Archive for the ‘Project: The Superior Seminars’ Category


The Superior Seminars


The world’s warmest writers gather on earth’s largest freshwater lake this winter – Join us for The Superior Seminars!

We are delighted to announce The Superior Seminars, a retreat, residency, and conference. Become part of the exciting world of the literary arts, study with nationally-recognized faculty, and shape up your life at the world’s first – and only – literary festival held on a frozen lake.

You’ve tried all the writers’ conferences: Tin House, Bread Loaf, Sewanee. You’ve traveled thousands of miles to attend The St. Petersburg Seminars. You’re still blocked. But have you ever tried writing fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction while living in a portable igloo-like cabin in the middle of an icy lake in the dead of winter?

That’s impossible, you say. NOT ANY MORE. It’s time to end the excuses and procrastination. Finish your book. There is nothing else to do here.

Did you know? Lake Superior was also called “Lac Tracy” by 17th Century Jesuit Missionaries.

The Superior Seminars – A Philosophy of Deprivation.

Imagine yourself surrounded by crackling fields of ice in every direction. No trees. No mountains. Not even small birds disturb the scene. No big screen for the game. No email, no Facebook. No cell phone reception. No loved ones. Nothing. Only the distant spires of Duluth-Superior hint at the remote possibility of human contact. Now, imagine all this, except this time picture yourself and a small circle of dedicated writers only steps away from the neighboring shelter of an award-winning poet, novelist, or film critic. Visualize your feelings as your isolation turns into a shared spirit of absolute deprivation. You share a hot cup of cocoa while discussing the films of Cassavetes. You snow-shoe while pointing out a simple error of topography in the street names of the English translation of Sebald’s Austerlitz. You relive a childhood trauma while ice-fishing. Suddenly, you’re inspired. You make your apologies for a hasty exit and return to your writing energized. That’s the Superior Seminars Philosophy – You Will Write, But Only If There Is Nothing Else to Do.

Did you know? Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, not volume.

The Superior Seminars’ Innovative Structure – One City, One Genre.

Choose your genre, choose your community. Superior is designated our Prose Metropolis, Duluth our City of Poets. Your Primary Personal Igloo-Like Shelter (PPILS) will be located in your community of choice. All PPILS’s are guaranteed to be on the lake but within view of a downtown area. City field trips are available at an additional cost.

Additionally, Guest Igloo-Like Shelters (GILS) are available for advance reservation in each location for those interested in exploring a secondary genre. Our micro-communities are interconnected by a web of skiing and snowmobile trails, with clusters of shelters centered near the lake’s main urban centers.

Travel time between communities can be lengthy depending on the lake’s annual ice-coverage, so be sure to bring emergency supplies. Don’t forget your mittens. Note: The Superior Seminars cannot be held legally liable in the case of death by exposure.

Did you know? The first person ever recorded reaching the bottommost point in Lake Superior was J. Vale Klump, in 1985.

The Superior Seminars – Award-Winning Faculty.

Study with Conference Director Fennald L. Parrish-Hand, who has been called the “Bruce Lee of the contemporary poetry chapbook,” and has been thrice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Other faculty will include installation artist/memoirist PHAZE IV, listed on “25 Under 25: Twitter’s Fastest-Typing Young Memoirists.” Keynote address by a multi-million-dollar bestselling celebrity author Mystery Guest.*

The Superior Seminars Trophy – A New Tradition of Excellence.

Each and every person who attends The Superior Seminars is a winner. That’s why all writers who attend the conference are guaranteed** to be published using our innovative e-books interface, SuperiorBucks. Your work will appear on Amazon, Google, and will be back-listed on the classic AltaVista search engine.

Additionally, on completion of the conference you will be presented with a trophy personalized with your name, sub-genre, and a contemplative quotation from the Twitter feed of faculty memoirist PHAZE IV.

*A celebrity Mystery Guest has been invited to give our keynote address, but with today’s uncertain world, in the event that s/he is unable to attend, Conference Director Fennald L. Parrish-Hand will provide an inspirational lecture that reprises his conference seminar, “Signed, Sealed, Deliverance: Negotiating the Cover Letter in the Minefield of the Chapbook Prize Landscape.”

