Blog Love & Coming to the Writer's Center

The Writer's Center just announced the line-up of fall workshops being taught not only in the Bethesda location but in Annapolis, McLean, and the new Hill Center in Capitol Hill. Our instructors include winners of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Book Award, and the National Book Award. You can read up on these by clicking the linked course names, or see the whole fall via The Workshop & Event Guide...

Martin Espada (Barbaric Yawp)

Barbara Esstman (
Advanced Novel & Memoir)

James Mathews (Building a Page Turner)
Lynn Stearns (Memoir: Story Construction)
Stanley Plumly (Poetry Master Class)
Rose Solari (A Sense of the Whole)
David Taylor (Writing Brilliantly About Science)
Kathryn Johnson (The Extreme Novelist 1 & The Extreme Novelist 2)

& TWC highlighted my class as well, The Strategic Poet, which will run on Tuesday nights in September through mid-October. I describe it in these terms:

Poetry is both an art and a craft, complete with its own toolbox. In this workshop (which will dovetail but not overlap with “The Strategic Poet: 1”) we’ll use weekly readings to help identify strategies for writing effective poems, and identify the tactics that can be used to follow those strategies in your own writing process—whether at the point of drafting, revision, or the shaping of a collection. For the first meeting, bring 15 copies of two poems: a poem that you love, and a draft of your own.

Traditionally, my workshops have a great time.  I have the Writer's Center place a cap on enrollment to 12 people so we don't feel rushed in class, and I return handwritten individual feedback on each poem. One of the amazing writers in my "The Strategic Poet: 1" class even went on to win this year's DCCAH Larry Neal Award! Those who know me well know I don't teach often, but I'm really proud to connect with DC's writing community through these workshops. If you're interested, please consider signing up. 

If you're in town this weekend, I hope to see you at Politics & Prose on Sunday at 3 PM to celebrate the hometown debut of Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life. My wonderful fellow DC writers Leslie Pietrzyk and Paula Whyman were kind enough to mention it on their blogs; Paula called it a "don't-miss author event." 

Speaking of blog love, I wanted to send out a big, sloppy, e-kiss to Kristin Berkey-Abbott: if you don't follow her blog you should, because it is one of the most frequently updated and substantive ones I am reading right now. I was so honored and delighted to find her mediation on DKTBG, which included these good wishes..."Perhaps Sandra will be our next Natalie Angier or Laurie Garrett, someone who can make science accessible for those of us who haven't had a science class in decades.  She's done that for the world of allergies in this book." Wow. I got to work with Natalie Angier once or twice in my American Scholar days, and I have to say that if I could become half the nonfiction writer she is, I would be thrilled. Thanks for setting the bar so high for me, Kristin--and for believing in my voice. 

And while I'm at it, I'd like to take Miss Ada Limon out for a night of cherries...and dancing. 

Since folks have been so generous in supporting me, I'd love to pay the blog love forward. So please check out Laurel Snyder's efforts to book 100 school visits in 100 days (via Skype) in celebration of the release of her latest children's book, BIGGER THAN A BREADBOX. This is such a fabulous idea, and trust me--Laurel's personality is big enough that it will project through a screen just fine. BTAB is a brave look at how a child copes with divorce, while displaying Laurel's signature blend of humor and fantasy. Here's a synopsis:

A magical breadbox that delivers whatever you wish for—as long as it fits inside? It's too good to be true! Twelve-year-old Rebecca is struggling with her parents' separation, as well as a sudden move to her Gran's house in another state. For a while, the magic bread box, discovered in the attic, makes life away from home a little easier. Then suddenly it starts to make things much, much more difficult, and Rebecca is forced to decide not just where, but who she really wants to be. Laurel Snyder's most thought-provoking book yet.

If you're a parent or know of a worthy local school, please encourage them to query Laurel. You also might be interested in this ongoing giveaway via Goodreads leading up to the book's September release.