Upcoming classes: Poetry

WEDNESDAYS, JUL. 28 — AUG. 18  |  When we think about traditional “nature writing,” poems and essays about getting lost in “pristine wilderness” and survival stories of (mostly White) rugged adventurers may come to mind. In this course, we’ll use nature writing from Black, Indigenous, Immigrant, Queer and other writers of color to explore how we can write about nature and the outdoors  in ways that also considers issues like ancestry, colonization, racial justice, migration trauma, sexuality, and more.

In our time together, students will read work from authors like Audre Lorde, Kiese Laymon, Natalie Diaz, Sabrina Imbler, Marta Valdés, George Abraham, Robin Kimmerer, and many others to help expand their idea of what nature and outdoor writing can look like. We’ll use this work as inspiration and an entry way for creating and eventually sharing our own nature and outdoor writing with the group. By the end of the course, students will have at least one piece of nature writing (of any genre) to present to the class.

Jenny Bitner

WEDNESDAYS, AUG. 4 — SEP. 8  |  What happens when we approach writing like an experiment? Our minds are open, our writing is deep, and there is no room for writers’ block or cliché ideas. Burroughs used cut-up writing, Anaïs Nin made her diary her art, the surrealists played party games, and now novels are being written in Tweets and texts. Each week we will explore different experimental styles from surrealism to postmodernism to hybrid writing, and do exercises to loosen our minds and push us in new directions with our writing.

With daily writing prompts and in-class exercises, this class is great for beginning or experienced writers wanting to push their writing in new directions. In the first session, we will do a group hypnosis for creativity and for opening our imagination in new directions. We will also explore how to mine our unconscious minds for inspiration and depth through class exercises and practices.

This class is for experimenting and generating writing in new styles, but I have been teaching this class many years, and students are often happily surprised by the results of these experiments.

Asynchronous learning materials for this class will be available online (via the Wet Ink platform). Scheduled class sessions will take place via Zoom. Registered students, please contact the instructor directly for Zoom details.

Jenny Bitner’s fiction and poetry has been published in Mississippi Review, The Fabulist, The Sun, Fence, Corium, Fourteen Hills, Mid-American Review, and PANK. Pine Press published a chapbook of her poetry entitled Mother. Her story “The Pamphleteer” was published in Best American Nonrequired Reading. Her work was also included in the anthology Writing That Risks. Her nonfiction has appeared in Utne Reader, To-Do List, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, and Men’s Health. She earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Virginia. She is also a certified hypnotherapist. Her novel Here Is A Game We Could Play was published in 2021 from Acre Books.

Contact: jenny.bitner@gmail.com

Number of sessions: 6

Dates: Wednesdays, August 4, 11, 18, 25; September 1, 8

Time: 6:00 – 8:00pm Pacific Time

Course fee: $395


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