Hone your skills with writer-in-residence Peter Jaeger

Current writer-in-residence hosting writing workshops for fall term

Peter Jaeger, the current fall term writer-in-residence for the U of M’s Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture (CCWOC) and author of 14 books ranging from poetry to fiction, is holding multiple writing workshops until Dec. 4 as a part of his residency to help writers hone their skills. 

Attendees will learn various techniques ranging from meditative mindfulness to alternative essay writing, which encourages people to take creative routes with research.

In the upcoming two-part workshop titled “Writing Pictures,” Jaeger will be going over writing text from looking at photos, drawings, paintings and film.

“It’s a translation of picture and pictorial image into writing,” he said. “Visual image is everywhere in our culture. It’s so prevalent, and it’s useful as subject matter to write about.” 

The workshop will focus on what some writers have already done in their work with media crossover,  giving attendees the chance to put some of the techniques they learn into practice. 

The first session will take place on Nov. 10 at the U of M, while the second session will be held on Nov. 12 at Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG)-Qaumajuq. Jaeger said having the workshop at the WAG-Qaumajuq will allow students to write in relation to different works the gallery holds. 

Jaeger’s next two-part workshop will take place on Nov. 20 and 27, and will focus on “Recycled Writing.” This involves using other pieces of writing as a base canvas when creating new pieces.

“It’s basically sampling using other writing as a basis or springboard in some way to write something new and maybe take a new angle, an ironic distance, from the original piece of writing,” said Jaeger. 

The second part of the series will take place at the U of M  Archives & Special Collections in the Elizabeth Dafoe Library, giving participants access to a multitude of historical sources to work with.

The last workshop of Jaeger’s residency, titled “Writing the Alternative Essay,” will take place on Dec. 4, and will centre on “hybridizing” the standard academic essay by taking on more creative approaches to research writing. 

During each session, participants will practise the skills they learn and will then receive feedback from their peers and Jaeger. The techniques covered in these workshops, Jaeger said, can be applied to fiction, non-fiction and poetry. 

For Jaeger, one of the best parts of leading these workshops is watching writers develop their skills.

“What really excites me is when I see students learning,” he said.

Seeing the surprising works that can be produced during the limited timeframe of a workshop is also fascinating for Jaeger. 

“Some of it actually is professional-level,” he said. “It’s really interesting what can happen.” 

Apart from his CCWOC workshops, Jaeger is also working on a climate change-related project, and is looking to receive brief responses from a wide range of individuals to the question, “How has climate change affected your life?” 

Responses can be submitted to ccwocwir@umanitoba.ca in written form or as a recorded audio file, and can range from a single word to a short paragraph. The deadline to submit these responses is Nov. 20, and all submissions should include the word “seasons” in the email subject line. Those looking for more information on Jaeger’s project can contact him via email.

Workshop participants or anyone interested in creative writing can also reach out to Jaeger to book a consultation if they would like to discuss their work with him individually. Having conversations with emerging writers about their craft is “very refreshing,” Jaeger said. 

“I feel it’s a gift,” he said, “a blessing, in a way.”

Visit CCWOC’s website for more information on Jaeger’s workshops. Writers of all skill levels can book an individual writer consultation with Jaeger by emailing ccwocwir@umanitoba.ca.