Stuart Dybek- Poetry for Fiction Writers: What Fiction Writers Can Learn from Poems

  • January 23, 2020
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka IL



This session looks at poems in a way that will afford a fresh perspective on techniques, aims, and overlaps between poetry and fiction.

Genre isn’t a wall we write behind. As writers we locate our work along a continuum and what divide there might be between genres is wholly open to two way traffic.  Like fiction, poetry depends on narration, the use of image, an attention to sentence rhythm, etc.  How compression is achieved in poems is a skill that can be carried over into prose.  As Ray Carver once answered in an interview when asked why, given the success of his stories, he continued to write poems:
“I write poetry because I couldn’t write the stories I write without it." 

Stuart Dybek's The Start of Something: Selected Stories by Stuart Dybek was published by Jonathan Cape/Vintage in 2016, and two new collections of fiction, Ecstatic Cahoots and Paper Lantern, were published simultaneously by FSG in June 2014. Dybek’s previous books of fiction are Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, The Coast of Chicago, and I Sailed with Magellan. He has also published two volumes of poetry, Brass Knuckles and Streets In Their Own Ink. His work is widely anthologized and appears in publications such as The New Yorker, Harpers, The Atlantic, Tin House, Granta, Zoetrope, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Dybek is the recipient of many literary awards including the PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize for “distinguished achievement in the short story”, a Lannan Award, the Academy Institute Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writer’s Award, the Harold Washington Literary Award, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and four O’Henry Prizes. 

His work has appeared in Best American Poetry and in Best American Fiction. In 2007, he was awarded both a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and the Rea Award for the Short Story. He is the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern University.

9-9:30 Registration and Socializing 

9:30-12 Program 

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620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL 60093

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