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International Women's Writing Guild

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Free Write with Jenn Ghivan (Registration Not Required)

  • Friday, February 24, 2023
  • 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
  • Zoom:


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Friday Free Write with Jenn Ghivan

Stranger Things, Duende, & Writing into the Upside Down

(only click when it's time for the event to start, or a few mins before)

The underbelly is the vulnerable spot. It could also be the dark spot, the seamy place, the liminal margins. This is the place we are most helpless, most in need of defense. And yet, this is where, in the writing of duende, we must confront. In Stranger Things, the Netflix sci-fi/horror throwback, the children and adults must both contend with the Upside Down, a parallel world distorted, a shadow world askew … The children in the show describe it as “a place of decay and death, a plane out of phase, a [place] with monsters. It is right next to you and you don’t even see it.” In this workshop, we will more than see it. We will create writing that maps the hidden creatures in our society, our psyches, our pasts—membrane-thin strings connecting the outer shells with the inner viscera of our collective and individual histories. Subverting expectations of the work, ourselves, and the world around us, we will locate and (re)create maps to the underbellies, to the duende world where madness and abandon often eclipse logic and where, as Tracy K. Smith writes, “skill is only useful to the extent that it adds courage and agility to intuition.” Join me as guide into the Upside Down, where our craft skills will help us unleash our inner beasts to battle with the beasts already residing breath-on-the-back-of-the-neck close.

Jennifer Givhan is a Mexican-American and indigenous poet and novelist from the Southwestern desert and the recipient of poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices. She holds a Master’s degree from California State University Fullerton and a Master’s in Fine Arts from Warren Wilson College. She is the author of five full-length poetry collections, including Rosa’s Einstein (University of Arizona Press), and the novels Trinity Sight and Jubilee (Blackstone Publishing), which were finalists for the Arizona-New Mexico Book Awards. Her newest poetry collection Belly to the Brutal(Wesleyan University Press) and novel River Woman, River Demon(Blackstone Publishing) both draw from her practice of brujería. Her poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction have appeared in The New Republic, The Nation, POETRY, TriQuarterly, The Boston Review, The Rumpus, Salon, and many others. She’s received the Southwest Book Award, New Ohio Review’s Poetry Prize, Phoebe Journal’s Greg Grummer Poetry Prize, the Pinch Journal Poetry Prize, and Cutthroat’s Joy Harjo Poetry Prize. Jenn would love to hear from you at and you can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for inspiration, prompts, and real talk about the writing life and publishing world.

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att: Michelle Miller

22 Parsonage St #293

Providence, RI 02903

telephone: (518) 290-1636 

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New York, NY 10019

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