Kogawa House at Home: Our Writing Workshops Online
Happy New Year, writers! We hope that 2021 is the year you ramp up your writing practice and celebrate the writer within you! Plan to take advantage of our monthly writing workshops – now offered live and completely online – to deepen your writing practice. For many of us, writing is how we make sense of our inner and outer worlds, and there is certainly a lot to reflect on and write about right now.
You’ll find inspiration for new writing in the workshops presented each month by writers-in-residence at Historic Joy Kogawa House. Writers travel from across Canada and often from other places to pursue a writing or research project here in Vancouver. In exchange for a month or two of accommodation at our heritage house, visiting writers propose a public program to engage and connect with local writers.
Ideas and approaches are as original as each writer-in-residence, and their originality deepens the cultural landscape in Metro Vancouver and is a catalyst for new and exciting exchanges, collaborations, and exchanges within the lively community of writers active in writing programs at Historic Joy Kogawa House.
Now available live online and open for registration, a selection of workshops crafted by our January and February 2021 writer-in-residence José Teodoro.
José Teodoro is the author of several plays, including Mote, Steps, The Tourist, and Slowly, an exchange is taking place. He is co-author, with Mexican artist Laura Barrón, of Cathedral, a bilingual 3.5-metre-long book of text and image, and, with Mexican author Andrés Acosta, of Mérida, a prose exchange published in both dANDelion and as a stand-alone volume from La Mano izquierda Press. The Rusted Floor, José’s recent work of literary nonfiction, appears in Brick 106.
José is also a culture writer, contributing essays, interviews, and reviews to publications such as The Globe & Mail, Film Comment, Quill & Quire, Now, and The Literary Review of Canada. José has designed and directed interdisciplinary thematic workshops, such as Art & Ephemerality, with French vocalist Alexandra Templier, for Toronto’s Institute for Creative Exchange.
José’s current projects include a book of literary nonfiction; new performance works such as Screen Door, a piece for actors and musicians; and Island, which was developed as part of PTC’s Lab and the Banff Playwrights Retreat. A serial audio version of his play Cloudless, featuring Carmen Aguirre and directed by Alison Wong, will be presented by Canadian Stage in February.
During his residency in January and February2021, José Teodoro will present two Zoom workshops.
This writing workshop series asks each participant to select two objects which hold for them a special allure or significance. The first object is something in the participant’s possession, an item to which they have access—an item they can visit, see, and touch at their leisure. It may be an heirloom, a tool, a memento, a photograph, a book, or piece of furniture. The second is an object not in the participant’s possession, an item to which they do not have access, or to which they have only shared access. It may be something public or environmental, such as statuary or a bridge; it may be something lost or distant, destroyed, or fragmented, such as the Berlin Wall, or a beloved piece of jewelry that fell overboard during a sea voyage; it may be fictional or mythical, such as Excalibur.
Each participant will develop a short piece of writing on one object in each category, describing the object in close objective or sculptural detail and, only gradually, working toward a description of their subjective value. This exercise mirrors the drawing of still-lifes. It is also linked to the ancient Greek tradition of ekphrastic poetry, in which the poetic is cultivated from vivid description. Iconoclastic nouvelle vague filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard once claimed that the best film review is just a description, with the implication, we might assume, that if a writer simply works to describe something as accurately as possible, their unique point of view will inevitably emerge. This program will activate one’s observational skills in the interest of memory, analysis, extrapolation, and imagination. The pieces will be short, so this will also serve as an opportunity to exercise compaction.
There will be two sessions:
Sunday, January 17, noon to 1:15pm,
Sunday, February 7, noon to 1:15pm.
In the first session, the ideas behind the exercise, possible objects, and varied significance for writers of different disciplines and levels of experience will be discussed. The second session will be open for sharing work and discussing both process and results.
This writing workshop series asks participants to use dreams as raw material for the crafting of poetry or prose that interrogates the unconscious as a way of excavating personal histories, hopes and anxieties. Because this process inevitably involves extrapolation, it offers participants a method through which to balance found material and reportage with narrative development and imagination.
There will be two sessions:
Sunday, January 31, noon to 1:15pm,
Sunday, February 21, noon to 1:15pm.
In the first session, the ideas behind the exercise and varied significance for writers of different disciplines and levels of experience will be discussed. Each participant will be invited to share the ways in which dreams typically have (or have not) informed their life and work. (Those who haven’t found any inspiration in dreams previously are welcome!) We will explore various techniques for the remembering, recording, and analyzing of dreams, as well as techniques for expanding upon even vague impressions in the writing process.
The second session will be open for sharing work, discussing both process and results and considering ways in which these processes and results might inform future work. This program will activate one’s capacity for recall, analysis, extrapolation, and imagination. While the exercise encourages the development of narrative, the pieces will be short, so this will also serve as an opportunity to exercise compaction.