Workshops are limited to 12 qualified participants and 3 auditors to provide a meaningful level of discussion, and careful, informed attention to your work. Beginning poets, shy about sharing their poems, should consider auditing a workshop as a great way to learn by observing and listening. Review our Application Guidelines for more details and the workshop descriptions that follow on this page. Click the following link to see our brochure in pdf format.
(click each poet's name link to view their biography)
POETRY AS BEWILDERMENT with NICK FLYNN
During the week we will examine “bewilderment” by thinking about the concept and how it is acted out in our poems—either through syntax, our accessing the duende, leaps into the unconscious, or simply circling around what is unsaid, unknown, unrealized. We will look for those moments we begin to stutter and stumble when talking about our poems, or in the poems themselves, for these are the thresholds beyond which is unknown, beyond which is the white space on the map. Over the course of our week together we will attempt to push a little deeper into this shadow world. Participants will prepare by keeping a writer’s notebook and bringing a selection of work (2-3 poems) at various states of completion to the first workshop session.
CREATE AND CRITIQUE WITH CAROLYN FORCHÉ
This guided workshop will be both generative and critique-based; we’ll be looking at past work, learning methods of revision, and writing new poems from prompts and exercises. Poets should bring seventeen copies (each) of three poems they would like the group to read and critique. A blog will be set up to help us to prepare in advance, to aid us in communicating between our meetings, and to foster our community after we leave Palm Beach.
CRAFT OF THE INVISIBLE with LINDA GREGG
Poetry is a craft of the invisible: craft for the mind and for the rigor. We will consider the invisible as the space between an event, and that event becoming a poem. Participants will send two poems prior to the first workshop meeting. We will work together with a related exercise. I want us to attempt to write great poetry, understanding we might fail. The workshop will be run in a serious and supportive way. As I was told by Joseph Brodsky, poetry is the greatest invention of mankind. In this workshop we will work together with the spirit of this statement in mind. Participants will send two poems prior to the workshop and bring 17 copies to the first workshop meeting.
WORD BY WORD, LINE BY LINE with THOMAS LUX
We will pay close attention, in minute detail, to all the elements that go into writing a poem. So: we'll do word by word, line by line readings. Frost said that the primary way to get to the reader's heart and mind is through the reader's ear. The sound, the noise of a poem, demands our attention. We must be tough, honest and direct with each other's work and also be generous, thoughtful and never condescending or dismissive. A good workshop can do both. Bring in three or four poems, seventeen copies of each, for discussion.
PEELING THE ONION: REVEALING THE LYRIC VOICE with CAMPBELL MCGRATH
This workshop will examine the lyric poem from the point of view of the speaker— the voice that sings or cries or whispers in the reader’s ear. In it we will learn how to create a fully-realized lyric voice, layer by layer, as in the proverbial onion. Guided by examples from Yusef Komunakaa to Gary Snyder, Coleridge to Elizabeth Bishop, we will explore the physical, psychological and chronological spaces the poetic voice must navigate. Class-time will be devoted primarily to workshopping student work—both assigned poems, written from one day to the next, and at least one poem you bring with you to Palm Beach. So bring copies of that poem to our first workshop session, and be ready for a great week of reading, writing and talking poetry.
BRINGING THE OUTSIDE IN with AIMEE NEZHUKUMATATHIL
Through a keen sense of observation and an ardent pulse to translate nature's language, you'll learn what nature poetry can be —how to illuminate its terrors and stark realities, its deep-sea baubles, prairie grass-swish, and northern-light delights. Through carefully crafted examinations of poems that showcase the environment in dynamic and surprising ways, and through various immersions in writing (some outdoors, weather permitting), we'll explore/explode forms of poetry to record your own observations about landscape and the environment–forms that are sure to keep you going long after this class ends. The second half of workshop will involve constructive critique of student poems. Participants will send 2-3 poems in advance of the workshop and bring copies of those poems to the first session.
THE POEM ON THE TABLE with MARY RUEFLE
The poem on the table sometimes leads us into the wild blue yonder of larger concerns and sometimes leads us deeper and deeper into a single word on the page. This is a traditional critique-based workshop, but my approach is always language, the words on the page, one by one, as they take their walk. We will talk about three poems by each participant, spending approximately twenty minutes on each poem. Please bring, then, seventeen copies of three poems to the first meeting. Advice: don’t bring poems you are satisfied with; though I understand your desire to impress. Bring instead, poems you are worried about, ones you don’t know how to end, poems you feel uncannily unsettled by and that cause you to lose sleep or be embarrassed by. I am dedicated to the art of writing bad poems! There is no other way to move forward. There is no other way to be happy.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS with TIM SEIBLES
In this workshop we will focus on the importance of specificity in writing—the particulars, the images, the exacting figurative gestures that provide the fuel for gripping poetry. Participants will bring poems in various stages of development for review and suggestions for improvement along these lines. In addition to these close readings and critiques, some time will be dedicated to short in-class writing exercises to help each of us break out of well-worn writing routines and strategies. We will work on short poems, narrative poems, dream poems, surrealist poems, and persona poems—poems written in a voice other than the author’s own. Such work will allow us to add color and some new shades to our writerly palettes. Participants will send 3-4 poems in advance of the workshop and bring copies for distribution to the first class meeting.
Participants whose tuition is paid-in-full, may schedule a one-on-one conference with one of our experienced faculty for a half-hour session. There is an additional cost of $95 for these conferences, which will be scheduled outside workshop sessions. Manuscripts must be prepared advance of the festival. Conferences will be scheduled on a first come-first served basis.
SALLY BLIUMIS-DUNN’s books are, Second Skin published by Wind Publications in 2010 and Talking Underwater, (Wind 2007). Her poems have appeared in BigCityLit, Lumina, New York Times, Nimrod, The Paris Review, PBS News Hour, Prairie Schooner, Poetry London, RATTLE, Rattapallax, Spoon River Poetry Review and in the Helicon Nine anthology, Chance of A Ghost. In 2008, she was invited to read in the “Love Poems Program” at the Library of Congress. In 2002, she was a finalist for the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize. She teaches Modern Poetry and Creative Writing at Manhattanville College and lives in Armonk, New York with her husband, John. They share four children, Ben, Angie, Kaitlin and Fiona.
TRACI BRIMHALL is the author of Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton), selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press), winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Slate, Ploughshares, New England Review, The New Yorker, and Best American Poetry 2013. She’s received fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the King/Chávez/Parks Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
GINGER MURCHISON together with Thomas Lux, founded POETRY at TECH, where she served as associate director five years and has been one of its McEver Visiting Chairs in Poetry since 2009. A three-time Pushcart nominee, she is a graduate of Warren Wilson's M.F.A. Program for Writers and Editor-in-Chief of the acclaimed Cortland Review. Her first chapbook of poems, Out Here, was published by Jeanne Duval Editions in 2008. She has published interviews with A.E. Stallings and Stephen Dobyns, and has poems published in Atlanta Review, Chattahoochee Review, Terminus Magazine, Poetry Kanto, and Mead and Connotations online.