News: 2 Courses with Beaulieu

2011-04-19 15:03:PM ago by laurie.anne.fuhr

New Alexandra Centre Courses offered by Derek Beaulieu

The Alexandra Writers Centre, located in the historic Calgary neighbourhood of Inglewood, offers a variety of courses taught by some of Calgary's best writers. At Alexandra Centre, you don't have to have a degree or a lot of experience to teach a course. As a result, the quality of instruction varies, but it's subjective since it all depends on what you're hoping to learn and to get out of a class. Last year I became a member and took a couple of courses that were really positive and enjoyable. One was Craft and Catharsis with Naomi K. Lewis, author of Cricket in a Fist (Goose Lane Editions 2008), which offered several clever exercises to get you writing creatively about those moments in life you just can't forget about. It was a great experience; I came away perhaps not with the epiphanies I was meant to glean, but pumped because through one exercise (in which you write a one-sided 'dialogue'), I realized I could write a creative memoir using varying techniques throughout rather than as one homogenous unit. While you can certainly learn from those whose ideas about craft might not coincide with your own, it can be an even better experience when the writing your instructor publishes is a little more like the type of writing you do, or that you would like to know more about and attempt. (Check out all the instructor bios including bibliographical info here).

That's why I'm so excited to read about two fantastic workshops on the Alexandra Centre calendar this spring, offered by Calgary's Derek Beaulieu. Derek is a former Managing Editor, Poetry Editor, and Board Treasurer at filling Station, so yes, I'm certainly biased in my excitement. But the fact is, this is the first relatively low-cost opportunity I've seen to study with this innovative author who's lately been teaching at Mount Royal University. Beaulieu's knowledge of avant garde and experimental writing techniques are informed by his studies at the University of Calgary under some really interesting instructors including Fred Wah, Susan Rudy and Nicole Markotic, in addition to his own voracious personal studies. In my opinion, if these courses are of interest to you and if you live out of town, it could definitely be worth it to spend the money to visit, given that the fees for these courses are so reasonable, and the potential to learn what you might not have a chance to elsewhere is huge. The filling Station Collective has a lot of couch to surf, so feel free to email me if you're looking for a billet.

Here's more info about Beaulieu's courses from the Alexandra Centre newsletter:

Visual Narrative (Seats Available)
Instructor: Derek Beaulieu
Dates: May 27-29

In this course, students will explore how the weaving together of word and image — in graphic novels, wordless novels, experimentations with form – can be as evocative and emotionally rewarding as those with words. The course will be of great to use to writers of all genres, as it
will explore how colour, shape and form can inform how we read, and how we can evoke a response from our readers in ways which extend and augment the text itself.

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Learn to Beat Writers Block (Seats Available)
Instructor: Derek Beaulieu
Date: June 18

This course will introduce students to a variety of seemingly impossible tasks each of which are guaranteed to make you think about writing in new ways. Students will get a crash course on how to broaden your horizons by limiting your options — a great way to refresh the way you
look at writing!

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You can see other courses available and register on the Alexandra Centre site here. (For some reason, the June 18th workshop isn't listed, but it was included in the more recently updated newsletter).

Now that I've told you about it, I had better go sign up before there's no room for me! It's true that I know Derek, and for awhile I lived across the street from him. But it doesn't seem cool to ask a friend to sit down and tell you everything he's learned in the past 10 years for the benefit of your own little brain. That's worth paying money for.

Also worth mentioning is that you get a subscription to Freefall Magazine with your Alexandra Centre membership. Mine literally came this morning, and features work by Will Ferguson, Douglas Glover, and the Prose and Poetry Contest Winners. (Congratulations to our Facebook friend Catherine Owen for placing first in Poetry!).

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