INWA opportunity for students to expand writing skills

Have you been thinking about expanding your skills as a writer but have trouble figuring out where to start?

Well this summer Southern Oregon University is launching a program to help people in similar situations, it’s called the Institute for New Writing/Ashland.

The INWA will focus on three different genres: fiction, noir literature and poetry. Featured at the event will be three visiting writers: Kevin Killian, Sharon Mesmer, and Vanessa Pierce.

Killian is an American poet, author, playwright, and “one of the original New Narrative writers” according to the INWA press release. New Narrative is a literary movement that started in San Francisco in the 1970s and ’80s. Killian is currently the editor of the poetry magazine Mirage.

Sharon Mesmer is a “Flarf” poet and a teacher at New York University, the New School in New York City, The Poetry Project and the Chicago School of Poetry. “Flarf” is a form of avant-garde poetry that creates poems from Internet search terms.

Vanessa Pierce is a literary critic, co-director for Les Figues Press, and a leading practitioner of conceptual poetry.

Faculty from SOU, including Robert Arellano, Craig Wright, and Kasey Silem Mohammad will also be featured as part of the event.

Arellano is the director of the Emerging Media and Digital Arts program on campus and a novelist.

“We’re very excited to bring these exceptional writers to SOU to help us launch INWA,” says Arellano.

One of his works, “Havana Lunar: A Cuban Noir”  was the 2010 Edgar Award finalist. Arellano will be teaching a workshop on noir literature.

Wright, a creative writing professor and author of “Redemption Center,” a collection of short stories, will be leading a workshop on short story writing.

Mohammad, a poetry professor and author of “Deer Head Nation,” the “Front” and “Breathalyzer,” will explain the influence of twentieth century avant-garde movements on current experimental poetry.

“The Institute for New Writing fosters a dynamic, educational environment that brings multiple styles of writing together, and it’s an enriching community and campus experience,” says Professor Mohammad.

The INWA is a weeklong event that lasts from August 12 through 17 on the SOU campus. The program will consist of classes that meet from 9 a.m. to noon, and then reconvene at 1 p.m. for colloquia, Q&A sessions, and panels. The event will be followed up by a literary festival with public receptions. For more information contact Arellano via email at

Leave a Reply