Writing, Poetry & Writers Week

The Writing Workshops offer poets and writers at all levels a full immersion experience, designed to deepen your understanding of story and language. Faculty is composed of authors with both long publishing records and extensive teaching experience, eager to help you begin, continue or complete your books, poems, stories and essays.


Writers Week

Welcome Letter

July 2-6
Coordinators: Ed Skoog, Victoria Chang, Samantha Dunn

Poets and writers from around the world have found a special home at Idyllwild Arts. For decades, it has gathered thoughtful, provoking, and notable guests—among them Ray Bradbury, Norman Corwin, Lucille Clifton, Sharon Olds, Maxine Kumin, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Philip Levine, David St. John, and Natasha Trethewey. Join us to be inspired and challenged by world-class voices at our annual Writers Week.

Work with and engage with some of the country’s premier literary artists. Writers Week includes:

  • Workshops
  • Daily craft talks
  • Public readings
  • Book signing receptions
  • Opportunities to socialize and exchange ideas
  • Six Merit Fellowships opportunities (the Bentley-Buckman Fellowships) idyllwildarts.submittable.com/submit
  • Participant reading and farewell reception

Writers Week Fellowship Applicants

NOTE: Submissions accepted beginning February 1, 2018

Click Here to Sumbit


Victoria Chang’s fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2017. Her previous book of poems, The Boss, published by McSweeney’s in 2013, won the PEN Center Literary Award and a California Book Award. Her other books are Salvinia Molesta and Circle. Her poems have been published in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, Kenyon Review, New Republic, and other places. She also published a picture book with Marla Frazee, the NYT Notable Book, Is Mommy? by Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster in 2015. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017. She works at Antioch University’s MFA Program as Teaching Faculty.  @VChangPoet or www.victoriachangpoet.com

Samantha Dunn is the author of Failing Paris, PEN West Fiction finalist; the bestselling memoir, Not By Accident: Reconstructing a Careless Life; and Faith in Carlos Gomez: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex and Salvation. Her work has been anthologized in Women on the Edge: Writing from Los Angeles and other outlets. Her work as a journalist is regularly featured in O, the Oprah MagazineLos Angeles Times, and Ms. among others. Samantha is the executive editor of Coast magazine and teaches at Chapman University in Orange, CA. www.samanthadunn.net

Dana Levin’s fourth book is Banana Palace (Copper Canyon Press, 2016). Previous collections include Sky Burial, which The New Yorker called “utterly her own and utterly riveting.” Recent work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2015, Poem-a-day, Boston Review, and Poetry. Levin is a grateful recipient of many honors, including those from the NEA, the Library of Congress, and the Rona Jaffe, Whiting, and Guggenheim Foundations. A teacher of poetry for twenty-five years, Levin serves as Distinguished Writer in Residence at Maryville University in St. Louis. www.danalevinpoet.com

Ben Loory is the author of the collections Tales of Falling and Flying and Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, as well as a picture book for children, The Baseball Player and the Walrus. His fables and tales have appeared in the New Yorker, Tin House, Fairy Tale Review, and Weekly Reader’s READ Magazine, and been heard on This American Life and Selected Shorts. He is a graduate of Harvard and the American Film Institute and teaches short story writing at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. www.benloory.com

Gregory Pardlo’s ​collection​ Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors​ include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is also the author of Air Traffic, a memoir in essays forthcoming from Knopf. www.pardlo.com

David L. Ulin is the author of the novel Ear to the Ground. His other books include Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time and the Library of America’s Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he spent 10 years as book editor, and then book critic, of the Los Angeles Times.

Ed Skoog’s (Writers Week Consultant) third collection of poems, Run the Red Lights, was published in 2016 by Copper Canyon Press, which includes poems that appeared in Best American Poetry, Harper’s, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. He has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and The Lannan Foundation, has been writer-in-residence at the Richard Hugo House, George Washington University, and University of Montana, and is a past chair of creative writing at Idyllwild Arts Academy. He lives in Portland, OR.

Special Guests

Melissa Chadburn has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic’s Citylab, Buzzfeed, Poets & Writers, American Public Media’s Marketplace, and dozens other places. She is a contributing editor for The Economic Hardship Reporting Project. Her essay, “The Throwaways,” received notable mention in Best American Essays and Best American Nonrequired Reading. Her debut novel, A Tiny Upward Shove, is forthcoming with Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.

Brendan Constantine is the author of four collections of poetry. His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, FIELD, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly, Ninth Letter, and the American Journal of Poetry among other journals. His most recent collection is ‘Dementia, My Darling’ (2016 Red Hen Press). He has received grants and commissions from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. A popular performer, Brendan has presented his work to audiences throughout the US and Europe, also appearing on NPR’s All Things Considered, numerous podcasts, and YouTube. He currently teaches poetry at the Windward School and regularly offers classes to hospitals, foster homes, veterans, and the elderly.

