128 episodes

The Writing University podcast features recordings of illuminative craft talks from the renowned writers, novelists, poets, and essayists who present at the Eleventh Hour Lecture Series during the University of Iowa's Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

The Writing University Podcast The Writing University

    • Education
    • 4.8 • 5 Ratings

The Writing University podcast features recordings of illuminative craft talks from the renowned writers, novelists, poets, and essayists who present at the Eleventh Hour Lecture Series during the University of Iowa's Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

    Episode 132: Crafting "Excess" - Darius Stewart

    Episode 132: Crafting "Excess" - Darius Stewart

    For this talk, we - together, you and I, audience and speaker - will explore maximalist writing as an aesthetics of excess that, according to Will Hertel, strives to "submerge readers with informational deluges, utilizing a variety of subject material and literary techniques and genres to maintain attention." However, chief among our discussion will be the question: what if one is a writer who only wants to use this technique occasionally, and elsewhere engage in a less elaborative style? Can this be achieved by crafting excess—that is, attending deliberately to pacing, use of figurative language, and/or a robust narrative voice? I believe so. Writers of any genre and experience can benefit from our discussions, which will include examinations of prose works from Richard Wright, Gloria Naylor, Don DeLillo, and Maxine Hong Kingston.
    Original lecture date: July 19, 2023

    • 52 min
    Episode 131: Prepping for Publication: How and Where to Submit Your Manuscripts - Kelly Dwyer

    Episode 131: Prepping for Publication: How and Where to Submit Your Manuscripts - Kelly Dwyer

    You've written and revised a novel, memoir, story, flash fiction, or poem, and now you want to submit it for publication. As she navigates the publication of her third novel, Ghost Mother, author Kelly Dwyer will take us through the process. We'll discuss where you might consider sending your shorter works and how to send a novel or memoir to an agent. Kelly will provide tips on how to write an appealing query letter and synopsis, as well as touch on contemporary issues around self-publishing and AI. This presentation is for writers at all stages, from beginning writers who have never submitted their work, to published authors who are looking to finetune their submission process. By the end of the hour, we'll all be this much closer to seeing our writings in print! Original lecture date: July 17, 2023.

    • 48 min
    Episode 130: Writing into (and out of) Trope, Cliche, and Abstraction - Anna Bruno

    Episode 130: Writing into (and out of) Trope, Cliche, and Abstraction - Anna Bruno

    To borrow a cliche, let's go down the rabbit hole. But on the way down, let's observe the dirt, the worms, the twists, the darkness, the sacred and the profane. For a writing project, whether a short story or a novel, trope can be an entry point. Think: a locked room mystery, dark academia, a midlife crisis. Similarly, on the sentence level, cliche can be relatable and point the writer in the direction of deeper truth. Finally, identifying generic language and abstraction can guide revision. This session will draw from popular novels and explore how literary writers use character and voice to successfully subvert trope and cliche to create meaning.
    Original lecture date: July 10, 2023

    • 43 min
    Episode 128: Poetry and Questions of Peace - Zach Savich

    Episode 128: Poetry and Questions of Peace - Zach Savich

    Is peace the absence of conflict or a state that can exist within conflict? How can writing cultivate, reveal, practice, and advance personal and shared forms of peaceable assembly? What's the relationship between peace and protest, politics and private experience? This lecture will consider diverse poems that help us think about these questions, including work by poets such as Ghayath Almadhoun, Yehuda Amichai, Gwendolyn Brooks, Kenneth Koch, Hayan Charara, Jane Hirshfield, and others. We'll consider how literature can help us make peace, again and again, and what can be made from that.

    • 45 min
    Episode 127: Writing the Elegy - Challenges and Approaches - Suzan Aizenberg

    Episode 127: Writing the Elegy - Challenges and Approaches - Suzan Aizenberg

    Most of us who write feel the need to remember our dead in elegies, memoir, or fiction, a task that can be more difficult than we at first expect. Often our first challenge is to speak at all, to find language adequate to our grief. Then come other questions: given the injunction not to “speak ill of the dead,” and our own love for those we’ve lost, how do we avoid unrealistically idealizing them and thus stripping them of their complex humanity? How do we convey, in the short space of a poem or an essay, how our mother or grandmother or child or spouse was different from anyone else’s? How do we make the work about the person we remember and not primarily about us and our pain—should we even be trying to do so?—etc. In this Eleventh Hour we will consider these and other questions, looking at samples of successful elegies, considering how they succeed, and doing a bit of free-writing towards work of our own. Although the samples we will consider will consist primarily of narrative poems, lessons we can take from them will apply regardless of genre.

    • 47 min
    Episode 126: Me, Myself and I - The Transformative Power of Reflection in Nonfiction - Juliet Patterson

    Episode 126: Me, Myself and I - The Transformative Power of Reflection in Nonfiction - Juliet Patterson

    We often think about the tool of reflection in writing as a mode of thought or tone of voice we employ when we ruminate, meditate, contemplate or explain—in short, when we provide what Phillip Gerard calls, “finished thought.” But we might also think about reflection as a turning, as a sometimes distorting, but transformational power. In this talk, we’ll look briefly at four qualities of reflection that might encourage artistic transformation in our writing and try some short exercises that will give you some practical tools to “think” about yourself differently on the page.

    • 45 min

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