The Workshops: Fiction, Literary Nonfiction, Poetry

Session I: June 13-20, 2015

The Fiction Workshop

Fiction writers have flocked for more than 15 years to the KR Workshops to work, to write, to generate a momentum that will carry them into the future. This isn’t about bringing stories or excerpts of work already securely set down. It’s about the magical combination of shared effort and inspiration that leads to individual achievement.

Workshops meet every day! The small groups of writers and inspiring teachers wrestle with shared readings–how does a story work rather than what does it mean? What options do writers have in the way of narrative, of exposition, of point of view? It’s a full-on engagement with the art of fiction.

And more: every participant is challenged by literary prompts and exercises to generate a new work of fiction every day! Writing happens around the clock. Discussions abound in the beautiful dining hall or under soaring trees. Participants hold private conferences both with their instructors and with gifted Peter Taylor Fellows. Sparks fly. Stories appear that are shared first within the workshop and then with the larger community of writers.

The Literary Nonfiction Workshop

Though rooted in fact and in actual, lived experience, literary nonfiction aspires to the condition of art, revealing itself in various ways—in close attention to language, for instance, or in an elegant structure, a well-paced narrative, a surprising voice, or in a new take on an old subject. Like poets and fiction writers, literary nonfiction writers often proceed without knowing what they will discover or what form the final work will take. They write their way into the questions, into the mysteries, attempting to find the underlying design woven into even the most ordinary events.

In this workshop, participants complete daily assignments geared to specific nonfiction writing techniques, share the assignments with fellow writers, and discuss craft issues related to brief reading assignments. The focus is on generating new work, discovering ways to revise or revive previous work, and expanding participants’ knowledge of the literary nonfiction genre.

The Poetry Workshop

Poetry may be the most flexible, the most ancient, the most playful, and the most challenging of genres. KR’s poetry workshops meet intensively every day to create and share new work. Writers share openly and grow together. The goal of the workshop is not merely to hone skills and discover new strategies. Writers create a momentum and an inspiration that will carry them forward in the writing long after leaving Kenyon. The small communities of friends and colleagues that are forged in the workshops remain in touch, sharing, critiquing, inspiring, for months and years to come.

How does it work? Participants are challenged to write a poem a day! In each class, they explore the fine art of reading poetry as well as writing it. Together, participants and gifted instructors consider poetry’s forms, shapes, and methods; and they experiment with a wide variety of subject matter and materials.

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