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5220 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI, 48103
United States

Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Dzanc Sessions


Dzanc Sessions

The Dzanc Sessions are designed for writers who are ready to amplify, polish, and advance their writing. An eclectic platform of craft-based workshops are offered in a series of online sessions throughout the year, with specializations in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Dzanc Sessions are an extended form of Dzanc's current one-on-one mentoring program which, in the last year alone, has enabled Dzanc students to have their works published in dozens of leading journals, including PANKThe North American ReviewThe Citron Review, and many others. Dzanc instructors have taught workshops both independently and through universities and have published many widely praised books. Our instrucors have seen their work included in Best of the Web, the Wigleaf Top 50, Best American Essays, and have published many widely praised books.

Session Two begins in January 2012: a slate of workshops are led by award-winning literary artists who are committed to engaging deeply with your work. In these classes, both beginning and experienced writers will find opportunities to strengthen their writing, to approach it from new angles, and to grow as confident and skilled creators.

How It Works

"Do sign up. The cost is reasonable given you’ll be working with instructors who are true word artists, and who want you to get the most out of your workshop experience. The online format offers added convenience for writers balancing busy day-to-days with the desire to improve their craft." —Ashley M. Nissler

While each instructor has a unique teaching style, and will adapt the wealth of digital tools to the particular purposes of their class, you can expect to engage with other workshop participants and the instructor on an online platform that functions like a private social network. You will be able to share messages, meet for live chats, respond to an assigned story or exercise, curate a class reading list, and ask questions about a craft question that is troubling you, for example. Your instructor might post a video lecture or an audio clip from a poem that you are expected to discuss, or host a “submission party” for participants to send their work to targeted journals. Participants can also expect to receive one-on-one feedback from the instructor, which might take place over email, phone, video chat, or another method that works for you two.

In each workshop, you will receive detailed feedback on at least two different drafts of your writing, or one draft and one revision. Workshop participants will also be expected to complete an online evaluation of their class at the end of the term.

The Details

Session Two classes begin the week of January 1. Each class spans eight or ten weeks. The content of the class is the same regardless of the time span; it is merely accelerated in the eight-week version. Eight-week Session Two classes run through the week of February 18. Ten-week classes run through the week of March 4. Session Three will begin the week of March 18 with another eclectic line-up of workshop opportunities.

The price for workshops is $325 and can be paid through PayPal. Cost includes a three-month membership to the Dzanc Books eBook Club. (Or, if you do not have an e-reader, you can select a free copy of any print title from Dzanc Books.) The bulk of your registration fee supports the non-profit work of Dzanc Books. A portion of it supports the work of your instructor and the administration of the Dzanc Sessions.

How to Register

After selecting your workshop from the descriptions below, please click the signup button and pay your registration fee via Paypal (where you can pay either from your checking account or with a credit card). We also accept personal checks; please contact Anna Clark at the email address below if you prefer to pay this way. After your online payment is processed, you will be redirected to a registration form where you will provide your personal information, select your workshop, and choose either your eBook Club membership or your free book.


We want to hear them! Ask Anna Clark at


Session Two Workshops

Starting the week of January 1, 2012

Dayjob Poets:

Finish Your Chapbook!

Instructor: Brent Goodman

Do you have a stack of poem drafts you’d love to revise and arrange into a chapbook manuscript but haven’t had the time to give them the attention they deserve? Join other dayjob poets on an eight-week journey to workshop, collaborate, compare, inspire, and ultimately finish your poetry chapbook for submission to Spring contests and open reading periods. Class will discuss poetic craft, manuscript arrangement, revision tips, submission strategies and more, all while addressing the unique challenges working poets face balancing their creative spirit with their professional schedule.

Whether you choose to use the eight weeks to tackle your chapbook from the roughest drafts, or simply to polished and put finishing touches on a manuscript you’ve been tinkering for years, this will be the creative space dedicated to getting your collection dressed and out the door.

