Billy Merrell was born on January 7, 1982, in St. Louis, MO, and raised in Jacksonville, FL. He studied writing and journalism at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and the University of Florida before receiving his MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. In 2003, at the age of 21, he published his first book of poetry, Talking in the Dark with Scholastic’s PUSH imprint. In 2006, he co-edited (with David Levithan) The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities, which received a Lambda Literary Award. His poems have since appeared in the print anthologies Best Gay Poetry 2008, The Best Young Writers and Artists in America, Divining Divas, 21 Proms, A Face to Meet the Faces, and in David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary.
Empowered by Difference
Language, more than any other medium, allows an audience to follow an artist’s train of thought, no matter how unruly. It’s no surprise, then, that the history of literature is peopled with revolutionary thinkers of every stripe. This workshop, focusing on individuality and empowerment, offers tips and tricks for “documenting consciousness” through free writing, helping writers place value on the experience of unconventional thought.
Generative Writing Techniques
Welcome to the poets’ crafting corner! After surveying an array of time-tested generative writing activities, writers will break into small groups to explore hands-on exercises — followed by workshops aimed at investigating how each technique inspires different creative energies.