**SuperiorBucks is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Superior Seminars. Copyright of all works published herein shall reside with SuperiorBucks LLC, Inc., with standard contract and royalties amounting to .05% of any net profits. By signing the conference application, you are transferring ownership of all creative work produced on site.


The Superior Seminars | Director


The Superior Seminars | Meet our Director!

Fennald L. Parrish-Hand, Conference Director

Mr. Parrish-Hand previously worked in high finance.

FLPH Biography
Thrice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Fennald L. Parrish-Hand (affectionately known as “FLPH”) hails from Greenhorn, Oregon. He holds degrees from Festin College (A.A., Bovine Therapy and Rehabilitation Science), ITC Online University Quarum (B.S., Automotive Diagnostics), and Manzie State-Gulliford Partial-Residency Writer’s Workshop (M.F.A in Poetry, expected spring 2011). He is the author of over 20 chapbooks, including Did You Say “Bus-Stop Man-Eaters”?! (Ice Wise Press, 2005); Clear Creek, Clear Mind (Zendogs Collective, 2005); Sappho at the Blue Note (Sidewalk Knights Press, 2006); Digging: Selected Poems 2003-2005 (Ice Wise Press, 2006); The Last Theory of the 9-Sided Square (Imaginary #s Books, 2006); and Cool Hand Look, selected by X.M. Ferring for the 2007 Race Car/Evil Star Chapbook Prize for best manuscript of formal poetry that combines figures from the cinema and anagrams. Parrish-Hand has been published in over 500 noted online literary journals and a dozen print magazines, including Skanky Can; The Wounded Tuna; [dr]unk [sk]unk review; small mindbenders online; Prize Poets Anthology IVXML; Tragically Greek; Go=Home; Rusted Fins; Small Mean Street; Fashion Police Academy; Northwest Zine Collective; San Francisco Valencia/Mission Beat; That’s Mine!; Over the Border Quarterly; Donkey Showtunes; Black Glasses; and XYZ Tri-Annual Poetry Festival Anthology among others. His first full-length collection, Long Haul Vortex, will be the inaugural book in Manzie State-Gulliford Press’s Mind Storm Series. His book was selected from over 1,000 entrants by the installation artist/memoirist PHAZE IV. Of Long Haul Vortex, PHAZE IV notes, “…[his poetry] is a sexy muscular firecracker in a dark landscape of mediocrity. There’s no word vomit here, just poems–poems so unpredictable that they could show up to your front door wearing a 10-dollar prom dress or a leather suit with a pink ball gag. This is an extraordinary, brave, punchy debut. Get ready for the jewel-encrusted word-whip.” He’s currently at work on a new chapbook manuscript called The 4. A.M Crash Test, Dummy, a sequence of linked and hyperlinked sestinas that take word entries from G.M.’s 1983 Crash Test Dummy Handbook and uses them as the end-words in the poems. He currently divides his time between Fresno and Walker City. He lives with his cats Charles Bukowski and Ariel.

Seminar Presentation by FLPH
Fennald L. Parrish-Hand will conduct the presentation Signed, Sealed, Deliverance: Negotiating the Cover Letter in the Minefield of the Chapbook Prize Landscape. Noted by Kenneth Lischly as the “Bruce Lee” of the chapbook world, Fennald L. Parrish-Hand will give you a hard-hitting assessment of your current project and potential as a visionary poet. Fennald L. Parrish-Hand will respect you by knocking down the walls of your preconceptions and misconceptions. You will be broken down then built back up as the word warrior that you have the potential to become. You should expect to leave with a ready-to-win poetry chapbook manuscript and a bullet-proof cover letter. The top 3 attendees of this seminar will leave with a letter of recommendation personally handwritten by Fennald L. Parrish-Hand on official letterhead.


The Superior Seminars | Core Faculty


The Superior Seminars | Meet our Core Faculty!

