Thirteenth Annual Festival
November 14-16, 2013

2013 Sessions

Below, please find the listing of 2013 Winter Wheat workshops. There are six workshop times, two on Friday (A and B) and four on Saturday (C, D, E, and F). Please use these listings to determine first and second choices for each time slot when you register.

A pdf file of Winter Wheat's 2013 workshops can be downloaded here.

A pdf file of the 2013 Winter Wheat General Schedule can be downloaded here.

Also check out our Presenter Biographies.

A WORKSHOPS: FRIDAY 3:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m.

  • NOW CLOSED*AA. "Ye Olde Fiction Workshoppe" with Wendell Mayo
  • (*Special note: There is a $50 fee for this workshop, which is 150 minutes. Interested participants should contact Abigail Cloud at by October 15, as space is limited. Please list AA and BB for the first two workshop slots.)
    In this workshoppe we'll harken back to days when paper was paper and electrons were just . . . electrons. Banned are all computers, tablets, earpieces, smarty-phones, email, posts, chats, twittering, tumbling, and fumbling with all said fetishes.
    Participants will snail mail their 10-15-page stories to Wendell, who will distribute them to the group for handwritten comments. We'll then gather at Winter Wheat on Friday, November 15. During our time together (150 minutes), we'll talk passionately, humanely, and face-to-face about the stories we've read with the aim of improving them.
  • A1. "Haunted Places" with Catherine Carberry and Katrin Tschirgi
  • Stories are haunted places. Across genres and traditions, ghosts roam the landscapes of literature. From haunted houses to haunting locales, our stories can be informed by spirits in unrest, by unfulfilled desires, by long-buried histories that emerge and cause conflict in present-day lives. We will explore both literal and metaphorical hauntings in literature, examining the ways that these ghosts can consume our characters. How can a description of an empty room give your readers chills? How can your hometown become a horror story? By exploring our past and collective memories, we see that those places provide a wealth of inspired stories and allow us to understand the intersection of past and present, living and dead.
  • A2. "Poets on Sports" with Justin Carter and Karissa Morton
  • "Poets on Sports" is a workshop about how poets can use sports in their work. Like basketball? Like football? Like cricket? Bring your sports knowledge & your poem knowledge together. We'll look at examples that span the gambit of poetry, from Updike to Mary Karr, then we'll set you loose to craft your own sports-related poem.
  • A3. "Meditative Poetry" with Roberto Elizondo
  • This workshop will explore the relationship between meditation and poetry. We will begin by meditating in silence for ten minutes, then we'll read sacred poetry from Rumi and Buddhism. Finally, we will write one short poem about our own spiritual experience and discuss it with others.
  • A4. "Finding Writers and Writing Inside the Classroom and Out" with Marissa Marangoni and Tobin F. Terry
  • In the spring of 2013, Tobin and Marissa linked their students together for two significant projects involving creative writing. One project produced a self-published novel while the other culminated in a mock-trial performance. Both projects received positive student feedback and brought marked improvements in student writing for many who started classes as reluctant and struggling writers. In this workshop, participants will discuss how creative writing can be used as a tool for teaching in situations where stories are not always welcomed or encouraged, and areas in life where we find our writers' minds stifled and silenced. Included is a writing exercise in which participants will be given a scenario or choose a scenario in which they face unfriendly spaces or faces with regards to writing and have to respond to them accordingly.
  • A5. "Typesetting the Electron: eBooks, eProduction, and You" with Zach Tarvin
  • With eBooks becoming more and more popular with readers, and fewer and fewer barriers standing in the way of creating one, a number of literary journals are moving toward offering their issues as eBooks alongside their print editions. This session explores how editors, advisors, and writers can make content available to audiences that were previously unreachable. Got questions? Bring them!
  • A6. "Launching a New Literary Magazine: The First Year of Slippery Elm at The University of Findlay" with Chase Troxell, Kaylene Slayton, Katie Mackendanz, Tabatha Wolph, Miranda Roehler, and Dave Essinger
  • Slippery Elm is a new annual, student-run, print literary magazine at The University of Findlay, open to all writers and on track to produce our first issue for December 2013. Student editors and staff members will share their experiences so far, and discuss the opportunities and challenges of launching and sustaining a new literary magazine. This panel should be of interest to anyone engaged in or considering a similar venture and seeking practical tips, as well as anyone curious about the behind-the-scenes workings of a new literary magazine.
  • A.7 "You and Your Self-Addressed-Stamped-Envelope: Sending out Work" with Jessica Dawn Zinz
  • In this discussion, a former editor will discuss methods of submitting, what editors look for, writing cover letters, deciding what to send, lists of journals to submit to, and using Duotrope to organize your submissions. You'll leave ready to submit and hopeful of acceptances.

