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Rainier Writing Workshop Begins Aug. 2—Along With Free Public Readings by its Esteemed Faculty

Rainier Writing Workshop Begins Aug. 2—Along With Free Public Readings by its Esteemed Faculty

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Participants in the 2014 Rainier Writing Workshop attend a lecture in Nordquist Lecture Hall. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)

Image: Participants in the 2014 Rainier Writing Workshop attend a lecture in Nordquist Lecture Hall. (Photo: John Froschauer/PLU)

July 24, 2015
By Sandy Deneau Dunham
PLU Marketing & Communications

TACOMA, Wash. (July 23, 2015)—During the Aug. 2-12 Rainier Writing Workshop, more than 100 students and faculty will gather at PLU to participate in classes, workshops, readings and other creatively immersive activities.

The 10-day workshop, the annual summer residency of Pacific Lutheran University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, is known and rainier-workshop-045-8-5-14respected for its innovative programming, which helps writers generate—and answer—deep questions about poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction … and their own aspirations.

As vital as the students are to the program, though, they’re just part of the bigger RWW story. There’s also an outward, public component, too: Nearly every evening, members of the accomplished RWW faculty hold free readings in PLU’s Scandinavian Cultural Center.

“The program’s faculty are well-known writers,” said RWW Director Rick Barot, associate professor of English at PLU. “You’ll hear terrific fiction, nonfiction, and poetry at their readings.”

Here’s this year’s lineup:

Sunday, Aug. 2, 8 p.m.

  • Brenda Miller. Miller is the author of three essay collections: Listening Against the Stone, Blessing of the Animals and Season of the Body. She also has co-authored Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining and Publishing Creative Nonfiction and The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World. Her work has received six Pushcart Prizes. She is a Professor of English at Western Washington University and serves as Editor in Chief of the Bellingham Review.
  • Scott Nadelson. Nadelson is the author of three story collections, most recently Aftermath, and a memoir, The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress. His stories and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, New England Review, The Southern Review, Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner and Alaska Quarterly Review, and have been cited as notable in Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. Winner of the Oregon Book Award, the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award and the Reform Judaism Fiction Prize, he teaches at Willamette University and lives in Salem, Oregon. His new novel, Between You and Me, will be published by Engine Books in 2015.

Monday, Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m.

  • Rick Barot. Barot has published two books of poetry with Sarabande Books: The Darker Fall, which received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize, and Want, which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Artist Trust of Washington; the Civitella Ranieri Foundation; and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer in Poetry. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and The Threepenny Review. He is the poetry editor of New England Review. His third collection of poems, Chord, has just been published by Sarabande Books.
  • Gary Ferguson. Ferguson has established himself as an expert chronicler of nature over the past 25 years, having written for a wide variety of publications, from Vanity Fair to the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of 22 books on science and nature, including the award-winning Hawk’s Rest, published by National Geographic Adventure Press. Gary’s latest book is a memoir, The Carry Home, published in 2014. He was the William Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Montana, a Seigel Scholar at Washington University in Saint Louis and a visiting writer for the graduate writing program at the University of Idaho.

Tuesday, Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m.

  • Judith Kitchen: A Celebration of Her Writings. Kitchen, who passed away in 2014, was the co-founder of the Rainier Writing Workshop at PLU. She authored four essay collections: The Circus Train; Half in Shade: Family, Photography, Fate; Distance and Direction; and Only the Dance. She also wrote a novel, The House on Eccles Road, winner of the S. Mariella Gable Prize from Graywolf Press, as well as a critical study of William Stafford, Writing the World. She also edited (with Ted Kooser, former U. S. Poet Laureate) an anthology of bird poems: The Poets Guide to the Birds (Anhinga Press) and three collections of short nonfiction—In Short, In Brief and Short Takes—and the anthology Brief Encounter.  Her awards included an NEA fellowship in poetry, two Pushcart Prizes in nonfiction and recognition as a distinguished teacher of adults.  She had the distinction of being called—by Newsday—the Evel Knievel of literature.

Wednesday, Aug. 5, 7:15 p.m.

