Three SFU Writer’s Studio alumni, Clarissa P Green, Sandra Pettman and Elee Kraljii Gardiner (replacing John Mavin) will offer free, on-site Blue Pencil Consultations on 2-3 pages of your work-in-progress and answer your writing questions. Bookings are available from 11am to 2pm at the SFU Writing and Publishing Program table at the Word On The Street Festival Sunday, Sept 27, 2009 in the village at Library Square, Vancouver. Book your 15 minute consult now by calling Kim Hockey at 778-782-5093.
The next Thursdays class begins September 17, 2009. Join us on the third floor of the Carnegie Centre at Hastings and Main St. in Vancouver at 2pm every Thursday afternoon until November 26. We will write and discuss our plans for the fall class, which include a virtual launch of “Thursdays 3.0” on this website and a launch and reading at the Brickhouse on Thursday, December 3, 2009.
This course will include writing prompts and techniques gleaned from the Andover Bread Loaf Program, a graduate course from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College held on the campus of Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts. The program, for creative writing teachers and social change activists, encompasses theory by Paolo Freire, the liberation theologist, as well as techniques for getting students personally involved in the texts. For examples of terrific “I am,” and “I am from,” poems, which we will be writing this autumn, check out Andover Breadloaf graduate and spoken word artist Anthony Morales.
The launch of the new chapbook, “Thursdays 2: Writings from the Carnegie Centre,” was a packed event. More than 70 people crowded into the Brickhouse to hear contributors read their pieces. The writers held the place captive with the touching and sometimes hilarious presentation of their work.
Co-editor John Asfour, in from Montreal especially for the event, capped off the night by reading his contribution, “Dealing With Big Words,” and was surprised to hear Henry Doyle’s piece about the impact of hearing John read at the Vancouver Public Library.
Here is a sampling of audience comments from sheets posted around the venue:
“The most passionate and fun reading I have been to in ages.”
“Fabulous and truly exciting- keep on the transformative work!”
“I love Brenda’s love and Muriel’s passion. Thank you! Please keep on writing!”
“This was something very special – not the usual fare of writers’ groups where one can get comfortable. You shake things up in the best possible way.”
The contributors enjoyed themselves, too. One wrote on the comment sheet, “Thank you for opening a door for me.”
Another quipped about Dr Asfour, “I liked the last guy – super rad!”
Thank you to Lindsay Bradford-Ewart for doing sound, and to Raoul Fernandes for videotaping the reading, which we hope to link to youtube in the coming days. We will soon have images from the book up and an expanded contributors page. Thank you for your comments and thoughts!
On Friday, June 26, 2009, 2-4pm at Rhizome Cafe, 317 Broadway (at Kingsway), RSVP to email@example.com
How do you protect the voice while sharpening the piece? Join the editors of “Thursdays: Writings from the Carnegie Centre” to discuss the process of sharpening your work. During the first hour, we will discuss the “before,” and “after,” of a published piece, pointing out the changes that took the writing from raw to polished. Learn how minimal changes can affect the message, when to dive deeper and when to stop fiddling. The second hour is for your questions and concerns. The workshop is free but any small donation to the chapbook or to rhizome cafe is welcome.
Dr. Asfour is Lebanese- Canadian poet and translator. He was the first writer-in-residence at the Historic Joy Kagawa house in 2009 and is the author of four books of poetry in English and two in Arabic. He resides in Montreal, where he has taught creative writing for 25 years. He translated the poetry of Muhammad al-Maghut into English under the title Joy Is Not My Profession (Véhicule Press), and he selected, edited and introduced the landmark anthology When the Words Burn: An Anthology of Modern Arabic Poetry, 1945–1987 (Cormorant Books).
Elee Kraljii Gardiner is a freelance writer and the editor of “Thursdays: Poems and Prose from the Downtown Eastside.” She is the 2009 Poetry Adjunct at SFU’s Writers Studio, where she studied creative nonfiction in 2006. She is the founder of Otter Press.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
We are launching the new chapbook on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 8pm at the Brickhouse Bar at 730 Main Street (near union in Chinatown). Please join us to hear the contributors read their work. This edition is special: it includes the work of more than 20 writers who have attended the Thursdays class and was edited by Elee Kraljii Gardiner and Dr. John Asfour, the poet whose visits have made such an impact in our writing community.
