Workshops & Seminars

SLS Georgia 2019 will be the last program—after 21 years and 32 successful events on 3 continents. Come join us for what will be a fantastic farewell experience!

Which courses will you take?

When you officially apply to the program through submittable, you will be asked to select:

  • one workshop (M/W/F, 10am-12pm)
  • one seminar class (T/Th, AM: 10am-12pm or PM: 1pm-3pm)


Monday, Wednesday, Friday
10am – 12pm (noon)

Please note: once a workshop reaches capacity, you will not be able to select it. Please select your second choice workshop. Then select your first choice in the “Workshop Waiting List.” If space becomes available in your first choice, you will be switched in.


Ru Freeman

Steven Heighton

Dawn Raffel


Geoffrey Nutter

Ariana Reines


Phillip Lopate

Mixed Genre

Stuart Ross

Seminar Class

Tuesday, Thursday
10am – 12pm (noon) or 1pm – 3pm

Please select one of the following classes. unlike the workshops, there is freedom to switch or attend additional classes in different time slots, if you wish. (Example, if you select an AM class, you may still unofficially attend a PM class.)


Kevin Sessums

The Personal Narrative: Memoir, Journalism, and Survival

When I was seven years old, my father was killed in an automobile accident.  When I was eight, my mother died of cancer.  That double trauma made me a writer because it was that year from 1963 – 1964 in Mississippi when I began to step outside myself and see my life – all life really –  as narrative in order to survive.  Sentences saved me.  My first memoir is a remembrance of that even as it is an example of it.  As an adult when I became a meth addict, I looked at a friend of mine as inspiration; he had gotten sober from his own meth addiction by becoming his truest self.  The friend is an HIV/AIDS activist and turned his activism to meth addiction in the LGBT community.  I knew to save myself once again I would have to be my truest self as well: a writer.  So I wrote myself to sobriety in my second memoir.  I have made a living through the oxymoronic term “celebrity journalism,” which turns Carson McCuller’s famous literary axiom “the we of me” into the “me of me.”  But with my two memoirs, I tried to do something more incongruous in a narrative sense.  We are a “seflie” culture now, but I have tried to refigure that into a “Self, i.e.” one.  That is, I have tried to use the self to help other selves see their stories in mine so that they too might survive.  All good memoirs are acts of journalism – not only about one’s own life, but also, if they are written as acts of service, about the lives of each reader who reads them.

Alexandr Skidan

International Modernist / Postmodernist Poetry
This is about the underground and samizdat literary and artistic life in the former Soviet Union and the parallels that process had with the one taking place in the West. 
By mid-70s Samizdat – or, more broadly, independent cultural movement – became self-sufficient and diverse enough to recognize that one of its initial tasks – to bridge the gap between the violently interrupted prerevolutionary Russian culture (so called Silver Age in the first place) and the Soviet present, to restore the early modernist tradition in the communist context is an impossible, nostalgic and probably false project pushing an unofficial (sub)culture even more to the margins and self-enclosure then the pressure of the official ideological and political restrictions. New Samizdat  magazines, like Chasy (Hours), Transponans, Obvodny Kanal (Obvodny Channel) and later Mitin Journal and Predlog, in contrast to their sporadic and short-lived predecessors, started to publish not only previously banned or contemporary Russian poetry and prose but also the critical and philosophical essays, reviews and – what is crucial to our topic – translations which included radical Western post-war writing (from concrete poetry to Beckett, from Duras to Language school). This shift of interest represented the urgency to break the limits of the modernist aesthetics and to open up itself to the new cosmopolitan – cross- or intercultural – tendencies. Literature was appropriating strategies provided by contemporary art, poetry was experimenting with free jazz and happening. Everything became text. Or performance. We will focus on this fruitful transgressive moment and its central actors in the literary field (like Dmitry Prigov in Moscow and Arkadii Dragomoschenko in Leningrad) when suddenly everything became possible and when – quite before the real collapse of the actual political borders in the Soviet Union – language and cultural barriers were overcome for the sake of somewhat utopian and all too transient encounter of Russian and American yearning to “make it new.”


Polina Barskova

Polina Barskova

Writing (In) the Storied City/Space
On Translation

Looking at various texts of the city from various genres, various literary traditions and epochs, and even sometimes various media, we will work on coming closer to the question— how one’s city can be represented? As experience and memory? As history and story? As a fleeting moment “to be evoked gently”and moved from one linguistic reality to another? We will be reading various texts, comparing various translations of these texts ( from Baudelaire and Brecht to Chekhov and Calvino), and of course, we will be writing in attempt to get closer to our individual understanding of how and why we write and translate our cities.

Tara Isabella Burton

Writing the City

How do we tell stories: about ourselves; the people we have known; the places that have influenced us? This course uses the writer’s own experiences as a starting point for the development of the creation of character, setting, and the narrative voice, with a strong focus on how place — setting — shapes characters and perspective. By honing their observational and interpretational skills – learning to mine the world around them for material, especially in Tbilisi, – students will view themselves as both writer and character, learning to see the relationship between themselves and their world in literary terms. Drawing from my experience as a travel writer, journalist and essayist, I shall challenge students to see how, for example, writing about a formative childhood romance and profiling a Christian street preacher require similar skills: understanding a “world” and investigating it.

Elaine Chukan Brown

Elaine Chukan Brown

Understanding Wine

Wine persists as an enduring cultural symbol with profoundly diverse meaning. It speaks with the social cachet of the wealthy while offering everyday nourishment for the country farmer. At the same time that religion treats it with spiritual significance wine also implies drunkenness. We will explore the basics of understanding wine — how to describe its structure, flavors, and form — in the context of its varied cultural significance.

Classes are subject to change. New workshops may be added according to demand.