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Laura Kasischke, Co-director, Story/Poem/Memoir/Novel

Laura Kasischke has published ten collections of poetry and eleven novels and other works of fiction. She has been the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry, the Rilke Award, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has been translated and anthologized widely, and three of her novels have been made into feature-length films. She teaches in the Helen Zell Writing Program, the Residential College, and the English Department at the University of Michigan, where she is the Theodore Roethke Distinguished University Professor. She was a faculty member at the first Bear River Writers' Conference, and has remained devoted to it ever since.




What we almost know is what (and where) we might find our next story/poem/memoir/novel inspiration. In this workshop we will experiment with exercises, prompts, and processes that will help us dive down to the places where what we almost consciously know, to what our subconscious wells have been holding all along. The well knows. By writing swiftly, without self-imposed censorship, with a focus on process rather than product, we’ll dip the bucket deeply enough into that well to bring back what we didn’t quite know, and didn’t realize we could write, or wanted or needed to write, and perhaps we never suspected we were always meant to write, in order to generate the raw material with which we might be able to move into the revision and shaping process that leads to the best writing of our lives! Come with a willingness to privilege process over product, and be ready to share your beginnings, your efforts and attempts, your half-starts and imaginative ramblings with a group of others sharing this adventure. My hope for this workshop is that we’ll leave it with much new material to consider and to refine in the coming months and years, along with a renewed and/or strengthened sense of the immense and, perhaps, as-yet-untapped resources these (as we feel comfortable) with one another. We’ll also leave each workshop with some homework we might bring to each next meeting for feedback. We’ll take risks and support one another. We’ll know more about ourselves as writers and our potential, and we’ll learn more about what inspires our best writing by the end of the conference than we almost knew before we began this writing journey together.