    B WORKSHOPS: FRIDAY 4:30 p.m.- 5:45 p.m.

  • NOW CLOSED *BB. "Ye Olde Fiction Workshoppe" with Wendell Mayo
  • (*Special note: there is a $50 fee for this workshop, which is 150 minutes. Interested participants should contact Abigail Cloud at by October 15, as space is limited. Please list AA and BB for the first two workshop slots.)
    In this workshoppe we'll harken back to days when paper was paper and electrons were just . . . electrons. Banned are all computers, tablets, earpieces, smarty-phones, email, posts, chats, twittering, tumbling, and fumbling with all said fetishes.
    Participants will snail mail their 10-15-page stories to Wendell, who will distribute them to the group for handwritten comments. We'll then gather at Winter Wheat on Friday, November 15. During our time together (150 minutes), we'll talk passionately, humanely, and face-to-face about the stories we've read with the aim of improving them.
  • B1. "Genre Bending: Adding a Dash of Magic to Your Realistic Fiction" with Liz Breazeale, Jackie Cummins, and Laura Maylene Walter
  • Taking a cue from authors including Karen Russell, Aimee Bender, and Kevin Brockmeier, this session will examine magical elements in otherwise realistic fiction. We'll discuss and practice techniques writers can use to incorporate a touch of the unreal in the everyday world of their characters. Participants will have the opportunity to put into practice what they've learned through writing exercises designed to spark some literary magic.
  • B2. "The Difference Between Rock and Bone: A Revision Strategies Tool Kit" with Traci Brimhall
  • Guest reader Traci Brimhall talks revision strategies, ideas and helpful hints, plus exercises for experimenting.
  • B3. "Who Watches the Watchmen: Examining Comic Books and Graphic Novels as Literature" with Brian Klueter
  • In this session, participants will look at examples of comic books and graphic novels and discuss their merits as literary works. Popular works (DC, Marvel, Dark Horse) and those of critical acclaim (Watchmen, V for Vendetta) will be included.
  • B4. "Poetry with Personality: Writing Persona and Character in Poetry" with Casey Nichols
  • Many poems include people or attempt to sketch a particular character. But how can a poet suggest something beyond or beneath the surface? This workshop will discuss the ways in which we write about people we know (or people we don't), the challenges of writing from the perspective of a persona, and what our persona poems reveal about ourselves. Participants will spend time writing portraits or caricatures to create a strong persona or character of their own.
  • B5. "From Fact to Fiction: Using Research to Write What You Don't Know" with Kelcey Parker and Sharon Short
  • Too often, research is seen as the domain of nonfiction writers, while fiction writers are encouraged to stick to "what you know." But creative research can help immerse readers in a time and place, build fictional and historical characters, and infuse a story with rich imagery and metaphorical layers. This session will provide ideas for creative research that moves beyond Google to road trips, museum visits, phone calls, census reports, and even time in the archives. We'll discuss what to look for and how to find it, then we'll practice some writing exercises to transform the material from primary documents into engaging stories. Feel free to bring of few of your own primary materials for the writing exercise portion of the session.
  • B6. "Getting Lit on Campus: Managing a Community College Literary Magazine" with Tobin F. Terry and James B. De Monte
  • This presentation will feature two very different approaches to running a community college literary magazine. The discussion will consider issues related to funding, advertising, submissions, course credit, and online versus print publishing. Last year, Tobin F. Terry helped establish Chagrin River Review, an online literary magazine housed at Lakeland Community College. James De Monte has taught Magazine II at Columbus State Community College for several years now, where student-editors produce the campus literary magazine, Spring Street.
  • B7. Student Editor Meet and Greet with Prairie Margins and Slippery Elm
  • C WORKSHOPS: SATURDAY 9:00 a.m.-10:15 p.m.

