By Alison Bailey
What exactly is going to happen when our first attending alumni converge on Fort Worden in the second weekend of February? Sarah, Theresa, and I have put our heads together to bring you a block of sessions intended to further our good work: reading and writing books.
An exciting four days of programming is in the works right now. Many of the programs we’re bringing to the table are drawn from the most successful moments of our own teaching. In other cases, the workshops are extensions of classes that inspired us during our time in the Goddard MFA. Close reading and discussion of masterful literature, generative classes using new techniques or literary models for inspiration, and group work for feedback from colleagues will be familiar cornerstones to take in new directions.
I’m leading a quick study on the literary lineage around Grace Paley, followed by a close reading/listening of one of her short stories. Sarah will lead a workshop called, “Details, Details: Becoming Better Noticers,” that focuses on the difference between assessment and observation and why it matters in shaping words. We will also offer a session called “Saying the Hard Stuff Aloud: Documentary Poetics,” facilitated by Theresa, in which we will explore critical truths in the world through melding primary sources and our own literary expression.
Besides workshops and retreat sessions, the conference is designed to foster a lively Goddard community that encompasses Goddard alumni from multiple cohorts and from both campuses, and to create connections between MFAW alumni and current students. Conference attendees are welcome to participate in the MFAW residency’s visiting writer and returning writer workshops, readings by faculty and by visiting/returning writers, and student readings. On Monday the 15th, the last day of our conference, we’ll host a panel for the students at the Washington residency, “Claiming Your Identity as a Writer: Life After Goddard.” We will welcome all alumni attendees to share their own post-Goddard path and what it means for them to be a writer in the Goddard tradition. Questions will be welcome!
It’s not too late to be part of the conference. We are accepting registrations through February 1. It’s not too late for you to contribute, either! Raise your hand if you plan to attend and have an idea for a class. If you’ve got a seed planted but you can’t make it this year, water and feed it for next year.
Contact Sarah, Theresa, or me, Alison, so we can help you be part of this exciting inaugural conference and community.
By Alison Bailey