Photo: Micky Ryan

Photo: Micky Ryan


MEMOIR: Book length & short form

We will examine approaches to book-length and short-form memoir using models by a dozen different authors, among them Dave Eggers, Leslie Marmon Silko, Charles Simic and Anais Nin. Guided discussions on technique, including ways to handle missing facts. Class includes written exercises; assigned essays for study; informal in-class critique of student work; mutual support and encouragement. Students submit two short works and one revision. Class meets at instructor’s apartment near east end of the Broadway Bridge.

Ten Tuesday nights, 6:30-9:30 PM, spread over eleven weeks: January 22-April 2, 2019  (no class February 26). Workshop format, limited to 8 students. $365 includes packet of sample memoirs.

To register: send $65 deposit to Martha Gies, 2109 NE Rodney Ave, Portland 97212 Questions: marthagies {at}; phone: 503-287-4394.


This workshop is designed to capture that combination of alertness and curiosity that is  the traveler's special state of mind, and use it to heighten the classroom experience. We began Traveler's Mind in the state of Veracruz, where tropical coastal lowlands curve around the Gulf of Mexico and rise quickly to jungled forests of the Sierra Madre Oriental. Since that first workshop in 2000, we have taken writers to the colorful, raucous and historic port of Veracruz; to the lazy river town of Tlacotalpan, with its brightly painted houses and Arabic-style arcades; and to Papantla, the center of Totonac culture, where we held workshops during the Day of the Dead and the Fiesta de Guadalupe.

We have since ranged beyond the borders of Mexico: to Fort Cochin, Kerala, to the old Colonial capital of Sucre, Bolivia, and to the ramshackle hills of Valparaíso, on Chile's central coast. We traced the life of Federico García Lorca in Granada, traveled to Jodhpur in desert Rajasthan, and worked in the luminous white city of Cádiz, off Spain’s southwest coast. We have found that by traveling beyond the familiar surroundings of home, students can devote their undivided energy to cultivating the habits of close observation and a disciplined writing life.

Always limited to 10 students.  See

June 11-21, 2019 - North Zealand, Denmark (full)



Sponsored by ARTS IN PRISON, 4-week workshop for inmates, August, 2018.


REMNANTS OF COLOR BLUE: Artist's Talk and Panel Discussion on barriers, challenges and opportunities for recently paroled inmate artist. Panelists: Martha Gies, Janan Stoll from Federal Public Defender's office, Anupam Singh, organizer & moderator, and Richard Lundquist, artist. Sponsored by PSU's Art + Social Practice program, at Portland City Hall, June 1, 2018

AT THE BLACK HAT: Three Nights of Poetry and Prose. Organized by Martha Gies by way of introducing writers to the intimate Northeast Portland shop, Black Hat Books, at 2831 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard, and its remarkable collections curated over decades -- African American literature, culture, and history; feminism and women's literature; fiction and poetry in translation; and literary crime and science fiction. Readings by poets Harold Johnson, Doug Marx and Clem Starck, and by prose writers Jane Salisbury, Robin Schauffler and Gies; September 29, October 13 and October 27, 2017.

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