UC English Professor John Drury Featured at Annual Antioch Writers' Workshop

More than 20 years ago, Judson Jerome — co-founder of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop — wrote in Writer’s Digest magazine, “I don’t know whether writers’ workshops are an American invention, but they are certainly a characteristically American phenomenon…. And the most important opportunity they offer is not the instruction, not the readings, not the public performances, not the criticism of manuscripts. It is the chance to rub elbows with other writers, to create a temporary literary community in which unknowns can meet the better known, in which associations and friendships may form that will generate the literature of the future.” (“Rubbing Elbows,” April 1986).


'How do you make facts sing?' Drury asked.

Drury, a professor of poetry in UC’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature, led the morning poetry lectures. In the daily sessions, he examined poetry forms from around the world, giving examples of his favorites and reading some of his own. He also provided writing prompts and suggestions for the participants to craft their own poems.

Paul Dickson, author of 48 books including Sputnik and The Bonus Army, led the daily nonfiction workshop. The nonfiction participants were delighted when Dickson solicited their input on which topic he will tackle next. Dickson’s PBS documentary, "The March of the Bonus Army," was screened at one of the evening presentations, which were open to the public. Next to hit the screens near you will be a film version of Sputnik, entitled Fever of ’57.

Rounding out the faculty were memoirist and novelist Lynne Hugo, novelist Katrina Kittle, mystery writer Jeffrey Marks and poet Cathy Smith Bowers. Special guests also talked to the participants, such as humorists Bill Brohaugh (writer for the Gary Burbank Show) and Sharon Short (columnist for the Dayton Daily News), as well as literary agents Jenoyne Adams and Michelle Andelman.

Participants had an opportunity to attend open sessions in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as focused “intensive” manuscript workshops in the afternoon. The intensives were offered in specific genres as well as in how to get started as a writer. The faculty challenged the participants to write in new ways.

“I haven’t been interested in poetry since 1943,” said Bloomington, Ind., participant John Morgan. “But John Drury has gotten me excited about the beauty of words again.”

The next Antioch Writers’ Workshop will take place July 12–18, 2008, and will feature Myla Goldberg, author of the best-selling novel Bee Season, as keynote speaker and fiction teacher.


Drury read from 'The Disappearing Town' as well as his other works.

John Drury is the author of two collections of poetry,

The Disappearing Town


Burning the Aspern Papers

(published by Miami University Press). He is also the author of

Creating Poetry


The Poetry Dictionary (

published by Writer's Digest Books).  His poems have appeared in many literary journals, including

The American Poetry Review, The Hudson Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry

, and

The Southern Review.

He has won the Bernard F. Conners Prize for Poetry and two Ohio Arts Council grants, as well as the Dolly Cohen Award for Distinguished Teaching and the

George Rieveschl Jr. Award for Creative and/or Scholarly Works

at the University of Cincinnati.




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