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Chance Operations Workshop: Writer as Scavenger, Collector, & Composer with Shira Dentz

September 26, 2020 @ 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Free – $124

In this poetry and flash prose workshop, we’ll experiment with different chance operations, approaching our imaginations through the back door, so to speak, instead of the front door. There’s an expansive tradition of literary works composed using chance operations including the cento which is thought to have originated in the 3rd or 4th century. We’ll look at exemplary poems, flash prose, and collages composed via chance operations as models for our own play, and scavenge our environments (indoors or outdoors) for found language and forms such as lists and dictionary entries with which to compose poems or flash prose. Individual and collaborative writing may include experiments with erasures, Ouilipo or self-made constraints, sound and visual recording, and published texts as scaffolding for our own texts. While chance operations is, well, chancy, many sublime creative works have resulted through its “accidents.” This is a great workshop for those who feel blocked or in a writing rut, or who would like to open/add another approach to their writing toolbox, or who would like to gain more flexibility, stamina, and self-trust with bridging their unconscious flow with their conscious process. Please feel free to bring poems or short prose you’ve written that you’d like to reawaken and/or dream material from a dream notebook in which you record your dreams for at least week before this workshop.

Please note: The Altman Person of Color Scholarships are free and given on a first come, first served basis. Please notify us right away if your plans change and you cannot attend the class. We will then reopen the slot so another student may register. Thank you in advance for this consideration.

Shira Dentz is the author of five full-length books: Finalist for the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award, BLACK SEEDS ON A WHITE DISH (Shearsman, 2011); Short-listed for Utah’s 13 Byte Book Award, DOOR OF THIN SKINS (CavanKerry Press, 2013); Finalist for the National Poetry Series and APR/Honickman Awards, HOW DO I NET THEE (Salmon Poetry, 2018); THE SUN A BLAZING ZERO (Lavender Ink/Diálogos, 2019); and SISYPHUSINA  (PANK BOOKS, 2020). She is also the author of two chapbooks, LEAF WEATHER (Tilt Press, 2009; re-printed by Shearsman, 2011), and FLOUNDERS (Essay Press, 2016).

Her books have been reviewed in American Book Review, Rain Taxi, Boston Review, Rumpus, Georgia Review, Colorado Review, Tarpaulin Sky, Diagram, CutBank, Pleiades, Fourth Genre, Brooklyn Rail, and Denver Quarterly. Her first book, black seeds on white dish, was featured in Poets & Writers‘ annual 10 Debut Poets issue.

Her poetry, prose, and visual writing has appeared and is forthcoming in many journals including Poetry,  The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, New American Writing, Lana Turner, Western Humanities Review, and Brooklyn Rail, and has been featured in the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series (Poets.org), NPR, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and OmniVerse. She is the recipient of awards including an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, The Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem and Cecil Hemley Memorial Awards, Electronic Poetry Review’s Discovery Award, and Painted Bride Quarterly’s Poetry Prize, and the recipient of a Tanner Center for the Humanities Fellowship and residencies at MacDowell Arts Colony, Squaw Valley Writers’ Community, Ragdale Foundation, and Vermont Studio Center.

She has taught literature, expository writing, and creative writing to college and high school students, and taught English as a NYC Teaching Fellow in a Brooklyn public high school before moving to Iowa City. She was Writer-in-Residence at The New College of Florida in Sarasota for Spring 2012 (Poetry) and Spring 2013 (Fiction), and was recently Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, where she taught poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction writing workshops.

Please note: The Altman POC Scholarships are free and given on a first come, first served basis. Please notify us right away if your plans change and you cannot attend the class. We will then reopen the slot so another student may register. Thank you in advance for this consideration.


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September 26, 2020
12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Free – $124
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Hudson Valley Writers Center
Philipse Manor Station
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 United States