  • C1. "Taming the Panther, Tribe of Tiger: Animals in Poetry" with Lauren Boulton and Chelsea Kerwin
  • Using readings involving animals--through description, anthropomorphizing, or metaphor--our workshop will explore the tradition of beast-themed poetry. Participants will create their own animal poems using interactive writing prompts. What is your spirit animal?
  • C2. "Chance Poems" with Abigail Cloud
  • Is there really such a thing as a "chance poem"? Or is the poem already written somewhere, waiting to be delivered through the poet? Perhaps chance is about sparking something within. In this session, we'll take our chances by enjoying some word games and other gathering, gleaning activities, and experiment with writing poems from those bits and pieces.
  • C3. "All Scenes Are Duels" with Brad Felver
  • In this session, we will examine ways to create and elongate tension in a scene. We will consider a few famous examples, discuss potential strategies, and then try our hands at infusing scenes with tension.
  • C4. "The Rules of Writing: Golden or Broken?" with Kathie Giorgio
  • As soon as a writer takes that first class or reads that first craft book, he or she is besieged with "writing rules." Show, Don't Tell. Write What You Know. Write A Certain Amount Of Words/Pages Per Day. Write For The Market. And many more. This session is an open and frank discussion on these writing rules and how well they pertain to the real world of writing. We will approach these rules with our minds open to all of the genres and sub-genres, to determine whether the rules should be clasped to the heart or kicked to the curb.
  • C5. "Song of the South: Using Dialect Effectively in Fiction" with Matt McGuire
  • Dialect is that truest of double-edged swords. Used with care, a few choice lines of dialogue can transport a reader into the south, the story indelibly suffused with that primal essence that sets southern writing apart from other literature of place. Abused, overused, or mistreated, dialect can ravage even the strongest story with cliches and grating, awkward, unnatural prose. This workshop will focus on the effective use of dialect in fiction, paying specific attention to appropriate diction, altered sentence structure, and the sins and virtues of phonetic spellings. Participants will have the opportunity to write a brief scene utilizing dialect. While my specific focus is on southern dialect, these same ideas can be applied to dialects of any origin.
  • C6. "Writing the Imaginary Landscape" with F. Daniel Rzicznek and Bryan Gatozzi
  • Behind every story, poem, and essay lurk the networks and nuances of environment and architecture. This exploratory workshop will offer suggestions and prompts for writers of all genres hoping to sharpen their senses of expanse and enclosure, while providing roadmaps into uncharted, previously unimagined territory. Offering a solid block of half-guided, half-independent writing time, this session will bring participants into closer contact with their physical and psychic surroundings while providing the opportunity to encounter and investigate the landscapes of memory and imagination.
  • C7. "Ekphrasis" with Brett Sipes
  • In this workshop we will discuss ekphrastic poetry and how poets can draw inspiration from visual art. We will examine and discuss works of art, poems, and different techniques for approaching ekphrastic work. There will also be time for writing and sharing our own ekphrastic poems.
  • C8. "You're Creeping Me Out: Letting Your Narrator's Dark Side Shine" with Laura Maylene Walter
  • Sometimes, the most interesting narrators are the dark, the depraved, the illicit, or the dangerous. In this session, we'll examine examples of fiction written from the point of view of such "dark" characters. We'll also consider why these characters are compelling, discuss how to effectively tell a story in a creepy character's voice, and address common pitfalls writers may encounter when creating these narrators. Participants will have the opportunity to respond to writing prompts during this session to let their own dark sides shine.

    D WORKSHOPS: SATURDAY 10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.

