The Log Cabin Literary Center is offering a new set of classes this spring, beginning Thursday with an ongoing poetry workshop. The workshop is an opportunity for writers with previous experience to address the senses through verbal pictures. Students will be encouraged to further develop their poetic voices and push metaphors to resonate through juxtaposition. In-class writing exercises will be featured and students will also workshop their own pieces under the tutelage of Paul Berg, who holds an MFA in poetry from Emerson College in Boston. Berg was nominated for the 1997 Ruth Lily Memorial Prize in poetry and has had work in numerous publications while participating in the Log Cabin's Writers in the Schools program for the past five years.
The second course is a literary spiritual fiction workshop for writers who grapple on some level with religious faith. Basic issues of craft such as tension, characterization and point of view will be explored as well as relevant theological issues. Topics may include how to create divine mysteries on the page and the focus will be on the ambiguous rather than "inspirational" writing. Ryan Blacketter conducts this class, which is supportive of writers at all stages of artistic development. Blacketter is currently working on a novel to follow his collection of Idaho stories Horses All Over Hell. He has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa and is the recipient of a Haystack Writing Award, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship and an Oregon Regional Arts and Culture Council grant.
Blacketter also conducts the final course, a literary spiritual fiction seminar. Students will read short stories that deal on some level with religious faith and analyze what the authors are doing in terms of craft. Contemporary authors who may be featured are John Updike, Flannery O'Connor, Annie Dillard and John Irving. As they all tend to explore divine truths through human failure and weakness while rarely mentioning God directly, these authors demonstrate solid spiritual writing by telling the dark story of the human heart. Though the class deals with fiction in the Judeo-Christian tradition, students may propose stories representing other faiths.
The first workshop runs for six weeks from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays beginning March 17. The other courses run for eight weeks and begin March 23, from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. for the workshop and 8 to 9:30 p.m. for the seminar. All courses are $85 for members and $100 for non-members, and held at the Log Cabin Literary Center at 801 S. Capitol Blvd. Pre-registration required. Call 331-8000 to register or for more information.