pm choose one

A Time for Poetry: Serenades, Nocturnes, and Aubades with Sean Hill

Days are a unit of measure of our lives. We may slog through them or while them away, but they are one of the common denominators of life on this planet. In this craft talk, attendees will explore several poetic forms: the serenade, a poem of the evening; the nocturne, a poem of the night; and the aubade, a poem of the dawn. These forms have a long history in song and poetry. In English, these forms go back to John Donne and come right up through poets like Louise Bogan and Philip Larkin to contemporary poets such as Robin Coste Lewis. In this craft talk, attendees will be led through a discussion of the strategies and techniques for writing poems to explore and express these times of our days. Participants will be given prompts to begin a draft of a poem in class. We will explore the human condition, take stock in the natural world, and plumb the meaning in extraordinary and ordinary moments.

How to Structure a Manuscript: A Journey with Su Hwang

A close study of a debut author’s process from submissions to ordering poems, strategies and tips with Q&A and writing prompts.

4:45 – 5:30 pm

Keynote talk with Naomi Shihab Nye

7:00 – 8:30 pm

A reading with Mauricio Kilwein Guevara, Ed Bok Lee, Denise Low, and January Gill O’Neil

SUNDAY, APRIL 25

8:45 – 9:00 am

Welcome and orientation, Jerod Santek, Artistic Director, Write On, Door County

9:00 -10:15 am

A conversation with Mauricio Kilwein Guevara and January Gill O’Neil, moderated by Alessandra Rolffs

10:30 am – 12:00 pm choose one

A Sampling of Microbrews with Mauricio Kilwein Guevara

“Microbrews” is a playful term I coined for my graduate students in Milwaukee; it refers to very short works of prose literature: prose poetry, flash fiction, and very brief essays. Microbrews can be as brief as a paragraph or as long as 750 words.  I’d like to share a few varied examples of my favorite microbrews, talk about tendencies that I associate with the form, and invite attendees to craft their own miniature word-worlds.

Writing Poetry in Uncertain Times with January Gill O’Neil

How difficult has it been to write during the pandemic? How do we push ourselves to move past our physical and emotional boundaries? In this workshop, participants will discuss strategies for writing and publishing poems in times of uncertainty. We’ll explore opportunities to reach for language not often found in poetry, reflect on the difficulty and significance of documenting moments of change, and redefine what it means to be a successful poet. We’ll end with an exercise or two designed to jumpstart our imaginations.

1:30 – 2:45 pm

A conversation with Ed Bok Lee and Denise Low, moderated by Jerod Santek

3:00 – 4:30 pm choose one

Grand Inquisitions with Ed Bok Lee

Every enduring poem implies greater questions—elusive questions perhaps, but alive and writhing as any powerful river’s undercurrents. How does a poem ask meaningful questions without perhaps ever literally posing one? How does a poem never ask a single meaningful question when it is stuffed with literal ones? Ta-Nehisi Coates notes that political consciousness is questioning as ritual and exploring, rather than the search for certainty. Where does otherness begin and end? What in you needs desperately to write? What is consciousness? According to Richard Feynman, the attitude of uncertainty is the most vital one for any scientist. What are you not seeing in the mirror of your poems? Why are you not writing as much as you’d like? What deeper shapes does your mind wish to take? Thomas Pynchon noted that if they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers. What is wisdom in an age of fake questions? Who are you, really? Which are the brightest sparks rising from your mind and this culture when most discordant? Pope Francis noted that if one has the answers to all the questions, that is proof God is not with him. What do your poems have to teach you and us? What might you want to know and not know before embarking on the journey of writing one? There are years that ask questions and years that answer, wrote Zora Neale Hurston. How old are you? Or, in other words, how many people have died so that you may exist, and what would you like to ask them?

Recommended, but not required: 1 – 3 of your own poems-in-progress.

Coal into Diamonds: Memories Transformed into Memoir, Poetry and/or Prose with Denise Low

Louise Gluck writes “We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory.” Selecting worthy memories and recounting them on the page, in poetry or prose, revives the wonder of childhood and creates new adult art. We will look at sample work–Gluck, Jericho Brown, William Stafford, Natalie Diaz. Techniques of memoir help poets and prose writers to put frames around memories and to add dramatic flourish. Students may want to bring some memories to the workshop and work with them as we learn ways to turn the chaos of memory into the heightened language of lyrical narrations. Handouts will be available.

