One of the great opportunities for local writers is a chance to take courses at the annual Cape Cod Writers Center Conference each August. Once situated at the picturesque Craigville Retreat Center, the conference now takes place at the Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis. In the past, I have studied with poets William Wenthe, Donald Baker and Gail Mazur, as well as taking a young adult writing seminar with Jacqueline Kolosov. Each class taught gave me fresh insights on the writing process, as well as inspiring me to try new writing techniques.
This summer the theme of the conference is “Powerful Storytelling Today.” The classes encompass many genres of writing, including fiction, memoir, screenwriting, and, of course, poetry. For poets, there are several intriguing options. Acclaimed poet Kathleen Spivack will lead a class in Developing your Poetry Manuscript. This three-day course offers “personalized attention to developing your poetry manuscript.” Local poet Gregory Hischak will offer a two-day class entitled “Imagery in Poetry and Prose.” He writes that this class will “explore the devices and techniques that can help you create and apply vivid imagery and how to let imagery enhance and propel your narrative along.”
Other classes that might appeal to poets include “Insider’s Guide to Getting Published” with Michael and Patricia Snell, “Social Media and Blogging” with Nina Amir (she will also be teaching a class called “Blog a Successful Book”), and “The Writer’s Voice” with Chris Roerden. Local poet John Bonanni will lead the poetry workshop for young writers.
The 52nd Cape Cod Writers Center Conference will take place August 7-10, 2014. Keynote speakers this summer are Alicia Anstead, an award-winning arts and culture reporter, editor, consultant, and educator and Rishi Reddi, the author of Karma and Other Stories, published by Ecco/Harper-Collins and winner of the 2008 PEN New England/L.L. Winship prize for fiction. The Keynote Presentation will be on Saturday, 6:15 p.m. in the Cape Cod Room.
There will be agents available and manuscript evaluation/mentoring. For more information and to register online, visit www.capecodwriterscenter.org. A limited number of scholarships are available. Among them is the Kevin V. Symmons Scholarship for Second Career Writers. You may submit a letter by June 28 stating financial need, a ten-page writing sample and a registration form indicating your suggested courses.
This conference offers the opportunity to meet fellow writers, take informative workshops and get help with manuscript development. There is also a conference bookstore which sells books by faculty and Cape Cod Writers Center writers. On Friday, Aug. 8, there will be a poetry reading from 8:30 – 10 p.m. If you have some free time this summer, I highly recommend this conference as a way to jumpstart your writing.