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Upcoming Events

Poetry Reading with Janet Sylvester, Michael Vizsolyi and Arisa White
Poem City Celebration
Kellogg-Hubbard Public Library
135 Main Street
Montpelier, Vermont
Thursday, April 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm
For the third year in a row, I'll celebrate National Poetry Month by reading poetry translations with my poet-colleagues from Goddard College's BFA program.

Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP)
Annual Conference

Minneapolis Convention Center & Hilton Minneapolis Hotel
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 through
Saturday, April 11, 2015

Word-mania arrives in Minneapolis. I will spend some of my time at the Bookfair tables for Goddard College and Hedgebrook and helping to promote my Goddard students' new literary journal, Duende. I'll also speak on two panels:

Writers Write, No Matter What: The Role of the Writing
Prompt in the (Elementary to Post-Graduate) Classroom
and Beyond

with Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Sejal Shah and Anastacia Tolbert
4:30 to 5:45 pm, Thursday, April 9, 2015
Minneapolis Convention Center,
Auditorium Room 3, Level 1

Writers of poetry, fiction, essay and memoir will share favorite writing prompts. Each panelist—representing Cave Canem, Kundiman, or Macondo—will offer specific pedagogical strategies and learning outcomes for their writing prompts. Audience members will add a favorite writing prompt to a collective basket and later receive the entire collection via email. We will begin and end this generative session with writing exercises that build upon each other and offer an extensive bibliography.

Byte by Byte: Teaching Creative Writing Online
with Cass Dalglish, Athena Kildegaard, Kate Kysar, LouAnn Muhm
3:00 to 4:15 pm, Saturday, April 11, 2015
Minneapolis Convention Center,
Room 200 H&I, Level 2
Five writers – who teach online in a public university, a community college AFA, an arts nonprofit, and in private BFA and MFA low-residency programs – offer a candid and guided tour of the online creative writing classroom. Stops on the circuit: cleaning out the correspondence course feel; using technology for web-based fine arts studios and readers’ salons; maintaining trust, establishing community, setting boundaries; and nourishing creativity and improvisation. Ample audience engagement.

Reading with Maggie Messitt, in conversation with Kristen Young
Elliott Bay Book Company
Capitol Hill neighborhood
1521 Tenth Avenue
Seattle WA 98122
Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 7:00 pm

It's always an honor and a delight to take the podium at my beloved hometown Elliott Bay Book Company! It's been three years since my last Elliott Bay reading; this time brilliant nonfiction writer Maggie Messitt has asked me to share the stage as she debuts her new book The Rainy Season. A writer from my neighborhood, Kristen Millares Young, will faciliate our conversation.

"Talking Pages"
Historic Shell Station
232 Front Street
Issaquah, Washington
Tuesday, June 16, 2015 at 7:00 pm

I will be sharing the stage with Theo Nestor as the feadtured reader for this nonfiction edition of Eastside Writes' monthly "Talking Pages" open mic.

"You Are Here: Create a Sense of Place on the Page "
Port Townsend Writers' Conference
Centrum, Port Townsend, Washington

July 13 to 17, 2015
3:30 to 5:15 pm each afternoon

When your writing has a “sense of place,” what exactly does it have? We will trace the concept of “sense of place” back more than two centuries, drawing on the ideas of anthropologists, architects, geologists, sociologists, and theologians.

Each of these five workshop sessions will include examples from literary masters, a smidge of history and theory, exploration of a particular craft element, and extensive writing exercises completed in situ. Master writers whose work will inspire us include Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, Sam Hamill, Pam Houston, Zora Neale Hurston, Stephen Kuusisto, Gary Copeland Lilley, and Luis Alberto Urrea.

Over five days, we will explore some of Fort Worden’s special places: from buildings, beaches and batteries to aquaria and artworks. Writers working at all levels and in all genres (or between them) are most welcome. Feel free to attend any number of workshops: just one, a few, or all five. An extensive resource list and bibliography will be sent to all participants.

“You Are Here” will meet in a different location at Fort Worden each day. Come dressed for the weather, ready to walk, write, and sit on the ground. Meet on the Schoolhouse steps at 3:30 pm for a group walk to each day's workshop site.

The five workshop sessions:

Sensing Place ~ With stories of the batteries’ “Cistern Chapel” as our backdrop, we’ll explore the role of sensory detail in creating a sense of place. Writing exercises will harness our corporeal senses to the practice of place-making on the page.

Living in Place ~ Inspired by the beach and the Marine Science Center, we will delve into the deep meaning of landscape: How people (re)create place and how place (re)creates people. We’ll use careful observation to develop dialogue and strong characterization.

Place and Memory ~ We will explore the site-specific poetry-sculpture installation “Memory’s Vault.” Then we’ll explore how place makes memory and memory makes place, using a series of writing prompts to unlock memories of long-ago places.

Mapping Your Place ~ Working in a Schoolhouse classroom, we’ll explore maps of Fort Worden old and new, each creating our own map of this place. Whether it’s your first visit to this peninsula we now call “Fort Worden” or your hundredth, come and explore what this place means to you—and what you mean to it. Our writing exercises will be inspired by maps that we create together.

Remaking Place ~ Gathering next to Alexander’s Castle, we’ll delve into the layers of meaning that comprise a place—both the built and natural environments. We’ll explore life at Fort Worden before 1850. Our writing exercises will explore how a place’s history (and meaning) can be revised, rewritten, and re-remembered—and how a sense of history can strengthen our writing, regardless of the topic. 

The Port Townsend Writers Conference is a ten-day wonder of literary learning, celebration, and community. I have attended many a writers' conference and this one is my favorite. Register for this fabulous conference here.

Please see my "teaching" page for information about my upcoming writing workshops.

You can read about past events here.


Listen to several radio interviews:

About editing, translation, and writing:

Shelagh Shapiro's "Write the Book," October 2014 (60 minutes)

About my book, No Word for Welcome:

KPFK, Los Angeles, June 2011 (20 minutes)

"Conversations," Seattle, July 2011 (10 minutes)

Public Radio International's "The World," Boston, August 2011 (8 minutes)

Shelagh Shapiro's "Write the Book," September 2011 (60 minutes)

Iowa Public Radio's "Exchanges," October 2011 (25 minutes)

Texas Public Radio's "Some Books Considered," January 2012
(10 minutes)

Viewpoints, February 2012
(10 minutes)

Listen to audio recordings of two of my readings here:

Seattle University,
January 2009

Jack Straw Writers Program,
Seattle, March 2008

See past events here.

Photo above: The call to assembly
in the village of Pipila, Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico, 2000. Photo courtesy of UCIZONI.
Photo to right: Mr. McElroy tells the history of his community, Monkey
Point, on the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, 2001.
Mr. McElroy