  • D1. "The Journey Story: Theory and Practice" with Lawrence Coates
  • The journey story is perhaps the oldest and truest human story. It is at the center of Gilgamesh, the most ancient story known. It forms the heart of The Odyssey, The Divine Comedy, Don Quixote and many other classics of world literature, it is the plot of every space exploration movie, and it lives on in the contemporary short story. In this session, we will be taking a formalist approach to the journey story, breaking it down into elements, and analyzing how it works. At each step, we will be doing writing exercises that will help you generate ideas for your own journey story. It is my hope that at the end of the session, you'll have some ideas that can be developed into a well-wrought work of fiction.
  • D2. "'You're Luciphrastic!'" The Poet as Light Speaker" with Michelle Deschenes
  • This workshop will give an overview of V. Penelope Pelizzon's prose piece "Light Speaking: Notes on Poetry and Photography," that appeared in the May 2013 issue of Poetry Magazine. We will discuss the various meditations on luciphrastic poetry and what differentiates it from ekphrastic poetry through the use of various examples of each. Participants will then have time to write their own luciphrastic poems based on a photograph they have brought with them, one from memory, or from one of the photographs provided. There will be time at the end to share what we have written and/or the experience of writing the luciphrastic poem.
  • D3. "Don't Start Me Talking: Great First Lines and How to Craft Them" with Chris Drabick and Eric Wasserman
  • When submitting for publication, the importance of grabbing attention with a story's first sentence is clear. The writer is competing with hundreds of other submissions, and often a reader determines whether or not to continue based on the craft and craftiness of the opening. In this workshop, we will read and discuss a bevy of memorable first lines of both short stories and novels, paying particular attention to opening narrative space. We will spend some time generating our own first lines, leaving it up to attendees whether these can be used for existing pieces or to begin new stories. Last, we will come together and read our new material, discuss the viability of what has been generated, and search for ways to improve or refine.
  • D4. "Showing and Not Telling" with Andrew Nepomuceno
  • Confused and frustrated because people keep telling you, "Show, don't tell"? Then this workshop is for you! Come and break your bad habits of telling and become the envy of your colleagues. This workshop will begin with a look at the differences between showing and telling, and include writing time for both.
  • D5. "Online Journals: Submitting, Creating, Editing" with Gabriel Scala and Caroline Morrell
  • This panel will look specifically at online journals from two angles: as writers submitting to them for publication and as editors looking to create a new literary magazine. Caroline Morrell will discuss credibility, validity, and guidelines for submitting work to online journals and give representative examples of "good" journals. Gabriel Scala will discuss various platforms for the creation of an online journal as well as funding options, holding contests, and editorial approaches. As part of our workshop, participants will be encouraged to write drafts of their own submission letters (submitters) and/or mission statements (publishers).
  • CANCELED D6. "The Public Pool: Writing Poems of Place" with Karen Schubert
  • Our memories are often tied up in the sensory texture of a room or a tree or that stairwell we loved to sing in. This kind of detail may give the poem its unique walk. Place can work its way through a poem's narrative, or a poem may be singly focused on that one bench overlooking the bay, the best place to watch the cormorants dry off their wings. We will read a few poems to locate the elements of place, and then begin some poems using prompts, like that diving board at the public pool, where we all lined up, and just before jumping in, crossed ourselves with shivering fingers, even the Protestants.
  • D7. "Whose Story Is It? Ethics in Creative Nonfiction" with Sarah White
  • Whose story is it to tell? You have a creative nonfiction piece you want to write, but it involves your mom, your spouse, your child, that crazy ex-girlfriend from high school.... Where do we draw the line? If it's part of my experience, am I justified in sharing it? Let's discuss the ethics of nonfiction. We will workshop a bit and share our pieces together.
  • D8. "Books on TV" with Megan Wright and Brian Klueter
  • We'll talk about the recent changes in television that allow books to become TV series. Are people running out of ideas or simply moving books to a new medium? Why are books on TV so popular?

    E WORKSHOPS: SATURDAY 1:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m.

