GCC’s Annual Poetry & Prose Slam

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Like a helicopter parent or a cantaloupe defiant of gravity, GCC’s Annual Poetry & Prose Slam draws closer–looms, one might say. Do you hear it? See it? Smell it? There is no ignoring the Slam. No pretending it isn’t there, nestled in your kitchen cabinets, between the cushions of your ride-share, in your Twitter mentions questioning the earnestness of your contributions. There will be no ducking, no hiding, no avoidant behavior of any kind.

And why would you want to avoid the Slam, especially when all it wants to do is award you with fame and money and expired chicken dinner coupons? Therefore, you are going to attend the Annual Poetry & Prose Slam. You are going to share a few of your original, creative pieces with a supportive audience and eager panel of judges. Open to the public, and with some free refreshments provided, there is no reason not to attend!

  • What: GCC’s Annual Poetry & Prose Slam
  • When: Wednesday, November 20th from 7:00PM to 8:30PM
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, SU-104

Basic Rules of the Slam:

  • Arrive a few minutes before 7PM so you can sign up to compete.
  • Each round, read one original piece, keeping under the three-minute time limit. Performances that exceed this limit will have their scores penalized.
  • Expect at least two rounds, with the potential for more if time permits. Meaning, you can enter more than one piece in the competition, but always perform your best pieces first.
  • Once all competitors have read/performed their work, the judges will tabulate scores. The top three performers will earn $100, $50, and $25 prizes respectively.
  • Have fun!

National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) looms and GCC is taking part. Interested in writing a novel? See the flyer below for more details on how to get involved in GCC’s events, get support for your own writing, and how to enter the Fabulous First Chapter Contest sponsored by GCC’s Library.

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Artists of Promise – District Writing Competition

Each year, the Maricopa Community Colleges hold district-wide arts competitions and celebrations. A writing contest is part of these celebrations, and as writers, you are contractually obligated to submit your creative work to this contest. It’s right there in the fine print, if you look close enough, beneath the bits about imprisonment for tearing mattress labels and how breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Winning this competition not only results in publication in the district’s annual Passages magazine, but also a monetary award. Writers who place first, second, and third receive $300, $200, and $100 dollars respectively. First Place winners will be entered in the  National Student Literary Competition sponsored by the League for Innovation.

Much like GCC’s Traveler competition, the district accepts work from four genres (listed below). To review the guidelines in depth, and to submit your work, follow this link: https://events.maricopa.edu/event/artists-promise-creative-writing.

The deadline is November 18th, 2019! (Updated)

  • Essay: 2,000 words
  • Fiction: 3,000 words
  • One-Act Play/Script: 3,000 words including stage direction and/or production notes
  • Poetry: 67 lines

Saturday Workshop: How To “Get More” Out of Any Literature

Which of these statements describes you best?

  • I like reading for fun.
  • I’m interested in reading and analyzing literary prose or poetry.
  • I’m interested in writing literary prose or poetry.
  • I’m interested in writing better literary prose or poetry.
  • I’ve tried reading literary fiction — but some/most of it goes over my head.
  • I’ve tried creative writing — but struggle to put the good ideas in my head down on paper.
  • I have to/want to take a literature or creative writing course — but the idea scares me to death.

If one or more of these statements resonate with you, or describes you and your current situation, come to our Saturday CRW Workshop February 9 to learn some writing/reading “secrets” that will improve your reading, your writing, and your quality of life.

MFA and GCC Creative Writing Instructor Gary Lawrence will lead a very participative workshop on “getting more” out of any literature – either more entertainment and appreciation, or more tools to help make you a better reader and creative writer (the two are intimately connected). We’ll use a 10-question reusable template to “break open” a prose short story – and then use this same short story as an example of points made. Time permitting, we’ll use a second short story to “test” your understanding and application of the ideas presented.

Among the things we’ll explore in this two-hour workshop are:

  • A creative writer’s mantra: “Read like a writer. Write for the reader.”
  • Ten standard questions to ask to get more out of any literary piece (the keys to the “science” behind a better literary analysis and uncovering more writing tools).
  • The difference between a literary analysis (understanding better/quicker what a piece “means”) and a creative writing analysis (discovering writing craft methods to write better yourself).
  • Reading comprehension level, and why it matters.

The workshop plan includes a mix of presentation, reading, analysis, discussion and (at least a little) writing. You’ll walk away with the reusable 10-question template, a better understanding of how literature “works,” and a few tips to make you a better writer.  Literary critics or writers of any genre will benefit from the methods, techniques, and ideas presented and discussed.  The workshop is free and open to the public.

  • Who: Gary Lawrence, MFA – GCC Instructor
  • What: How to “Get More” Out of Any Literature
  • When: Saturday, February 9, 2019 from 10:00 am to noon
  • Where: Language Arts building, GCC Campus (LA 141)
  • Why: Because this workshop will make you a better reader, writer, and person.

Workshop materials and handouts:


Gary Lawrence currently teaches creative writing online for GCC: Introduction to Creative Writing (CRW150), Introduction to Writing Fiction (CRW170), and Intermediate Fiction Writing (CRW270). Until recently he also taught composition courses at GCC and at Cochise College (Sierra Vista). Gary’s also a prize-winning, published short story author (Feast,Rockford Writer’s Guild, Short Story America, Four Chambers, Mirage, Canyon Voices). In 2011 Gary earned an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He issued his first collection of short stories, Baffled, in 2013. He is currently working on a second story collection.

Congratulations to Poetry & Prose Slam Winners!

A week ago, we hosted our annual Poetry & Prose Slam competition. During the night, numerous competitors read and performed the best of their poetry as well as their flash and short fiction. It took three rounds, nearly two hours, and a surprising amount of math to determine the victors. Congratulations to:

  • First Place: JJ Gathings
  • Second Place: Francisco Ayón
  • Third Place: Lynne MacVean

Thank you to the many participants, to our judges, to Laura White for hosting, and to those that simply came to listen and support our community of writers. We hope to see all of you, and more, in February for our Traveler readings and for a new competition for comedic poetry. Stay tuned to the GCCAZCRW blog for more information.

Poetry & Prose Slam 2018

  • What: The Annual Poetry & Prose Slam
  • When: Wednesday, November 14th from 7:00 to 9:00PM
  • Where: GCC Main Campus, Room SU-104
  • Why: Money, vague threats involving Mountain Dew (see below)

The Poetry & Prose Slam is upon us, looming on the horizon like a bird or a sun or a hitchhiker you’re desperately trying to avoid locking eyes with. Well, it’s too late. We see you. Sitting there, all comfortable and “mobile” in your Ford F-150s and your Toyota Priuses and your non-descript mountain bikes. Listen, either you pull over now or we follow you back to your house, tip over your refrigerator, and soak all your dish towels in Mountain Dew Code Red.

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Think of your dish towels.

What we’re trying to say here, figuratively, is that you should attend this event.

More than that, you should read and compete in this event. Bring your original and creative writing–poetry, short fiction or nonfiction, song lyrics, and any other genre we haven’t listed that you can read in about three minutes or less. Read it before our friendly, Mountain-Dew-drinking judges and guests, and then maybe win a little money. It’s not often we get paid for our creative work, after all, so take advantage.

In order to participate, you’ll need to fill out a simple entry form that you can download and print right here: Registration Form. If you forget to grab a form, no worries, we’ll have extra entry forms available at the event. The slam is open to everyone, student and non-student alike.