‘CREATE’ theme of 34th Annual Casper College Literary Conference

By: Lisa S. Icenogle
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The 34th Annual Casper College and ARTCORE Literary Conference titled “CREATE” will be held Thursday and Friday, April 15 and 16, 2021. The conference, known as “The Workshop Edition,” will present free workshops during the two-day event.

According to Cara Rodriguez, conference director and English instructor at Casper College, the workshops will cover fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Authors presenting at the conference are Matt Daly, Alyson Hagy, Lori Howe, and Dave Zoby.

Thursday morning, the conference will offer two workshops. Howe, author of “Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains” and “Voices at Twilight,” will present on poetry from 9 a.m. to noon. “In this three-hour workshop, participants may choose among poems by James Scott Smith, Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver, and Wendell Berry,” said Howe. Howe noted that participants would read and discuss during the first hour, followed by writing and concluding with reading and a workshop, where “substantive feedback” will be offered.

Hagy, visual and literary arts professor at the University of Wyoming, will present “Talking and Listening — How to Strengthen Dialogue in Fiction” from 9:30 a.m. to noon. “Writers tend to think of good dialogue as a snappy, focused Ping-Pong match where two or more characters share the stage equally,” said Hagy. However, Hagy will then lead participants to question, “ … what if the best dialogue in fiction is actually structured around listening rather than talking?”

That afternoon, Daly will present “Reflection and Resilience: Writing Practices for Clinicians.” Daly, author of “Between Here and Home,” is on the Jackson Hole Writers Conference’s faculty and teaches reflective and creative writing for medical professionals, educators, and others interested in the literary arts. “I will lead participants through a series of writing activities I developed and taught for the Harvard Medical School Continuing Education Program,” Daly said. According to Daly, the workshop will combine reflective and creative writing techniques to develop empathic relationships with patients. Daly’s workshop will begin at 1:30 and concludes at 4:45 p.m.

On Friday, the conference will offer four workshops. “What You Need to Know to Write a Great First Chapter for Your Novel” workshop will be led by Hagy and begin at 9:30 a.m. Hagy is the author of eight books, including “Madonna On Her Back,” “Hardware River,” and “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” According to Hagy, the workshop will focus on exercises designed to help writers organize just what they need when it comes to character, plot, and setting to structure a first chapter that will keep readers turning the pages and provide momentum for a completed first draft. “For most of us, it’s easier to begin a novel than finish one,” she said.

Zoby will lead the second morning workshop starting at 10 a.m. Titled “Finding Your Way, Shaping Your Voice,” the workshop will deal with participants creating their own voice in their writing. Zoby will also look at how writers evolve their voices and create their own unique style in their nonfiction.

Zoby is the fly-fishing editor of Strung Magazine, and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in a large range of sporting magazines. He is the author of “Fire on the Beach,” an account of Richard Etheridge and his crew of African American lifesavers on the storm-swept coast of North Carolina. Zoby also teaches English at Casper College.

Howe will present the workshop, “The Cadralor” at 1 p.m. Howe, a co-creator of the new poetic form known as the cadralor, will have participants read and discuss cadralor poems, write cadralor stanzas, and collaborate with other participants to bring individual stanzas together to embody the poetic form, she said. According to Howe, a cadralor is a poem of five unrelated, numbered stanzaic images, each of which can stand alone as a poem, is fewer than 10 lines, and ideally constrains all stanzas to the same number of lines.

The final workshop, “Deep Memoir: Going Beyond the Usual,” will begin at 2 p.m. and is also taught by Zoby. “Memoir writing requires the author to be honest with the audience and honest with the intent of the piece,” Zoby noted. During the workshop, Zoby will look at the difference between an average memoir and one that goes beyond the expected. “I will also discuss the ‘fourth genre,’ creative nonfiction and share some of my experiences with writing in this form,” he said.

All events will be held in the Goodstein Foundation Library, Rooms 215, 215A and 215B, and are free and open to the public. “Advanced registration is not required, but is requested,” said Rodriguez. To register for a workshop, contact Rodriguez at crodriguez@caspercollege.edu or 307-268-2116.

The 2021 Casper College and ARTCORE Literary Conference “CREATE!” is sponsored by ARTCORE, the Casper College Foundation, and Casper College. For a complete listing of the conference go to caspercollege.edu/events/literary-conference.

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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