UTPA sponsors second annual Creative Writing Institute
Posted: 04/27/2004
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The University of Texas-Pan American English Department will sponsor its second annual Creative Writing Institute in conjunction with High School to University Services June 1-7, 2004.

The Writing Institute features two professional, published authors, Dr. Steven Schneider and Dr. René Saldaña, and will include morning workshops in either prose or fiction and afternoon discussion panels on such topics as performance of works, Rio Grande Valley writing, publishing, and poetry and art. Workshops are structured to meet the needs of beginning and advanced writers.

"We are trying to bring people in from the community to this program, so the readings and afternoon panels are free and open to the public. We want to create community interest in the literary arts," Schneider said.

Instructors for the 2004 Creative Writing Institute are Dr. Steven Schneider (left) and Dr. René Saldaña (right).
He said the Institute is part of a larger effort to promote creative writing in the department.

"We are planning a master's of fine arts program, hopefully available fall 2005, and we want to bring in prominent writers and feature them in the Writing Institute each year. That is our vision for the program," Schneider said.

Saldaña said one of the most exciting parts of last year's program was seeing the students share their works with one another and the community. "Based on the excitement of the students last year, it builds and engenders this literary community where there will be support for it to keep it going."

Saldaña said the student literary organization, Sin Fronteras/Without Borders, arose as an official UTPA student organization out of last year's Institute.

In addition to the options of receiving graduate course credit or professional development hours (3.0 CEUs), teachers attending the Institute will learn about different writing genres and techniques for teaching creative writing, how to organize in-class or school wide readings and ways to integrate creative writing TEKS into the classroom. Opportunities for individual review by faculty of all students' work will also be provided.

While 7-9 p.m. readings of participants' work will be held daily, on Tuesday, June 1, the Institute faculty will perform a public reading from their works in the Media Center Theater. Following the reading, their books will be available for sale and signing. All evening readings are free and open to the public.

Schneider, chair of UTPA's English Department, is a poet and critic. He has written five books, including Prairie Air Show, a collection of poems, and A.R. Ammons and the Poetics of Widening Scope, a critical study of Ammons' work. His poems and articles have been published in many journals, including Prairie Schooner, The Literary Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Tikkun and Critical Quarterly. Schneider has lectured widely on American literature at national and international conferences and is a recipient of a Merit Fellowship from the Nebraska Arts Council.

Saldaña teaches creative writing and literature at UTPA. He is author of Finding Our Way: Stories and The Jumping Tree. Several of his stories, poems and reviews have been published or are forthcoming in Face Relations: Stories from Beneath the Skin, American Book Review, READ Magazine and Southwestern American Literature.

Running concurrently with this year's Institute will be a Poetry Art Exhibition, May 31-June 7, featuring the integration of poetry and art with works from Schneider, his wife, artist Rivca Schneider, local artist Kirk Clark and internationally known Mexico City artist Juan José Diaz Infante.

Infante's works include experimental poetry, photography, video, multimedia, performance and installation. He is co-founder of "Música de Cámara" and the Institute of the Integration of the Arts. Infante also teaches at Instituto ASEC Sor Juana, Centro Nacional de las Artes and at the Technologic Institute of Monterrey.

The exhibition will be held in the University Gallery in the Communication Arts Building and offer a gallery talk from 4-6 p.m. and an artist reception from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 2. The exhibition is open to the public.

For registration or other information about the Creative Writing Institute, call 956/381-3421. ###