Each workshop is taught by an experienced, published author (writer-in-residence) in a small group setting. Most classes are limited to just 12 participants. All workshops are held on the second floor of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall. (Located on the south end of the grounds on Wythe Ave. across from the Hall of Philosophy.)
For specific questions regarding workshops, please contact Clara Silverstein.
Registration begins in April. Call the ticket ofice at 716.357.6250 to register by phone or register online at https://chqtickets.com. You may also register at one of our ticketing windows at our Main Gate Welcome Center.
Weekly prose and poetry workshops have been the core of the Chautauqua Writers' Center for 24 years. Faculty members are selected not only for their national reputations and the quality of their work, but also for their ability to inspire developing writers to grow in their craft.
Week 1, June 27–July 4
TELLING SECRETS TO YOURSELF
The essential language of poetry lies within us like an undiscovered country, hiding in the open more often than not, requiring only one's curiosity, will, and imagination to discover open secrets we have yet to "tell" – secrets that contain the verbal power and insight to enrich and change our lives. This workshop will focus on writing as a creative expedition into conscious and unconscious landscapes where we will strive to wake our poetic voices. We will work on crafting our rough drafts into polished poems that contain what Ezra Pound called the "news that stays news." You are welcome to bring 14 copies of 1-2 of your poems to discuss in class as time allows.
Chad deNiord is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Interstate, The Double Truth, and Night Mowing. He is also the author of a book of essays and interviews with seven senior American poets titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Song. In 2002 he co-founded the New England College MFA Program in Poetry, which he directed until 2007. He is a Professor of English at Providence College and lives in Putney, Vermont.
Week 2, July 4–11
For many, poetry is understood primarily as dealing with a moment's reflection and resulting associations. This workshop challenges that understanding, exploring different methods contemporary poets use to cover longer periods of time, changes, and narratives. We will engage in exercises with time in poetry. Participants may send 1-2 poems before June 14 to Gabriel Welsch, 1700 Moore Street, Huntingdon, PA 16652, or bring 14 copies to discuss in class as time allows.
Gabriel Welsch has published four collections of poetry, including most recently, The Four Horsepersons of a Disappointing Apocalypse. His work—poems, stories, essays, and reviews—appears widely in such journals as New Letters, PANK, Lake Effect, Georgia Review, Southern Review, and Chautauqua. He received a Pennsylvania Arts Council literature grant for fiction, and was poet-in-residence at the Toledo Botanical Garden. He is Vice President of Advancement and Marketing at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.
Week 3, July 11–18
POETIC FORMS: FAMILIAR AND FOREIGN
Danielle Legros Georges
This workshop will explore the architecture, history, and cultural roots of poetic forms. Emerging from oral traditions across the world and codified in writing, forms travel across time and space, connecting us to the global and the local. We'll explore forms including the sonnet, the pantoum, the ghazal, the villanelle, and modes of elegy and ode – understanding the rules that govern them; how writers have inscribed and challenged those rules; and how forms can enhance our own writing. Students will emerge from the workshop with at least one poem written in a chosen form. No advance submissions necessary.
Danielle Legros Georges is the author of a book of poems, Maroon. Her essays, interviews, poems, and reviews have appeared in publications including Agni, The Boston Globe, Callaloo, Salamander, Transition, World Literature Today, and The Women's Review of Books. Her poems have been widely anthologized. Her awards for writing include a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Poetry. In 2014 she was appointed Poet Laureate of Boston. She is a professor of arts and education at Lesley University.
Week 4, July 18–25
BEYOND THE HEADLINES
Newspapers and non-print media are filled with sound bites that characterize an incident in a limited way. Writing poems inspired by a headline, an article or a news photo can counteract this practice and find the inherent humanity in the situation. We will look at topical poems and sample clippings, then write our own poems about subjects of concern. No advance submissions necessary, but please bring any articles or news photos that interest you.
Marjorie Wentworth's books of poetry include Noticing Eden, Despite Gravity, and The Endless Repetition of an Ordinary Miracle and New and Selected Poems. She is the co-writer of Taking a Stand, The Evolution of Human Rights, and the author of the children's story, Shackles. Her poems have been nominated for The Pushcart Prize five times. She teaches at the Art Institute of Charleston and The College of Charleston. She is the Poet Laureate of South Carolina.
