Readings, Writing Workshops, & Presentations
Events hosted with support from Poets & Writers and the New York State Council on the Art
Creating and Sharing in the Digital Age: Website Design for Writers and Artists: In the digital age, an online presence for writers and artists is almost expected, if not a given. That presence might take the form of a digital portfolio for promotional purposes, a place to highlight one’s ongoing process on a story, or even a daily inspirational writing blog, or a website linked to one’s social media profile. In this hands-on multimedia workshop, Andrei Guruianu will discuss the affordances of creating a writer or artist website, whether beginning or established, and will lead participants through the initial sign-up process on a website hosting platform and share tips for the selection of page design options: static pages or blog pages, pages linked or not to social media, the integration of sound or video, as well as the use of photography and typography.
Literary Side Projects and Creative Detours: Writers and artists often find themselves struggling to begin, be it on a long-simmering idea for a novel, the perfect story, a poem, or any number of creative projects. When faced with the monumental task of “getting it right”, unfortunately many succumb to self-imposed pressure and never begin in the first place, or if they do they often become overwhelmed and disillusioned with the process. In this two-part presentation and workshop session, Andrei Guruianu will discuss the psychological, artistic, and professional benefits of “thinking small” — working on side projects, exploring distractions, forging creative collaborations, and most of all finding pleasure in the act of creating itself — all as a way to nurture the creative self and foster a frame of mind that keeps you coming back to what you love to do. Guruianu will also read from examples of his own recently published work, and following the presentation he will lead a writing workshop that invites participants to explore a range of such “creative detours” for themselves and begin their own side project.
The Lyric Essay: "The lyric essay,” Judith Kitchen writes, “generates its meaning by asking its readers to make leaps, to make a kind of narrative sense of the random and the chance encounter. It eschews content for method, and then lets method become its content. It is composed of bits, fragments, collagistically compiled and accumulated." A sub-genre of the lyrical essay, called the “collage essay”, primarily makes use of images, details, excerpts from various sources, and it might combine poetry, quotes, lyrics, lists, dialogue, and personal anecdotes in order to create one cohesive narrative. The lyrical essay allows for flexibility in terms of form and potential for expression: with sections sometimes separated by double spaces, asterisks or numbers, the parts function as parts to the whole; such essays are often suggestive, meditative, and inconclusive, with meaning implied via juxtaposition of elements. In this workshop we will explore via the lyrical essay the often blurry line between the personal and the public, and discuss ways to express with clarity and style the relationship between our own experiences and observations and the larger cultural context in which they exist. As essayist Leslie Jameson puts it, “we all start with something that has personal resonance, but then you connect “that terrible privacy to everything else around it”. Using examples from Guruianu’s own work in the book Dead Reckoning: Transatlantic Passages on Europe and America, as well as samples from other contemporary authors, workshop participants will learn how to evaluate memories, images, and events for potential writing material and how to make judicious choices, ones that inevitably shape the narrative.
Collage, Cut-ups, and the Creative Spirit: "The lyric essay,” Judith Kitchen writes, “generates its meaning by asking its readers to make leaps, to make a kind of narrative sense of the random and the chance encounter. It eschews content for method, and then lets method become its content. It is composed of bits, fragments, collagistically compiled and accumulated." In this workshop we will look at various forms of collage, discuss their uses as they pertain to creative writing as a means to generate new ideas in poetry, lyrical and personal essays, and short fiction. By bringing two (or more) seemingly disconnected images together the imagination is forced to leap from one to another, making unpredictable and novel associations and connections. It is a generative practice in itself, and one that writers could use to spark their own creativity. Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to make their own collages (old magazines, scissors and glue!), and then compose an original piece of writing to go along with it. All materials will be provided.
Word + Image: Art and Creative Writing in the Age of Hybrid Narratives: The Internet is awash with the interplay of visual and written forms. From memes to pop-ups to photo captions, to video/sound recordings and interactive documents, increasingly we experience our world and express ourselves at the juncture of image and text. Arguably, this provides writers with fertile territory where they might find inspiration, as well as a medium through which to explore and try out new methods and ideas – some of which take the form of hybrid image+text narratives, the lyric essay, or the prose poem. As Sarah Menkedick writes in “Narrative of Fragments”, “Narratives are shaped by random acts of witnessing, by inadvertent patterns […] A snippet of image here, a stray bit of dialog there, nested in the telling.” By bringing two or more seemingly disconnected images and texts together the imagination is forced to leap from one to another, making unpredictable and novel associations and connections. In this interactive workshop participants will explore the intersection of image and text by looking at various forms of traditional and digital collage and discussing their uses as they pertain to creative writing as a means to generate new ideas and structures in poetry, lyric and personal essays, or flash fiction. Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to construct their own narrative collages (using old magazines, books, photographs) scissors and glue!), and then compose an original piece of writing to go along with it. All materials will be provided.
Dead Reckoning: Transatlantic Passages on Europe and America, Andrei Guruianu and Anthony Di Renzo: A poet and essayist attempt to find their bearings in a civilization lost at sea. Conducted in the shadow of the centennial of the First World War, this dialogue of poetry and lyrical essays between Romanian American poet Andrei Guruianu and Italian American essayist Anthony Di Renzo asks whether Western culture will successfully navigate the difficult waters of the new millennium or shipwreck itself on the mistakes of the past two centuries. Using historical and contemporary examples, they explore such topics as the limitations of memory, the transience of existence, the futility of history, and the difficulties of making art and meaning in the twenty-first century.
© Andrei Guruianu 2022