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Poetry, Prose & Arts FestivaL
Keynote Address & Workshops

This year we offer a selection of 20 workshops in poetry and prose for all ages. Youth workshops are for ages 5 to 12, teen workshops are for ages 13 to 19 and adult workshops are for ages 20 and older. Workshops will take place on Saturday, March 26, 2011 and Sunday, March 27, 2011.

Early registration for workshops is prior to February 15, 2011 (postmark); late registration is after February 15, 2011 and prior to March 15, 2011 (postmark). Register early – enrollment is limited. Registration will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Save money – register by Tuesday, February 15, 2011 (postmark). The only registration after March 15 will be at the door on the day of the event. For such latecomers, we will be unable to guarantee dinner at the Saturday night Banquet and Awards Ceremony.  

There are four workshop package options available:

  •  
    Firehouse Arts Center
    The Poetry, Prose & Arts Festival will be held at the new Firehouse Arts Center in historic downtown Pleasanton, CA. (Photo by David Wakely.)
    Package 1: Full-Weekend Schedule
  • Package 2: Saturday-Only Schedule
  • Package 3: Sunday-Only Schedule
  • Package 4: Sunday Youth Session

For all the information about the workshop package options and package fees, CLICK HERE.

To register for workshops, DOWNLOAD THE REGISTRATION FORM HERE, fill it out and mail it with your check or money order (payable to PCAC) to:

Poetry, Prose & Arts Festival
Attention: Michelle Russo
P.O. Box 520
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Keynote ADDRESS

Al Young, California Poet Laureate Emeritus, will be our keynote speaker. and the Presenter of two workshops. CLICK HERE to read more about Al Young or any of our workshop presenters.

 
Poetry, Prose & Arts Festival

Al Young’s Keynote Address:
Imagination and the End of the World

"Logic will get you from A to B.
Imagination will take you everywhere.
" — Albert Einstein

Al Young states, "The iconic Professor Einstein made an indelible impression on heart and mind. As a caring teenager, growing up in the McCarthy Era, I gobbled his essays, educating myself while I attended high school and university classes. There were two other ideas the great physicist and humanist uttered that took root in me: (1) 'There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle;' and (2) 'Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.' These three notions, sparked by my early immersion in Einstein's writings for lay readers, form the backbone of my keynote address. In times so dark as to make it a challenge to refute my faith-based cousins' insistence that these are the last days, that we're approaching the end of the world, I count on creative imagination – story, poetry, music, painting, film; fresh ways of reinventing the world – to save the day. And night."

Workshops

SATURDAY MORNING, 3/26/11, 10:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

 
Lisa Gentile

1. Lisa Gentile, Teen Prose
What's All the Drama About? Dramatic Writing for Teens

Dramatic writing gives life to your stories. What exactly is drama? Why do I need it? How do I create it? We will experiment with character, dialogue, themes, structure, and more to draw in your readers. Exercises will apply to poetry, fiction, stage plays, and screen plays. You will have the opportunity to draft a character sketch and brainstorm the drama that awaits your protagonist.

 
Susan Wooldridge

2. Susan Wooldridge, Adult/Teen Poetry
Write Crazy Love Poems

We’ll gather words and play with our ideas of love, and how we can extend it in our writing to ourselves, our partners, the universe, the trees. We’ll play with imagery and metaphor to touch on self, the “other” (you as dragonfly, etc), courage, heartbreak and vulnerability. We will do this wildly,
with what I like to call “controlled abandon.”

 
David Alpaugh

3. David Alpaugh, Adult Poetry
How to Make Your Poetry Publishable

What does "publishable" mean and how does it vary with different editors? This workshop will help you design a personal strategy so you can submit with maximum oomph. The "Top Ten Problems" that lead to rejection will be discussed and "publishable" versus "near miss" poems provided. Other issues will include journal selection, on-line versus hard-copy cover letters, tracking methods, submission etiquette, handling rejection, and more.

 
Adair Lara

4. Adair Lara, Adult Prose
The Secret to Writing a Successful Memoir

This lively workshop is an overview of the course that has launched hundreds of writers' careers. You will learn to identify the elements that make a personal experience compelling to a reader: arc, vivid detail, scenes, the importance of voice. You should emerge with a clear idea of exactly how to write that long-dreamed-of book (or essay).

 
Adair Lara

5. Lewis Buzbee, Adult/Teen Prose Fiction

Lewis Buzbee, colleague of Nina Schuyler, and also popular instructor in the M.F.A. Writing Program at the University of San Francisco with her, will stand in for Mrs. Schuyler who has been ordered to bed rest during her pregnancy. Novelist Lewis Buzbee will teach the workshop as described below. He has offered workshops for the Festival in the past for us and was invited to stand in for Mrs. Schuyler after close collaboration with her. For detailed information on Mr. Buzbee, please SEE HIS BIOGRAPHY among our list of presenters on this website. His biography appears right after hers.

