The Goddard MFA in Creative Writing is thrilled to announce that we will be introducing the first podcasting curriculum offered by any low residency MFA in Creative Writing this coming summer in Vermont. Also, for the first time ever, these workshops will be open to all our current MFAW students and our alumni.

This summer, we begin with a soft launch of this new initiative on the Plainfield campus by offering four workshops (two technical, two creative) to get you introduced, oriented, informed, and starting to practice putting together your own podcasts. (For students and alumni in Port Townsend WA, we are hoping to expand the curriculum to your residency site soon, but meanwhile, microphones and voxpop interviews are coming your way this July, so stay tuned!)

To lead us in this new venture, we are thrilled to welcome two guest instructors, James T. Green from Gimlet Creative and Jackie Batten from WGDR Radio, who will be working together on a set of workshops that, if taken all together, could result in participants walking away with a short sample segment of audio storytelling by the end of the residency.

As writers, we are used to thinking about genre forms and conventions: now is the time to learn about the structures of podcasting that you might already be noticing when you listen to your favorites and also how to break them and experiment so you can come away from these workshops not only a clear sense of the basics of great radio storytelling and writing, but also knowing how to take the typical conventions and turn them slightly on their heads. If technology is your concern, we will be working with free software and simple equipment, so don’t be afraid.  Learn, too, how sound creates an additional layer of engagement, emotion and empathy, whether through music, noise, or the human voice (and learn how to make the most of that).  In short: there is so much to learn!

In this announcement, we are thrilled to introduce James and his two workshops. To meet Jackie, and hear more about her workshops, keep an eye on the blog next week!

James T. Green is an audio documentarian by trade and an artist by practice. By day he works at the award-winning upstart, Gimlet Creative, as a producer. (Gimlet was founded in 2014 and is based in Brooklyn, New York. Gimlet podcasts are downloaded over twelve million times per month by listeners from nearly 190 countries worldwide.)  Previously, he was the Director of Audio at the Outline, producer at MTV News, and Graduate Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute Chicago. James is well-versed and experienced in both traditional, NPR-style podcasting and more experimental and artistic audio storytelling. He will be talking about the form, shape and scripting of different podcasts, interviews (all the how-tos that go with that) and other creative writing topics,  James has an ongoing audio art podcast, u+1f60c. You can also subscribe to his writing project newsletter here and find him on Twitter @_jamestgreen.

Tuesday, July 2nd: Beyond the Three Act Structure

Podcasting…it’s more than interviews (though it is that, too), and it’s NOT simply reading your essay into a mic.  Podcasting is its own form with its own structures, and it offers a unique opportunity to tap into the empathy and emotion of the human voice.  But how can you best consider and tap into what is not on the page while you are shaping your story? During this two part workshop, we will run through the what, why, and how of podcasting to get you thinking and get you started!  Day One will introduce the form. Part lecture/presentation, and with a listening-intensive focus, we will look at different radio story structures and conventions (and how to break them), and the how (and where) to borrow from different mediums to tell a great radio story. Join us as we dive into the nuts and bolts of audio story-telling, with discussion and listening exercises. (2.5 hours)

Wednesday July 3rd: Ready, Set, Go!

In Day Two of our Introduction to Podcasting, we will build on what we learned through exercise and practice. In Part One, you learned about the typical storytelling structures that podcasting uses, and how to break them. We also talked about experimentation (poetry, fiction, sound, etc.).  Now we get hands-on and interactive!  Through group activities, listening exercises, and workshop-style practice, we’ll take a deeper dive into how to write and track for radio, and start to experiment with how you can transform an interesting topic into a fully-fledged story.  (3 hours)

Excited? We hope so! We are looking forward to seeing you at the next Goddard MFAW Vermont residency and Clockhouse Writers’ Conference and Retreat!

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Rahna Reiko Rizzuto is the author of Shadow Child, a suspenseful literary historical novel published in 2018. Her first novel, Why She Left Us, won an American Book Award, and her memoir, Hiroshima in the Morning, was a National Book Critics Circle Finalist, an Asian American Literary Award Finalist, a Dayton Literary Peace Prize Nominee, and the winner of the Grub Street National Book Award. She is also a recipient of the U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. She was Associate Editor of The NuyorAsian Anthology: Asian American Writings About New York City and is a Hedgebrook alumna. Reiko has been interviewed widely on motherhood including on The Today Show, 20/20, and The View. Her articles on motherhood, Hiroshima, the Japanese internment camps and radiation poisoning have been published globally, including in the L.A. Times, Guardian UK, CNN Opinion and Salon, and through the Progressive Media Project. She is a faculty member at Goddard College in the MFA in Creative Writing program, and is the advisor of the national literary journal, Clockhouse. Reiko is Japanese/Caucasian and was raised in Hawaii. She is the founder of the writing retreat Pele's Fire on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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