4:45 – 5:30 pm

Keynote talk with Kwame Dawes

 7:00 – 8:30 pm

Open Mike Reading for Conference Participants

               

PRESENTER BIOS

 Kwame Dawes had authored 36 books of poetry, fiction, criticism, and essays, including, most recently, Nebraska (UNP, 2019), Bivouac (Akashic Books, 2019), and City of Bones: A Testament (Northwestern, 2017). Speak from Here to There (Peepal Tree Press), co-written with Australian poet John Kinsella, appeared in 2016. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. He is also a faculty member in the Pacific MFA Program. He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Mauricio Kilwein Guevara was born in Boyacá, Colombia and raised in Pittsburgh, PA.  He has taught literature and writing in the United States, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, and Colombia. He is currently Professor of English in the doctoral Creative Writing Program at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He’s the author of four books of poetry and prose, a collection of translations published in Spain, and a comic play that was performed Off-Broadway. His writing has appeared internationally in Argentina, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, México, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. His debut collection, Postmortem, was co-winner (with Susan Wheeler) of the National Contemporary Poetry Series Competition (University of Georgia Press). To learn more about Mauricio, go to https://www.kilweinguevara.com/ and follow him at https://twitter.com/MKilweinGuevara.

Donna Hilbert was born in Oklahoma near the Texas border, but has spent most of her life in Southern California. Her most recent book is Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal Verse-Virtual. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, journals, and on-line sites including Rattle, The Writer’s Almanac, The Los Angeles Times, The Gathering Project, One Art, Braided Way, Chiron Review, A Year of Being Here, Cultural Weekly, Zocalo Public Square, The Poetry of Presence. Her work and life were the subject of the documentary Grief Becomes Me: A Love Story, directed by Christine Fugate. She writes and leads private workshops in Long Beach, California, where she makes her home. Learn more at www.donnahilbert.com

Born and raised in Milledgeville, Georgia, Sean Hill is the author of Dangerous Goods, awarded the Minnesota Book Award, and Blood Ties & Brown Liquor, named one of the Ten Books All Georgians Should Read in 2015 by the Georgia Center for the Book. He’s received numerous awards including fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bush Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. Hill’s poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Hill has taught at several universities including the University of Alaska – Fairbanks and Georgia Southern University. He lives in Montana with his family and is a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Montana for 2020-2021.

Su Hwang is a poet, activist, and the author of Bodega with Milkweed Editions, which received the 2020 Minnesota Book Award in poetry and is a finalist for the 2021 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Born in Seoul, Korea, she was raised in New York, then called the Bay Area home before transplanting to the Midwest. A recipient of the inaugural Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship in Literature, she teaches creative writing with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and is the cofounder, with poet Sun Yung Shin, of Poetry Asylum. Su currently lives in Minneapolis.

Ed Bok Lee attended kindergarten in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in North Dakota and Minnesota, and was educated there and later on both U.S. coasts, Russia, South Korea, and Kazakhstan. Lee is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Mitochondrial Night (Coffee House Press). Honors for his books include the American Book Award, Minnesota Book Award, Asian American Literary Award (Members’ Choice), and a PEN/Open Book Award. He teaches in Fine Arts at Metropolitan State University, and lives in Minneapolis with his daughter.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light. Other recent books are Wing (poems, April, 2021); The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (a memoir, U. of Nebraska Press); A Casino Bestiary (Spartan Press); and Jackalope, fiction (Red Mountain). She founded the Creative Writing Program at Haskell Indian Nations University, where she taught and was an administrator. Low is past board president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs. She has won 3 Kansas Notable Book Awards and recognition from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Sequoyah National Research Center, Poetry Society of America, The Circle -Best Native American Books, Roberts Foundation, Lichtor Awards, and the Kansas Arts Commission. Low has an MFA from Wichita State U. and Ph.D. from Kansas U. She teaches for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. With Ramon Powers she co-authored Northern Cheyenne Ledger Art by Fort Robinson Breakout Survivors (U. of Nebraska Press, 2020).  She has Lenape- Munsee heritage. She recently relocated to Sonoma County, California, and lives on Tsuno Mountain. www.deniselow.net

Naomi Shihab Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 30 books. Her books of poetry for adults and children include Everything Comes Next: New and Selected Poems, 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, Words Under the Words, Fuel, and Transfer. She has also written several collections of essays, fiction books for young readers, and picture books. Drawing upon her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home town of San Antonio, and her travels through the Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America, she uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.

January Gill O’Neil was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and received a BA from Old Dominion University and an MFA from New York University. She is the author of Rewilding, recognized by Mass Center for the Book as a notable poetry collection for 2018; Misery Islands, winner of a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; and Underlife. The recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, O’Neil was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant and was named the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence for 2019-2020 at the University of Mississippi, Oxford. She is an associate professor of English at Salem State University and lives in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Michael Torres was born and brought up in Pomona, California where he spent his adolescence as a graffiti artist. His debut collection of poems, An Incomplete List of Names (Beacon Press, 2020) was selected by Raquel Salas Rivera for the National Poetry Series and named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2020. His honors include awards and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the McKnight Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo, VONA Voices, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, the Camargo Foundation, and the Loft Literary Center. Currently he’s an Assistant Professor in the MFA program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a teaching artist with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. Visit him at: michaeltorreswriter.com.

SPONSORS

Door County Coffee and Tea