Monday, January 31, 2011

AWP 2011: Washington, DC

I hope to see you in Washington, DC this week for the annual Association of Writers and Writing (AWP) Conference - this week! I will be presenting on the subject of teaching online along with other online writing instructors. As a former career counselor, I’m particularly interested in the career advancement aspect of this panel.

Here is the description of our panel:

Finding and Creating Online Teaching Opportunities—and Sustaining and Succeeding in Them
Erika Dreifus, Sage Cohen, Andrew Gray, Matthew Lippman, Chloe' Yelena Miller, and Scott Warnock
More than one in four college/university students now take at least one course online. While some writers teach in college and graduate writing programs, others have established their own, independent course offerings or teach through private organizations. Our panelists represent a range of professional experiences in online teaching, in prose and poetry, for-credit and not-for-credit. They will share strategies for finding (and creating) work and succeeding as online writing instructors.

Some background on my experience teaching online:

I started teaching writing at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City, NJ when I was in my final semester at Sarah Lawrence College’s MFA program in 2005. My early classes used Blackboard lightly until I taught blended course, Advanced Writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University, which met partly in person, partly online. I then transitioned to teaching completely online classes, such as Poetry Writing Your Family and Advanced Writing, over the January and summer breaks.

In 2008, I started teaching writing exclusively online for Fairleigh Dickinson University and later, Northampton Community College. In 2010, I began offering private, non-credit online classes to adults. I currently teach a combination of for-credit, university classes online and private monthly writing workshops online.

Thank you to Erika Dreifus for spearheading the panel proposal idea! I’m looking forward to sharing my ideas and learning from the other panelists.

If you’ve never been to an AWP conference before, I highly recommend it. With academic, informative and creative sessions on every writing topic imaginable, endless bookfair and the many readings, you’ll never be bored. It might take a few days to decompress afterwards, but it is worth it!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jumpstart Your Poetry and Writing Life with Sage Cohen

If you are considering writing poetry or are looking for invigorating creative writing exercises to help keep your poetry fresh and lively, I recommend poet Sage Cohen’s book Writing the Life Poetic. With writing prompts, definitions, sample poems and some of her own experiences, she quickly draws the reader into her world. 

I have been creating writing prompts for students and myself for years. Like all writers, I sometimes find myself repeating certain images, ideas and techniques. It is helpful to shake things up once in a while by trying something new. My favorite part of Writing the Life Poetic was Sage Cohen’s large collection of writing prompts that pushed my writing in new directions. You can read some of them on her blog.

I haven’t yet read Sage Cohen’s newest book, The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less & Create Success, although I look forward to it. I’ve been following the connected blog Path of Possibility and am not only reminded, but also encouraged, to continue to live a full creative life.

I look forward to meeting Sage Cohen, and others, at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs at AWP next month, when we present on a panel together. Any questions I should ask her? 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Readings & Literary Events in Portland, Oregon

I quite love Portland, Oregon. The bookstores, coffee, treats and landscape are always welcoming.

We make a point to visit at least one of the Powell’s bookstores when we are in town. The main store is literally a city block of books, new and used. It is the largest poetry section I’ve ever seen outside of a university library and I always leave with a new find.

Based on a list of local reading series I found at the bookstore and some research, here is a list of the ones that stood out. (Please comment below if you have any to recommend, remove or better links to provide.)

Here are some other Portland, Oregon, area events:

Open Mikes:

For even more, check out the Reading Local: Portland blog. Finally, you might be interested in Literary Arts. 

I look forward to attending a reading during a summer visit to the west coast this year. Which ones are your favorites?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Upcoming Online Writing Workshops: Revision

This semester I am offering two revision workshops: creative non-fiction and poetry. The focus of these classes will be on revisiting previously drafted work. It is rare that a piece of writing doesn’t require a number of drafts, edits and revisions before it is considered “finished.” We’ll discuss techniques to re-enter into a piece of writing and what to do to help it to become the piece of writing that it wants to be. I’ll present some rules, how to follow them and, of course, how to break them. These small, online workshops will focus on the voice, style and tone that you are developing.

