Saturday, June 25, 2016

Writers Studio Summer Intensive 2016

Get away from home, pamper yourself, rest, and write.

The Beach Retreat has come to the city this year.  It's the Studio Summer Intensive where we will combine writing teachings on craft, writing exercises to stimulate new ideas, personal meetings with Jennifer to plan your writing year, trips to the salon for a massage, and a couple yoga classes! 

Writers come from all over the U.S. for this once-a-year opportunity to reset their writing-selves.  These are 18 hours that will change your life. 

If you are a beginner, or someone who has taken retreats and classes before, all are welcome. Don't miss this amazing restorative weekend.

Aug. 26 - 28, Fri, Sat & Sun/10 - 4 p.m.  

$475.00 (4 spots open).  Click here to sign up!

The Blackbird Studio for Writers
4035 NE Sandy
Suite 246
Portland, OR 97232

NOTE:  There is no cost for the yoga but there is for the massage, though we will book your appointment.  Please let Jennifer or Cloie know, right away, if you'd like to have a massage and we'll get you costs.  

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Friday, June 24, 2016

30 Week Studio Classes: 2016/17

The Studio specializes in long term literary studies.  This is an immersion group that provides support and depth studies

From Sept. 2016 to May 2017, we meet each week for three hours: 

Studio I (first year) 
Tuesday/11:30-2:30 (2 spots open)

Studio II (second year)
Thursday/11:30-2:30 (1 spot open)

Studio III (third/fourth year)
Thursday/6:00-9:00 (1 spot open)

Studio writers read a selection of books chosen by the group, attend literary lectures, listen to podcasts by nationally known writers, and study together.  We workshop with focus on the various complexities of the literary arts including scene, structure, character development, arc, antagonistic forces and progressions.  We'll also have a mini poetry track this year, with Jenn Foreman, and this is to help break into deeper emotions within our prose.

The Studio is a committed group who support each other by setting goals, sharing the details of their full length projects, and by being there during the ups and downs of the creative process.

If you are interested in participating in a 2016/17 Studio, please write to me at and we'll talk about what's possible.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2016

What I'm Reading

2015/16 Reading List 

Last academic year I posted my reading list.  You can find 2014 by clicking here.  This is my list for this academic year.  I post as I go.  

  1. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  2. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (3rd time)
  4. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson (audio)
  5. The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent 
  6. The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman
  7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2 times)
  8. The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Steig Larsson (audio)
  9. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
  10. The Girl in the Spiders Web by David Lagerkrantz (audio)
  11. The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante
  12. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
  13. The Year of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
  14. The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante
  15. The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante
  16. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson  (3 times)
  17. Troubling Love by Elena Ferrante
  18. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  19. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
  20. Sophie's Choice by William Styron
  21. The Crossing's by Cormac McCarthy
  22. Cities of the Plains by Cormac McCarthy
  23. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
  24. Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
  25. Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
  26. Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
  27. Olive Kittridge by Elizabeth Strout (2 times)
  28. Amy & Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
  29. Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout
  30. The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
  31. The Narrow Door by Paul Lisicky 
  32. The Railway Man by Eric Lomax
  33. An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
  34. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  35. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullars (reading)
  36. Sutree by Cormac McCarthy
  37. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  38. Willful Creatures by Aimee Bender 
  39. Sparrow Reader by Sparrow
  40. H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald 
  41. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  42. Smart Mouth by Holly Lorincz
What are you reading?  

Leave a comment, share your thoughts on why you loved (or detested) a book. 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Jennifer Lauck - Studio Director/Instructor

Jennifer Lauck - Director

I created The Blackbird Studio for Writers after 30 years of studying with teachers like Tom Spanbauer (Dangerous Writers), and Diana Abu Jaber (PSU), and in the literary programs of PSU, Montana State University and Pacific Lutheran University.  I have a BA in journalism, an MFA in creative writing and have taught for more than fifteen years in private workshops, seminars and conferences like AWP, the Literary Arts in the Schools program.

The name Blackbird comes from my first book, and from the Beatles song that tells us to: Take these broken wings and learn how to fly.  That's what we do at this school.  We take what might seem like a a broken mess, and help you compile it into something that will fly.

I'm a consummate student.  I love to learn.  And, I love to learn with people who are open, inquisitive, proactive and focused.  If you are that kind of person, you'll love it here. The Studio is welcoming, cozy, and empowering.

I offer three 30 week classes: Studio I, Studio II and Studio III.  I also consult, long term, with four writers a year, and help a handful of writers via one one one consults.  Please click on the links below, read more.  I look forward to helping you on your writing journey.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Jennifer Foreman - Poet in Residence

Jennifer Foreman - Poet in Residence

I came across Jenn Foreman at a workshop in the spring of 2015.  Right away, I was dazzled by her authentic, and transparent way of being and creating.  She is one of those fearless writers who inspires fearlessness in people around her.  She graduated from Texas Woman's University with a degree in social work, and has been published in The Sun, Timberline Review, and Voice Catcher.  Right now she's at work on a memoir and a collection of grief poems.  

After inviting Jenn to teach a one day workshop at The Studio, I was blown away by her compassion, knowledge, and bawdy good humor.  She is a rare gem.   

To study with Jenn is a memorable and life changing experience.  She holds space for her students to be vulnerable and honest.  She teaches poetry at the most practical, accessible way I've ever seen too! This fall she will be teaching poetry forms with a fellow poet, Matthew Minicucci who is joining The Studio

Poetry Studio A - Monday nights, 5:30-7:30, Sept. 19 - Oct. 10
Poetry Studio B - Monday nights, 5:30-7:30, Oct. 17 - Nov. 14

Jenn's always available for consults on poetry and prose.  For details, contact me at

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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cloie Cohen - Studio Manager

Cloie Cohen - Administration/Consulting

I've been blessed to have Cloie on my team for almost a decade now.  She's been with me as a student, creating her terrific memoir, and also helping me coordinate special events.  She is kind, but also direct in her style of feedback and support.  

At The Studio, she is the administrator of The Urban Retreat, and Studio III.  She also co-manages workshops, and communications between students.  Cloie has a degree from PSU and works as the Community Coordinator at Childpeace Montessori, where she's been on staff since 1998.  

As a consultant on your writing project, Cloie offers on-point and practical feedback.  She also offers terrific, positive advice on how to grow your work to the next level.  With Cloie, you feel heard and supported. 

Contact me for details on how to work with Cloie.  

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Hope Edelman - Visiting Instructor

Hope Edelman - Visiting Instructor

Hope has been a personal friend for twenty years. She was one of the first writers who agreed to blurb my first book and this was a huge moment as I respected the Hope's work so much. Since that time, I've been lucky to teach for her and with her.  Now it's my great joy to offer her a space in The Studio.  

Hope joined us for a three day workshop The Story Beneath the Story in June.  Writers learned how to differentiate the action from meaning within their story and how to bring that meaning to the reader.  

To study with Hope is an incredible experience.  She's a wonderful, kind, compassionate teacher who is also so knowledgeable about form.  She will be back with us soon!  Keep an eye on this site and page for updates.

Hope has published seven nonfiction books, including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters, Motherless Mothers, and The Possibility of Everything. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Real Simple, Glamour, Self, Parade,, Writer's Digest, and the Huffington Post, as well as in numerous anthologies.  In 2012, she was inducted into the Medill Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University, her undergraduate alma mater, and in 2014 she was named an Alumni Fellow at the University of Iowa, where she attended graduate school. Hope has taught at Antioch University-LA, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Ohio State University, Northwestern University, and the University of Iowa, and leads workshops every July at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. 

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