What to Expect: You will receive individual attention in a dynamic and flexible online environment. As a poetry instructor, I’ll provide prompts for breakthrough revisions while facilitating constructive workshop discussions about your work in a collaborative setting. As a journal editor and contest judge, I’ll offer behind-the-scenes insight that can make or break a manuscript’s chances of advancing. And as a fellow dayjob poet, we’ll discuss ways to keep your creative life thriving and productive within the constraints of hectic professional commitments.

Requirements:  Each student should have enough poem drafts (20+ pages) to begin assembling a chapbook manuscript. During the eight-week workshop, we will be writing new poems, revising old poems, and ultimately building a publishable manuscript from the loose stack of poems we each start with. Students will also be asked to “adopt” a chapbook from a provided reading list to study and discuss examples throughout the course.

About the Instructor:

Brent Goodman (MFA ‘95) is the author of Far From Sudden (forthcoming 2012) and The Brother Swimming Beneath Me (2009), both from Black Lawrence Press/Dzanc Books, as well as two award-winning chapbooks, Wrong Horoscope (1999 Thorngate Road) and Trees Are the Slowest Rivers (1998 Sarasota Poetry Theatre). While he has taught poetry at Purdue University and as a visiting writer at the University of North Dakota with the National Writer’s Project, Brent is currently a full time creative professional specializing in online marketing communications. He has also served on the editorial staff for Sycamore Review, The Blue Moon Review, Locuspoint, Qarrtsiluni, Anti-, and is regularly invited to judge national poetry chapbook and fellowship award contests.

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Reading to Write:

A One-On-One Fiction Mentorship

Instructor: Amy Minton

Recommended for writers of short fiction and novelists wanting in-depth focus on an excerpt of their work-in-progress. 

In our one-on-one mentorship, we’ll address which aspect of your writing that you want to strengthen (i.e. forward momentum of plot, characterization, point of view) and learn at the feet of the masters through careful readings and thoughtful responses. In this 8- or 10-week course, you can expect:

  1. To complete assigned readings related to your topic of interest;
  2. To write thoughtful responses to those readings, paying particular attention to how the writer successfully executes what you wish to master;
  3. To complete suggested exercises in relation to your work; and
  4. To complete new drafts (or portions of) of our own work, applying the principles you’ve learned.

All of this we’ll accomplish through scheduled exchanges over your choice of 8- or 10-weeks.  You’ll start by immediately—by Oct. 16—sending me a maximum of 25 pages of your fiction (short story, novel excerpt, or flash fiction), plus your responses to reading survey you’ll receive upon registration. In return, I will provide a thorough and individualized response to your draft as a whole (no line edits, but a big picture discussion about your work in the context of your concerns), and suggest a list of stories to read for the next exchange. Our next two exchanges will contain rewrites of your draft, responses to the readings assigned, and a letter informing me of your challenges and successes during your rewrite. Again, I’ll provide individualized responses to your draft, and a new list of suggested readings. At the end of the course, we’ll wrap up with an exchange of what was accomplished, what questions still linger, and advice for next steps to carry forward with your writing and reading after our time ends.

Enrollment is very limited. One eight-week and one ten-week mentorship are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

About the Instructor:

Amy Minton’s fiction appears in Indiana Review, Knee-Jerk, Emprise Review, On Earth As It Is, decomP magazinE, elimae, Monkeybicycle, Dogzplot, Hobart, Dewclaw, and Pindeldyboz.  Her short story, "Overhanded," was selected for inclusion in Best of the Web 2008 (Dzanc Books), edited by Steve Almond. Her non-fiction appears in Hobart and The Collagist. She holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and has taught graduate and undergraduate fiction workshops at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. She has been a mentor for the Dzanc Creative Writing Sessions since its inception in 2009.

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Writing Poetry: 

An Introductory Workshop

Instructor: Erica Wright

In this ten-week course, we will discuss and practice craft elements such as imagery, line breaks, and form. You can expect to draft at least two poems, which will be mulled over by your classmates and me. If you have never taken a workshop before, don’t worry; you’ll get plenty of guidance on how to give and receive helpful feedback. Our learning will be supplemented by reading some of the best poets writing today such as Rita Dove, Jack Gilbert, and Joanie Mackowski as well as late-greats such as Julio Cortázar, Elizabeth Bishop, and Federico García Lorca. Hopefully you’ll find some new favorites along the way!