PHAZE IV, Core Faculty, Digital Literature


PHAZE IV Biography
Called “one of the fastest typists on Twitter today” by, PHAZE IV has been named as one of Twitter’s “25 Twitterlit Memoirists Under 25” on’s coveted Twitterlit Awards 2010 for “literature produced exclusively on proprietary microblogging technologies.” PHAZE IV has pioneered numerous new fields of online and digital literature, most notably the “real time memoir,” which blurs the line between the “past” and the “present” in the production of up-to-the-minute documentation of real life “as it happens.” PHAZE IV, who identifies as post-human, is also a leader in the so-called “Sixth Genre,” which seeks out new territory beyond “the confines of digital literature.”

Presentation by PHAZE IV
PHAZE IV will be live-tweeting the entirety of the proceedings of The Superior Seminars from his patented PHAZEPHOURESSENCE (TM) Balloon Tent via Satellite link-up. Please do not disturb PHAZE IV during “writing hours,” 12pm – 6pm; once “flow” is interrupted PHAZE IV cannot concentrate. You may not use PHAZE IV’s satellite link to access the internet without PHAZE IV’s explicit permission. Solitary visitors are welcome into the Balloon Tent during “visiting hours,” from 11pm to midnight, Mondays and Tuesdays only.


Adamal Zeal, Core Faculty, Poetry

Adamal Zeal Biography

Adamal Zeal is widely regarded as America’s leading villanellist. His first book, 53 Villanelles, was awarded the American Villanelle Society’s 2002 AVS First Book Award. His second and third books, 73 Villanelles and More Villanelles, Please!, were notable books of 2005 and 2008 on the Home Page. Adamal Zeal currently teaches as an Adjunct Lecturer at Propinquity City College, North Dakota.

Presentation by Adamal Zeal, in Villanelle form:

Learn to harness the power of the villanelle!

Embrace rhyme, repetition and variation

and your poems will impress folks without fail.

Master the villanelle and gain the special

ability to move people that statesmen and corporations

yearn to harness. The power of the villanelle

lies in writing flexible refrains and avoiding stale

rhymes. You’ll learn the ones you may want to shun

and your poems will impress folks. Without fail,

with the villanelle, you’ll write poems none will heckle—

poems for her birthday, their wedding, your resignation;

learn to harness the power. Of the villanelle

some speak poorly, and against it a few even rail,

but finesse your refrains with deft manipulation

and your poems will impress. Folks without fail

find reading a well-crafted villanelle to be a thrill.

With this workshop your poems will receive ovations.

Learn to harness the power of the villanelle

and your poems will impress folks without fail.


The Superior Seminars | Guest Faculty


The Superior Seminars | Meet our Guest Faculty!

Special Presentation! Keynote Address by Mystery Guest!

Can you guess?

The Superior Seminars Mystery Guest Keynote Address is a special surprise featuring a world-renowned bestselling international celebrity superstar author. Think Dan Brown. Think Danielle Steele. Think. Only the topic is revealed in advance. The identity of the Mystery Guest is withheld from all participants until the very moment s/he descends from a specially-chartered helicopter to the surface of the lake-ice.

Keynote Address

“The Loudest Silence: Getting to 85 Pecent White Space in your Noncreative Fiction.”


Other Esteemed Guest Faculty Include:

Dr. Rigelle Youklisse

Rigelle's Valedictions

Dr. Rigelle Youklisse Biography
Dr. Rigelle Youlisse is a leading expert on Validictions, the study of how authors all too often succeed or fail based upon how each signs off on personal correspondence and cover letters. She can see Lake Superior from her house.

Presentation by Dr. Rigelle Youklisse
Moving Beyond The “Best”: Complimentary Closings and Valedictions in the 21st Century. After 2 drafts and 17 years, will your work end up in the galleys, or in the garbage? The valediction could make the difference! In this long distance course, learn to craft your closing based on your target market. A simple “cheers,” or “peace,” rakishly uncapitalized, may work well for the academic presses, but in this e-workshop we will critique all manner of sign offs and explore the most appropriate formulations when submitting to the big boys, the urban indies, the ethnic pubs, the British dandies, the abstruse experimentals, the douchey concepts, the hipster menchildren, the e-journals, the e-chaps, the e-blogs, the print-on-demands, and more!