 
Nina Schuyler
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Nina Schuyler, Adult/Teen Prose Fiction
The Power of Imagery

Images invoke not only an emotional response from the reader, but stir up associations that are not explicit on the page. They also underscore the tensions of literal events or create tensions that counter the literal tension. In this workshop, we"ll explore the power of images, and how they bring more to the page than the literal text. We will look at examples from published work, and using creative exercises, you will generate your own passages, beginning with an image.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON, 3/26/11, 2:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

 
Lisa Gentile

6. Lisa Gentile, Adult/Teen Prose
Gained in Translation: Screenwriting

Film gives the writer special opportunities for storytelling. Making use of them is where the fun begins. We will explore spines, scene structure, compression, composition, and imagery. You will outline and study a short screenplay of your own. You will also come away with a basic understanding of the various types of scripts, how to format, the "rules," and what you might want to do about those rules.

 
Susan Wooldridge

7. Susan Wooldridge, Adult/Teen Poetry
Soul Says

We'll explore "that inward eye" Wordsworth wrote about and practice listening within to find ways to bring more depth to our writing. We'll gather words and develop imagery and metaphor to encourage our hearts and souls to speak. We will do this playfully.

 
Al Young

8. Al Young, Adult Poetry
Just You, Just Me: Writing to the Listening Reader

When we tell a story orally, we automatically adjust the tone, voice, and descriptive details for real-time listeners, literally shaping our stories in the interest of whoever happens to be sitting before us. Thus, to most, storytelling comes naturally while writing does not. But a writer isn’t speaking or singing into an anonymous void. Voice, tone, theme, meaning, dramatic strategy all kick in and come to life when writers stop muttering and start speaking directly to the listening reader.

 
Adair Lara

9. Adair Lara, Adult Prose
The Secret to Writing a Successful Memoir

This lively workshop is an overview of the course that has launched hundreds of writers' careers. You will learn to identify the elements that make a personal experience compelling to a reader: arc, vivid detail, scenes, the importance of voice. You should emerge with a clear idea of exactly how to write that long-dreamed-of book (or essay).

 
Adair Lara

10. Lewis Buzbee, Adult/Teen Prose Fiction

Lewis Buzbee, colleague of Nina Schuyler, and also popular instructor in the M.F.A. Writing Program at the University of San Francisco with her, will stand in for Mrs. Schuyler who has been ordered to bed rest during her pregnancy. Novelist Lewis Buzbee will teach the workshop as described below. He has offered workshops for the Festival in the past for us and was invited to stand in for Mrs. Schuyler after close collaboration with her. For detailed information on Mr. Buzbee, please SEE HIS BIOGRAPHY among our list of presenters on this website. His biography appears right after hers.

 
Nina Schuyler

Nina Schuyler, Adult/Teen Prose Fiction
Deepening your Characters

Character is in the foreground of all fiction. Within the first few pages of your novel or story, readers need to be emotionally engaged with your characters. As Janet Burroway says, the central characters should contain enough conflict and contradiction so that we recognize them as belonging to the human race; and they should be capable of change. In this workshop, we will do many writing exercises to deepen and "humanize" your characters. The work generated from these exercises is designed to fold right into your work-in-progress, whether it be a novel, short story or nonfiction piece.

SUNDAY MORNING, 3/27/11, 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 noon

 
Connie Post

11. Connie Post, Teen Poetry
Writing Poems About "Here and Now"

This workshop will focus on how to take the details from our daily lives, extract these details, and create meaningful poetry. Effective use of metaphor and imagery will be a part of the class. An examination of contemporary work will be included as well as prompts and writing exercises. Students are encouraged to bring a few thoughts or ideas about their daily lives as a foundation to work from.

 
Julia Connor
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12. Julia Connor, Adult Poetry
The Telling Words

This is a hands-on writing workshop in which we will endeavor to give our imagination voice by exploring the power that lay silent inside the simplest of things while discovering the way such a telling connects us, not only to the stories of our own pasts but also to what Erza Pound called "the tale of the tribe." Open to all levels of experience.

 
Al Young

13. Al Young, Adult Poetry: Re-Imagining the Self:
Letting Go of the Ego-Writer-Voice

As its title suggests, this workshop devotes itself to exercises and techniques that nudge the writer to imagine, create, invent, sympathize, empathize and "make stuff up," rather than grimly grind along in the rusting voice of the confessional mode. That the "I" is a fiction ought to be a crucial premise to storytellers and poets at every stage of development. For a couple of hours you will be nudged to actually imagine how it feels to occupy the skin or psyche or consciousness of what we falsely regard as the other: some living presence beyond the egowriter-self.

