This Year’s Event – April 17, 2021


10:00am–Conference Opens


10:30am-12:00pm–Workshop Session 1

  • Lisa Dominguez Abraham
  • JoAnn Anglin
  • Bob Stanley
  • Kate Washington

12:00pm-12:25pm–Lunch Break

  • Presentation by Alex Casareno, Dean Cosumnes River College
  • Performances by Roger Xia and Rebekah Yang

12:25pm–Welcome Back from Lunch

12:30pm-2:00pm–Workshop Session 2

  • Marcus Crowder
  • Dale Flynn
  • Publishing Panel with Hastings, Burns, Covin, and Sigauke

2:00pm-2:15pm–Break (Return to Main Session)

2:15pm-3:15pm–Workshop Session 3

  • Large Group Writing Activity with Lesley and Jessilyn Gale

Workshop Descriptions

Workshop Session 1

“New Eyes” with Lisa Dominguez Abraham—“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust—We all have a life story we tell by touching the same details each time and concluding in a lesson we have engrained into ourselves. In this workshop, we’ll seek surprise by exploring hidden aspects of a familiar story and use them to draft a new poem.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Life: Shifting Perspectives with JoAnn Anglin—Poets often reveal deeper truths about a situation or person by using metaphors and analogies to depict a memory’s different facets in time’s passage, or by shifting the expected focus. JoAnn will show you how to use these techniques in telling your life story.

Seven Ways In: Turning Your Attention to a Writing Prompt with Bob Stanley—Finding our way into the mind-set of inspiration can be a challenge in a hectic life. This workshop will give you seven prompts for “quickwrites,” with a goal of helping writers find more prompts for the future. The theory here is the more attempts you make, the more work you eventually produce. When you start creating your own prompts, building your own puzzles to solve, you’ll be more likely to find inspiration in the time you spend writing and revising your poems and stories.

Your Life in Context: Adding Insight to Your Story through Research with Kate Washington—In this workshop, we will discuss how writers can approach situating their own life story in a broader context. We will discuss why writers might want to incorporate research elements to broaden the scope and vision of their memoir, to discuss relevant issues or offer social critique, to include meaningful artifacts or primary sources (such as family history), to create a powerful braided narrative, or as a meaningful counterpoint to personal memories. The workshop, based in part on the workshop leader’s experience writing her forthcoming book, will include examples of personal essays and memoir grounded in research (including a list for further reading); discussion of research methods and how to use and credit sources ethically; a craft discussion on incorporating researched materials artfully; and a brainstorming session for participants.

Workshop Session 2

The People in Our Lives: Details Tell Their Stories with Marcus Crowder—In this workshop, participants will go through a couple of exercises searching for visual descriptive scenes which reveal character and then work on developing one of them in depth with descriptive details.

Writing the Garden with Dale Flynn—For centuries humans have gardened—for food, for solace. And we all have gardens—if only a flowerpot on the sill or a view of the neighbor’s roses. In this workshop we will consider the many ways we look at gardens and the ways we use them in writing. We will look at them as metaphors and as holders of place.

Publishing Panel with Moderator Cecily Hastings, Publisher Inside Publications; MaryEllen Burns, Publisher, I Street Press; David Covin, Editor and Publisher, Blue Nile Press and Founder Black Book Fair; and Emmanuel Sigauke, Editor and Publisher Munyori and Editor Tule Review—Among the items discussed by these local publishers are the following: What  they publish; their intended audiences; submission processes; some appropriate publishers, sources, places, and contests; and tips or advisories about self-publishing.

Workshop Session 3

The Mindful Muse with Lesley and Jessilyn GaleThis large session writing activity will give you key strategies for mindfulness and creativity.