What's Good for Fiction Is Good for Poetry: Show Us, but Please Don't Tell Us
Presented by Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith


1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
State Library

“Our natural flaw is ‘to tell’ rather than ‘show,’ to show whatever event we deem important to us—whether it uplifts us or scars us—and share it with everyone, with an audience,” observes Smith. “Telling these stories or poems is lazy; showing takes a lot of work. The process of showing is both daunting and frustrating.

“The workshop will comprise of your writing a short prose piece (telling a story in half a page or thereabouts). Then you will segue into what parts of your ‘telling’ we can expand ‘to show’ the incident to make the readers feel they are in the moment, the location, the scene, the experience. I will give feedback and suggestions on the spot, and I encourage others to do so. From there you will extract all the concrete details and whittle them down to a poem of whatever length you wish. Here is the important part: the excess details you extracted may produce another poem, even a body of poems.

‘Please bring a laptop, tablet, or whatever writing medium or tool of your choice."

Thank you for your interest in the Louisiana Book Festival WordShops. Registration for our 2023 classes are now closed.

Michael Knight Photo

Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam in 1968. He earned a BA in English from California State University, Northridge in 1993. He later earned an MA and MFA in creative writing from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1999.

He is the author of The Land Baron’s Sun: The Story of Lý Loc and His Seven Wives, which won the 2016 Indie Book Award in poetry. His novel The Land South of the Clouds, the second in the trilogy, was released in 2016 and took second place the following year for the Indie Book Award. The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, published in October 2018, is the third book of the trilogy.

His other works of poetry and fiction have been published in Crab Orchard Review, Pembroke, Gumbo: An Anthology of African American Writing, Asian American Literary Review, Xavier Review, Northridge Review, Amerasia Journal , turnrow, Scene Magazine, dis-Orient, Christmas Stories from Louisiana, Kartika Review, and Blue Lyra Review.

He received the ATLAS grant by the Louisiana Board of Regents for 2013-14. He has earned first place in the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Fellowship competition, second place in both the Poets & Writers Exchange Program and for his short story “Dailies” in 2008 from the Santa Fe Writers Program, and he has received both the Louisiana Division of the Arts Artist Fellowship and mini-grant.

He currently resides in Ruston with his wife Robyn and their two daughters, Layla and Naomi. He has been teaching literature, composition, and creative writing at Louisiana Tech University since 1999.




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