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We are thrilled to present the instructors for Wordsworth 2022!
WordsWorth 2022 Instructors & Courses
Click the tabs to meet this year’s WordsWorth instructors!
Editing Word-Force Style (Week 1)
Are you ready to make your writing the best it’s ever been? Want to get the vision in your head on the page? Then join the Word-Force, where the pen is mightier than the sword and we eat passive sentences for breakfast (as well as fruit). Learn techniques to sharpen and tighten your first, second, or even third draft (and if you don’t have any draft, you’ll have the chance to write one – Word-Force is inclusive like that). Make your plot arcs sing and your characters hit the high notes (metaphorically, unless you are writing a musical). Have fun with grammar (yes, really), get to the core of your meaning, and edit, edit, edit! (Fun guaranteed or your words back).
KIM FIRMSTON is the youth program director of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society (AWCS) as well as a writing instructor, published YA novelist, and playwright. Kim is currently working on their second documentary movie, Reality Is Optional Optional Guide to Taking Over the World, as well as a space novel set around Jupiter (which will one day be done), and a very weird experimental theatre thing called The 3. When Kim isn’t creating, they get up to mischief and dream of Japan. www.kimfirmston.com
Uncanning the Uncanny: Weird Ain’t Even the Half of It (Weeks 1 & 2)
There’s a certain dread we feel when the everyday is flipped on its head to produce the uncanny: the ritual of sitting around a dead tree chewing on plant and animal carcass (dinner) or people silently sitting in rows while a stranger navigates through an array of speeding metal objects (taking the bus). We sometimes have very little control over how we view objects, people, and institutions in the world as the concept of what is or isn’t “normal” is often predetermined. In this class, we are going to learn to write in ways that mess with “reality”—we are going to challenge the myths and systems that determine what is or isn’t normal, playing with the horror, melancholy, and hilarity of it all to produce, what some might call “fantasies” but what we can consider as more well-rounded realities.
MARC HERMAN LYNCH is a PhD student at the University of Calgary and the president of the experiemental literary magazine filling Station. He resides in Moh’kins’tsis, otherwise known as Calgary, in Treaty 7 Territory, Alberta. His debut novel, Arborescent, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2020.
A Mighty Matter of Legend: How to Write Like A Hobbit (Week 1)
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth is a world made so well it often feels almost as though it must be real. From his undreamt tongues of Elves, to his landscape painting with words, to his tender treatment of even enemies, there is a lot we can learn from Tolkien’s writing. In this class, we will learn from (and play with!) parts of Tolkien’s writing and world-building style. We’ll look at how we can write settings that feel real, how we can fill them with beings that have depth, and how we can do all of this in a way that any hobbit could grasp, no matter how much or how little they’ve learned their letters. You don’t need to have read Tolkien’s books or be a Tolkien lover to take this class – but you might just become one after you have!!
JOHNNY MacRAE is a mouthy poet living on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) nations. Both a regional and national slam champion, MacRae has toured widely since 2010, giving over 200 performances at slams, readings, and festivals of poetry, music, and theatre across Canada. Additionally, he has given over 300 workshops for youth and adults across British Columbia and Canada. In 2013, he was named Poet of Honour for the Victoria Spoken Word Festival, and in 2017, received the Zaccheus Jackson Nyce Memorial Award.
Drawing the Script (Weeks 1 & 2)
Drawing and writing make great creative partners. Cartoons are an excellent example of this; a seamless blend of written and visual narratives all expressed through thousands (and thousands, and thousands) of drawings. But cartoons don’t just walk out of the writers’ room fully animated. In this class, we will be exploring the process of Storyboarding; taking that which is written and turning it into a sequence of drawings. We’ll draw a few characters, write a few stories, and use the language of filmmaking to staple it all together. We’ll uncover the ways through which drawings can convey emotion, space, and dialogue, and together, we’ll create storyboards that you can use to pitch your own cartoon or comic. You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy this class. Simply arrive with some paper, your favourite writing/drawing utensils, and an enthusiasm for the visual arts!
