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SCSU offers summer creative writing course in poetry and fiction

The SCSU English department will be offering the “Mississippi River Creative Writing Workshop in Poetry and Fiction” this summer as an undergraduate and graduate level course. The workshop will consist of creative writing exercises, peer review, and talks by visiting authors. It is open to all students regardless of major. No prior writing experience is necessary.

Students may write in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or any other creative way in this workshop.

The workshop boasts four professional writers who will talk to students, provide question and answer sessions, and conduct writing exercises.

Margaret Hasse, one of the visiting authors, has written two award-winning books of poetry. She will be talking to students about memory and its relationship to writing.

Marya Hornbacher, who presents every year at the workshop, has written two memoirs that reached the New York Times bestsellers list. Critics have called her work “A jewel of emotional authenticity.”  This will be her third year speaking to the workshop.

“Bill (event facilitator and SCSU English professor) knows technique so well, and students get to practice those very technical aspects of writing as well as the philosophical aspects of writing.  They get a really well rounded picture of why they want to write, how they want to write, and how to do it,” Hornbacher explained. She will discuss with students the process of writing non-fiction.

Thomas Maltman, whose historical novel “The Night Birds” won multiple awards, will discuss the visualization and sensual imagery. John Minczeski, another visiting writer, will discuss poetry and imagery. He authored two award-winning books of poetry.

“Authors love to come. They really praise the workshop. Oftentimes they ask me if they can come,” Bill Meissner, professor of English and creative writing and facilitator of the event, said. “(The authors are) very personable people, too. They don’t just lecture, they talk with the group.”

Professor Meissner, who has been facilitating the workshop since the 1980s, is also a well established author. His novel “Spirits in the Grass” won the 2008 Midwest Book Award. He is also the author of four books of poetry and two short story collections.

The workshop is designed for a general audience. Students, teachers, and members of the community all participate in the workshop. It is designed for general interest in creative writing, according to professor Meissner.

“It’s awesome to be able to meet authors, not only for creative inspiration, but also to learn about the writing process. It’s a great opportunity for people regardless of their major,” said senior English student Anne Johnson, who will be attending the workshop this year.

The workshop runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Tuesday, Mary 24 through Friday May 27. It is worth two credits, and operates on a pass/fail grading system. The course can be found under ENGL 445/545. Students of all skill levels are encouraged to sign up for the course

“It’s a fabulous chance to meet authors firsthand, and to hear how they work, their process in writing, and toward publishing a book,” professor Meissner explained. “The experience is invaluable for students interested in creative writing.”



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