Social Action Writing: Personal to Political, Words at Work

Course Dates: July 14 to July 27, 2014
Application Deadline: May 16, 2014
THE DEADLINE FOR THIS COURSE HAS BEEN EXTENDED. Please contact the Course Coordinator for more information.

  • Be mentored by prominent, award-winning writers whose bodies of work span poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and theatre.
  • Gain knowledge of the basic craft elements of poetry and prose.
  • Generate new writing and revise your work for performance.
  • Examine how writing, as social action, can break silences, bear witness, and make change.
  • Shape language into story, revelation, weapon, healing.
  • Gain insight on how to get work published, seen and heard in the world – from schools to prisons; from publication to touring.
  • This workshop will culminate in a public reading of student work.

Undergraduate: CRWR 421, 3 units
Graduate: CRWR 621, 3 units


Students who already have interest and some experience in writing in one of the genres specialized in which our guest artists specialize (poetry, creative nonfiction, drama or fiction); you should have taken at least an introductory creative writing course, but if you have not, you may explain your understanding and experience in your application letter. This will be a mixed level course, but students should be expected to participate at an intermediate to advanced level of proficiency.

1)      Submit a short (1-2 page) essay explaining why you are interested in this course, and detailing your writing experience, and submit a writing sample of 3-5 poems or 3-5 pages of prose.
2)      Send the materials listed in step one with your completed Registration Form to the Summer Arts office by May 16, 2014.

Professor Aimee Suzara


Kwame Dawes –
Ghanaian-born Jamaican poet Kwame Dawes is the award-winning author of sixteen books of poetry, and numerous books of fiction, non-fiction, criticism, and drama. He is the Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, and a Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska, and also teaches in the Pacific MFA Writing program. Kwame’s book, Duppy Conqueror: New and Selected Poems, was published by Copper Canyon in 2013.

Luis Rodriguez
Luis J. Rodriguez is the author of the bestseller Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A., a vivid memoir that explores the motivation of gang life and cautions against the death and destruction that inevitably claim its participants. He is also the author of Hearts and Hands: Creating Community in Violent Times, It Calls You Back, and several collections of poetry and works of fiction. Luis founded Tia Chucha’s Café & Centro Cultural – a bookstore, coffee shop, art gallery, and workshop center in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, and he regularly conducts workshops, readings, and talks in prisons, juvenile detention facilities, universities, and at conferences. He addresses the complex but vital issues of race, class, gender, and personal rage through dialogue, story, poetry, and art.

Evelina Galang –
M. Evelina Galang is the author of Her Wild American Self, One Tribe, and Angel de la Luna and the 5th Glorious Mystery. She edited the anthology Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images. Evelina is currently writing Lolas’ House: Women Living With War, stories of surviving Filipina WWII “Comfort Women,” and is also at work on a new novel, Beautiful Sorrow, Beautiful Sky. Evelina teaches in and directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Miami, is core faculty for VONA/Voices: Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, and has been named one of the 100 most influential Filipinas in the United States by Filipina Women’s Network.

Sharon Bridgforth is a resident playwright at New Dramatists. She is the spring 2014 Playwright in Residence in the University of Iowa’s Playwrights Program. Sharon’s current work in-progress, River See, received a 2012 MAP Fund Award and a 2012 National Performance Network Creation Fund Award. Her piece, blood pudding, was produced in the 2010 New York SummerStage Festival. Sharon is the 2010-2012 Visiting Multicultural Faculty member at the Theatre School at DePaul University. She is the author of love conjure/blues and the Lambda Literary Award-winning the bull-jean stories. She has released her performance text con flama and her workbook, Silk Mantras: Activating the Divine Design For Your Life as ebooks. Sharon is co-editor of Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project.