For more information, please see the full class descriptions. You are welcome to email me with any questions (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.) Register by sending me an email and I will send you payment information. 

I look forward to reading your work and revisions this spring.

Creative Non-Fiction Revision
Monday, February 14 to Friday, February 25 (2 weeks)

Poetry Revision
Monday, April 11 to Friday, April 22 (2 weeks)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter Update

I send out email updates once a season (I promise: only four a year.) If you'd like to be added to the email-mailing list, please send me your email address: chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com

In the meanwhile, here is this season's update. I look forward to reading your work or sharing mine with you.

Winter Update from Writer & Writing Coach Chloe Yelena Miller

Dear friends,

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I’m writing to share some news about online creative writing workshops and more.

*Online Workshops: Creative Non-Fiction Revision; Getting Started With Creative Writing; Poetry Revision
*Upcoming Readings & Presentations: AWP in D.C.; IOTA Club & Café in Arlington, Virginia; Cornelia Street in NY; NeMLA in New Brunswick, New Jersey
*Writing Coach Opportunities

If you are interested, please continue reading below.

Keep writing, revising and reading!

Best wishes, Chloe

Online Writing Workshops:
Three classes will be offered this spring:
Creative Non-Fiction Revision (Monday, February 14 to Friday, February 25: 2 weeks)
Getting Started With Creative Writing (Monday, March 7 to Friday, March 11: 1 week)
Poetry Revision (Monday, April 11 to Friday, April 22: 2 weeks)

Each class, limited to ten adult students, is held online through Google Groups. You’ll be offered writing prompts, short reading assignments and revision through small workshops. Register by emailing me ( at least one week before the start date.

Upcoming Readings & Presentations:
I will be reading original poetry with other poets in February at the IOTA Club & Café in Arlington, Virginia, and later in March at the Cornelia Street Café in New York City. If you live nearby, I hope to see you there.

I look forward to presenting on academic panels at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ Annual Conference in D.C. next month and later in April at the Northeastern Modern Language Association’s Annual Conference in New Brunswick, New Jersey. To attend, be sure to register for the conferences.

Writing Coach Opportunities:
If you are interested in more directed assistance on your project, you might want to consider working with me as a private writing coach.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Home from the Key West Literary Seminar

I returned from the Key West Literary Seminar  this weekend with two notebooks filled with poem drafts, ideas, notes, reading suggestions and more. It was wonderful to be able to attend two food writing seminars and in-between, an advanced poetry workshop with Jane Hirshfield.

For me, a poet who attends short writing programs about every two years since graduate school, it is hard to say if the best part was attending Jane’s workshop, allowing myself more time to write or meeting other writers. While the food writing seminars were interesting, I snuck in extra writing and workshopping time between the sessions that related most to my writing projects.  

The first question I received from other writers after I returned was, “Should I do it next year?” Overall, I’m happy that I dedicated time, energy and money to the program. (Speaking of money, they do offer generous financial assistance, which made it possible for me to attend.) If you are considering it, be sure to look carefully at the theme that organizes the future sessions. The food theme, which I enjoy as a food blogger myself, was sometimes more dominant than the literary aspects of the conversations. That said, I learned a lot, especially during the workshop. As would be true with any program, be sure to choose a workshop leaders whose work and approach you admire.

I’ve admired poet Jane Hirshfield since I first started reading poetry. If you are looking to work with her or hear her read, she suggested following her page on the Steven Barclay Agency site. For more on the seminar, including future broadcasts of readings and discussions, see Littoral, the Key West Literary Seminar’s blog. Next year the theme will be, “Yet Another World,” with authors like Margaret Atwood, William Gibson and Joyce Carol Oats.

In this first month of a new year my resolution is to dedicate myself to drafting and revising poems Jane Hirshfield’s simple and poignant advice to “write better.” I look forward to sharing more about the seminar in future posts.