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Emilie Menzel



"Space Jam"

July 2019

In this workshop, we’ll explore the many spaces of writing, both those we build and those we inhabit.


We’ll talk about space as in story setting. We’ll discuss writers as architects, constructing language spaces into which readers must crawl. We’ll discuss world building—constructing rules and landscapes on which your stories will play out. We’ll talk about establishing tone and atmosphere of an environment through word choice and description. 


We’ll talk about space as in the physical space writing occupies on the page. We’ll discuss ways of writing with awareness of the spatial form you are constructing for your reader, particularly with poetry. We’ll consider ways to present our writing in visual forms (collage, mobiles, maps, more) as well as written forms and observe how this transformation alters the impact of the work. We’ll talk about ekphrasis and writing that responds to visual objects.  


We’ll talk about space as in how much we take up space. We’ll consider how much space we currently allow ourselves to occupy in our writing content and style. How much are we quieting our message? How are we catering to fear about what writing is supposed to be? How can we practice being bolder? We’ll also practice taking up space when reading our work, ways of presenting.


We’ll talk about space as in the environments in which we write. How can we set up our writing spaces to best help us produce work? What work environments do others use and can we borrow from them? How can we sustain creative practice as busy students? How can we build writing community?


We will write prose, poetry, and all the wonderful in-between. We will learn to discuss craft and readings as writers and begin to develop a vocabulary to accompany such conversations. We will venture into ways of sharing writing and navigate effectively commenting on one another's’ writing in such vulnerable environments. We will plan for how to sustain writing practice, enthusiasm, and community post-JIYW.

Course Instructor, High Schoolers

1 section, 12 students

—Full responsibility for course design, pedagogical approach, lecturing, leading discussions, and lesson planning



"A field trip to the Emily Dickinson House: Collecting for Writers"

July 2019


Course Co-Instructor, High Schoolers

1 section, 30 students

In this session, we will talk about writers as collectors, and writers as careful observers cultivating relationships with objects / plants / creatures. We will read example writing from Emily Dickinson, Edward Gorey, Annie Dillard, Joanne Kyger, Pablo Neruda, and more. Participants will have brought a portable object to our session on Wednesday morning; they will make collaborative collections using objects by placing them in various arrangements!; and record observations about collections & imagine a story about the person who collects each category/type. During our visit to the museum, participants will collect observations, drawings, notes, research, etc. about one specific thing to which they are drawn.

—Full responsibility for craft session design, pedagogical approach, and lecture

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