Cecile Goding


Cecile Goding is from a small county in South Carolina, where she coordinated adult literacy efforts before moving to Iowa City. She is also from New England, Saudi Arabia, and the Silicon Valley. For her poems, she has won the Theodore Roethke and Richard Hugo prizes, a fellowship from the SC Academy of Poets, and a Bread Loaf scholarship. Her poetry, essays and short fiction have appeared in anthologies, journals, newspapers, and on small screens. Recent projects involve a memoir, a collaboration with an Arabic writer on a fiction collection, and a sci-fi opera.


Cecile Goding photo

The Well-Tempered Paragraph: Memoirs in Miniature

Event status
Attendance Required
How much of a life can be squeezed into a paragraph? This will be the challenge during our weekend retreat, as we tackle this most common unit of composition. Reading and appreciating these small blocks of type, none of them common, will be our first task. Our focus will be on those sparked by a memory. We will read from After the Fact, by poets Marvin Bell and Chris Merrill. We will read from Margaret Renkl's Late Migrations. We will also read paragraphs you love, those pulled from your bulletin boards or bracketed in the books on your desk. And we will respond with work of our own, producing paragraphs some might call prose poems. Others might feel more like anecdotes. In any case, your writing will shine and deepen, as fellow writers awaken what Philip Lopate calls "that shiver of self-recognition." In their famous Elements of Style, Strunk and White ask us to "remember that paragraphing calls for a good eye as well as a logical mind." Yes, let's certainly employ the former, the visual shape on the page. As far as the latter, well, we will have some fun. Can you write a book like this? Yes, you can. To start you right off upon registration, my introductory letter will include examples and prompts, so you'll hit the ground running, with paragraphs ready to be read and answered in kind. Writers at any level of experience are most welcome. Read more...
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