Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Writing the Good One: Skill, Passion, and the Right Place

More mystery reviews this week ... watch this evening for what else is being published in June, or what's perfect to add to the summer reading stack.

Meanwhile, for those who are writing this summer/fall, or thinking of it: Author Julia Shipley in Craftsbury, Vermont, offers a "farmhouse studio" for the perfect writing vacation. Called The Writer's Retreat, this peaceful and richly rural opportunity for "writing on the farm" even comes with the possibility of adding coaching from Julia, who is a gentle yet powerful teacher of writing skills and whose poetry, short fiction, and elegant letterpress work appear at workshops as far away as Wisconsin.

Here are two samples of what Julia recently crafted, perfect for the writing life:

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And another reminder: Writing is a craft. (Yes, an art, too, but that's a subject for another day.) A craft depends on specific skills, learned, practiced, valued, and strengthened. Undertake all of that at your own writing retreat in Vermont -- or indulge in learning from an assortment of writing professionals just outside Boston, at Pine Manor College, which now allows auditing of the summer workshops:

The Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program invites writers to audit graduate-level creative writing courses during its summer residency, scheduled from July 6-15, 2012 on the Pine Manor College campus in Chestnut Hill, MA.

Classes include several sessions taking place as part of State of the Union: Diversity & Poetic Craft, a two-day colloquium designed to encourage cross-pollination between styles and approaches to poetry, open up a broader discourse about the art of writing poetry, and encourage experimentation across poetic “camps.”

Classes are open to serious writers working at all levels; the registration fee is $30 per course for Solstice graduates/$40 per course for the general public. The State of the Union: Diversity & Poetic Craft panel discussion & keynote speech by Stephen Dunn are FREE and open to the public.

For course descriptions, dates and times, a detailed audit policy, and a downloadable registration form, go to: The deadline for enrolling as an auditor for summer 2012 Residency is Friday, June 22, 2012.

Summer 2012 MFA classes that are open to the public include:

• Fragmented/Fractured Narrative
• Creating a Sense of Place
• Writing the End

Creative Nonfiction:
• Writing Personal Essays
• Nonfiction as Fiction
• Dateline Zanzibar: Travel Writing 101

Writing for Stage & Screen:
• Writer-in-Residence Dennis Lehane on Writing for Cable Television

State of the Union: Diversity & Poetic Craft:
• Where I’m From: Identity & Subjectivity in Poetry
• Oulipo: Experiments in Potential Literature
• FREE: State of the Union: Panel Discussion featuring all faculty & guests
• An Eye For An I: Lyrical Elements In Poetry—For The Prose Writer
• Incorporating Sound Into Poetry
• FREE: State Of The Union (Or Disunion) Keynote with Stephen Dunn

The Business of Writing:
• Publishing in Literary Magazines

As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education. The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing reflects the College’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for real cultural change. includes all contact info.

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