IWWG Writing Circles
The Guild is known for its soulful women. Its joyful workshops. Its acclaimed teachers and facilitators. But perhaps most of all, the Guild is known for its sense of community. Over the last year, this connectedness has become more important than ever.
Now, after a great deal of feedback and input from our members, the Guild is embracing another way of honing into our vibrant community. This summer, we are delighted to launch a series of writing circles.
These writing circles will vary based on your needs and interests. Some will be facilitated by a Guild instructor to provide extra focus and structure. Others will be self-led by the group members. Some will be organized by geography and some will be organized by genre. But no matter what, you will be provided with the resources you need, including Zoom tech support.
If you have a writing circle you would like to facilitate through the IWWG, please email Kelsey@iwwg.org with your interests (genre, geography, etc) and we will begin to set those up for you.
Facilitated Writing Circles
Every Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm from Sept. 24 through Nov. 12 for eight sessions
An activist’s faith can never be unquestioning … can never oversimplify, as believers and activists are often tempted or pressured to do. Adrienne Rich
These freewriting circles are intimate and expansive. We hold space for the complexities of our own and each other’s stories. Each time we meet, we start with a few minutes of silence followed by a short guided free-write and share to check in. Then Lisa guides us in two more rounds of meditation, free-writing, and sharing. The sharing is always optional.
Holding the silence together is a bonding activity, and as the weeks unfold, we connect more deeply through our writings. This is how we help each other take writerly risks to reveal our experiences and imaginings. And this is how we support each other as we dare to share our voices and visions with the world.
Meditators, writers, dreamers, and activists at every level of experience are welcome. All genres are welcome. These circles are a place to write or re-write material that dwells (or wants to dwell) in the realm where the personal is political. You may already be working on a relevant project, or you may be starting a new one. Either way, you and your stories, your writings are welcome here.
Participants receive the prompts and background materials each week. These come from many sources, including Ada Limon, Ross Gay, adrienne maree brown, and Ilya Kaminsky.While this is a generative, free-writing circle, participants are often surprised by the power of the words that land on the page. Those of us in the first Imagination & Justice Circle, which took place in the fall of 2021, are delighted to have our writings (with just a little bit of editing) collected by the IWWG in the anthology, Roots/Trunk/Sky, which you can read here: Read Anthology
Lisa Freedman is a writer, activist, and New School Writing Program faculty member. She founded Breathe/Read/Write as a contemplative response to the chaos of the U.S. elections in 2016. BRW combines meditation and freewriting so participants clear the static and astound themselves with the flow and clarity that comes when they set their pens on the page. As a practitioner of Shambhala Buddhism, Lisa knows how inspiring it can be to share the open space of silence. And she has a knack for choosing free-write prompts that connect writers to what they need to say. Lisa leads BRW circles for The NY Zendo, the International Women’s Writing Guild, The Poetry Barn, and the New School’s Social Justice Hub, among others. Her work with BRW earned a 2021 NYFA Community Artists Corp Grant.
Lisa holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. Her creative work can be found in these anthologies: Resist Much, Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance; Literature from the First 20 Years of Art & Understanding; and Grabbing the Apple: An Anthology of New York Women Poets. Her poetry and prose also appear in Satya Magazine, POZ, Poetry Ration, and others. For more info, see the Breathe/Read/Write Eventbrite page and Lisa’s Writing Coach website.
Consider this: A poem is a body of words, not a body of thoughts and feelings. Yes, our thoughts and feelings and experiences may catalyze our poems, but how we choreograph our words, how we make meaning (not what our words say or mean), is what moves a poem from self-expression to literary art. How do we make such poems, textual/subtextual bodies that enact and transform experience (rather than report or describe it) so that discovery or rediscovery is possible for both writer and reader?
Marj Hahne is a freelance editor, writer, and writing teacher, and a 2015 MFA graduate from the Rainier Writing Workshop, with a concentration in poetry. She has performed and taught at over 100 venues around the country, as well as been featured on public radio and television programs. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, art exhibits, and dance performances. Committed to making poetry hospitable for everyone, she launched a YouTube channel featuring videos in which she reads poems to dogs (BARK & BARD) and pairs poems with craft beers (MASH), craft spirits (DISTILL), and coffee (PO-JOE).
In this multi-genre writing circle, we will cover the following topics: the writer's voice across several genres; poetry; short story; essay; memoir; and the novel. Writers will write about turning points in their lives by using the conventions of each genre. We will reflect on how the subject of the story/ the content is illuminated by these changes in language patterns and emphasis. It will be a deep engagement with the oldest technical consideration of subject matter and style as we explore the writing voice. Examples from literature will show how other writers handled this question of finding the best way to tell their stories.
Carmen Bugan, George Orwell Prize Fellow, is the author of five poetry collections, among which Lilies from America: New and Selected Poems (a PBS Special Commendation). Her memoir, Burying the Typewriter: Childhood Under the Eye of the Secret Police, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and her monograph on Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile has received wide recognition. Her book, Poetry and the Language of Oppression: Essays on Politics and Poetics (Oxford University Press, 2021), was named "an essential book for writers" by Poets & Writers; her new book of poems, Time Being, was praised by the Irish Times poetry editor for its "disciplined precision".. Bugan was a Creative Arts Fellow in Literature at Wolfson College, Oxford University, a Hawthornden Fellow, the Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan, and has also taught at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford. Dr Bugan is on the faculty at the Gotham Writers' Workshop in Manhattan, The Poetry School in London, the Oxford Writing Mentors, serves on the Advisory Board of the Geneva Writers' Group, and teaches creative writing worldwide.