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5th Annual Let's Write! Event at the Guild!

The Southern Oregon Guild proudly presents the 5th Annual “Let’s Write!” Event – A Day of Writing for All Kinds of Writers, Exploring the Art of Language! This year’s theme is: The Power of Words & The Writer’s Conscience. Join 6 local writers on Saturday September 9 from 9 am to 5 pm at the Guild Gallery & Art Center, for a series of interactive workshops aimed to actively inspire your own literary practice!

The 2023 Keynote Speaker will be Paul Fattig, lifelong Illinois Valley resident and Marine Corps Veteran. Paul shares that “growing up poor without a television during the 1950s and ‘60s, I have loved books since early elementary school. Writing books is a dream come true for this former Kerby kid.” In addition to his keynote address, Paul will be presenting “Tapping into One’s Roots,” a non-fiction prose workshop.

Following the keynote address at 9:30am, will be three 90-minute sessions, each with a choice of two separate workshops, for a total of six different presentations. Facilitators will provide support while guiding attendees to create their own fresh writing. All presenters and workshops are described below.

Kokayi Nosakhere • Effective Protest Writing & Writing American History

Activist Kokayi Nosakhere, with 30 years of experience, invites you to learn what formulas work to effectively communicate political messages. Come prepared to learn who labor leader Emma Goldman is; to read a portion of Black Liberation Movement icon Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail;” be reminded of the wisdom of historian Howard Zinn – and to write your own 500 word editorial concerning a current event of injustice inside the United States of America. Also with the multiple controversies currently swirling around what it means to be an “American,” how do historians do it? What is the responsibility of historians in this “moment.” Learn about primary documents, how to find them and how to use them to “write” accurate “history.” Then, try your hand at the 5 paragraph method used by college students all across the country to convince their professors they actually heard the lecture. Five years ago, author, community builder and Black cultural expert, Kokayi Nosakhere relocated to Southern Oregon. In 2019, he attended the 12th Annual Beloved Music Festival. Since then, he has focused his energies on building a BIPoC Sanctuary.

Amy Miller • Relationship & Interdependence

In this 90-minute workshop, we’ll explore poems of relationship and interdependence between humans and animals, and humans and work. Taking some exquisite and varied poems as inspiration, we’ll write poems or short prose of our own about the physicality, challenges, and realities of work in our lives, and our complex connections with the animals and insects around us. Amy Miller’s Astronauts won the 2022 Chad Walsh Chapbook Prize, and her full-length poetry collection The Trouble with New England Girls won the Louis Award from Concrete Wolf Press. Her writing has appeared in Barrow Street, Catamaran, Copper Nickel, Narrative, Rattle, RHINO, Terrain, and ZYZZYVA, and she received a 2021 Oregon Literary Fellowship. She currently lives in Ashland, OR.

Paul Fattig • Tapping into One’s Roots

The focus will be on capturing a world that you know better than anyone else: your own life and times. Using documentary journalism, learn to write about the interesting aspects of your life, the good and the bad, the humorous and the tragic. Call relatives or childhood friends to rehash favorite anecdotes, then turn those anecdotes into chapters. Continually step out of your lane to read everything you can get your grubby little fingers on. Reading widely is an essential exercise to successful writing. As an Illinois Valley urchin, Paul Fattig attended Kerby Elementary School and Illinois Valley High School. After serving in the Marine Corps, he graduated from the University of Oregon in 1979 with a degree in journalism. A print journalist for 40 years, he retired in 2013 to write books. He is now writing his fourth book.

Gary Lark • Taking My Self to Work

Work is a two-way lens, what we do and who we are. Can we capture the alchemy that rises from the ordinary? I’ve been a carpenter, janitor, salesman, hospital aide and librarian; how about you? With your work, paid or unpaid, what have you observed there? What do you feel there? Is there a poignant moment hidden in the movements of the task. We’ll explore some poems and write a few. Gary Lark’s most recent poetry collections are “Easter Creek,” Main Street Rag, “Daybreak on the Water,” Flowstone Press and “Ordinary Gravity,” Airlie Press . His work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Catamaran, Rattle, Sky Island and others. He claims the Umpqua River as the main teacher in his life.

Diana Coogle • What’s on Your Conscience? Let’s Write About it!

Explore possible essay topics based on the question, what’s on your conscience? Then we will focus on various approaches to that topic: A narrative about a childhood incident? A process of how to salve a guilty conscience? The class follows a loose format of a few words of explanation followed by time for writing, then workshopping with a partner with input from the instructor. We’ll end with a nonobligatory sharing of essays. As an academic, Diana Coogle was a Marshall Scholar; taught at RCC, the University of Oregon, and Sweden’s Göteborg Universitet; and earned a Ph.D. in 2012. As a writer, she was a 20-year JPR commentator, published seven books, was an Oregon Book Awards finalist, and was a writing conference keynote speaker.

Michael Spring • Into the Surreal

Reality bumming your trip? Move into surreal poetry. Learn how to create poems with pliable dreamscapes. From talking buttons to hallways inside of leaves, you will discover yourself interacting with the unexpected, the magical, and the imaginal. In this workshop we’ll review what surrealism is and what it has to offer. Several prompts will be used to create surreal poems. Most of the workshop will focus on writing drafts and sharing your work. Michael Spring, of Brookings, Oregon, is the author of five poetry books and one children’s book. His poetry books have won several awards and distinctions, including The James Tate Prize, The Turtle Island Poetry Award, an honorable mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, and a Luso-American Fellowship from DISQUIET International. He is a poetry editor for Pedestal Magazine and Flowstone Press.

The day will conclude with an Open Mic at 4pm, in which participants can share the work they created throughout the day. Coffee, Lunch, and Refreshments are included. Event Fees are on a sliding scale from $35 to $55. Student fee is $25. Please honestly self-select your payment tier based on your financial picture. If the sliding scale would be a financial hardship, please call 541-592-5019 or email [email protected] to inquire about available scholarships.

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