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Editors’ Picks: Opportunities for Writing in Community

2010 January 26

Here at LR, we value community as a space for growth and artistic exploration.  The mentorship that we receive when we work with older writers, and the camaraderie we experience when working with our peers can both be particularly important in encouraging us to push forward with our strengths and in challenging us to reach for new heights in our work.  Writing and creating alongside other members of the Asian American community can also be a incredibly transformative experience: on the individual level, it can help us to wrestle with our personal senses of vision and identity, while on a larger scale, it can help us to mobilize ourselves as a community.   There are many opportunities to participate in community writing workshops that happen throughout the year, but in this post we’d like to focus on three whose deadlines are coming up in the next few months.

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KSW's Intergenerational Writers Lab

What: Kearny Street Workshop’s 7th Annual Intergenerational Writers Lab
When: April 3 – May 22, 2010
Where: San Francisco, CA
Seeking: Emerging SF Bay Area writers
Application Deadline: Received by 5 pm on February 19, 2010 (Note: NOT a postmark deadline)

The Kearny Street Workshop’s Intergenerational Writers Lab is, according to the KSW’s web site,

“A unique program with three of SF’s community-based interdisciplinary arts organizations designed to thoroughly explore and develop your writing. Accepted applicants will participate in eight workshops led by accomplished writers and artists, engage in and be inspired by other artistic genres, perform their work at a public event, be published in online anthology, and have the opportunity to develop a communal network of writing peers.”

This year’s program will feature Lorna Dee Cervantes, Letitia Hernandez, Ben Fong-Torres, and Genny Lim as instructors.  Applications can be found on KSW’s web site.  For those accepted, the workshop carries a tuition fee of $425, but a few scholarships are available. KSW has an eye to supporting artists of all aesthetic stripes (from spoken word to lyric verse to avant-garde), but specifically emphasizes that the ideal applicant for their Writers Lab should “demonstrate a consistent pursuit of the arts and a deep interest in participating in an experimental writing program.”  If you are a young SF Bay Area writer looking to explore new forms and techniques under the guidance of older, more established local artists, we highly recommend that you consider taking advantage of this opportunity.

[note: edited 1/26/10 at 4:17 PM EST, to reflect KSW's announcement of Genny Lim as tbe fourth instructor.]

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Kundiman Summer Retreat

What: Kundiman Annual Poetry Retreat
When: June 22-27, 2010
Where: Fordham University, NYC
Seeking: Asian American poets, nationwide.
Application Deadline: March 1, 2010 (Postmarked)

Writes Kundiman, by way of introduction to its annual retreat program:

In order to help mentor the next generation of Asian-American poets, Kundiman is sponsoring an annual Poetry Retreat at The University of Virginia. During the Retreat, nationally renowned Asian American poets will conduct workshops with fellows. Readings, writing circles and informal social gatherings will also be scheduled. Through this Retreat, Kundiman hopes to provide a safe and instructive environment that identifies and addresses the unique challenges faced by emerging Asian American poets.

Kundiman, modeled after the highly successful organization Cave Canem, is one of the foremost proponents of Asian American poetry in the nation. To be accepted as a Kundiman Fellow (and thus to participate in the retreat) is to be inducted into a highly respected community of talented Asian American poets. Kundiman Fellows speak passionately about the experiences they’ve had at the retreat, and continue to engage with and speak up for one another’s work long after the summer is over. This year’s five-day retreat has places for eight students and will feature faculty members Regie Cabico, Tan Lin, and Paisley Rekdal. Tuition is $350 (room and board free to accepted Fellows). If you are an emerging Asian American poet, this is an opportunity for which you should definitely apply.

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Write to Resist

What: Write to Resist
When: Thursdays, beginning on February 11, 2010, from 4:30-6 pm
Where: Project Reach, 39 Eldridge Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10002
Seeking: High School aged Asian American women from the NYC area
Application Deadline: None (Rolling)

Write to Resist bills itself as:

“a writing workshop series for high school age Asian American young women who are looking for a space where they can use writing as a tool to talk about issues of violence. It’s an opportunity for those who are interested in both writing and talking about issues of violence to be in a supportive space to write, read, discuss, play, and engage in activities that will open up deep investigations into the role violence plays in our everyday lives, and what we can do to actively challenge it.”

This free workshop series looks to be an incredible opportunity for young women.  According to the Write to Resist web site, participants will work together on creating a zine publication, and will culminate the series with a performance showcase of their work.  If you are a young Asian American woman going to high school in NYC (or know of someone who might be interested), please do consider filling out the application (which is more of a questionnaire).   No prior experience is necessary.  To quote the web site, “All that Write to Resist requires is that you come in with an open mind, a willingness to discuss some hard topics, and a creative spirit that is ready not only to develop one’s own work, but to support others as well!”

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