James McKean


James McKean writes poetry and non-fiction. He’s published three books of poems, Headlong, Tree of Heaven, and We Are the Bus, and two books of essays, Home Stand: Growing Up in Sports, and Bound. His work has appeared in magazines and collections such as The Atlantic, Poetry, The Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, Best American Sports Writing 2003, and Basketball: Great Writing About America’s Game. His awards include the 1987 Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writer Award in Poetry, the 1994 Iowa Poetry Prize, the 2011 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize from Texas Review Press, and a Pushcart Prize.  McKean lives in Edmonds, WA, and teaches for the Queens University M.F.A. Creative Writing Program, the Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop, and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.


James McKean photo

Memoir: Pieces for the Whole

Event status
Attendance Required
This workshop is based on the premise that the whole story is made up of parts, that writing a memoir starts with a compilation of many pieces—episodes or anecdotes or vignettes or moments held in memory. Designed for those who are in the process of sketching out these moments, this workshop will look at ways to “fashion a text” as Annie Dillard says, from “fragmentary patches of color and feeling,” especially for those trying to write about family with its many competing voices. We will look for narrative potential in the fragmentary material, the narrative potential in family artifacts, and vividness in language and detail. We will spend some time looking at short nonfiction examples to discover the possibility of form and narrative structures, but the majority of the workshop will be given to reading your work by an informed and sympathetic audience. In this workshop, we will critique writing you bring from home. Please bring two short pieces of your work in progress, a variety of questions, and a curiosity about how all this is done.
James McKean photo