Spring Writing Workshop

The Clark College Writing Workshop is an annual creative writing festival that takes place spring quarter every year. It is comprised of author readings and writing workshops and invites Clark students and the Vancouver and surrounding communities to come together to celebrate writing and practice craft. Workshop facilitators include renowned writers as well as Clark faculty. 

The theme of the 2023 Workshop is Writing Along the Edges. All events take place on May 20th, 2023, in the Penguin Union Building (PUB) starting at 10:00 a.m. Please see below for the workshop schedule, author bios, workshop descriptions, and registration information. For more information, please email creativewriting@clark.edu.

Registration Information

All writers from beginning to advanced are welcome to attend, and we also welcome area high school writers too. Admission is free, but so we have an accurate number of attendees, we are asking that you register in advance. Lunch is free for all attendees, and there will be meat, plant-based, and gluten-free options, as well as coffee and pastries in the morning. Participants are welcome to attend the full day of readings and workshops, or as much as their schedules allow. Please ensure your spot by registering at Eventbrite. 

2023 Workshop Schedule

Detailed workshop descriptions follow this schedule. 


PUB 161

Central Gathering Space (Opening, Lunch Readings)

PUB 257

Multi-Genre Workshops

PUB 258 A
Fiction Workshops

PUB 258 B

Non-Fiction Workshops

PUB 258 C
Poetry Workshops


Opening Remarks:

Armin Tolentino


  Janice Lee, "Permeable Realities: How We Exist in Relation to Our Texts and to Each Other" Jon Raymond, "Character/Situation" Raul Moreno, "Multiples: Critical Language Awareness and the Art of Translation" Armin Tolentino, "Reaching the Edge: Building Metaphors that Border the Unknown"


  Breena Bard, “Writing for comics and graphic novels: Learn how to create a script for a comic that you or another artist will be illustrating”  Tobias Peterson, "Playing by/with the Rules" (Poetry and Fiction) Justin Taylor, "The Sentence Is a Place to Play: An Argument for Style as an Element of Story" Harper Quinn, "Cut and Paste: Poetry and Collage Zines"


Lunch Served!

Readings: Janice Lee, Harper Quinn, Jon Raymond, Armin Tolentino



  manuel arturo abreu, “Resonances in Porous Somatic Spaces”  Ramona Ausubel, "Walls into Doorways: Strategies for Getting Unstuck and Staying in Love with Your Work" Cassia Gammill, "Shifting and Recentering Your Writing and Writing Practice: Truth, Desire, and Delight!"  


Readings: manuel arturo abreu, Ramona Ausubel, Breena Bard, Justin Taylor


Workshop Descriptions

manuel arturo arbeu, "Resonances in Porous Somatic Spaces"

This workshop explores an expanded notion of the poetic by leaning into the sonic, somatic, and emergent properties of language. We gather around an experimental, multimedia process where 'writing' centers what Derrida calls the traces of the non-linguistic at the center of language. Procedures of digging, deep listening, sounding, finding lines of flight, drawing, moving, and more will guide our attention as we feel and write together toward the network of resonances and catalyzing frictions (sound waves beating against each other) that emerge when hearts share space. Participants are invited to come with whatever preparation or lack thereof feels necessary. There will be a generative component to the workshop but there is no pressure to produce any language unless it proves helpful and nourishing for the audience with respect to exploring the workshop's themes. 

Ramona Ausubel, "Walls into Doorways"

Strategies for getting unstuck and staying in love with your work 

Breena Bard, "Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels"

Learn how to create a script for a comic that you or another artist will be illustrating.

Cassia Gammill, "Shifting and Re-Centering Your Writing and Writing Practice: Truth, Desire, Delight" 

For any number of reasons, our writing practices can get pushed to the edges of our own lives. It slides into the remainder (and how often does there not even end up being one?), the leftovers, the scraps, the margins. Some of the reasons our writing and writing practice gets pushed to those edges of time are the demands and constraints of a society that does not value creativity or writing for its own sake, the demands on ourselves for every writing session to produce something “worthwhile”, a lack of ideas or inspiration in the moment, or because we fear in some way what will happen if we do or don’t write, and so we don’t write at all. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, welcome to the club. This workshop is focused on developing some truth statements to affirm our creative practice, to identify our desires and write from them, inspired by Ariel Gore’s insight that a story is the tension between desire and resistance, and to take inventory of our delights and write from those inspired by Ross Gay’s Book of Delights. Generating lists of truths, desires, and delights offers a wellspring we can always draw from for inspiration through the various types of resistance to writing that have been keeping it at the edges of our lives and time. 

Genre: This workshop focuses most closely on nonfiction prose but may be useful to writers in any genre. 

Janice Lee, "Permeable Realities: How We Exist in Relation to Our Texts & to Each Other"

We will explore how the frames of reference and relationships between and of living beings are activated, particularly how different bodies and worlds articulate each other. Investigating modes of interspecies communication, the boundaries between self and other, and the ways in which our language reflects how we exist in the world, this is a workshop in porosity, permeability, and multi-species entanglement.

