Madwomen in the Attic Creative Writing Workshops

Spring 2018
12 weekly classes, $175/workshop
Carlow University, 3333 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15213
Patricia Dobler Writing Center, Aquinas Hall


Please download and submit this form to register. If you plan on parking on campus, you can also submit this parking permit application.  

The spring 2018 Madwomen in the Attic workshops are open for registration! All workshops are open to beginning to advanced writers. Space is limited to 12 writers per group. This spring, we're offering ten workshops:

Poetry: Jan Beatty
Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
January 16 – April 10
(no class on March 6)

This class will focus on workshopping your poetry, based on the idea that reading your work aloud and responding to the work of others is integrally tied to the development of writing. We’ll talk about how to find your voice, how to hear and honor your own internal dreams and visions, how to value your own work and put yourself first. The skills of listening to critique and offering comments that are specific and based on craft will be emphasized.

Poetry: Tess Barry
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
January 17 – April 11
(no class on March 7)

This class will center on workshopping individual poems with a particular focus on the poetic line and the role of line breaks in the poet’s craft. We will explore how the line works as a poetic device to inform authority of voice, stabilize or destabilize language, and support content. We will examine our own poems to understand how line impacts other poetic elements in our work (such as sound) and how these elements work to create and shape meaning. This workshop is suitable for poets writing at all levels. We will read one collection by a contemporary woman poet.

Poetry: Joy Katz
Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
January 18 – April 19
(no class on March 8 & March 29)

This special topics class is loosely organized around the theme of Rage. Women are always warned to not “lose control” or be “too emotional.” As a result, women poets, especially women of color, are understandably cautious about appearing “angry.” The question is how and why to maintain composure at a time when our existence, our intimate relationships, our engagement with the world, our identities, are openly under attack. This workshop explores how to bring rage to the page. We will consider rage as a fertile state for writing, not something to be avoided. Together we will read poems that contain or harness rage in a variety of ways and try to open our own poems to the intense emotions of anger and outrage. Note: This continues the theme of the Fall 2017 Rage class.  

Poetry: Nancy Krygowski
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
January 18 – April 19
(no class on March 8 & March 29)

This semester, our focus will be on generating new work. We’ll study a single book by a woman poet and use our reading discussions to think about what we can do to further develop our poetic craft and dig into our poetic voices. We’ll do brief in-class writing exercises, and I’ll offer some poem prompts designed to help you experiment with content and technique. Our discussions of your poems will, as always, be supportive and direct. So as not to let drafts languish in drawers, a few workshops will focus on poem revisions.

Poetry: Michelle Stoner
Tuesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
January 16 – April 10
(no class on March 6)

This workshop will explore how regular practice of poetry impacts a writer’s engagement with the craft. The class aims to heighten that level of engagement for participants, no matter their experience or skill. Sessions will dedicate time to reading poems that we admire, with the majority of class spent workshopping each other’s poems by providing thoughtful critique and creating a space for exploration, experimentation, and uncovering.

Poetry: Sarah Williams-Devereux
Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
January 17 – April 11
(no class on March 7)

This workshop focuses on nourishing and sustaining your creative practice. During each session, you’ll write in response to prompts chosen to help your unique voice flourish in deep, exciting, courageous ways. You’ll receive meaningful, positive feedback from your fellow writers as they affirm what is strong and powerful in your writing. We’ll also explore the poetry of women of color such as Lucille Clifton, Joy Harjo, and Naomi Shihab Nye. By the end of the workshop, you’ll have 12+ new pieces of writing to develop as you wish.

Fiction: Keely Bowers
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
January 17 – April 11
(no class on March 7)

Fiction writers all are welcome to join us in navigating the geography of the story, from the quick stop of flash fiction to the extended, many-layered journey of the long story or novel. While exploring such areas of craft as character, voice, conflict, and movement, you’re invited to search for new paths through old drafts as well as discover the unfamiliar and uncharted in stories you haven’t written—stories that you might stumble upon without warning on your way to work or somewhere else, as well as stories that have followed you, hoping you’ll someday have time to listen. We’ll offer each other generous and constructive feedback and a supportive community of writers with a love of language and storytelling.

Fiction: Evelyn Pierce
Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
January 25 – April 26
(no class on March 8 & March 29)

Fiction writers of all genres (literary, mystery, sci-fi, historical, and so on) are welcome. We workshop everything, from flash fiction to short stories to novels. Unwavering, however, is our desire to create characters and story lines that compel the reader to engage in great reading. While many of our Madwomen are published authors, beginning writers are welcome and will receive, as do all participants, guidance in craft (character, point of view, dialogue, scene, exposition, conflict, and plot development).

Literary Nonfiction: Nancy Kirkwood
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
January 17 – April 11
(no class on March 7)

We welcome writing in the areas of memoir, travel, and narrative journalism. The majority of our time is dedicated to participants’ writing. Each week we will discuss four pieces of writing that are 1,000 words or less. There will be several short readings on craft and the genre of nonfiction. The expectation for each participant is that through writing, discussion, and readings you will leave our workshop a stronger writer.

Literary Nonfiction: Jane McCafferty
Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
January 17 – April 11
(no class on March 7)

This class will ask you to write memoir and essays, usually from prompts I’ll offer. We’ll read examples of other nonfiction writers as inspiration to keep developing our knowledge of craft. Each week, we’ll get to review 3-5 short pieces (of up to 1,000 words) to allow for each member of our class to have their work reviewed four or more times during the term. Class is run as a discussion between a developing community. Each writer will produce a draft every week, whether your work will be reviewed or not. This is an attempt to get you writing every day, and gives you a chance to experiment with a variety of subjects and forms. You’ll emerge from the term with many drafts, and some revisions. 

For more info, contact 412.578.6346 or sewilliams412@carlow.edu