MARIN PERLETTE’s art practice is multifaceted and a little dubious at times, but when pressed for an answer to the question “what do you do” she usually manages to boil it down to “I make cartoons.” Since graduating from AUArts in 2020, Marin has spent most of her time freelancing as an illustrator and designer and developing personal projects. When she’s not working on storyboards or character designs, Marin does her best to keep her other hobbies alive by writing, making music, and giving long-winded lectures on various inscrutable topics to her friends and family.
Writing the Detective (Week 1)
Have you ever misplaced your favourite pen, that one sock, or your most cherished book, and had to sleuth your way around to find it? You interviewed suspects, chased down the obvious clues, and it all led to your missing item? Well, I’ve got news for you, you’re a full-blown detective!Welcome to the detective writing course where through a combination of workshopping, round tables, writing prompts, and most importantly, free writing, you’ll start your own journey down the detective fiction road. We’ll discuss the aspects of the genre that we all know, and you’ll be introduced to ideas that are non-mainstream, while learning the core elements of forming a story. So, grab your caps, your pocket notepad, and your sidekick, for the game is afoot!
Writing the Detective – The Communal Hardboiled (Week 2)
This course will focus on smashing the cliches associated with the hardboiled genre. Long gone are the days of Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson, so why should we continue writing that lone wolf, on the edge of society detective archetype? Through a series of discussions, round tables, free writing, and prompts, we will learn what it takes to build a detective that is free from cliches and can work with their community. This course will encourage experimenting with form and the use of satire, as well as constructing a full-bodied narrative with character development, setting, and dialogue use. Time to start solving some serious cases!
OMAR RAMADAN is a poet, writer, aspiring novelist, 3rd year English/creative writing PhD student at University of Calgary, and the incoming Managing Editor at fillingStation magazine. His research and creative work focus on Arab diaspora literatures. He’s particularly interested in systems of power and surveillance, and the impacts of 9/11 on Arab & Muslim communities.
Poetry Writing and Performance (Week 2)
Shima will be teaching a course on the development of imagery in poetry and an introductory performance poetry workshop that allows the campers to experiment with embodiment of their spoken words and the development of confidence in performance. We will be exploring the outdoors together to get inspiration for writing with reference to the five senses (and beyond). We will be using simple exercises developing word banks, building new poems working collaboratively and individually, as well as potentially performing new works for the group.
SHIMA AISHA ROBINSON works for the Edmonton Poetry Festival as the Artistic Producer and Fringe Theatre Adventures as the Learning and Outreach Manager. She recently worked at APIRG on the University of Alberta campus as the Programming and Working Group Coordinator. She is a University of Alberta Master of Arts in Community Engagement (MACE) candidate who advances her enthusiasm for anti-oppression and social justice work volunteering, interning and working with local groups that address systemic issues of oppression and marginalisation in amiskwaciy-wâskahikan (aka Edmonton). Shima is an amiskwaciy-wâskahikan (aka Edmonton) born poet and spoken word artist who embodies, with every literary and scholarly effort, the ancient meaning of her chosen pen name. Dwennimmen is the name of an ancient African Adinkra symbol, which means strength, humility, learning and wisdom. It is no surprise, then, that this veteran of the Alberta poetry community uses a searing intellect and dynamic precision-of-language to create poetry which ushers her readers and listeners toward greater understanding and poignant reflection. For Dwennimmen, poetry has long been a compass, a salve, an anchor and guiding light. She uses the potential and force of poetry to uncover the full range of her cerebral, linguistic and spiritual fortitude. This is why her every poem and performance testifies to an emerging power and wisdom, an authentic, deeply human potency which she hopes to pass on to listeners and poetry-lovers around the world.
Every song has a story: Unique voices, universal reach (Weeks 1 & 2)
Lyrical inspiration can come from anywhere. When we engage with the world, experiences resonate in ways that are greater than our own lens. Distilling personal truths from the events that shape humanity is one of the songwriter’s highest aims. In this class, we will break down iconic songs from pivotal moments in history, and use those lyrical concepts to help shape our own compositions from events that have shaped our lives. Whether you have never written a song before, or are a seasoned lyricist, this class will allow you to deeply dive into the true stories that shape us, and will further teach us how we can use our creative powers to make magic.
