As 2015 comes to an end, readers who also would like to be writers may be interested in taking workshops to improve their skills. Here is a sampling of those that will be offered in 2016.
At Manchester Community College, English professor Steve Straight will teach English 282, a Creative Writing: Poetry class open both to beginners and experienced poets. It is a three-credit course, and tuition is $450 plus some college fees. The class will begin Jan. 27 and runs Wednesdays from 7 to 9:50 p.m. for 14 weeks, plus a "final exam" celebration at which students will read their best work. Enrollment is open until the first week of classes, but may fill before that.
Straight says he welcomes students of any age and skill, from high school age beginners to senior citizens, as well as experienced poets who enroll for the discipline of weekly writing and feedback. Classes will include discussing poems that class members have read, to gain inspiration, as well as poetry games and small group writing and feedback sessions. Students also will attend live poetry readings during three class meetings. Students may have their work published in Shapes, the MCC literary magazine. According to Straight, more than 10 of his former students have gone on to publish full-length books. Information: email@example.com and 860-512-2688.
Edwina Trentham Workshops
Edwina Trentham, a professor emeritus of English at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, still teaches creative writing and poetry courses. Trentham, a widely published and award-winning poet, was the founder of Freshwater, a national poetry journal.
Typically, she offers one-day ($100), two-part/two evening ($100 for one day or $200 for two days) and six-week workshops ($300) for eight to 12 poets, held in various locations in Connecticut, including her home in Moodus. Some workshops include public readings of participants' poems. The longer ones have out-of-class assignments, in-class exercises and aim to have students produce enough poems to begin a chapbook.
Her 2016 schedule is still being planned, but will include a workshop series in spring 2016 at the Clinton Art Gallery and a six-week summer workshop at her home, beginning in late June.
Her workshops typically include such topics as "Isn't It Always The Heart? Writing About Love"; "Don't Be Afraid Of Its Plenty: Writing About Joy"; "Original Bliss, Original Wound: Writing About Childhood"; "Writing Political Poetry"; "The Green Grass, With Its Terror Beneath: Love, Death, and the Natural World"; "A Failure To Dare: What We Lose When We Play It Safe"; "A Perpetual Possibility: Poetry Of Beginnings And Endings"; and "The Star-Eaten Blanket Of The Sky: Metaphor, Memory, and the Gifts of Form."
Trentham will conduct "Losing Heart, Finding Voice: Writing in Response to Despair," a two-part workshop on Jan. 16 and Jan. 30, from 1 to 5 p.m., but enrollment is nearly complete. To inquire about the wait list or for information on other workshops, dates, locations and enrollment availability: 860-873-1472, edwinatrentham.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writing At The Twain House
While dates and costs have not been announced, The Mark Twain House & Museum Center, 351 Farmington Ave., Hartford, will offer its popular writing classes and events again in 2016.
They will include the annual Writers Weekend, usually held in April, which offers talks and workshops on writing techniques, marketing, publicity, methods of publishing and much more, a keynote speaker and a panel discussion by famous authors or playwrights.
Writing in Mark Twain's Library, which provides individuals private time in which to work, is not a class, but offers three hours of quiet work time in Twain's own library. The next opportunity is Jan. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. The cost is $50. Reservations: 860-247-0998 or marktwainhouse.org.Series of one-day and six-week classes and workshops about writing in various genres also will be offered in 2016.
Also returning is the Royal Nonesuch Humor Writing Contest, open to adult and young adult writers of humorous essays or stories of 7,000 words or less. The first prize is $1,000. Information will be forthcoming at marktwainhouse.org.
Write Like A River
Chivas Sandage, a poet, author, editor and writing teacher who lives in the Collinsville section of Canton, has been leading workshops for more than four years. Her Write Like a River: 1-Day Retreats are held in Collinsville and Northampton, Mass., and are open to women writers who live in Connecticut or Massachusetts.
The workshops aim to deepen participants' skills and to explore new material or pursue an ongoing project with supportive and useful feedback. Writing periods stimulated by prompts will be followed by a potluck lunch and a walk, short readings and a final writing and reading period. Fees are on a sliding scale of $75, $85 and $95. Non-refundable deposits of half the fee must be made prior to the workshop.
One-day retreats will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Florence, Mass., on Jan. 9 (deposit deadline is Saturday, Jan. 2), Mar. 1, April 14 and May 12 at Writers in Progress Studio, 221 Pine St. They will be held in Collinsville on Mar. 31, April 28 and May 26 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (location information will be sent to enrollees). Information: writelikeariver.com or email@example.com.