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Writing Workshop on War

December 11, 2005

Writing about war’s harsh grip on survivors can be an invaluable way of releasing volcanic emotions. That’s the idea behind a workshop that Karen Malpede, a playwright who tackles traumatic events, is offering at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

“This writing workshop is specifically designed to meet the needs of combat veterans of the wars in Iraq, Vietnam, WWII, and members of veterans' families,” Malpede wrote in an announcement of the upcoming classes. “Writing is a proven way to move experiences of violence and war outside of the mind and body and into the world. Writing becomes a healing experience for the individual veteran, the family member and, also, for a troubled world.”

I’ve been invited to give a reading of selections from my work and participate in a question and answer session at this workshop. Writing about events one was in the middle of is exceedingly hard to do. Indeed, it is a continuing learning process. So this sort of writing workshop makes a lot of sense.

Karen Malpede brings a fascinating mixture of experience to the task of teaching about writing about harsh experiences. She has “led creative workshops and created theater pieces with torture survivors, refugees, students and combatants in Sarajevo. For the past five years, she has taught the Finding Your Own Writing Voice classes at the Graduate Center.” A widely produced playwright, Karen recently, she notes, “created and directed the documentary drama Iraq: Speaking of War which used the words of United States military, Iraqi civilians and other witnesses to tell the story of the first two years of the war and to commemorate the dead.”

The “Writing the World: Veterans & Families Transmute War Trauma into Voice” classes will be held at the CUNY Graduate Center on Fifth Ave. between 34th and 35th Sts. in Manhattan, as part of the Public Programs and Continuing Education department. Tuition is $300. Scholarships or tuition stipends to help cover the cost may be available.

Each writing workshop is limited to 8 participants. Classes run for 8 weeks. Evening Session, Wednesday, 6:30-8:30, March 1 to April 26, 2006 (no class 4/12). Daytime Session: Monday, 2:00-4:00, March 6 to April 24, 2006.

For information or to register contact the Continuing Education office at the Graduate Center: (212) 817-8215; or continuinged@gc.cuny.edu.

Selected Works

Poetry
A tonic spray of poetry, verses that a Vietnam war veteran lives by.
Prose
A pragmatic, common-sense handbook for civic action at the community and international levels.