Born and raised on Treaty 1 territory (Winnipeg), and currently residing in Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton), LINDSEY WALKER (she/her) is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and theatre performer. Lindsey co-created, wrote the music and lyrics for ,and created the sound design for ren & the wake, a semi-immersive re-telling of badass (yet somehow forgotten) women in Canada’s history. With Lindsey’s solo musical project, she won an Edmonton Music Award for Indie Rock Recording of the Year (2018), has been shortlisted for the Edmonton Music Prize (2019), nominated for Female Artist of the Year at the Edmonton Music Awards (2018), was voted Best of Edmonton Solo Artist by Vue Weekly (2017), and earned distinction as a finalist in the Canadian Songwriting Competition. Lindsey also created the musical score for the true crime podcast Natural Life. And is currently working on writing a new one-man musical, as well as producing and recording her own musical creations.
The Writer’s Voice (Week 2)
Writing and drawing are solitary arts. Then, you are called on to read your expressive output out loud! ACK! Or maybe you want to dive into acting or singing? Or maybe you just want to feel more comfortable around other humans? If so, this is the adventure for you! This fun and empowering class is about discovering and embodying your expressive voice. Our goal is open, honest, powerful, joyful communication. Please wear comfortable, loose, stretchy clothing and have water, pencil and paper handy. Participants are invited (completely optional) to bring a favourite speech, monologue, song or poem with which to work. Woo-HOO!
DAVID WILSON (BMus, Mmus) is a Singer, Conductor, Voice Teacher, Senior Yoga Instructor/Teacher Trainer and Breath Therapist. He is recognized across Canada as a leading authority on the use of Yoga, Functional Vocal Work and Breath Therapy to aid healthy vocal production. He offers workshops to singers, public speakers, teachers and actors on vocal power, creative freedom, anxiety/asthma relief, embodied movement and public speaking. He has self-published six eBooks, including “The Embodied Voice”. David currently holds positions with the University of Alberta and the Theatre Arts BFA program at MacEwan University.
2022 Creative Team
Click the tabs to meet this year’s Creative Team!
COLIN MATTY (Camp Director) has been with the Writer’s Guild of Alberta since 2012, becoming the Director of Drink the Wild Air and WordsWorth in 2015. He is the author of three plays, two sketch comedies, and thousands of poems. Colin has tread the boards of festivals and competitions from Victoria to Montreal and is an accomplished creator, performer and educator in the fields of theatre, poetry, and improvisation. His work has a strong focus on playful discovery and aims to foster the joy that comes with engaging the creative powers that lie latent within us all.
HENRY GREYSON is an animator and writer currently making cartoons at a studio in Kelowna, BC. He loves finding new ways to tell stories, and creating wild characters and worlds. This year he is beyond excited to be returning to a physical camp and reviling in the excitement that is Wordsworth! Come join us, and we’ll make some really cool and rad stuff!
SADIE MACGILLVRAY was born and raised in Iron River, AB. They love being outside and soaking in all of the sounds and sights that nature has to offer and uses that time to come up with new project ideas as well to sneakily photograph everything that catches their eye. Sadie also enjoys taking time out of their day to learn interesting facts, watch anime, play as many Legend of Zelda games they can get their hands on, as well as sit down and work on the multitude of projects (resin art, cross stitch, knitting, painting, screenplays, poetry, sewing, etc.) they have scattered around their house. Sadie has a Professional Communications degree from MacEwan University, and is a few steps closer to becoming a book editor. Although, going back to school for a teaching degree in English or drama is definitely on the table.
Sadie has decided that even though there technically isn’t enough time in each day to do everything they want to do, they are going to try to fit it all in anyway! Stay awesome and weird <3
JESS TOLLESTRUP is an artist, activist, and teacher living on Blackfoot territory in Treaty 7. As a musician and poet they have toured nationally, releasing their EP The Pluto Year and chapbook Metafesto in 2017. Jess has gigged with bands of all genres and currently play keys for the local shoe gaze group Bunny Eyes.
Jess is now in the fourth year of their undergraduate. They are passionate about the study and practice of community building through transformative justice, mutual aid, and other forms of emergent strategy.
Headshot by Cecilia Reid