The Writer’s Studio is a free workshop series open to all students from all majors. Come study the art of writing in intensive, fun, hands-on workshops with dynamic faculty from the Creative Writing program, the Stanford Storytelling Project, and others. You’ll leave with an expanded understanding of what your writing can do.
All workshops are free, open to the entire Stanford community, and held from 6 pm to 7:30 pm PST virtually over Zoom. Join us here.
|Under the Fire Snakes: Creative Nonfiction through Meditation
Monday, September 28
|In this workshop, you will learn and practice a number of creative and contemplative exercises to help quiet the ego, reduce distracting mental chatter and sharpen the observer mind as you write, read and compress short excerpts of memoir, reporting, lyric essay or other forms of creative nonfiction. In one exercise, to engage the subconscious and unconscious mind, you will learn and practice an unedited, entirely freeform exercise called Automatic Writing. In another, called the Sensory Camera, you will strive to render observable or recalled phenomena in their barest perceptible attributes, stripped to the degree possible of conscious judgment or interpretation. Please wear comfortable clothes, and have pen and paper available, as all writing exercises will be done by hand.
|Andrew Todhunter is co-director of Stanford’s Senior Reflection creative capstone program, a Lecturer in Biology, and a co-founder of the Stanford LifeWorks program. He has written for the Atlantic, National Geographic and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications, and is the author of three books, including the PEN USA award winning A Meal Observed. A climber, diver and sea kayaker, he has practiced meditation for more than twenty years, and incorporates meditation and wilderness training into many of his courses at Stanford.|
|The Thing’s the Thing: Writing the Precious Object
Monday, October 5
|Objects in a piece of writing, as Italo Calvino observes, create a palpable force field around them that inhere the dramatic action. In this workshop, we will use a precious object (that we bring to the meeting) to write about from three different perspectives: (1) the here and now; (2) ten years back; and (3) another lifetime back. In writing our way into the secret histories of our object over a span of time, we will generate a potent set of possibilities for using it in whatever genre we may be working in—poetry, performance, fiction, memoir, or creative non-fiction. For quick reference, we will consider the examples of Charlemagne’s ring in his legend, Desdemona’s handkerchief in Othello, and cultural anthropologist’s Michael Taussig’s example of the thinking arrow in Yanomami culture.||Kevin DiPirro is a playwright, theater-maker, and deviser who teaches in PWR as advanced lecturer. His work has appeared in New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Stanford. A Hewlett Fellow for American Theatre Magazine, he lives on the coast and likes to swim, surf, sing, garden, cook, and write.
|Litmatic: Hip-Hop and the Short Story
Monday, October 12
|In the words of Shad, rapper and host of the critically-acclaimed docuseries Hip-Hop Evolution, “hip-hop was built on overcoming limitations,” and the same could be said about the form of the short story. Students should come to the studio (pun intended) ready to share bars from their favorite hip-hop song so that our workshop can examine and appreciate the artistry and poetry of rap while also discovering how the structure of a hip-hop song can catalyze the creation of a short story. We will discuss (and draft) what constitutes the equivalent of an intro, verse, hook, bridge and outro in the contemporary American short story and ultimately arrive at the conclusion that language — whether it’s laid over a beat or laid out on the page — is power.||Jenn Alandy Trahan, a first-generation college graduate, grew up in Vallejo during the golden age of hip-hop. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, she is a Jones Lecturer who has taught courses in Filipinx fiction, nonfiction, and service-learning through creative writing. She’s currently teaching English 9CE: Creative Expression all year (her favorite course to teach), as well as co-teaching English 177B: Contemporary American Short Stories with Professor Gavin Jones in Winter 2021. Also, Jenn believes that Tupac and Eminem are two of the greatest MCs of all time.|
|Poetry in Times of Crisis
Monday, October 19
|How do writers respond to crisis? How do poems address urgent issues like climate change, political upheaval, personal hardship, or collective growth? In this Writer’s Studio we will be looking at poems that take on the personal and political issues of their time. All levels of experience are welcome!
|Kai Carlson-Wee is the author of RAIL (BOA Editions, 2018). He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and his work has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, Best New Poets, New England Review, and The Southern Review. His photography has been featured in Narrative Magazine and his poetry film, Riding the Highline, has screened at film festivals across the country. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he lives in San Francisco and is a lecturer at Stanford.|
| Sources of Creativity
Monday, October 26
|In this workshop, we will use games and techniques of improvisation to spark insight about character, dialogue, and plot.Our goals will be to discover sources of creativity through joy and play, rather than focus and design. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and work with others, through paired and small-group activities designed to propel your writing.||Shannon Pufahl is the author of the novel On Swift Horses. Her essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. She is a Jones Lecturer at Stanford, where she teaches courses in speculative fiction, queer narrative, and femininity.|