About the Instructor:

Erica Wright is the author of Instructions for Killing the Jackal (Black Lawrence Press/Dzanc Books, 2011) and the chapbook Silt (Dancing Girl Press, 2009). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Blackbird, DenverQuarterly, Drunken Boat, From the Fishouse, New Orleans Review, Pequod, and elsewhere. She is the Poetry Editor at Guernica Magazine and teaches creative writing at Marymount Manhattan College. 

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The Short Story:

From Sci-Fi to Noir, The Pulp and the Literary (Sometimes both!)

Instructor: Lori Kozlowski

An examination of various forms of the short story. 

This class is designed to take a broad look at science fiction, noir, and other types of short stories -- some literary, some off-beat. 

Students will craft short stories in the genre of their choice (i.e literary fiction, noir, anything you can imagine). Over the course of the class, we will workshop two to three short stories and polish works into submission-ready pieces.  

We’ll examine various forms of short story from both classic and contemporary authors.

We’ll also examine how genres have blended -- i.e. sometimes short fiction pulls in so much nonfiction readers think it's real; some genre fiction can be literary; how to use history or headlines to amplify your creative writing. 

In eight weeks, we will have fun, read short stories, write them, and re-write them. 

We’ll discuss what you look for in a good short story, how short fiction compares to the novel, and what makes a great short story collection. 

About the Instructor:

Lori Kozlowski is a writer. She is a journalist, short story writer, and a published poet. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, she is fond of big risks, red pens, iced tea, and sunscreen.

Her short story, “Three Times a Night Every Other Night,” was published in Las Vegas Noir by Akashic Books in their popular city-by-city Noir series. Her story was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2008. In Fall 2010, her science-fiction story “Nuclear Wasted Love Song” was published by the University of Nevada Press in its science-fiction anthology Dead Neon: Tales of Near-Future Las Vegas.

Ms. Kozlowski was most recently a longtime staff writer and editor at the Los Angeles Times. As a journalist she has written about crime, science, books, technology, and has conducted countless interviews with various pop culture personalities.

Ms. Kozlowski is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Master of Professional Writing program, and has also served as adjunct faculty at Chapman University.

For more information, please visit

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Getting Started

Instructor: Janet Freeman

Whether a beginner to the craft or someone in need of a creative jump-start, participants in this eight-week workshop will be guided through a series of exercises and discussions on what makes good fiction great. We will also explore tools of the trade, share our works-in-progress and discuss ways to keep the writing momentum going full steam ahead! The focus of this workshop will be on short stories and novel excerpts, Outside reading provided by the instructor.


“Janet's detailed suggestions for improving my novel were most helpful. It was clear she had read thoroughly and carefully, and her enthusiasm for fiction and for good story-telling made a big difference.” —Jill Kelly, author of Sober Truths: The Making of an Honest Woman, nominated for the Oregon Book Award.

“[Janet] always answered e-mails quickly, and managed our literary business efficiently and enthusiastically. Although we've never met in person, I feel I know her. She is keen-eyed, generous and positive, and has brought literature to a wider audience via her fine journal, Rough Copy, and via organized readings. I would not hesitate to work with her again.” —Shelley A. Leedahl, Canadian author 

“[Janet’s] thoughts on my piece were clear and sound…[my work] was more solid with her input.” —Jacki Kane, author of Sass Mouth: Destiny is a Joke

About the Instructor:

Janet Freeman holds an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University and has led fiction workshops coast-to-coast and internationally. Her work has appeared in Cottonwood, Breakwater Review, Main Street Rag, Monkeybicycle, PANK, Dogzplot, Necessary Fiction, Bartleby Snopes, Bacopa, trnsfr, JMWW, Prick of the Spindle and Storyglossia. In 2009 her story “The Ugliest Drowned Man in the World Washes Ashore Lake Michigan” won a Million Writers Award, and in 2011 her piece, “Helping Hand” took first place in Word Riot’s Flash Fiction Contest. Visit her at

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Crossing the line: 

How to use rhyme, meter and poetic pattern for provocative purposes

Instructor: Marcela Sulak

Plato banned poets from the Republic, not really because they were liars, but because their use of rhythm and meter could get a soldier all worked up, could literally make the heart race. Some of the most compelling, provocative, moving (and prize-winning) poetry in the last years has harnessed the power of meter, rhythm, rhyme and patterning. In this course, we will focus on creating the most effective poetic line—that is, a line with the best meter-making argument.

