Weeklong July 15 to July 20 2018

What innovator John D’Agata calls an oddball genre—the lyric essay combines elements of poetry and essays, relying on the former for its insistence of compression, form and thinking and the latter in its devotion to the process of discovery of fact. How these two things come together is in the eye of the beholder, so in this workshop we’ll spend our first session attempting to define the genre ourselves by reading what others have to say about the form.

Weekend June 23 to June 24 2018

Have you ever wondered if the stories you’ve grown up hearing about your family would make for a powerful written work? Have you ever considered bringing the story of your own life to the page? If so, this weekend workshop is right for you. Writers will learn the difference between an engaging anecdote and a compelling work of art by experimenting in a variety of forms: short stories, literary essays, and poems.

Weekend July 21 to July 22 2018

This session will offer an intensive dive into the world of poetic form. After we analyze exemplary poems from a diverse range of poets, we’ll try experiments in meter, rhyme, fixed forms, and recent kinds of adventurous prosody. We’ll also discuss the role of form in contemporary poetry and give feedback on poems that participants have previously written, paying particular attention to elements of form.

A common intellectual fantasy is to be able to encounter pure ideas in a featureless imaginary space. But tough luck: ideas come from people, and people come with bodies. In this generative class, we will consider the implications of our embodiment on writing and look at how the body informs the mind and the art it creates. Sports, sickness, aging, beauty, pregnancy, disability, sex—when we write on these topics, what forms are best suited to say what we want to say?

Like virtually everything else in our era, poetry has gotten sharply political these days. Writers are responding to this turbulent moment in the country’s history with a tsunami of poems that address issues like immigration, global warming, institutionalized racism, and health care. In this generative poetry workshop, we will read from a wide variety of protest and political poems and write as if our pens were on fire.

One of the most effective ways of developing a story, poem, or essay is to work in layers of different narrative or thematic material. When the layers come from different realms of experience or thought (such as history, folk tales, work, religion, science, food, art, childhood memories), or when they carry different emotional charges, they complicate each other in unexpected ways.

Judith Barrington once said that her best work emerged “from between the scaffolding of a known form.” This is the joy and paradox of writing in form: the formal poem’s “rules” provide a safe framework and often force us to write things we couldn’t have written without the form’s parameters.

Weekend July 14 to July 15 2018

Poetic pacing is a delicate balance between anticipation and knowledge: poems should create in us a desire to know, a desire to discover, and yet keep us, as Stephen Dobyns states, “on the verge of understanding.” Pacing, then, is a kind of promise, and also a kind of tension, and it often begins with the poem’s title and first line. In this workshop, we will look at a variety of poems by master poets and explore how pacing—and hence the journey of discovery the poem enacts—is controlled.

Weekend June 16 to June 17 2018

From Melville’s white whale to Walker’s color purple. Cervantes’ windmills to Woolf’s lighthouse. Carver’s cathedral to Basho’s pond. Frost’s forked path to Naipaul’s river bend. We all recognize the precision and poignancy of these metaphors. Those crystalline choices their creators made to deeply and simultaneously etch into our minds both image and meaning.


Weeklong June 24 to June 29 2018

Poems might begin in isolation, but we put them out into the world hoping for connection—a making and creation towards others, a message in a bottle that might wash ashore and affect the hearts and minds of finders and keepers (perhaps our first form of social media). How can a diverse range of work (from poets including Herbert, Donne, Yeats, Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, Miguel Hernandez, Larry Levis, Tyehimba Jess, Tracy K.