  • E1. "Revision and Rewriting: A Practical Method" with Matt Bell
  • The poet Philip Levine once described revision this way: "[Y]ou get yourself into a state where what you are intensely conscious of is not why you wrote it or how you wrote it, but what you wrote." In this session, you'll learn dozens of practical techniques useful for improving all kinds of fiction, essays, and other prose, each meant to provoke the mental state and artistic environment necessary for successful rewriting. We will also discuss how the hard work of revising and rewriting might be done better, working from the assumption that rewriting is writing, that it's in the second and third and subsequent drafts that stories and novels become what they're truly meant to be, exceeding the promise of their initial raw inspirations.
  • E2. "Truth or Fiction--Which Is Stranger?" with David Giffels, Eric Wasserman, and Chris Drabick
  • A fiction writer, a creative nonfiction writer, and a writer who works in both genres discuss their experiences turning real-life material into fiction, and using the techniques of fiction to tell true stories. Which is the greater challenge? What are the ethical, practical and creative boundaries? Where is the middle ground? The session will include a writing exercise.
  • E3. "The Uses of Villainy" with Jason Harris
  • A good villain can be fascinating. Not only will we explore how antagonists offer opportunities for meaningful conflict in a story, but we will consider various ways that a compelling villain helps to develop other elements of character, setting, and plot. Lucifer famously asserts in Milton's Paradise Lost that it is "better to reign in hell than serve in heaven," and we'll talk about why this may or not be true in your fiction.
  • E4. "Up Close and Personal with Your Characters" with Nathen Martin
  • In this workshop we will experience character interviews--participants will learn how to investigate their characters in a personal way, questioning characters to learn more about them.
  • E5. "So You Wanna Be a Sonneteer?" with Yosef Rosen and Jenelle Clausen
  • In this workshop, we'll talk about the history of the sonnet form and look at some notable examples, then work on some jumpstarting exercises. Participants will share their new work and talk about revision strategies for difficulties in sonnet-writing.
  • CANCELED E6. "Writing Prose Poetry" with Karen Schubert
  • Some of the most engaging contemporary poetry is in the prose poem form. This generous container lets a poet stretch her legs and mess around with tone and story. Still, there are challenges. Can a prose poem be too, well, prosey? How does a poet know when to break the line and when to go for prose? What to do with dialog? We'll look at some fine examples by the likes of Nin Andrews, Mattea Harvey, James Tate, and Charles Simic for guidance, and then give it a whirl.
  • E7. "Diagramming the City, the Experience, the Population of Butterflies: Using Maps and Cartography in Creative Writing" with Anne Valente
  • In this interactive session, we will discuss how maps can be used to enhance or even define creative work. Writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction alike can find innovative ways to use maps and cartography to diagram both tangible and intangible aspects of their creative writing. We will look at examples of writings that incorporate--and even depend upon--maps. We will discuss how maps can be integral to our own creative projects, and we will round out the session with hands-on work in incorporating maps into writing.
  • E8. "The End of the Line: A Workshop on the Line Break" with Sara Watson, Julia Koets, and Linwood Rumney
  • In this workshop led by three Ph.D. students in poetry at the University of Cincinnati, participants will explore how the line break affects tone, pace, meaning, and energy in poetry and how it functions in relation to the sentence. We will examine representative poems leading into writing prompts and group activities encouraging participants to explore the potential of the line break in their own work.
  • E9. "Improv: Kinetic Writing and World Building" with Natalie Wilson and Hannah McDonald
  • Combining art forms is often the catalyst for a major creative breakthrough. In this workshop, we will explore how performance-based improvisation can boost world-building and character development skills. You'll be amazed at what you can come up with when given only seconds to prepare! Activities will include spurts of high-energy improv games, followed by freewriting, giving participants time to reflect on the world that was created in their scene, and take it further. This workshop will have you laughing and on your feet, and you'll come away with new, imaginative tools for building dynamic scenes and characters.

    F WORKSHOPS: SATURDAY 2:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m.