Past students have gone on to produce such work as:

  • yours Etc,
  • Tanks,
  • the sparrow is in the nest,
  • Sincerply,
  • My chinchilla just threw up,
  • Live free or die,


Natasha Tschlochke, Guest Faculty

Natasha Tschlochke Biography
Natasha Tschlochke is the author of Trepanning with a Toothpick: A Memoir of Nail-Biting.

Presentation by Natasha Tschlochke
Ice Flows. Feeling stuck? Thaw your creative mind! In this class, students will melt pure organic lake ice until it boils, and then, in a series of guided collaborative exercises, pour it over each other’s heads. Expect to leave class with second degree burns and 50 pages of your first novel ready for agents!

Real Grizwald, Guest Faculty

Get Real!

Real Grizwald Biography

The Washington County Post calls Real Grizwald “…a writer…[whose gifts are boundless, and whose]…so-called flash memoirs ought to be considered…” The inventor of the flash memoir, Grizwald is the editor of The World’s Best Flash Memoirs and 80 Flash Memoirs that Can Change Your Life. He’s also the author of two collections of flash memoirs, Born, Raised, Lived ‘n’ Died and Light Years Away and Here to Stay, the Dubie Prize-nominated collection of 12 linked flash memoirs exploring loss, grief, place, spirituality, and sustainable urban farming. A Chancellor of the The Superior Seminars, Grizwald is hard at work editing Flash in the Pan: 67 Flash Memoirs for Tough Times.

Presentation by Real Grizwald
Each conference participant will have his or her life personally evaluated by Real Grizwald as a potential subject for a flash memoir, on a strictly thumbs-up or thumbs-down basis.


Harwood Fritz Merrill III, Core Faculty, Fiction

Harwood Fritz Merrill III Biography
Harwood Fritz Merrill III, the “bad boy of American Letters” (Harwood Fritz Merrill II), is a graduate of Harvard and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. His breakthrough first novel-in-stories, Hola, a chronicle of his childhood in Newport Beach and the strained but ultimately fulfilling relationship he developed with his family’s cleaning staff, won the Pen/Faulker Award and was hailed in the New York Times as “…a tender and presumably accurate celebration of the Ecuadorian-American experience.” The sequel, Adios, a novel-in-novellas, was eight hundred pages long. Merrill, the third youngest member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, currently teaches creative writing at the recently endowed Fritz Merrill Center for Creative Arts.

Presentation by Harwood Fritz Merrill III
Towards a Lesser Coherence: Crafting Your Novel-in-Stories. In this seminar, Harwood Fritz Merrill III reveals the secrets of modular fiction. Bring an open mind and a bag lunch.


Aurora Soleil-Lune, Core Faculty, Nonfiction

Aurora Soleil-Lune Biography
Aurora Soleil-Lune was born in a yurt on an Alaskan bay under the sacred glow of the northern lights; her first cries joined the continuous Om of bellowing moose and distant whale-song. Since then, she has been at the forefront of the holistic creative community as an herbalist, educator, yogini, performer, artist, writer, activist, healer, poet, guru, raw-foodist, storyteller, acupuncturist, masseuse, puppeteer, DJ, and erotic coach.

Presentation by Aurora Soleil-Lune
You Are the Portal: Finding Your Opening and Unleashing Your Sacred Waters of Inspiration. You sit down to write and the words don’t come. You lift your gaze to the sky and think, How do I ascend to a place of divine inspiration? Where is the portal? Aurora Soleil-Lune’s PortalDance™ is a sensual union of visualization, courageous communication, erotic ritual and acrobatics that will help you find the opening to the Creative Portal and send you flying into the Realm of Inspiration. You will learn techniques to open the Portal, whenever and wherever you want to, alone or with a partner. By invoking archetypal energies and calling out to the power animals of the icy tundra, you will break through the frozen surface of writer’s block and bathe in the waters of self-expression. At the end of this exhilarating session, you will chisel and then dive through a hole in the ice to embody a leap through your portal into the ecstatic dimensions of creativity. Paramedics will be on hand to provide treatment for hypothermia. Please bring your own ice auger. Namaste!