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Larksong Writers Place

 

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Mind Music: Writing the Lyric Essay

Amy Hassinger
November 2021

Wander around the big tent of creative nonfiction long enough, and you’ll come across the lyric essay, a hybrid form that blends the musical and imagistic impulses of poetry with the wide-ranging subject matter and sentence-based rhythms of prose. Lyric essays tend to move through their material associatively, rather than narratively, weaving a whole fabric of meaning from the disparate threads of memories, facts, ideas, obsessions, and images that can so easily tangle up our minds. For this reason, they seem particularly well-matched to our information-soaked age. 

Rekindle Your Inner Fire: A Generative Creative Writing Workshop

Lucy Adkins & Becky Breed
October 2021

Want to rekindle your creative fire? Get your writerly magic going again? This generative creative writing workshop will help you do just that. We all need inspiration and sometimes a little nudge from time to time to keep us on the creative path. Through a series of writing exercises and reflective practices, we’ll explore what each of us can do to unleash our writing potential and do our best work. Whatever you write, plan to learn more ways to tap into your creative abilities, put a little more zing into every piece,  and go home each session with the beginnings of two or three new poems, essays, or stories.

Rediscovering Your Story

Steve Edwards
October 2021

Sometimes we know ourselves too well. We become so familiar with our own lives that our stories of them seem stale and ordinary; we take for granted the memorable things we have seen and done; we forget that to a reader who doesn’t know us we have lived fascinating lives worthy of examination. This course is about rediscovering—and reimagining—the stories we have to tell. Through a series of writing prompts designed to stoke our memories and remind us of who we are and get us talking, students will gain practice with the basics of storytelling while also getting reacquainted with why storytelling matters. Each class will involve a mini-lesson about a craft element of nonfiction related to the week’s prompt, the sharing of our own writing, and discussion (which will involve telling stories as a way of generating ideas, talking about next steps for editing/revising what we have written, and any questions of interest that arise from our work together.) The goal of the course is to open our minds to the stories that are ours to tell.

Are Your Writing About Your Mother Again? Formal Poetry to Tame the Demons of Obsession

Maria Nazos
September - October 2021

Why do we return to themes and people in our poems? How can we make these obsessions work in our favor? Poetry has always been the language of urgency; formal devices, including the pantoum, are a powerful way to step out of our comfort zone and into our fevered frenzy. Throughout this class, we’ll ask ourselves: What happens on the page when we tame our hungers, urges, and thirsts through formal devices?  

The Loess Hills: A Place-Based Writing Workshop

Kelly Madigan
August - September 2021

From the Black Angel statue in Council Bluffs, to a cave in Sergeant Bluff, to a lighted star on a bluff in Turin, to a young female cougar with a radio collar, a long-lost uncle with a steep driveway, a badger letting you know to back off, a voice heard in the night, the view from a turkey blind, or a miraculous harvest of morel mushrooms, the Loess Hills are alive with stories. Using a variety of examples, prompts and exercises, we will explore the hills creatively, crafting poems, stories and short memoir that reflect the unusual terrain and the experiences held there. Participants will be invited (but not required) to share a sample of their completed work at a Loess Hills Writers event.

And the Beat Goes On – A Writing Workshop with Universal Intentions

Barbara Schmitz
August 2021

Time in this workshop will be spent thinking and writing about joy, belief, awareness, purpose, death and beyond. Slightly influenced by poets and writers of the Beat Generation, this workshop will offer opportunities for each participant to explore personal connections to universal themes. Writing samples from Raymond Carver, Robert Boswell, Lawrence Raab, Barbara Schmitz, Natalie Goldberg, Louise Gluck, Jack Kerouac and others will be presented. Class time will strike a balance between readings, discussions, sharing, and, of course, writing new material. 

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Follow the Coyote

Kelly Madigan
June-July 2021

Coyote, industrious scavenger and alert opportunist, has much to show us about creative writing. Deeply revered by some and equally despised by others, who knows more about dealing with critics, or finding a way when the way appears blocked? We will learn more about this remarkable animal and use coyote wisdom to launch writing that is surprising, ingenious, and durable. This is a generative workshop, where we will be producing new drafts together each week, guided by exercises that make it easy to get started.  We will also be visited by local and national experts for educational components about coyote behavior and the need for good practices to achieve coexistence.

This workshop is part of the The LoHi Series, writing workshops that utilize the Loess Hills and their inhabitants as inspiration for writing that is deeply connected to the natural world.

 


 

 

Make Your Readers Sit Up and Take Notice

Lucy Adkins
March-April 2021

Want to take your writing to the next level? This five-week intensive workshop designed for fiction and memoir writers will help you do just that. We’ll look at basic narrative elements such as dialogue, point of view, scene vs. summary, interiority, use of the significant detail, and more. And by study of accomplished writers and in-class writing exercises, learn to master these elements of the craft, and write to keep readers turning the pages. You will also have an opportunity to discuss the ups and downs of the writing life, have a little fun, and receive kind and constructive feedback on your work.