Each of the eight weeks you will be given a description of particular way of measuring a line of poetry, what it’s good for, and how it is used most powerfully and effectively. We will read sample poems together, and then you will receive feedback on six poems you have written using the following:

1. accentual verse
2. syllabic verse
3. iambic meter
4. dactylic meter
5. rhyme, off rhymes & internal rhyme
6. sonnets

About the Instructor:

Marcela Sulak directs the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University inRamat-Gan, Israel. She has an MFA from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in poetics from theUniversity of Texas at Austin. About her book Immigrant (Black Lawrence Press, 2010) Tony Barnstone has written: "eat this book." Writing for New Pages, Skip Renkar has noted: "Sulak has a deeply nuanced view of what immigration really is and means, a take that’s light years more humane and sophisticated than that of our current U.S. political discourse on this subject." Her chapbook is called Of all the things that don't exist, I love you best (2008). She's translated three book-length poetry collections from the Czech Panslavic movement and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Her poetry has also appeared or is forthcoming in such various journals as The Indiana Review, Fence, Guernica, The Notre Dame Review, and The Journal.

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Fiction Workshop

Instructor: Kristin FitzPatrick

In this course, we will study and write fiction by:

  • reading published short stories and short pieces of instructional text
  • warming up with exercises (1-2 page scenes or character sketches)
  • building two complete short stories
  • discussing your writing with the class and one-on-one.

In addition to short stories, you may also submit novel chapters. While the focus of the readings will lean toward the craft of the short story form, much of it will also be useful for the creation of novels.

Toward the end of the course, you will revise one story (or chapter) you have written and previously submitted for the course. Your final project will consist of the revised story that you believe represents your best writing. Our goal is to polish them into submission-ready pieces.

I will provide detailed written commentary on each piece submitted, and suggest outside reading that may guide your individual creative projects. For students interested in submitting stories to magazines or journals, we will discuss potential markets.

About the Instructor:

Kristin FitzPatrick’s short stories appear in Colorado Review, The Southeast Review, Epiphany, and another story was awarded the 2011 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize. In 2009-2010, she was writer-in-residence at The Seven Hills School in Cincinnati. In 2011, she received scholarships to the Norman Mailer Writers Colony and the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. She has an MFA from California State University, Fresno, and an MA in Writing from DePaul University. She teaches English in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is at work on a novel.

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Connecting Lives: Creating the Linked Short Story Collection

Instructor: Yelizaveta P. Renfro

For nearly a century, from Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio to Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Good Squad, the linked short story collection—sometimes called a novel in stories—has been a significant subgenre within American fiction. This ten-week course will be devoted to crafting linked short stories and will include the following components:

  • Reading and discussing published collections of linked short stories
  • Completing writing exercises designed to generate ideas for linked stories
  • Writing and revising drafts of three linked short stories
  • Providing written commentary on peers’ short story drafts
  • Creating an outline for future stories and for the collection as a whole

The instructor will provide detailed, written commentary on each story submitted and will work with each participant independently on revisions. Participants who are in the beginning stages of crafting their collections can expect to have drafts of three stories and an outline for the collection at the course’s conclusion. More experienced writers who are in later stages of compiling their collections are also welcome. The instructor will tailor the course and work individually with participants based on their needs.

About the Instructor:

Yelizaveta P. Renfro is the author of an award-winning linked short story collection, A Catalogue of Everything in the World, available from Black Lawrence Press. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, Colorado Review, Reader’s Digest, North American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, South Dakota Review, Blue Mesa Review, So to Speak, Witness, Bayou, Untamed Ink, Fourth River, Adanna, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA from George Mason University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska, where she taught writing.

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