GREENSBORO, NC—University of North Carolina at Greensboro associate director Terry Kennedy recently dubbed this the “golden age” for publishing. But more publishing opportunity means more competition, so authors also need to be entrepreneurial in their approach. None more so than poets, who need to establish platforms in order to gain name recognition, nurture their readership, and sell books—one reader at a time.
The North Carolina Writers’ Network 2013 Spring Conference offers two poetry workshops and two workshops focused on the business of publishing—can’t miss offerings for those writers looking to earn a living doing what they love.
John Rybicki will lead a workshop titled "The Risks of Writing Poetry." Poetry writing is about risk. None of us can compose a potent poem with a block of ice in our chest. In that respect, Rybicki will be urging students in this class to walk on water and run with scissors; to say what it is a heart is burning to say. After some introductory flame throwing (inspiration) and some perusing of the nuances of craft, students will write a prose poem centered around one core person in their lives. Your father or mother will be a stranger to us before you write him/her into existence. By the end of your poem we will come to know them as a warm-blooded, three dimensional being. Don't worry about reaching some pinnacle of expression in a first draft. We all fail lavishly in our attempts to translate into higher language something core about the human condition. Students who wish to will share their work out loud at the end of class.
In the afternoon, Carolyn Beard Whitlow will lead a poetry session titled "Writing in Circles: Repeating Sounds, Words, and Refrains in Poetry." The ocean repeats its rhythmic waves. Birds repeat their trill. Chants are based on sounds rhythmically repeated. Repetition can be soothing or hypnotic. Or emphatic. Nursery rhymes and jingles depend on the repetition of sounds, most often rhyme. Sonnets most often rhyme. Other poetic forms, however, depend not only on rhyme, but on patterns of repeating words or lines that may not rhyme. The sestina form is based on six unrhymed words that repeat six times—no, really seven. The villanelle depends on two refrains that repeat alternately. Come learn how to create a villanelle and a sestina that repeat lines or words in entrancing and exciting ways. Even if you write free verse, you’ll learn the effect of melodic repetition.
Two additional workshops will focus on the business of publishing.
In the am session, Scott Nicholson will facilitate a workshop titled “Introduction to Digital Self-Publishing.” The Kindle and other devices have changed the way writers and readers connect. Learn the basic methods and platforms for getting your ebooks to a worldwide audience, as well as the advantages and risks of self-publishing. International bestselling author and publisher Scott Nicholson will share his experiences and answer questions to help you enter the fastest-growing market in literature.
And in the afternoon, Terry Kennedy and Ross White will co-coordinate a workshop titled “Authors as Entrepreneurs.” With the business models of traditional publishing changing, authors are increasingly being asked to act entrepreneurially. While many authors choose to do this by concentrating on marketing their work, an increasing number are developing new models of creative businesses and services that contribute to the literary community and develop a personal brand. In this session, two arts entrepreneurs will look at several small businesses developed by writers and discuss best practices for starting businesses that benefit both the individual writer and the larger literary community.
John Rybicki was born and raised in Detroit. He is the author of three poetry collections: We Bed Down into Water, Traveling at High Speeds, and When All the World Is Old, published by Lookout Books in 2012. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Ecotone, and Bomb, among many others, and have been reprinted in Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize. He teaches poetry writing through InsideOut Literary Arts Project and Wings of Hope Hospice to children who have been through a trauma or loss. He lives in Augusta, Michigan, with his son, Martell.
Carolyn Beard Whitlow is Dana Professor of English at Guilford College, where she has taught Creative Writing and African American Literature since 1993. Finalist for the 1991 Barnard New Women Poets Prize and the 2005 Ohio State University Poetry Prize, she completed the MFA at Brown University, then published her first poetry collection, Wild Meat, in 1986. Her most recent book, Vanished, won the 2006 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, and she was awarded the 2012 Sonia Sanchez/Amiri Baraka Prize in Poetry. She co-edited, with Marilyn Krysl, the anthology Obsession: Sestinas for the 21st Century, now under consideration for publication. Whitlow is also a visual artist and quilter whose work can be found at http://colorquiltsbycarolyn.squarespace.com/.
Scott Nicholson is the international bestselling author of more than thirty books. He released six mass-market paperbacks before becoming a self-publisher, and has since hit the Kindle Top 100 multiple times in four different countries. Nicholson has also written children’s books, poetry, comic books, and screenplays, and as a journalist he won three North Carolina Press Association awards. His website is www.hauntedcomputer.com.
Terry Kennedy is the Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at UNC Greensboro where he teaches courses in Entrepreneurship and Literary Publishing and serves as Associate Editor of The Greensboro Review. In addition, he edits the online journal, storySouth.
Ross White is the Executive Director of Bull City Press, a Durham-based small press dedicated to poetry and short fiction. He teaches poetry writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, where he is the Dean of Distance Education. His poetry and criticism has appeared in Best New Poets 2012, Salon.com, Poetry Daily, and others.
For more information, or to register for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2013 Spring Conference, visit www.ncwriters.org or call 336-293-8844.
The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development.