  • Bernard Cooper, The Judith Kitchen Visiting Writer. Cooper has written two collections of memoirs, Maps to Anywhere and Truth Serum, as well as a novel, A Year of Rhymes, and a collection of short stories, Guess Again. His work has appeared in Granta, Story, Ploughshares, Harper’s, The Paris Review and The New York Times Magazine, and has been included in five volumes of The Best American Essays. He also is the author of The Bill From My Father: A Memoir, and his new collection of essays, My Avant-Garde Education, was published in 2015. He has been a core faculty member in the MFA Writing Program at Bennington College.
  • Stan Sanvel Rubin. Rubin is the founding director of the Rainier Writing Workshop at PLU who also served for more than 20 years as Director of the Brockport Writers Forum and Videotape Library (SUNY), a multifaceted literary arts program. He holds the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. His most recent book of poetry is Here. Other books include The Post-Confessionals, a collection of his interviews with contemporary American poets; Hidden Sequel, winner of the Barrow Street Book Award for 2005; Lost and Midnight; On the Coast, a chapbook; and Five Colors. His poems have appeared in such magazines as The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry Northwest, The Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Chelsea, Iowa Review and several anthologies. He was awarded a 2002 Constance J. Saltonstall Foundation Grant in poetry and regularly writes essay-reviews of contemporary poetry for the journal Water-Stone Review.

Friday, Aug. 7, 7:30 p.m.

  • Oliver de la Paz. de la Paz is the author of four collections of poetry: Names Above Houses; Furious Lullabys; Requiem for the Orchard, winner of the Akron Prize for poetry chosen by Martìn Espada; and Post Subject: A Fable. He is the co-editor with Stacey Lynn Brown of A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry; co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian-American Poetry; and serves on the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Board. A recipient of an NYFA Fellowship Award and a GAP Grant from Artist Trust, he has had his work published in journals including Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, Tin House and Chattahoochee Review and in anthologies such as Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation. He is the music editor for At Length Magazine and teaches in the MFA program at Western Washington University.
  • Jim Heynen. Heynen, best known for his short-short stories about “the boys,” also has published poems, novels and nonfiction. His stories about the boys have been featured often on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, as well as on radio in Sweden and Denmark. The most recent collection of these stories, The Boys’ House, was named Editors’ Choice for Best Books of 2001 by The Bloomsbury Review, Newsday and Booklist. Heynen lived for many years in the Northwest and received a Northwest Booksellers Award for one of his story collections, You Know What Is Right. He has received National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in poetry and fiction and in 1978 was selected as a US/UK Bicentennial Exchange Fellowship to England. He has published two YA novels with Henry Holt, and his novel The Fall of Alice K was published in 2013. His newest book of short-shorts, Ordinary Sins: After Theophrastus, was published in 2014. Heynen lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Saturday, Aug. 8, 7:30 p.m.

  • Kevin Goodan. Goodan’s first collection of poetry, In the Ghost-House Acquainted, won The L.L. Winship/ PEN New England Award in 2005. His other books include Winter Tenor, Upper Level Disturbances, the forthcoming Forward Observer: Prophesies and Let The Voices. Goodan has taught at the University of Connecticut, and has served as Visiting Writer at Wesleyan University. He is currently Associate Professor at Lewis-Clark State College and resides in Joel, Idaho.
  • Julie Marie Wade. Wade is the author of Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures, Without: Poems, Small Fires: Essays, Postage Due: Poems & Prose Poems, Tremolo: An Essay, When I Was Straight: Poems and the forthcoming collections SIX and Catechism: A Love Story. She teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University.

Monday, Aug. 10, 7:30 p.m.

  • Greg Glazner. Glazner’s books of poetry are From the Iron Chair and His awards include The Walt Whitman Award, The Bess Hokin Award from Poetry and an NEA fellowship. Excerpts from his recently completed multigenre novel, Opening the World, have appeared in Poetry (feature), Ploughshares, The Idaho Review, Seneca Review and other magazines. His band, Professor Len and the Big Night, combines a literary reading with live music. An electric guitarist as well as a writer, he is currently collaborating with the composer Garrett Shatzer on a blues-influenced piece in the art-song tradition to be sung by the tenor David Saul Lee, accompanied by CityWater New Music Ensemble. In addition to writing the text, Glazner will play electric guitar with CityWater in Bay Area performances. When he’s not teaching at PLU or at UC-Davis, where he is a Visiting Writer, he lives in Creede, Colorado.
  • Ann Pancake. Pancake’s most recent book is Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley. Her first novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been, was one of Kirkus Review’s Top Ten Fiction Books of the year, won the 2007 Weatherford Prize and was a finalist for the 2008 Orion Book Award and the 2008 Washington State Book Award. Her collection of short stories, Given Ground, won the Bakeless award, and she also has received a Whiting Award, an NEA grant and a Pushcart Prize. Her fiction and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies including Orion, The Georgia Review, Poets and Writers, and New Stories from the South, the Year’s Best.