New Bedford Blubber Writers Workshop


Bring your ghost to light!  In this communal workshop, horror author and poet Patricia Gomes will discuss the elements of writing ghost stories. 

This workshop will focus on the form of ekphrastic poetry - poems written after, or about, various forms of art.  Probably the most easily recognized example of an ekphrastic poem is the description of Achilles' shield in Homer's The Illiad. It gives the reader a painstakingly detailed description of the shield, bringing to the mind's eye every color, glimmer and ornament that Hephaestus, god of the forge, creates. With no illustrations to guide us, it is the reader's interpretation of the poet's words that create the image and the emotion.

This particular method of poetry-writing aims to address, challenge, and sometimes blur the divide between the spatial and temporal experience of art, the eye and the ear, and visual and auditory mediums. As the ekphrastic has developed to encompass modern forms of art like photography, music and more, we see a new layer of connection, a redefining of an established piece of art through the poet's words. For this particular workshop, we'll focus on New Bedford's wealth of fine art. Students will utilize work spanning across genres such as painting, sculpture, and photography as inspiration for original pieces of poetry. This will be a generative workshop, and participants are asked to bring a sturdy notebook and writing instrument! There will be opportunities for sharing work and feedback as time allows. 

This workshop deals with writing poetry by using images from the ocean. A variety of photographs, charts, maps, and more will be handed out. For example, we will look at a map of the world's oceans, along with a tidal chart. As a class, we will have a conversation about how presenting the world from an ocean-oriented viewpoint rather than a land-oriented viewpoint shifts our perspective. Does this change our understanding of our world? We will design a writing idea together from this conversation. Items from the seaside will be set on a table. Participants will work in small groups and will use the five senses to describe items through verbal and written descriptions: Tidal Charts, Ocean Maps, World Map of One Ocean In conjunction, we will read two poems. Each participant will be given a printed copy of The World Below the Brine, by Walt Whitman, and Song of the Sea to the Shore by Robert Fanning. Then write a written response to the following prompts.  

This workshop is designed to get you started on your memoir. Through a series of targeted writing exercises and review of excerpts from published memoirs, we will explore the terrain of memoir writing: mining for material, constructing settings, finding emotional stakes and turning points, and looking for connecting threads to identify your overarching theme. We will discuss the process of memoir and review the strengths and weaknesses of the work we produce in class, in an informal in-class workshop format— a supporter and safe place.

Structure in creative writing can be like house rules for playing pool: different everywhere you go, but when you’re there, that’s the only way to do it. Some writers eschew notions of structure or plot outlines until a full draft has been completed, believing that the formulaic nature of such devices will stifle their creativity. I would hazard to suggest that these people rely on their own natural sense of structure to get the job done. For the rest of us, who might have trouble getting a project off the ground or keep it going once the original impetus has faded, it can be a prompt.