Featured class: Flannery O'Connor's Wise Blood with Jocelyn Hale starts June 4.

Silencing the Inner Critic

Posted on Thu, May 21 2015 9:00 am by Rebecca Kanner

We all have one. A little voice that sits on our shoulder whispering Whatever you do, DON’T MESS UP! My own “shoulder monster” is sometimes so loud that I forget her voice is not my own. She says:

Don’t be corny

Don’t be sentimental

Every sentence should be perfect as you put it down

DON’T MESS UP!

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Lit Chat: Meet Jen March

Posted on Wed, May 20 2015 9:00 am by Molly Fuller

It’s rare to meet someone who ends up in the Minnesota because they’ve always romanticized the Midwest, but that is exactly how Jen March came to our fair city. SoCal by birth but clearly Midwestern at heart, she’d been writing poems about snow long before she experienced her first parking restriction or had to shovel her walkway (and neither of those things sent her running for the hills!). The catalyst that brought her to Minneapolis came in the form of a friend with a predilection for storytelling, whose words about the city were grand and magical, and Jen became charmed by these tales. Storytelling is truly what brought Jen here, and in no small part is why she stays.

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Literary Roundup: Wodehouse Prize, Blogging Every Day, Avian Library, and Nikki Giovanni

Posted on Tue, May 19 2015 9:06 am by Chris Jones

Today's roundup celebrates the Wodehouse prize recipient, learns some lessons from a daily blogger, finds a library for the birds, and hears from Nikki Giovanni.

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Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood

Posted on Mon, May 18 2015 9:00 am by Jocelyn Hale

While reading Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood in prep for my upcoming three-session class I found myself laughing. I was braced for gothic and spooky but was reminded of Flannery O’Connor’s sly dry humor ...“Going around the corner he ran into something heavy and pink; it gasped and muttered, “Clumsy!”  

Last year, when Philip Bither announced Walker Art Center’s performing arts season, I realized that two of the shows were inspired by writers. I’d long been wanting the Loft to offer more classes for readers and thought it would be fun to have some short sessions where we discussed the books, saw the performance, and come together a week later with some of the performance creators to talk about the show. 

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Hope Deferred

Posted on Sat, May 16 2015 10:00 am by Lynne Jonell

Nineteen years is a long, long time to write and hope and dream and not reach one’s goal. I know, because that’s how long it took me to get a publishing contract for my first book.

Hope deferred does, indeed, make the heart sick. I knew this intimately. I knew it with every trip to the mailbox, and every rejection, and every struggling effort to drum up enough hope to send out a story yet again. It is a strange thing that writers, who of all people are perhaps the most sensitive to rejection, are the very ones who put their work out there, time and again, deliberately courting it.

Of course the answer to that is simple. The fear of rejection is strong, but the desire to write, to communicate our vision to the world, is stronger yet.

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publish.me: Exclusives—To Do or Not To Do?

Posted on Fri, May 15 2015 9:00 am by Dawn Frederick

The act of putting one’s book into the world is always quite the journey. Unfortunately, the challenge of exclusive submissions still looms in the background and is often frustrating for writers. For anyone going the traditional route in publishing, this is typically a rarity during the query process. With so many options (publishers, different ways to get published, etc.), asking for an exclusive submission feels a bit outdated. 

Most agents will assume that an author is sending out multiple queries. With the large volume any agent may receive monthly (from a few hundred to over a thousand), requiring authors to do exclusive submissions is not necessary 99% of the time.

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Best Summer Ever.

Posted on Thu, May 14 2015 9:00 am by Valerie Cabrera

School might be letting out soon, but our summer classes are only just beginning! Here at the Loft, we know better than anyone that writers wear a lot of different hats, especially during the summer. You guys are readers, comedians, enthusiasts, environmentalists, artists and more! With that in mind, we’ve compiled a few fun classes we hope will spark your varied and diverse writerly interests this summer:

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Who’s Your Audience? A Question Every Writer Should Ask Themselves (But May Not Have Thought To Ask)

Posted on Wed, May 13 2015 9:00 am by Ariana Nadia Nash

So, who is your audience? And what might that reveal about your writing practice?

Some writers might answer, I’m writing for myself. If an audience exists, they might say, so be it; if not, that won’t change what I write one iota. On one hand, this avoids the pitfalls of pandering to popular culture, the fears that might shut down more vulnerable or disturbing writing. There’s also a lot to be said for writing what you love, what you would want to read. On the other hand, though, there’s a drawback in this too: it’s a buffer against failure; if I’m not writing for your enjoyment, what do I care if you don’t get my work.

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Literary Roundup: Viet Thanh Nguyen, The MFA, Story Matters, and Ru Freeman

Posted on Tue, May 12 2015 9:03 am by Chris Jones

Today's roundup hears from Viet Thanh Nguyen, urges an end to complaints about the MFA, explores why character and story still matter, and finds Ru Freeman reading at the Loft Mentor Series.

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How Much Would You Pay for a Poem?

Posted on Mon, May 11 2015 9:00 am by Robin Rozanski

At the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference last month, thousands of writers gathered to talk about craft, pedagogy, and, inevitably, money. At one publishing panel, an audience member, apparently already dreaming how to spend her six-figure advance, wanted to know exactly how many copies sold equated a successful book. The tone of “From Rent Parties to Kickstarter” became bitter and aggressive as the poet-panelists asserted that rich people should house poets rent-free, and that crowdsourcing funders should donate to artists with a no-questions-asked open wallet.

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