 
Kathryn Reiss

14. Kathryn Reiss, Adult/Teen Prose Fiction
Plotting Your Novel

You've always intended to write a novel, and you have some fantastic ideas. Maybe you've even written a few pages – or a few chapters. But somehow you always get bogged down, and the story just never
gets finished . . . What you need is a map for your journey. In our workshop on plotting, we will examine the structure of the novel and pinpoint the component parts that are necessary for the structure to stand. You'll produce an outline for a complete novel. You don't need to have a story in mind when you come to the workshop. The technique I teach for developing a workable plot can be used again and again in future stories. Bring a notebook and pen or pencil to the class, or a laptop if you prefer.

 
Lee Rossi

15. Lee Rossi, Adult/Teen Prose Non-Fiction
From Journal to Which Genre?

For generations a journal has been the place where writers stash their ideas, dreams, favorite quotations, interesting images, snatches of conversation, and whatever else strikes their fancy. If you don't have one (you don't have one?!), rush right out and buy one. Participants are invited to bring their journals into the workshop. We will explore strategies for expanding journal entries into finished products.

SUNDAY AFTERNOON, 3/27/11, 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

 
Julia Connor

16. Julia Connor, Adult/Teen Poetry:
Calisthenics for Poets

A hands-on exploration of a series of exercises designed to uncover (1) the poetic possibility hidden inside simple didactic statement; (2) exercises useful to engender our work when inspiration is absent; (3) an examination of ways to expand the meaning and scope of our poetry through incorporation of historical or current events. Open to all levels of experience.

 
Kim Rosen

17. Kim Rosen, Adult/Teen Poetry/Prose Performance
Giving Voice: The Power of the Spoken Word

What does it take to read your work (or anyone else's) aloud with authenticity and presence? Kim Rosen is passionate about the power of words, spoken aloud, to transform both reader and listener. Her book, Saved by a Poem, is an exploration of the embodied word and how it can awaken, inspire and heal. In this workshop, all ages and genres are welcome – writers and non-writers, poetry and prose. Bring a paragraph or a poem to read aloud – either from your own work or that of someone else.

 
Kathryn Reiss
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18. Kathryn Reiss, Adult/Teen Prose Fiction
Crafting Suspense Fiction

You like reading murder mysteries, or ghost stories, or edge-of-the-seat thrillers, and you want to write the same. But how do good writers get that ‘prickle’ at the back of their readers' necks? In this workshop we'll look at the elements of good, creepy stories, and examine techniques that will work in your own fiction. Bring a notebook and pen or pencil to the class, or a laptop if you prefer, and be prepared to practice crafting your own shivery tales!

 
Lee Rossi

19. Lee Rossi, Adult/Teen Non-Fiction Prose:
In Dreams Begin . . .

For those stuck in the mud of habit or hesitation, the dream journal offers an opportunity to free their imagination and get it back on the high road of creativity. Using prompts, cribs, and theft, we will enter more deeply into the mysterious, hidden world of the unconscious.

 
Alison Luterman

20. Alison Luterman, Youth Poetry (Ages 5-11):
Magic Spells

Working from Ana Blandiana’s poem, "Magic Spell of Rain," we will create poems that invoke rain, sun, beauty, strength, luck, peace, healing the planet and other desirable things. We will talk about and play with the magic of words, exploring incantation, repetition, refrain, and other musical qualities of the language. Students from non-English-speaking backgrounds are very welcome.

Poetry & Prose Contest Judges

Contests Chair: Deborah Grossman
Contest Judge, Adult and Teen Poetry: Tobey Kaplan
Contest Judge, Adult and Teen Fiction: Judith Rathbone
Contest Judge, Adult and Teen Non-fictionn: Jerri Long
Contest Judge, Youth Poetry: Sherry Weaver Smith 

DATES TO REMEMBER

Early Registration for Workshops: Postmarked no later than February 15, 2011.
Late Registration for Workshops: Postmarked after February 15, 2011, but by March 15, 2011.
Registration for Poetry & Prose Contests: Postmarked by February 15, 2011 (Early Registration Deadline).

CLICK HERE to read about the Keynote Speaker, Workshop PRESENTers & Judges.
CLICK HERE
to read about Contest Rules & Information.
CLICK HERE
to read about Contest, Workshop & Activity Fees.
CLICK HERE to read about the Downtown Art Workshops.
CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the POETRY, PROSE & ARTS FESTIVAL BROCHURE.

topQUESTIONS?

Contact any of the following people:
Michelle Russo: 925-931-4847 or mrusso@ci.pleasanton.ca.us.
Liz Fortini: 925-462-0490 or lizfortini@aol.com.
Dave Wright: 925-484-0614 or dawright@sbcglobal.net.