R218A. Beef Jerky, Bras, and Car Parts: What We Write About When We Write for Money

Room 303, Western New England MFA Annex, Level 3
Thursday, February 27, 2014
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


F. Scott Fitzgerald did it, Salman Rushdie did it, Don DeLillo did it – it is no surprise that many serious writers have earned their rent money by writing copy for advertisements. The poets and novelists on this panel discuss their anecdotal experiences of technical and review writing (including about lingerie, car parts, and porn)—and how the peculiarities of this work sustained, flattened, inspired, or challenged their own literary writing and sense of self. Sellouts? Or workhorses? You decide.



Rachel Kessler is co-founder of literary collaborations The Typing Explosion and Vis-à-Vis Society. Her poems have been published in Tin House, Poetry Northwest, The Far Field, and City Arts magazine. She teaches creative writing in public schools and in homeless shelters in Seattle.

Anastacia Tolbert is a writer, Cave Canem Fellow, Hedgebrook Alumna, EDGE Professional Writers Graduate, VONA alum, creative writing workshop facilitator, documentarian, and playwright. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published widely.

Matthew Dickman is the author of All-American Poem, 50 American Plays (co-written with his twin brother Michael Dickman, 2012), and Mayakovsky’s Revolver (2012).

Jan Wallace, a poet and essayist, writes advertising copy. She has one chapbook, Kickpleat in the Cosmos. Her poems and essays have appeared in various journals.

Ryan Boudinot teaches at Richard Hugo House. He also teaches in Goddard College's MFA program in Port Townsend, Washington. His work has appeared in McSweeney's and The Best American Nonrequired Reading.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center