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Piper Writers Studio announces Spring 2010 classes

Piper Writers House
December 23, 2009

Want to brush up on your fiction writing so you can finish that first novel? Or get some help completing your book of essays?

All that and more will be available when the Piper Writers Studio at Arizona State University offers its spring classes beginning in February.

The Piper Writers Studio offers both in-person and online classes and workshops for writers of all levels, and each course is led by an experienced writer and teacher. All in-person classes and workshops will take place at the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus.

All of the spring classes will culminate with a reading and celebration at the Piper Writers House.

The eight-week classes will meet Monday evenings at the Piper Writers House, while one-day workshops will take place Saturday, Feb. 20.

The schedule is:

6:30-8:30 p.m., Mondays
Piper Writers House, ASU Tempe Campus
Cost: $400/$360 for Piper Friends members

"Ekphrasis: Conversation Among Arts"
Instructor: Mark Haunschild
Course Description: In this class we’ll create art about art – specifically, we’ll write poems in response to art in the local Phoenix area. In doing so, we will join centuries of writers who have tried to better understand art and the human condition. In addition to reading and discussing contemporary poems, we’ll look at the origins of the ekphrastic tradition, from Horace to Keats (and his famous rumination on mortality in “On Seeing the Elgin Marbles”). The class will focus on generating and revising original poems. We’ll work to get the creative wheels turning, and experiment with strategies to develop drafts. Our class will also visit ASU’s Art Museum, during which time we’ll collaborate on a long poem in response to an exhibition of the class’s choice.

"Eight Weeks, Eight Elements of Story Telling"
Instructor: Mary-Rose Hayes
Course Description: This class is open to all prose writers. Whether you are already working on a novel or short story, are wondering how or whether to start, or contemplating a writing project such as a personal memoir, this course is for you. Each class will feature a discussion on a different component of story-telling. We’ll begin Week 1 with "Finding the Story," and progress through Plotting, Dialogue, Point of View and more. A short period of "free writing" will tap into inner (and perhaps hidden) wells of creativity, and a home assignment will relate to each topic of the week. The class will also include an ongoing, fully participatory look at individual manuscripts in a roundtable format. We’ll identify possible pit-falls and encourage strengths in a hands-on, supportive environment. You are encouraged to bring a manuscript to the first class. (This class will also include suggested reading.)

"Fits and Starts"
Instructor: Andrea Decker
Course Description: In this class, we'll experiment with a whole slew of ways to find inspiration and get started. You will get tips for finding stories in the world around you and exercises to put those ideas into action when your mind feels frazzled or blank. Though the emphasis will be on getting started, we will also discuss how you can tell which of your starts have the most promise and how to build on them.

ONLINE SESSIONS (Week of Feb. 15-Week of March 8)
Cost: $200/$180 for Piper Friends members
Classes will take place through ASU Blackboard. Blackboard offers tools such as discussion boards, assignment submission, voice tools and collaborative tools including chat rooms. All of the class materials are offered via the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except during ASU's scheduled maintenance window.

"Four Poems in Four Weeks"
Instructor: Sarah Vap
Course Description: Having trouble getting started or keeping at it? Often, the most difficult part of writing is putting that first word on the page. In this course we will focus on the art and craft of generating first drafts. Prompts, questions, exercises, and readings each week will work toward building new poems.

"Writing the Book of Changes"
Instructor: Vyvyane Loh
Course Description: Does your life interfere with your writing? This four week online course will focus on making writing fiction part of our lives. Through exercises and a writing log, we will work on finding space and time for a dedicated writing practice. You’ll need a copy of the I Ching (any translation) for our writing exercises. Each exercise will build on the next, with the goal of completing a draft of a short fiction by the end of the course. Suitable for new writers and writers who wish to start anew.

9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Feb. 20, (lunch included)
Piper Writers House, ASU Tempe Campus
Cost: $100/$90 for Piper Friends members

"The Path Through the Poem"
Instructor: Josh Rathkamp
Course Description: Are you looking for inspiration, motivation and some practical guidance on the craft of writing? The emphasis of this class will be on generating and developing your poems. We’ll explore strategies for transitioning from the blank page to the first line, then how to advance through that crucial middle section of a poem to its closure. Finally, you will leave with some concrete ideas to get you started at the beginning again. Come for encouragement, advice, and a chance to meet like-minded writers in the historic Piper Writers House. You will have a chance to develop and share your own work while learning from others.

"Say What?"
Instructor: Andrea Decker
Course Description: Dialogue can be the trickiest part of writing short fiction. How do you get it to sound natural, unforced and yet have it convey the information you need your reader to understand? We will read many examples and evaluate which work best, and why. We'll draw on theatre and improv exercises to get up out of our seats and practice creating dialogue on the spot, and we'll do hands-on writing exercises to improve our own dialogue.

"From Ordinary to Extraordinary"
Instructor: Tania Katan
Course Description: In this class, we’ll see how everyday incidents can be crafted into amazing personal narratives. Through writing exercises, group discussions and individualized encouragement, we’ll transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. There will be opportunities to read your writing aloud. No writing experience is necessary.

For more information, contact the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, (480) 965-6018 or