Workshops

DISQUIET offers core writing workshops in Fiction, Poetry, and Memoir and Nonfiction, as well as the Writing the Luso Experience workshop. These core workshops meet three times per week (M/W/F). In addition, each year we offer unique workshops such as The Fernando Pessoa Game, Performance and Storytelling, and others. These workshops meet formally twice per week (T/R).

2018



Fiction with Camille Bordas, Jenny Offill, Justin Torres

These workshops will follow the traditional creative writing workshop model in which students discuss, and critique each other’s work in small groups led by the instructor.

Fiction with Camille Bordas: In this workshop, students will read one another’s work closely. We will do our best to understand what each author is after. Through discussion, critique, and line-editing, we will aim to discover and express insights that will enable authors to achieve what they’re after. The approach we take will be evidence-based. We will point to sentences, clauses, and words that succeed or fail to bring across the story each author wants to tell. We will seek to help each author’s voice sound more like itself, rather than our own or anyone else’s.

How To Pay Attention with Jenny Offill: “We don’t need to see anything out of the ordinary,” Robert Walser said. “We already see so much.” But often we look at the world through the dulling lens of convention. This will be a class about how to attend to the things around us in all their peculiar beauty. A particular emphasis will be placed on how to notice what others might overlook and how we might transform such things with the force of our attention. We will read and discuss prose and poetry in which writers have attempted to describe the exact nature of a moment. Pessoa and Rilke will no doubt be invoked. Meister Eckhart may come into play. We will talk about the science of attention, false and true lyricism, the Book of Splendor, and that category of the terrifying known as the sublime. Also what the poets know, but the fiction writers have forgotten.

 

More workshop descriptions coming soon.

 

M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Poetry with Erica Dawson

In this workshop, we will spend time discussing the poems you submit before coming to Lisbon and the poems you’ll write during your ten-day stay.  We will talk about the importance of spontaneity and examine place as inspiration. Each session will begin with a look at a contemporary poem embracing travel, whether to a far-off land or simply the space of a new idea.

M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Memoir & Nonfiction

Workshop description coming soon!

M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Writing the Luso Experience with Chris Feliciano Arnold, Jarita Davis

Writing the Luso Experience will be a multi-genre workshop with an emphasis on exploring how Lusitanian influences might inform and expand our creative energies. How to write from cultural or immigrant experience is one aspect that’s welcome, but all narrative approaches are invited. We’ll help one another hone in on the heart of the material in order to figure how to best open and render that, making it memorable in an emotionally resonant way for readers.

Joining the workshop leader, Chris Feliciano Arnold, will be visiting writer Jarita Davis.

M/W/F, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Composing the Uncomfortable with Shane Hinton

In this workshop we will focus on making work that is felt in the body. Literature resonates through us in a physical experience that transcends the page. This experience, at its best, disorients and reorients the reader to new potential realities. How do we challenge our readers — and ourselves — with texts that push us beyond simple pleasure? We will examine our writing practices, emphasizing the need to disturb ourselves in order to create a space for our work to grow and stretch in unexpected directions. Studying examples from fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, we will dissect how writers translate physical distress into language. By focusing on discomfort in form, content, and process, we will approach new ways of understanding our bodies and how they are represented in text.

T/Th, 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Form and Fantasy with Erica Dawson

Form and Fantasy: In The Book of Disquiet, Pessoa writes, “I see life as a roadside inn where I have to stay until the coach from the abyss pulls up. I don’t know where it will take me, because I don’t know anything.”  When we write, we often don’t know where we’re going. Or, if we do, we have absolutely no idea how to get there. Many poets use the patterns of traditional forms, like sonnets and villanelles, as a map to a finish line.  Oftentimes, though, they lose the wonder and joy of wandering–some of the best parts of writing–along the way.  In this workshop, we’ll read and write while wandering through beautiful Lisbon, playing with poetic forms as a way to help us capture what may seem chaotic, in our imaginations and surroundings, without crushing its charisma. This workshop is open to poets and non-poets alike.”

T/TH, 10AM to 12:30PM Centro Nacional de Cultura

Visual Storytelling for Writers and Poets with Deanne Fitzmaurice

Like writers, photographers use all their tools—lighting, composition, and serendipity—to help capture the telling moments and raw emotion that contribute to a memorable and impactful story. Using the instructor’s own Pulitzer Prize–winning story as an example, we will discuss how to find a photo story (or what to do when a story finds you), and how to develop that story into an engaging photographic narrative in a documentary style.

Each of the participants will develop their own visually compelling project during the course of the workshop. The subject matter is up to you; you may choose to delve into cultural or human-interest aspects of local Lisbon life such as artisans, bakers, musicians, street life  … the sky’s the limit! Regardless of your focus, Deanne offers techniques on accessing subjects—and gaining their trust so you can capture real and authentic moments.

As our visual narratives progress we will discuss how to edit and build your stories looking for storyline and impact. We will discuss transitions, sequencing, and visual pacing, all the while keeping an eye on our ultimate goal: to create honest, emotional images that together convey a compelling and engaging narrative.

For this class you can use whatever camera you brought with you, including the one in your smartphone.

T/Th, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

The Fernando Pessoa Game with Terri Witek, Cyriaco Lopes

The Fernando Pessoa Game is composed of a series of creative prompts that invite participants to engage their own practice (in writing, visual arts, performance, etc.) along with their sensitive and physical surroundings. We will examine text in terms of site-specificity, the body, its sensorial reception–and the production of art as a response to scores, to maps, to sets of open-ended instructions.  Encounters will be anchored in brief historical overviews of transdisciplinary and contemporary experimental art. This is an opportunity to expand your artistic vocabulary, to try strategies outside your routine, to adventure yourself into a wonderful world of creative possibilities, all  in the spirit of Fernando Pessoa and in his beloved city.

T/TH, 10 am - 12:30 pm Centro Nacional de Cultura

Performance and Storytelling: The Oral Tradition on the Stage and the Page with Arthur Flowers

Storytelling. From the dawn of humanity to the Nobel Prize, storytelling as cultural narrative has been one of the primal functions of the human condition; gathering folk around the sacred fire and passing on essential cultural knowledge. It is through narrative, through storytelling, that we make sense of our lives and our world – and the primal principles of storytelling are still central to literary achievement. From doing dramatic readings to performance poetry and narrative innovation, this seminar will explore the dynamics of effective presentation and performance, the relationship between performer and audience, and the role of storytelling on the stage and in the text.

T/TH, 10AM to 12:30PM Centro Nacional de Cultura


* All workshops are subject to enrollment considerations. Workshops may be canceled if adequate enrollment is not reached.

** Instructors sometimes drop out or reschedule, and, in this unlikely scenario, DISQUIET will replace them and notify participants.