Workshops

Workshops embody the heart of the Juniper Institute. In these small workshops, writers focus on new work and/or work-in-progress. Workshops meet daily to actively interrogate larger issues of form, style, content, language, and process; and participants benefit from having their writing read by these thoughtful, careful audiences.

Fiction Workshops 2024

Noy Holland

Begin Again

Our time here is short and happily intense. I think you will use it best and hardest by producing new work while you are here, by internalizing—through the act of writing—the varied lessons that arise among us. My idea is to approach the work in units. We might spend a whole workshop, for instance, looking at adjectives and adverbs; another workshop looking at dialogue; another at the angle of perception; another at rhythm and syntax. After each workshop, I ask that you embrace what you’ve discovered by producing work that responds to those discoveries—in direct and meaningful and immediate ways.

Cleyvis Natera

The Art of the Story

Whether you’re new to fiction or have been working at it for some time, there are concepts you must master to have your intention fully realized on the page in such a way that others will be riveted by your work. In this fiction workshop, writers will learn craft elements such as perspective, setting, propulsion, and characterization to imbue new or existing writing with electrifying life. We will spend time discussing craft elements through the lens of recently published fiction that showcases said element. Then, through a series of writing prompts, you’ll be able to craft your own stories. The intention of the workshop is not only to strengthen your own writing but to aid in the development of your writing peers and to that end, you will share new and existing work with each other in a safe and supportive creative environment. For the last class, I’ll invite students to revise an existing story (could have been written earlier that week or before the workshop) and we’ll explore key concepts of revision so that each seed you’ve planted during our week together will bloom and blossom long after our time together comes to an end.

Deb Olin Unferth

Envision and Re-Envision

We are going to squeeze as much technique work, generative practice, and re-envisioning as we can into one short week. Each day, looking at published work, we will focus on individual elements of craft, always with an eye toward inciting fresh ways of thinking about fiction. We will write new work, and I’ll also ask you to bring to Juniper a story or a chapter that you’re eager to revise. In this way, we will tackle first pages, dialogue, description. We may devote an entire workshop to endings. We will also spend time on formal concerns, such as integrating pauses and changing register. Through short assignments, generative exercises, discussion of published pieces, sharing of work, and individual suggested reading, you will emerge with a new batch of writing to take with you beyond our workshop.

Poetry Workshops 2024

Ari Banias

“A Steadfast Listening*”

The seed for a poem can be anything – a word or phrase, a detail, a mistake, a formal impulse, a sound, a disruption, a memory – as long as we’re prepared to notice and willing to follow it. In our week together we’ll listen for the pressing, intuitive energies that give rise to poems – frequencies that, attuned to, can expand our field for finding poems. We’ll test out various entry points for generating new work and revising old, with opportunities to share writing for group feedback. Outside texts will act as springboards for our inquiries into how language works on us, what we expect of poems, and the aesthetic, ethical, and formal possibilities available to us as poets.

*from Inger Christensen

Diana Khoi Nguyen

Excavation and Reconstructions

Like literary artists with the mind of an engineer-scientist, we’ll take apart the components of a poem, which will also entail encountering the diverse manifestations and definitions of what a poem is and can be, paying particular attention to how the act of writing can also be a way of addressing and engaging with history and time. Writers are invited to explore their complex and shifting understanding of a poem with respect to their own work and the workshop texts. Our gatherings will be of two minds: (1) a close reading and generative writing laboratory, where we will uncover the elements of creative writing (and thinking) via curated texts and (2) a reconstructive approach to “workshop” which I call Open Studios, where the writer retains agency as they share their work, and where all writers in the room collaboratively work with together in a spirit of wonder to discover potential and possibility in poetic craft.

Jake Skeets

Text Intimacy

We often come to workshop with the expectation of peer review. However, in this workshop, we will focus on honing our own instinctual responses to our work as a kind of critical feedback. We will work to develop a textual intimacy with our work by moving through various poems, work about poems, generative writing prompts, and revision-based exercises. We will ask questions of intimacy and our relationship with the world around us.

Nonfiction Workshop 2024

Hilary Plum

Writing Is a Form of Care

This workshop will explore how care takes form in writing. We’ll work in the realm of creative
nonfiction, memoir, and/or the essay. We’ll consider how the essay’s relationship to forms of
thought—thinking in progress—and to research are modes of care. How can writing create new
opportunities for readers and writers to care for one another, or for something beyond
them/ourselves? What responsibilities and new modes of empathy or understanding does
writing call us into? How may writing respond to our sense of care’s futility, our awareness of
its limits, or our own? What do we do about writing’s indeterminate relationship to action?
Often we’re inspired to write because of an experience of profound—even disorienting—care,
but then are left to discover, invent, struggle with what it is we need to say, how to respond
responsibly. We’ll start with the questions, experiences, and writing you care about and go
from there. Writers will be welcome to submit work-in-progress in advance to this workshop
for discussion. And if you’d rather generate new writing during our week together, that’s
welcome, too.

Multigenre Workshop 2024

Renee Gladman

Moving Between Forms

In this process-based workshop, we will explore thresholds, crossings, portals, and other liminalities that glow at the centers and along the edges of articulation and thought. Using the lyric essay as our primary mode of reflection, we will move from sound to line, from narrative to color, from visible structures to non-visible ones, inventing our own pathways. Focusing our attention primarily on work produced over the course of the week, assignments will include in-class writing, informal (cellphone) photography and editing, acts of translation and relocation, generative listening, conversation and mark making. This class is ideal for metaphysicists, metafictionalists, dabblers, doodlers, and, as always, poets. Dancers and geographers are welcome, too.