“The work that is being undertaken at Larksong is remarkable! My experience was truly exceptional and I have taken many online workshops. The environment was replete with writers who felt comfortable presenting and talking about their writing. Lucy Adkins is a gem of an instructor and has a wealth of knowledge. I highly recommend Larksong to beginning or experienced writers. Something to be gained by everyone.” Linda Y.

 


 

 

How Can It Be A Poem If It Doesn’t Rhyme? A Celebration of Poetry with Marjorie Saiser

April 2021
Marjorie Saiser

Kick off Poetry Month with Marjorie Saiser, the author of seven award-winning books and one of Nebraska’s most beloved poets. Marjorie will recite some of her favorite poems – both her own and others - and talk about what makes them poetry. An educational and entertaining way to dive into April’s celebration of poetry! The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session moderated by Karen Gettert Shoemaker.

 


 

 

Long Story Short: A Micro-memoir Workshop

Patricia Henley
March 2021

If you want to write a memoir but don’t know where to begin, this workshop is for you. We will excavate your most memorable biographical events and write short lyric essays distilling those memories into one to five pages. We will also take the time to read and discuss examples of micro-memoir, and discuss possible places to submit.

“I loved working with Patricia. The examples she used were thought provoking and helpful.” Lea P.

“An excellent introduction to the micro-memoir format for personal essays.” Herbert D.

 


 

 

What’s “I” Got To Do With It:Writing Beyond the Personal

Grace Bauer
February 2021

Portraits. Personas. Epistles. Ekphrasis. And more. This workshop will explore possibilities for writing poems that go beyond speaking in the writer’s personal voice. While many wonderful poems have been written (and will continue to be written) in that traditional lyric style, trying approaches that go beyond speaking in what we might think of as “our own voice” can expand the range of that voice, open up a world of subject matter(s), and new ways of making poems.

“Another excellent offering from Larksong! The instructor was an accomplished teacher. I came away with excellent prompts for future application and helpful feedback.” Kathy J.

“It was a great workshop experience for me, in all aspects. The content was appropriate for the time we had and it was highly educational. I felt great about what I got out of the few hours of this workshop.” Herbert D.

 


 

 

So You Want to Find a Writers’ Group: A Best Practices Workshop

Karen Gettert Shoemaker
February 2021

There comes a point in most writers’ lives where the page gets just a little too lonely and we want to connect with other writers. Picture us, blinking in the bright light of day as we search for a partner or a group we can trust with our small creative flames. Like the little duckling in the children’s tale “Are you my mother?” we’re too often as likely to find a kitten, a cow, or a Snort as we are our mother. Maybe there’s a way to increase our chances at the outset to find the ones who can nurture us and listen carefully to our stories. This two-hour workshop will discuss the best practices to finding, and more importantly, maintaining a productive, nurturing workshop that fits your needs. 

 


 

 

The Loess Hills: A Place-Based Writing Workshop

Kelly Madigan
January-February 2021

From the Black Angel statue in Council Bluffs, to a cave in Sergeant Bluff, to a lighted star on a bluff in Turin, to a young female cougar with a radio collar, a long-lost uncle with a steep driveway, a badger letting you know to back off, a voice heard in the night, the view from a turkey blind, or a miraculous harvest of morel mushrooms, the Loess Hills are alive with stories. Using a variety of examples, prompts and exercises, we will explore the hills creatively, crafting poems, stories and short memoir that reflect the unusual terrain and the experiences held there. Participants will be invited (but not required) to share a sample of their completed work at a Loess Hills Writers event.

This workshop is brought to you by The LoHi Trail, a network of people coming together to explore a sustainable, long distance walking route through the Loess Hills, combined with ideas and enthusiasm for preservation of the steep slopes and fragile ecosystem. We recognize that there is also a trail of stories.

“Working with Kelly revived me as a writer. She holds space with honesty and compassion, and she guides writing and discussion with thought-provoking insight. As someone seasoned in writing workshops, I can say with certainty Kelly’s are among the best being offered!”

“Kelly Madigan brings a genuine sense of joy to her writers workshops. She is a distinguished poet and author, and her experience and her ear for language are important, to be sure. But her greatest asset is in “team building.” The members of the workshop were genuinely excited over one another’s progress. No ‘writer’s block’ when Kelly makes it all so damn much fun!”

 


 

 

Jump-Start Your Creative Writing

Twyla M. Hansen
January 2021

Creative writing is a process that thrives on practice. This writing workshop focuses on the creative writing process for poems and short prose, and tools for jump-starting this process. Twyla will use readings of her own and others’ writing— along with prompts, guided writing exercises, and assignments— to create an interactive and supportive workshop. Through these exercises, participants will retrieve their own and others’ experiences to generate new writing that can be shaped into poems, essays, or stories.

“Twyla was a great workshop leader. I enjoyed her readings, writing tips, and writing exercises. I also enjoyed hearing from the other participants whether it was something about writing or reading from something written.” Kate C.

“I loved all the writing prompts and ideas for unlocking my memories and making my writing come alive, Also loved the reading selections and hearing the other folks in the class read their work and talk about their writing.” Gwendolyn M.

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Larksong is committed to supporting both the writers who come to us for instruction and the writers who come to us to teach. We keep our class fees low, offer free programming, and pay our instructors. Please consider supporting our mission by making a donation.