  • F1. "Emerging Millenials: A New Age of Writers and Readers" with Joseph Celizic
  • Defined by Strauss and Howe as a "Civic" generation, Millennials are those born roughly between 1980 and 2005. Though stereotypes of this age group abound, many traits--such as pragmatism, greater mastery of and reliance on technology, and social responsibility--may actually be shaping the preferred styles and topics of these creative writers and readers as they enter adulthood. Join us as we read excerpts of fiction that reflect Millennial characteristics, explore the similarities between Millennial writers and GIs (the last Civic generation), and practice writing "like a Millennial."
  • F2. "Three or Four Things at Once: The Multi-tasking Poet/Poem" with Jeff Gundy
  • People who claim to be experts declare that true multi-tasking is impossible, and possibly immoral, but some of us started doing three or four things at once long before smart phones and Netflix. This workshop will explore poems and practices to help us stop feeling guilty, drink deeply and well from the intoxicating, exhilarating data streams all around us, and revel in the possibilities for writing they enable.
  • F3. "Making the Myth, Writing the Legend" with Suzanne Hodsden
  • E.M. Forster said, "The King died, and then the queen died is a story. The King died and then the queen died of grief is a plot." For some, plot construction can be one of the most baffling elements of writing, and this seminar will attempt to shed light on its classical constructions by looking to the ancient myths. Greek, Roman and Native American myths help us to see plot as an interconnected web of desire, action, reaction, and consequence. They help us capture that ephemeral "story-telling" voice and weave in symbolism and metaphor to achieve thematic significance. We'll conclude the session by taking a crack at our own myth-making and see story-telling in its original and prevailing form: a means of explaining the world.
  • F4. "Flash Fiction (Battle to the Death)" with Zach Kocanda, Brian Klueter, and Chris Paul
  • Participants will have 45 minutes to write a flash fiction story of 1,000 words or fewer, based on a picture prompt. Participants will share, and then vote for their favorite story; the top two will compete in a face-off duel at the Saturday evening open mic. There will be a prize!
  • CANCELED F5. "Lighting the Dark Corners: Writing Historically Based Poetry" with Karen Kotrba
  • Our personal pasts often make their way into our work, but what about the historical past? We can create compelling poems by exploring history's neglected corners. This session will focus on research and writing strategies. Time will allotted for practice with writing prompts.
  • F6. "Using Social Media to Promote Yourself and Your Work" with Jennifer Sader
  • Though this is not a creative writing session in the traditional sense, learning more about using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media to help promote published works (whether traditional or eBooks) is very valuable. The session includes a brief overview of social media and some basics on how to use it, illustrated with examples of promotional videos, Facebook pages, and Twitter sites used by other authors to promote their writing.
  • F7. "Access & Empathy in Persona Poems" with Qiana Towns and Jonterri Gadson
  • Through close readings and writing exercises, participants will gain an understanding of how empathy enhances their ability to access personas in their writing. The session will be divided into two parts. Participants will read and analyze persona poems written by the likes of Patricia Smith and Ai. This close reading will be followed by a two-part exercise designed to explore personas in poetry.
  • F8. "The Counterintuitive Workshop" with Dara Wier
  • For this workshop we'll be trying out counterintuitive means of writing: You'll be encouraged to do what amounts to doing something someone (including yourself), it doesn't matter who, somewhere along the line, has indicated to you you shouldn't be doing. Let's say you'll be trying to over-use an egocentric, narcissistic narrator: let him talk. Another time you'll want to be as bombastic as possible. Another time you will want to make absolutely no sense at all. None. You get the drift. Cliches, sentimentality, stereotypes, heavy-handedness, boring logic, spastic rhythm, unbalanced development, inappropriate nomenclature, over-writing, under-writing, deadpan rhyme, awkward syntax, ridiculous sentences, irrationally unproductive combinations, predictable scenarios, boundlessly trite didacticism, impenetrable dogma, superficial psychological pretensions, unapologetically unnecessary mendacities, relentless repetitions, dogged shallowness, unrepentant, irredeemable plagiarism, precious pretentiousness, predictability--all these things are for you to explore with abandon. Thirty minutes to write; the rest to read and talk about what doing the wrong thing can do.
  • F9. "Committing the Crime: Mining the Riches of Cross-Genre Writing" with Christiane Buuck and Meredith Doench
  • Literary writers are often accused of having beautiful words but little plot. Crime fiction writers are often told their prose is just a vehicle for action. In this workshop we'll explore the strengths and limitations of both genres and pinpoint how the best parts of each genre can strengthen the other. Participants are encouraged to share their own perspectives on genre, and we will engage in writing exercises to highlight the ways each genre can add new dimensions to the same story. We'll examine ways current writers such as Neil Cross, Tana French, Nancy Zafris and Ian McEwan engage the mechanics of each genre. The workshop will culminate with some concrete tips and techniques about how to use cross-genre writing to take participants' work in new and interesting directions.

    2013 General Schedule

    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Saturday, November 16, 2013