The Structure of this Workshop:
Although this workshop is appropriate for beginning poets, with much support and encouragement offered, it is also recommended for experienced poets, including those who have published books or chapbooks, are teaching poetry, or have simply been working at the craft for a long time.
This workshop is oriented toward generating new work. We’ll start each day with a talk about some aspect of the craft of writing. Then the rest of the morning will be devoted to writing. Unlike workshops where there are multiple short writing prompts, we prefer to schedule longer writing sessions so that there’s time to go deeply into your writing. You may not be actually writing that entire time, but there’s space for writing, reflection, starting off on a whole new topic, maybe taking a short break to refresh yourself and beginning again.
Then we’ll have lunch together and there will be a little free time—to walk, read, relax, or, if you’re burning, to keep writing. In the afternoon, we’ll meet to share our work. For these sessions, we’ll divide into two smaller groups, one led by Ellen and one by Roxan (every other day teachers will switch groups so you’ll have equal opportunity to work with both teachers). Everyone will have a chance to read and to receive responses, encouragement, and support. Ellen and Roxan will also provide guidance and suggestions for those who need or want that. Then we’ll have dinner and the evenings are usually free for relaxing, socializing, talking about poetry—whatever you’d like to do.
The Life of Poetry
This workshop will be an opportunity to engage our greatest resources: attention, courage, precision, imagination. We’ll strive for language that is accurate, fresh, and alive and we’ll learn strategies to help us write poems whose form, music, rhythm, diction, and meaning work together to bring new poems into being. We’ll read model poems by contemporary poets and discuss specific aspects of the craft. We’ll help each other to become clearer, go deeper, take new risks. With the safety, support, and inspiration of this gathering, you may surprise yourself in creating poems that are more vivid, more true, more complex and powerful than you’ve ever written before. Both experienced and beginning poets are welcome, as well as prose writers who want to enrich their language.