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Penning the Nasty (the tender, the sweet): Explorations into Writing Sexuality

  • Still Cellars 1115 Colorado Ave. Longmont, Colorado USA (map)

*7/24: This class has been canceled due to low enrollment. To stay in the loop about future Penning the Nasty dates, use the submission form at the bottom of the page.*

How do we write sex? And if we don't, why not? In this two-day nonfiction intensive, participants will consider the role of the sex scene in storytelling, discuss the politics and ethics of writing sex, explore the differences between pornography, erotica, and literary sex writing, engage with current research, and write out of the unique terrain of their own bodies. Along the way, participants will gain a greater comfort discussing sexuality and sharing sexual material in the public forum. The workshop places its primary emphasis on generating new material, challenging participants to play with different craft strategies and dig into their own past experiences.

Although the workshop will be prose-based and the prompts will draw on participants' lives, poets and fiction writers looking to grow their work in this area are welcome. The content of this workshop demands that all participants show up ready to cultivate a fun, safe, nonjudgmental space. However, please know that the workshop is not intended to be a support group for sexuality-related issues. This class caps at 20 students.

This intensive will be taught in Longmont, Colorado, at Still Cellars.  Register here.

Cost: $230. (Or bring a friend and grab a discount: 2 for $380.)


Saturday, July 25

  • 12:30-1:30pm: Introductions and overview
  • 1:30-3:30: The Cultural Soup We're Swimming In: Examining Sex Negativity & Positivity
  • 3:30-4:00: Break
  • 4:00-6:30: Sex & Syntax, part I
  • 6:30-7:00: Break
  • 7:00-900: Sex & Syntax, part II

Sunday, July 26

  • 12:00-1:30pm: Engaging Local Sexual Politics
  • 1:30-1:45: Break
  • 1:45-3:00: Drawing Inspiration From Research
  • 3:00-3:30: Break
  • 3:30-6:00: Negotiating Truth-Telling, Or: Renaming Your Exes, Facing Your Mother, and other ethical inquiries

*Changes in the schedule remains possible; this listing is intended to offer a general idea of the curriculum.

About the venue: Still Cellars is a microdistillery and arthouse located in Longmont, Colorado-- about 15 miles northeast of Boulder, 35 miles north of Denver, or 40 miles south of Fort Collins. Still Cellars offers organic, handcrafted liquors featuring local ingredients, as well as non-alcoholic beverages like coffee, tea, and mocktails. Food trucks or local delivery will be available during meal breaks. Register here.

About the instructor: Kati Standefer is a writer, teacher, and Certified Sexologist who has provided sexuality education to more than 7,600 people. The winner of the 2015 Iowa Review Award in Creative Nonfiction, Standefer has an MFA from the University of Arizona.  Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, The Colorado Review, High Country News, Fugue, Camas, and other publications. She lives in Tucson, where she writes about the body, consent, and medical technology, and works in the emerging field of Narrative Medicine. Learn more here.