Raul Moreno, "Multiples: Critical Language Awareness and the Art of Translation"

What is your relationship to languages and dialects beyond the academic English of public education? What role does our work as multilingual writers or educators have in cultivating literacy, equity, and justice? This workshop examines critical questions of language by interweaving the practices of close reading, creative nonfiction, and translation. Through discussion of what we notice in reading and creating texts from the oral tradition, writers will explore rhetorical features that “mark” the linguistic variations (or lack thereof) of many genres. Writers will also have an opportunity to engage in vernacular “translation” of a message they find meaningful to the Clark College community.

Tobias Peterson, "Playing By/With the Rules"

Robert Frost famously likened writing free verse poetry to playing tennis without a net. In his judgment, formal rules were a necessary element of good writing. Many writers, however, find such regulations to be opaque, oppressive, and obsolete. This is particularly true for poets, as evidenced by the dominance of free verse poetry on  modern bookshelves. 

However, following formality doesn’t have to feel like you’re putting on an ill-fitting suit. As we’ll explore in this generative session—and in keeping with the theme of this writing workshop—formal rules can provide us with a useful edge along which we might write, a constraint that will allow our words to take new and surprising shapes as they fit into prescribed forms. 

This is particularly the case if we expand the notion of what a “rule” is. Beyond the dusty conventions of meter, rhyme, or genre, what sort of work might you produce if you drafted a poem that had to include a specific type of whale in the third line, or a piece of flash fiction in which a character had to answer every question with a question? This session will devise those possibilities for participants, and then allow writers the opportunity to pen drafts playing with, and by, these invented rules. 

The class will accommodate both fiction writers and poets.

Harper Quinn, "Cut & Paste: Poetry and Collage Zines" 

In this hands-on image & text workshop, we’ll collaborate with ourselves using collage and one-sheet zines. We’ll explore found images as portals, as well as several creative writing prompts, toggling between collage, and writing. Is there a way we can bring the surprise and juxtaposition of collage into our writing? Can we let collage guide us towards embracing unexpected encounters or associative leaps? Finally, we’ll use the form of the zine as a kind of container for this creative processing.  

Jon Raymond, "Character/Situation"

A talk about where characters come from (they come from somewhere; they aren't made up), and how to make them walk, talk, pray, love, and suffer. Examples will be drawn from the writer's experience in life and in writing, both for the page and for the screen. Workshop attendees will be expected to sell out their friends and family.

Justin Taylor, "The Sentence Is a Place to Play: An Argument for Style as a Story Element" 

All too often, nonfiction writers are told that our stories are what's important, not the ways we tell them. In this generative craft workshop, we're going to abandon that idea entirely and instead explore all the ways in which a bold, innovative prose style can make our stories stronger, stranger, and more fully our own. We'll borrow techniques from fiction and poetry, pay obsessive attention to language at the sentence level, and come to understand that the aesthetic dimension of a text isn't an afterthought or add-on, but a central, essential element of the stories we're trying to tell. 


Author Bios

manuel arturo abreu 

manuel arturo abreu (*1991 Santo Domingo) is a non-disciplinary artist who lives and works on unceded lands of Multnomah, Cowlitz, Clackamas, Chinook, Kalapuya, Confedered Grand Ronde people, and other Pacific Northwest First People. abreu works with what is at hand in a process of magical thinking with attention to ritual aspects of aesthetics. Since 2015, they have co-facilitated home school, a free pop-up art school in the Pacific Northwest with a multimedia genre-nonconforming edutainment curriculum, including residencies at Yale Union (2019) and Oregon Contemporary (2022-23). They also compose worship music as Tabor Dark. Recent projects at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler (Berlin), Palazzo San Giuseppe (Polignano a Mare), HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark (Graz), Kunstraum Niederösterreich (Vienna), Veronica (Seattle), and Athens Biennial 7. They have written two poetry books– List of Consonants (Bottlecap Press, 2015), transtrender (Quimérica, 2016)– and one book of critical prose, Incalculable Loss (Institute for New Connotative Action, 2018). 

Ramona Ausubel

Ramona Ausubel’s fifth book, The Last Animal, came out in April, 2023. Her previous books are Awayland: storiesSons and Daughters of Ease and PlentyA Guide to Being Born and No One is Here Except All of Us. She is the recipient of the PEN/USA Fiction Award, the Cabell First Novelist Award and has been a finalist for both the California and Colorado Book Awards and the New York Public Library Young Lions Award. Her work has been published in The New YorkerThe New York TimesThe Paris Review daily, One StoryTin HouseThe Oxford AmericanPloughshares and elsewhere. She is a professor at Colorado State University, on faculty at the Bennington Writing Seminars and has taught at Tin House, Writing by Writers, the Community of Writers, Breadloaf Environmental Conference and elsewhere. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her family.

