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“I had a friend who…”: Writing Friendship with Chen Chen (via Zoom)

April 20 @ 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Inspired by recent cultural discourse on the complex power of friendship, this multi-genre generative workshop explores a variety of approaches to writing about/from friendship. We’ll start with a discussion of Mary Ruefle’s Pushcart Prize-winning essay “Dear Friends” (one of her best, most moving prose pieces, I think) before taking a look at a handful of friendship-focused piece by a range of poets and writers as potential models for our own writing. I’ll provide some writing prompts, including one that involves texts/DMs/emails with friends. We’ll think about what friendship means in a contemporary era of friending and following, subscribing and subtweeting, a global pandemic and generational divides as well as intersections. How do we make friends today? How do we maintain friendships? How do we, when needed, “break up” with friends in ways that don’t sound like a memo from HR? These deeply personal questions, among others (including the more craft-related ones!), will drive this session, this gathering of texts and— one can hope—friends.
NB: This class will be taught on zoom. Need-based, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA+ scholarships for this class open on Dec 1 and are due on Dec 15th. Please read all course guidelines for HVWC before registering for any class.
Chen Chen is the author of two books of poetry, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency (BOA Editions, 2022) and When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. His work appears in many publications, including Poetry and three editions of The Best American Poetry. He has received two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from Kundiman, the National Endowment for the Arts, and United States Artists. He was the 2018-2022 Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis University and currently teaches for the low-residency MFA programs at New England College and Stonecoast. He lives with his partner, Jeff Gilbert, and their pug, Mr. Rupert Giles. 


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April 20
12:30 pm - 4:30 pm


Hudson Valley Writers Center
Philipse Manor Station
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 United States
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