Writing and Knowing
9th Annual Poetry Workshop
with Dorianne Laux, Joe Miller and Ellen Bass
August 4-9, 2013
Esalen, Big Sur
There is a world inside each of us that we know better than anything else, and a world outside of us that calls for our attention. Our subject matter is always right with us. The trick is to find out what we know, challenge what we know, own what we know, and then give it away in language.
We will write poems, share our writing, and hear what our work touches in others. We’ll also read model poems by contemporary poets and discuss aspects of the craft. But mainly this will be a writing retreat—time to explore and create in a supportive community. Though the focus is on poetry, prose writers who want to enrich their language will find it a fertile environment.
“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy . . . that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist… It is not your business to determine how good it is. . . . It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”—Martha Graham
The focus of this workshop is on generating new poems. Dorianne, Joe, and Ellen will each give a talk on craft to help us extend our skills and inspire our writing. Although the emphasis is on poetry, this workshop is open to prose writers too. Rich, textured, evocative language is the province of all writers, so this workshop will be applicable to writers of fiction and memoir as well.
Please join us if:
*You’ve hit a plateau in your writing and want to break through to the next level.
*You’re just beginning and want to get started with supportive teachers.
*You’re an experienced writer and just want a chance to learn more from the best.
*You’re in a dry spell, due to lack of inspiration or time.
*You love to write and want a gorgeous, inspiring retreat.
Lastly, there’s Esalen itself. If you’ve been to Esalen before, you already know it’s one of the most magnificent places on the planet. If you haven’t, don’t postpone it. It’s breathtakingly beautiful and deeply nourishing.
Esalen fees cover tuition, food and lodging and vary according to accommodations–ranging from $650 to $1250 (and more for single or premium rooms). The least expensive rate is for sleeping bag space which can be very comfortable, but it’s limited, so you need to sign up for it early. Some work-scholarship assistance is available, as well as small prepayment discounts and senior discounts.
All arrangements and registration must be made directly with Esalen. Please call Esalen at 831-667-3005 or visit www.esalen.org.
If you have questions about the content or structure of the workshop itself, please email <a href="Ellen Bass “>Ellen.
ELLEN BASS‘s poetry includes Like A Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007), which was named a Notable Book by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Mules of Love (BOA, 2002), which won the Lambda Literary Award. She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (Doubleday, 1973). Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Progressive, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, The Sun and many other journals. Last year she was featured on the cover of American Poetry Review. Among her awards for poetry are a Pushcart Prize, the Elliston Book Award, The Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod/Hardman, the Larry Levis Prize from Missouri Review, and the New Letters Prize. She is part of the core faculty of the MFA writing program at Pacific University. ellenbass.com
DORIANNE LAUX’s most recent books of poems are The Book of Men, winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize, and Facts about the Moon, recipient of the Oregon Book Award and short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Laux is also author of Awake, What We Carry, finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, and Smoke. Her work has received two “Best American Poetry” Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2001, she was invited by late poet laureate Stanley Kunitz to read at the Library of Congress. She teaches poetry and directs the MFA program at North Carolina State University and she is founding faculty at Pacific University’s Low Residency MFA Program. doriannelaux.com
JOSEPH MILLAR grew up in western Pennsylvania and was educated at Penn State and the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned an MA in poetry writing. He worked as a commercial fisherman and telephone repairman for more than 25 years, and his accessible narrative poems often take working life as a means of engaging themes of class, family, and romantic love. Millar is the author of three full poetry collections: Blue Rust, Fortune, and Overtime, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. He has received grants from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s National Public Radio program The Writer’s Almanac, and has won a Pushcart Prize. He has taught at Pacific University’s low residency MFA and Oregon State University and currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife, poet Dorianne Laux. josephmillar.org