Matthew Dickman is the author of All-American Poem (American Poetry Review/ Copper Canyon Press, 2008), 50 American Plays (co-written with his twin brother Michael Dickman, Copper Canyon Press, 2012), Mayakovsky’s Revolver (W.W. Norton & Co, 2012), Wish You Were Here (Spork Press, 2013), 24 HOURS (One Star Press, Paris, France, 2014), Brother (Faber&Faber UK, 2016), and the forthcoming poetry collection Wonderland (W.W. Norton & Co) He is the recipient of The May Sarton Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Kate Tufts Award from Claremont College, and a 2015 Guggenheim. His poems have appeared in Poetry London, McSweeny’s, The London Review of Books, Esquire Magazine, Best American Poetry and The New Yorker among others.

Tod Goldberg is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books, including Gangster Nation, Gangsterland, which was a finalist for the Hammett Prize, The House of Secrets, and Living Dead Girl, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His nonfiction and criticism has appeared widely, including in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Best American Essays. In addition, he is the co-host of the popular podcast Literary Disco, along with Julia Pistell & Rider Strong, and founded and directs the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside. www.todgoldberg.com

Terrance Hayes is the author of five poetry collections, including How to Be Drawn, which received the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry and Lighthead, which won the 2010 National Book Award for poetry.  American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin, and To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight are forthcoming in 2018. He is the recipient of numerous honors including a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a United States Artists Zell Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship. www.terrancehayes.com

Bruce Wagner has written nine novels, including “I’m Losing You,” “Dead Stars,” and the PEN Faulkner fiction finalist “The Chrysanthemum Palace.” He created and wrote the TV acclaimed mini-series “Wild Palms” and the screenplay for the David Cronenberg-directed film, “Maps to the Stars,” which won the Best Actress award for Julianne Moore at the Cannes Film Festival In 2014. He wrote the essay for “2 1/4,” by William Eggleston and has been a contributor to the New Yorker, Art Forum and Vanity Fair.

Additional Guests TBA


Victoria Chang, Dana Levin, Gregory Pardlo
July 2–6

Since poets often write alone, the Idyllwild poetry workshops are meant to convene a diverse community of writers with the hope that you may improve your own writing, refine your work, and have breakthrough moments through inspirational and thought-provoking workshops, craft talks, readings, and lively discussions under the mystic stars and Idyllwild pines.

Open to anyone with an interest in writing poetry, from enthusiastic beginners to emerging and established poets, as well as MFA students or graduates looking for some extra workshop time with different faculty. Faculty and guests will share their perspectives and offer feedback during the daily morning sessions and afternoon craft talks.

Individualized attention is a priority so each poetry workshop has no more than 10 participants. Prior to arriving, you will submit five poems for feedback in the workshop. Your group will meet each morning on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; Thursday mornings will be set aside for one-on-one meetings and small group workshops. Afternoons and evenings will be devoted to craft talks, readings and other events to inspire you and to spur your imagination.

Skill Level: All levels
Tuition: $765
Enrollment limited to 30 students (10 students per workshop/teacher)

The Art of Storytelling

Samantha Dunn
July 2-6

“Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” Mark Twain supposedly said. In this workshop, you will explore the elements of all great storytelling, using a multitude of exercises to tap and enhance your own deep sources of creativity. Whether you are a beginner or are a prolific writer, you will gain a better understanding of the structural elements that underpin any kind of compelling narrative, whether it be fiction or nonfiction, spoken word or written on the page. You will also be armed with new techniques for creating characters that come alive, creating vivid worlds with your words, and generating story ideas. All levels of writer will be able to apply the lessons. Come prepared to ask the question “What if?” and deeply imagine new possibilities. Be prepared to write – a lot! Class time will be about practicing what you learn – bring plenty of pens and blank notebooks. By the end of the week, you will have at least one well-honed story ready for public consumption.

Your group will meet four hours on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; Thursday morning will be set aside for personal coaching and small group workshops. Afternoons and evenings will be devoted to Writers Week craft talks, readings and other events.

Skill Level: All levels
Tuition: $765
Enrollment limited to 12 students

The Alchemy of the Short Story

Ben Loory
July 2-6

This workshop focuses on the interplay between character and story structure– what they are, and how they work together to create a larger effect. The workshop will combine writing prompts, directed readings, and lectures on various story development techniques to help you create unforgettable stories. The course will include workshop and critique of your work to help improve mastery of your craft.

Skill Level: All levels
Tuition: $765
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Writing the Short Essay

David Ulin
July 2-6

Essays don’t need to be long to be effective; just look at the “Lives” column of the New York Times Magazine. In fact, essays can be at their most essential when they are short and pointed, when they address a singular moment or circumstance in an immediate way. In this workshop, you will work on one short essay over the course of the week. Be prepared to arrive with ideas to present in the first session, then you will work, write and workshop your pieces. Expect to have a draft of an original essay complete by the end of the residency.

Skill Level: All levels are welcome
Tuition: $765
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Idyllwild Spring Poetry Retreat: Reading, Writing, and Revising

Faculty: Victoria Chang
March 11-14 at the Creekstone Inn, Idyllwild

[Registration Closed]

For additional information, go to:  Idyllwild Spring Poetry Retreat