The Writers Studio at Simon Fraser University, which sponsors the Thursdays class, received a grant for its second Writers’ Jamboree, scheduled for November 13 and 14, 2009 at the Carnegie Centre. The Jamboree is a two day program of workshops for Downtown Eastside writers with panels of high-level editors and writers offering their thoughts on how to forward one’s writing career. Thank you to Vancity for supporting emerging writers!
On May 7, 2009, Dr John Asfour visited the Thursdays writing class at the Carnegie Centre. Dr. Asfour is a Lebanese-Canadian poet, writer, and teacher and is the first writer-in-residence at the Historic Joy Kogawa house. He is the author of four books of poetry in English and two in Arabic. He resides in Montreal, Quebec, where he has taught creative writing for 25 years. He translated the poetry of Muhammad al-Maghut into English under the title Joy Is Not My Profession (Véhicule Press), and he selected, edited and introduced the landmark anthology When the Words Burn: An Anthology of Modern Arabic Poetry, 1945–1987 (Cormorant Books).
During his three month stay at the Historic Kogawa House, which is coming to a close at the end of this month, Dr.Asfour has been at work on a book of poems entitled Blindfold. The book is partly autobiographical—born in Lebanon, Dr.Asfour was blinded at age 13 during the Civil War in 1958. In it Dr.Asfour suggests that the disabled often feel like foreigners in their own land, hampered by prejudice (sometimes well-meaning), communications barriers and the sense of “limited personality” that characterizes the second-language learner.
We began the class with the writing prompt suggested by Dr. Asfour, referencing one of his recent poems about a blind man riding the metro: “A blind man is a national treasure among you, and you are such a great audience.” His wit about his own experience led to a conversation about combining the emotional with the intellectual to capture this moment in time. He then read from his new manuscript, repeating the lines of his work as heard through earphones connected to his computer. We were thrilled to have him with us and very much enjoyed his advice, his jokes and his craft.
The second chapbook class has taken off. We are about a third of the way through; you are welcome to join us, we’ll find extra chairs! So far we’ve touched on “slanguage,” ways of telling, convincing arguments,antiheroes and tension.
For a quick shot of inspiration check out “The Writer’s Book of Wisdom; 101 Rules for Mastering your Craft,” by Steven Taylor Goldsberry (Writer’s Digest Books, 2005) It’s a list of suggestions (Rule #60: Never save your best for last.) that may jog you out of complacency.
Last night, March 12, 2009, five readers from the Thursdays chapbook brought their work to Rhizome cafe in Vancouver. The Writer’s Studio reading series was graciously hosted by Jane Mellor, who welcomed Kazakh poet Akerke Mussabekova, Charlotte Morganti and Clarissa Green to the first half of the bill. John Chen started the Thursdays slate with the shortest poem in the English language, “Life,” pointing out that the two-word poem is a one-word poem in Chinese, with a two-word title. Congratulations to Dr. Chen on the publication of his book “The Influence of Taosim on Asian-Canadian Writers,” (Edwin Mellen Press). James “Man About Town” McLean brought the house down with his wry humour and visual aids, reading his piece, about Lotto Day and handing out the 24 Hours Paper, in full uniform. Joan Morelli’s heartfelt reading of “Pain Street,” and “Day of the Dead,” showcased her performer’s voice and deeply moved the audience. Tom Quirk read new work, saying the class at Carnegie has brought him out of a fallow period. He read an excerpt of a chapter in progress about debauched artists, a hilarious send-up. Elee Kraljii Gardiner read a new poem, also fruit from the Thursdays vine, and was happy to welcome ElJean Dodge to the open mike portion to share a beautiful piece about meadows. In the full audience was Joy Kagawa House Writer-in-Residence John Asfour, who has offered to come speak to the class.
Author Evelyn Lau wrote a beautiful essay in the Vancouver Georgia Strait about her experience returning to the Carnegie Centre to join Simon Fraser Univerity’s Writer’s Studio Jamboree in November 2009. Many of the writers from “thursdays” were at the panel discussion and able to ask Lau her thoughts about writing. Lau commented that she typed her first book on the typewriters at Carnegie in the room that is now the computer lab.