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.
Coordinators: Victoria Chang, Samantha Dunn, Ed Skoog
Poets and writers from around the world have found a special home at Idyllwild Arts. For decades, it has gathered thoughtful, provoking, successful 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. Expect to be inspired and challenged by world-class voices at the annual Writers Week.
Learn from, listen to and socialize with some of the country’s premier literary artists. More than poetry, fiction and nonfiction workshops, the week will feature special guests and events.
- Daily craft talks
- Public readings
- Opportunities to socialize and exchange ideas
- Six Merit Fellowships opportunities (sponsored by current and previous writing program participants, including four Bentley-Buckman Writer Fellowships) idyllwildarts.submittable.com/submit
- Participant reading and Farewell reception with musical guests
Writers Week Fellowship Applicants (OPENS FEBRUARY 1, 2017)
Victoria Chang, Ed Skoog
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 and 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 are welcome
Enrollment limited to 20 students (10 students per workshop/teacher)
Victoria Chang’s fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang, is forthcoming in 2018 by Copper Canyon Press. 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. @VChangPoet or www.victoriachangpoet.com
Ed Skoog’s 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, Oregon.
Poetry as Soul Practice
Ideal for you if you have reached maturity in the field of poetry, such as a published book, a major reading event, or other recognition including awards, fellowships, residencies. Your workshop will be informed by mythic imaginations, including the age-old concepts that everyone has a particular genius, direction, and destiny, and that poetry is one of the most powerful means to tap into the soul’s code, a soul’s language, and the mother source of what makes us human, sentient and creative. Luis will draw on the ancient Mexica (so-called Aztec) word for person, In Ixtli In Yollotl (Face and Heart), as an alignment of the outer and inner person, the refined persona and the authentic center (Wise Face, Wise Heart), and how this finds meaning and shape in today’s intense and often uncertain, and decidedly dis-aligned, times. You will explore the works of poets from Harjo to Neruda to Dickenson to Nezahuacoatl to Rumi (and so many others). Luis will facilitate writing to enhance and extend the badly needed soul-talk in our culture. Much of this can also help with memoir, novels, stories, and other creative expression, as Luis is a multi-genre published writer.
Skill Level: Experienced poets with recognition in poetry writing
Enrollment limited to 15 students
Luis J. Rodriguez was Los Angeles Poet Laureate from 2014-16. His latest poetry book is Borrowed Bones from Curbstone/Northwestern University Press. He’s best known for the memoirs Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. and It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing. Luis has also published books in other genres, including fiction and children’s literature. He is founding editor of Tia Chucha Press and co-founder of Tia Chucha’s Cultural Center & Bookstore in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley.
The Art of Storytelling
“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
Enrollment limited to 12 students
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 Magazine, Los 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
The Alchemy of the Short Story
How do you balance the key elements of fiction writing -plot, characterization, setting, point-of-view – in a short story? In this workshop, you 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
Enrollment limited to 10 students
Ben Loory is the author of the collection Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, and 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. His second collection, Tales of Falling and Flying, is coming in 2017 from Penguin Books. www.benloory.com
Writing the Short Essay
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
Enrollment limited to 10 students
David L. Ulin is the author, most recently, of the novel Ear to the Ground. His other books include Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, shortlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, 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.
Spring Poetry Retreat
March 12-15, 2017
Faculty: Suzanne Lummis
Sunday evening to Wednesday noon.
All accomplished artistic expression requires a foundation in craft—think of acting, dance, film, painting, and the rigorous attention those artists bring to their work. The same is true of poetry. But why does some poetry strike us more forcibly and endure in our memory? Sometimes it’s the element of strangeness, the unexpected, a certain wildness that sets it apart, qualities that include craft but also transcend it. In this course, participants will explore important components of craft, including the art of the line-break, pacing, choices regarding structure and, particularly, the evolution of imagery and striking sensory details. Along with this, exercises and writing prompts will generate new work and encourage students to push boundaries, to surprise themselves and their readers.
Skill Level: Suitable for those reasonably familiar with a range of contemporary poets and who have had at least one serious writing workshop, one that involves conscientious feedback on student work.
Materials: Reading material will be emailed prior to workshop.
Enrollment limited to 12 poets.
Tuition: $655, includes 5 workshops sessions, on-site breakfast (M, T, W), lunch (M, T), receptions, daily snacks, yoga session. Participants in this Writers Retreat receive a 15% discount on 2017 Summer Program Workshops.
To register, FIRST contact the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program Reigstrar at 951.468.7265, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Housing: $375 for a three-night, private room stay. All participants stay at the host inn site. After registering for the workshop/retreat through Idyllwild Arts, call to reserve your room at Creekstone Inn by calling 951.659.3342, or 800.409.2127.
Suzanne Lummis’ collection Open 24 Hours won the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize and was published by Lynx House Press. Individual poems have appeared in time-honored magazines, including Ploughshares, The Antioch Review, The Hudson Review and The New Yorker. She is co-editor of a new imprint of Beyond Baroque Books, The Pacific Coast Poetry Series, and edited its first publication, the anthology, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, which The Los Angeles Times cited as one of the ten best books of 2015. suzannelummis.com