Monday, October 7, 2013

Kate Partridge: Writing workshops you won't want to miss

I’m delighted to have the opportunity to introduce myself as a new instructor for 49 Writers this fall! I will be teaching a four-week course called Fundamentals of Poetry, as well as Writing from Research, which will occur across two weekends.

I earned my MFA in poetry from George Mason University, just outside of Washington, D.C., where I taught and served as editor-in-chief of the feminist literary journal So to Speak. My partner (also a poet) and I moved to Anchorage in mid-August, and I’ve been having a great deal of fun exploring the coffee shops and getting settled in as an instructor in the English Department at UAA. Now that I’m here and own an SUV the size of an elephant, I’m so excited to get involved with the literary community in Anchorage. In addition to teaching two courses through 49 Writers, I’ll be co-coordinating the Crosscurrents series this year, which is planning some truly excellent events.

My interest in teaching Writing from Research stems from my own poetry, in which I frequently collage material from historical and contemporary texts or use them as the basis for narrative. This summer, I spent many afternoons scrolling through microfilm at the Library of Congress while gathering text from the Whitman notebook archive for a new series of poems; the process of putting together source material is as much fun for me, and as much of a challenge, as any of the other stages of the writing process. My work has been influenced by writers like Marianne Moore, Anne Carson, Brian Teare, and C.D. Wright, all of whom engage with text, hybrid forms, and research in ways that inspire me to find new ways to incorporate different textures of language into my work. 

In Writing from Research, we’ll discuss a range of uses for research, including accurately depicting settings, adding detail, and learning about historical characters or events. We’ll also visit an archive and practice effectively incorporating source materials into stories, essays, and poetry. I’m excited to have the chance to grapple together with the many challenges of finding and using researched materials, for any of the myriad reasons you will want to draw on them for your writing.

I am also thrilled to be teaching Fundamentals of Poetry. This course will incorporate a balance of short exercises, workshop, readings, and craft discussions, all of which will build toward improving your writing skills and your facility with reading and discussing poetry. My major goals for these sessions are to introduce and experiment with traditional and experimental forms and to produce lots of drafts. As a classroom community of writers, we will move through process of inspiration, drafting, and revision in detail, and everyone will have the opportunity to employ the techniques we discuss to improve your own poetry. I’d encourage you to think about joining in, whether you write a sonnet every day or you’ve never written one at all.

I’m very much looking forward to becoming part of the community of writers in Anchorage and to meeting many of you in the upcoming weeks. Please do sign up if you have an interest in these classes or the other course offerings this fall!  

Kate Partridge received her MFA in poetry from George Mason University and lives in Anchorage, Alaska, where she is an instructor at UAA. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in BLOOM, Barrelhouse, RHINO, and burntdistrict, among others. Visit our website to sign up for her workshops.

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