Week 5, July 25–August 1
QUICKSAND POEMS: POLITICS, RELIGION, SEX, SECRETS
We all know the subjects we'd "better not" write about. But there are many ways to approach sticky subjects without getting mired. We can apply disguises or utilize humor. We can hone big subjects down to a human scale. We can use forms to keep our distance, and check our poems for common pitfalls. This workshop will give us new approaches and techniques for taking on sticky subjects without squirming or sinking. The focus of the week will be creating new work, but you are welcome to bring 14 copies of 1-2 of your poems to discuss in class as time allows.
Joan Murray is author of Swimming for the Ark: New & Selected Poems 1990-2015 and four prize-winning collections, including, Queen of the Mist. Former Poet in Residence at the New York State Writers Institute, she has been a Chautauqua Amphitheater Lecturer and a repeat guest on NPR's Morning Edition. She is winner of two National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowships and is editor of The Pushcart Book of Poetry and the Poems to Live By anthologies.
Week 6, August 1–8
ADVANCED WORKSHOP: INVIGORATED VISIONS & REVISIONS
In this workshop, we will invigorate our sense of the possible in poetry by immersing ourselves in the energies and vitalities of dynamic examples, and in writing exercises that address the issues of composing a poem—all gathered and devised in direct response to your work-in-progress. To this end, please send at your earliest convenience (and no later than June 1) up to three poems that you would like to discuss in the workshop to Clara Silverstein, CLRSilver@gmail.com or 216 Grove St., Auburndale, MA 02466. Admission is by advance submission only. The class will meet on alternate days to allow time for writing and rewriting.
AFTERNOON 1:15 to 3:15 p.m.
Rick Hilles is the author of A Map of the Lost World and Brother Salvage, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize for Poetry and named Poetry Book of the Year by ForeWord Magazine. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholarship, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and his work has appeared in Harper's, Hudson Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, The Nation, and The New Republic. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is Associate Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.
Week 7, August 8–15
TAPPING THE WELL
Where does one locate the source of poetic inspiration? Once you find the answer to this question, the process of writing poems becomes one of endless surprise and satisfaction. In this workshop, we will do exercises and discuss techniques for developing our poem-radar, opening ourselves to inspiration, and shaping the material we generate into poems. By the end of the week, you should have a great deal of new work, ready for expansion and revision, and some solid plans for turning your raw writing into polished poetry. We will write and discuss new work; you are also welcome to bring 14 copies of 1-2 poems to discuss in class as time allows.
Laura Kasischke is the author of nine collections of poetry and eight novels. She has been the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for her poetry collection Space, in Chains. She has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Three of her novels have been made into feature films, most recently White Bird in a Blizzard starring Shailene Woodley. She teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Michigan.
Week 8, August 15–22
THE POETIC SEQUENCE
Michael Waters and Mihaela Moscaliuc
In this workshop, you will explore how writing a series of poems can be a way to deepen autobiography, art, history, science, literature, and/or popular culture. Participants will examine (through handouts) the craft of poetry, especially in free verse, toward creating a sequence—approximately five poems—of thematically cohesive work. Each participant will select a narrowly focused topic, based on personal interests, from which to draw inspiration. Primary attention will be given to the integrity of the poetic line. By week's end, each participant will be able to articulate and demonstrate a personal aesthetic, and will have the beginning of a poetic sequence that may expand and deepen beyond the workshop.
Michael Waters' books include Celestial Joyride, Gospel Night, Darling Vulgarity (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), and Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems. His has edited Contemporary American Poetry and Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali, and has chaired the poetry panel for the National Book Award. Recipient of five Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright Foundation, and NJ State Council on the Arts, Waters teaches at Monmouth University and in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.
Mihaela Moscaliuc is the author of Father Dirt and Immigrant Model, the translator of Carmelia Leonte's The Hiss of the Viper, and the editor of a forthcoming collection of essays on poet Gerald Stern. The recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, Ledig-Rowohlt Foundation, and NJ State Council on the Arts, as well as two Glenna Luschei Awards in poetry and creative non-fiction, respectively, from Prairie Schooner, Moscaliuc teaches at Monmouth University and in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation.
Week 9, August 22–30
WHAT A POEM NEEDS TO BE PERSUASIVE
Poetry engages us to the extent we feel we are listening to someone whose company is worth keeping. In this this class, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Carl Dennis focuses on the basic virtues that the speaker of the poem needs to enact to be convincing, and on the techniques that support these virtues.
Carl Dennis is the author of twelve books of poetry, including New and Selected Poems, 1974-2014; Callings, and, most recently, Another Reason. For many years he was a faculty member of the writing program at Warren Wilson College and of the English Department of the State University of New York. The winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Ruth Lily Prize, he lives in Buffalo, New York.