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Spring Conference Faculty Spotlight: Steve Cushman

We’re excited to have Steve Cushman lead the class Story In Verse: Writing the Narrative Poem and host a Lunch with an Author session at this year’s NCWN Spring Conference on April 20 in Greensboro.

Cushman is the author of three novels, Portisville, which won the 2004 Novello Literary Award; Heart With Joy; and Hopscotch. He has also published a short story collection and two poetry chapbooks. Cushman’s first full-length poetry collection, How Birds Fly, won the 2018 Lena Shull Book Award and his latest collection, The Last Time, was published in 2023. He lives in Greensboro with his family.

We recently asked Cushman about what he’s reading, how he spends his free time, what registrants can expect from his class at the Spring Conference, and what local spots he recommends checking out in Greensboro.

NCWN: What are you currently reading?

SC: Florida by Lauren Groff.

NCWN: What is one book by a North Carolina author you love?

SC: The Tyranny of Questions by Michael Gaspeny. This is a novella-in-verse about a housewife in the 60s. While not set in North Carolina, this is an unforgettable book.

NCWN: Beyond writing and reading, how do you spend your free time? What are your hobbies? 

SC: Working full time and writing takes up most of my time, but my family of three loves to spend time outside hiking and biking. Once spring hits, you’ll probably find me at the Greensboro Grasshopper’s (local minor league baseball team) stadium.

NCWN: What can participants expect from your class at the NCWN Spring Conference?

SC: An introduction to narrative poetry and what makes it, to me, the most exciting form of poetry. Coming from a fiction background, I’m a firm believer that story and characters are important to all writing. We’ll read a handful of narrative poems and start writing some of our own.  

NCWN: What’s one thing you hope attendees will take away from your class at the NCWN Spring Conference?

SC: A greater appreciation for narrative poetry, even if it’s not a form of poetry you normally write. Sometimes adding elements of fiction, such as character and plot, can push your poem to the next level.

NCWN: What local spots would you recommend checking out to conference attendees visiting the Greensboro area for the first time?

SC: Tate Street Coffee and the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, both of which are on, or adjacent to, UNCG’s campus. Then there’s Scuppernong Books downtown, maybe two miles from campus, which is a true treasure and not to be missed.

There is still time to sign up for “Story In Verse: Writing the Narrative Poem” and Lunch with Steve Cushman at the 2024 Spring Conference. Register today to join us!

Story In Verse: Writing the Narrative Poem

Whether a short ballad or a giant epic, a narrative poem tells a story, employing character, setting, plot, and other prose fiction devices. In this class, we’ll take a look at the specific craft of narrative poetry by reading classic and contemporary examples and, through prompts and exercises, begin writing some of our own.