Breena Bard

Breena Bard is an Oregon Book Award-winning author/illustrator of comics for kids and kids at heart. Her middle grade graphic novels include Trespassers (Scholastic/Graphix, 2020) and Wildfire (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, fall 2023) and she has self published a number of comics, including a memoir about the birth of her son (Hey Baby, 2016). She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. When she's not working on books, Breena enjoys eating pizza, watching movies, playing the drums, and exploring the outdoors with her family.

Jen Denrow

Jen Denrow is the author of California. Her chapbooks include How We Know it is That, From California, On and Wave Behavior. Her writing has appeared in journals such as Gulf Coast, jubilat, Alaska Quarterly Review, Octopus, and on Poets.Org. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Denver and is the recipient of a fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches writing classes at Clark College in Vancouver, WA and runs the art space 1122outside.

Cassia Gammill

It’s a love for language itself that moves me to write. I want to say I read and write toward beauty, possibility, understanding, and companionship. Language shapes us and can change us. I am starting to see the various forms of writing as structures that can hold us, individually and collectively, in a space that facilitates transformation. I am inspired by all of the language workers who expand our individual and collective possibilities – by you. 

Janice Lee

Janice Lee (she/they) is a Korean American writer, teacher, spiritual scholar, and shamanic healer. She is the author of 8 books of fiction, creative nonfiction, & poetry, most recently Imagine a Death (Texas Review Press, 2021, Separation Anxiety (CLASH Books, 2022), a finalist for the 2023 Oregon Book Award, and A roundtable, unanimous dreamers chime in, a collaborative novel co-authored with Brenda Iijima (Meekling Press, 2023). Lee teaches workshops on inherited trauma, healing and writing, bringing together elements from several different lineages as a mesa-carrying practitioner of the  Q’ero tradition of medicine work and as a practitioner of Zen Buddhism (in the tradition of Plum Village and Thich Nhat Hanh). She also incorporates elements of ancestral healing, Korean shamanic ritual (Muism), plant medicine & flower essence work, card readings & divination, and interspecies communication. She currently lives in Portland, OR where she is the Operational Creative Director at Corporeal Writing and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Portland State University.

Raul Moreno

Raul Moreno has taught writing and literature for more than a decade, with an emphasis on culturally-inclusive approaches to instructional design. He began teaching composition at Clark College in 2016. He is now an instructional designer for Oregon State University. During the pandemic, Raul completed his Ph.D. in English at the University of South Dakota (’20), where he focused on contemporary American short prose. He also holds master’s degrees from Washington State and Colorado State universities. Raul’s doctoral work was recognized by the Western Literature Association. His essays and stories have been featured in The Normal School, The Millions, Quarterly West, Western Humanities Review, and other journals and volumes, including Quagmire: Personal Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan (University of Nebraska Press, 2021).

Jesse Morse

Jesse Morse is the author of Flash Floods are Anomalies, (Finishing Line Press 2020). He is currently a faculty member at Clark College in Vancouver, WA. His poems and book reviews have appeared in Amerarcana, Bombay Gin, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Golden Handcuffs Review, jacketmagazine, Page Boy, Poetry Flash, and Vanitas, among others. He plays guitar and sings in the rock band The Whirlies, and helps run 1122 Outside in Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, the poet Jennifer Denrow, and their daughter Wren.

Tobias Peterson

Tobias Peterson’s debut poetry collection Nothing More Beyond was longlisted for the Sexton Prize for Poetry by Black Spring Press. His poems have appeared in Lunch Ticket, Superstition ReviewGhost City PressColdnoon, and elsewhere. He’s worked as a writing instructor in Texas, England, Spain, and most recently in Vancouver, Washington at Clark College. He lives across the Columbia River from there, in Portland, Oregon. Visit him at tobiaspeterson.com.

Harper Quinn

Harper Quinn is the author of Coolth (Big Lucks Books, 2018), a full length collection of poetry, as well as chapbooks Unnaysayer (Flying Object 2013), and Thrownness, a collaboration with artist Jillian Barthold. She lives in Portland, OR and is part of the staff collective at the Independent Publishing Resource Center.

Jon Raymond

Jon Raymond is the author of the novels The Half-LifeRain DragonFreebird, and Denial, and the story collection Livability, winner of the Oregon Book Award. He also published a collection of art writing called The Community: Writings About Art In and Around Portland, 1997 - 2016. He’s collaborated on six screenplays with the director Kelly Reichardt, including Old JoyWendy and LucyMeek's CutoffNight Moves, First Cow, and Showing Up, numerous of which were based on his fiction, and on the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce with Todd Haynes. He was editor of Plazm Magazine, an Associate and Contributing Editor at Tin House Magazine, and served on the Board of Directors of Literary Arts. His writing has appeared in ZoetropeTin HouseArtforumBookforum, and many other places. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his partner, the writer Emily Chenoweth, and their kids, Eliza and Josephine.

Justin Taylor 

Justin Taylor is the author of three books of fiction and a memoir, Riding with the Ghost, which was published in 2020. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, The Oxford American, The Sewanee Review, and Bomb. His next novel, Reboot, is forthcoming from Pantheon in May 2024. He has taught writing in every time zone of the contiguous United States but always finds his way back to Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife and cat.