|The Dey House (The Building for the Iowa Writer’s Workshop): https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iowa_Writers%27_Workshop.png|
After arriving, students are divided into eight separate classes each of which focuses on one specific study. Options include creative writing (a mix of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction), poetry, and fiction. These classes are the main academic writing setting for students. Each class is assigned one instructor. Instructors are typically renown, published authors. For Session 1 of this Summer, the instructors were Andy Axel, Kelsi Vanada, Jamel Brinkley, Amanda Kallis, Claire Lombardo, Riley Johnson, and Tim Taranto.
Every morning from 10:30AM to noon, students participate in seminars in their designated classes. In these seminars, students read a wide variety of genres and discuss the impact and mechanism of each writer’s craft. In Andy Axel’s seminar, the class read pieces by Italo Calvino, David Foster Wallace, and many more authors and poets. Furthermore, during seminars, instructors also teach students about specific writing techniques, such as the appropriate use of the second person in stories.
|David Foster Wallace (Left) and Italo Calvino (Right)
David Foster Wallace:http://www.electriccereal.com/gus-van-sant-interviews-david-foster-wallace/
Then, from 2:30PM to 4:30PM, students participate in writing workshops within their designated classes. In each workshop, two students bring in an original piece of writing to share with the class. After reading, the class critiques the pieces and provides suggestions for improving them. Many students believe that this part of the workshop is especially beneficial for them as writers. By receiving in-depth comments from an entire class, students find ways to further hone their craft. For instance, I shared a fictional story about a dystopian town, in which time can be stopped with the snap of a camera. From the workshop, I realized that I needed to more carefully balance fiction with reality to avoid confusing the reader.
|A Group of IYWS Writers (I am on the Far Right in the Back Row, Zachary Sclar is in the Middle Row, Center)|
Other than seminar and workshop, students spend time writing and exploring the area. IYWS is conveniently situated in Iowa City, which has been dubbed the “Writer’s City” for its enormous population of writers. As a result, on campus or at a nearby bookstore, famous authors often hold readings and signings that students can go to. The city is also clustered with cafes, parks, restaurants, and other amusements.
|Sky View of Iowa City
To provide a more thorough perspective, I interviewed Zachary Sclar, a senior from Massachusetts, who attended IYWS.
I also interviewed Margot Armbruster, a senior from Wisconsin, who also attended IYWS.
Question 1: How did IYWS impact you as a writer and reader?
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