New writing school offers top notch teachers

The Vancouver Island School of Writing opens its doors at the Victoria College of Art.

The City of Victoria's Poet Laureate Linda Rogers is teaching a creative writing course at the Victoria College of Art's new Vancouver Island School of Writing.

The Victoria College of Art will begin helping Victorians keep their lives and language honest this fall through its newly created Vancouver Island School of Writing.

The goal of the school: to wage war on complacency by making writing accessible to everyone.

“There are no prerequisites whatsoever,” says college president Peter Such. “Just an interest in writing.”

Such saw the need for a writing school after the Victoria Writing School closed its doors. “The idea is to get the art out into the community. There was no writing school here, except for the one I used to teach at at UVic.”

With four instructors from the Island: Victoria’s  Poet Laureate activist Linda Rogers, kung fu word-ninja Kim Goldberg, performance blitzkrieger Missie Peters and narrative commando Jessica Michalofsky, the writing school is offering four affordable evening courses starting next month. They’re suitable for anyone (18+, with exceptions made for a special mature few), from beginners to those needing a trained eye to hone their craft.

“The people we’ve got are really top-notch writers who are engaged in the community, because we really are art city,” Such says. “These people are not conventional. They use very interesting methodology.”

Here’s a quick overview of the courses:

Spoken Word: The art and craft of performance poetry, led by 2011 Victoria Slam Team Master Missie Peters; Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m., six weeks starting Sept. 21. “Whether you are looking to gain more confidence on stage, hone your performance skills, or just have more fun with your writing, this class will stretch you to the awesome point,” says Peters.

Body Talk: Kung Fu for writers with award-winning poet, journalist and author Kim Goldberg; Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m., starting Sept. 22. This six-week course involves martial arts, Qigong and writing exercises that will awaken your body, unleash your mind and stimulate the flow of words. Discover what happens to your creative powers when Angry Horse Turns Head Around or Green Dragon Stretches Claws,” Goldberg says.

Short Fiction: the brevity of wonder with current VCA Art English teacher, Jessica Michalofsky; Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m., starting Sept. 21. Learn the “how-to” of writing a brilliant story through invigorating in-class exercises and peer critique. Students will complete several short pieces and one full-length short story in a supportive and enjoyable classroom environment, according to the course description.

Trusting Your Cape: led by Victoria’s Poet Laureate, Linda Rogers, Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m., starting Sept. 20. “We were doughnut holes before we were born and surely we will return to the same state. The good news is that, even those of us who have endured many incarnations (chocolate, maple walnut, sprinkles) remember none of it,” says Rogers.

“Language belongs to all of us. Words were our first playthings and we’re all entitled. And I want to help spread the entitlement. We need more people to write poems, not less.”

Rogers is looking for budding or beginner poets who aren’t afraid to take risks and show honesty in their work. “It’s really important to have a skill kit before venturing off bare naked into the world. I look for people who are willing to jump off the top of a mountain and enjoy the ride.

For more information about the Vancouver Island Writing School visit vca.ca/writing-school. M

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