2024 Quarter One Alumni News Roundup

January – March, 2024

Each quarter we are pleased to highlight some of the books published by members of our community. For a full chronology of alumni news, visit our Omnium Gatherum & Alumni News page, which is always up to date with the latest alumni news.

Are you an alum of the summer workshops or a former teaching staff member? Do you have news to share? You can send us your news any time here.

Selected New Books From Alums


Announcing our 2024 Short Course Offerings in the Writers’ Annex

Victoria Chang • Matthew Zapruder • Peter Orner

Brenda Hillman • Robert Hass

We are pleased to announce our 2024 online offerings in the Writers’ Annex. These several-week virtual courses are open to anyone and aim to be a forum where esteemed poets and writers can teach topics that they love to teach. Courses are intended to facilitate deep, close readings, with expert instruction and additional discussion sections and resources. 

Learn more about our upcoming Short Courses Below.

You can also register for all three courses for a $250 discount here.



This spring, Victoria Chang and Matthew Zapruder will lead a five-part course intended to complicate the modern understandings of Sylvia Plath‘s poetry, and distinguish her work from her tragic biography, with an additional session focusing on Plath’s revision.

Learn More

Starting late August, Peter Orner will reimagine his popular course on James Joyce‘s Ulysses for the Writers’ Annex space. Participants will read Joyce’s challenging novel over seven weeks, focusing on the text itself, Joyce’s humor and grace, and with Orner’s guidance each week.

Learn More

Heading into the winter, Brenda Hillman and Robert Hass will be leading a course surveying some of Emily Dickinson‘s extraordinary catalogue of work, with particular attention to the poems themselves, but including some biography, letters, critical literature, and awareness of life in 19th century Amherst.

Learn More
Register for all three upcoming short courses ($250 savings – not eligible for additional discounts)

Financial aid is available for those who need it. Contact us for more information.

Announcing Issue 14 of the OGQ: The Omnium Gatherum Quarterly

Our fourteenth issue of the OGQ (Omnium Gatherum Quarterly) features a poetry craft talk by Victoria Chang, essays by Amanda Churchill, Reid Sherline, and Parul Kapur, poems by Yiskah Rosenfeld and Georgia San Li, an op-ed from Tom Zoellner, a selection from a lyric memoir by Jay Aquinas Thompson, and a dispatch on the founding of a new journal by William Ward Butler.

The OGQ is edited each quarter by Andrew Tonkovich.


Announcing Issue 13 of the OGQ: The Omnium Gatherum Quarterly


Our thirteenth issue of the OGQ (Omnium Gatherum Quarterly) features the 2016 Poetry Workshop craft talk by Patricia Spears Jones, essays by Victoria Patterson, Molly Giles, Mary Otis, Mary Camarillo, David Womack, Lauren Hohle, and Sommer Schafer; poetry by Sarah Maclay and Violeta Orozco; and an excerpt from Steve Almond‘s craft book.

The OGQ is edited each quarter by Andrew Tonkovich.

2023 Fall/Winter Alumni Roundup

July – December, 2023

Each quarter we are pleased to highlight some of the books published by members of our community. For a full chronology of alumni news, visit our Omnium Gatherum & Alumni News page, which is always up to date with the latest alumni news.

Are you an alumnus of the summer workshops or a former teaching staff member? Do you have news to share? You can send us your news any time here.

Selected New Books From Alums

Announcing the Special Guest Lineup for That Poetry, By Which I lived


We are proud to announce that these seven special guests will be joining Major Jackson in conversation about the life and work of Community of Writers Poetry Program founder Galway Kinnell as part of the Short Course, That Poetry, By Which I lived.

The short course will take place online Tuesdays and Thursdays from November 30 to December 14. Join us this winter to celebrate the life and poetry of Galway Kinnell with the support of poets. Among them are former students, lifelong friends, and colleagues. With Jackson, they will discuss Kinnell’s influence, craft and the major themes found in his tremendous body of work.

Learn More and Register

Bios:

Toi Derricotte‘s sixth collection of poetry, “I“ New and Selected Poems, was shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award. She was awarded the Pegasus Award from the Poetry Foundation in 2023, the
Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets in 2021, and the Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America in 2020. With Cornelius Eady, she co-founded Cave Canem, a home for the many voices of African American poetry, in 1996. More

Nick Flynn is the author of five books of poetry, four memoirs, a play, a handbook for teaching poetry to young people, as well as a compendium of his artistic collaborations / influences. One of the most inventive writers at work today, his poetry and prose both explore the tenuous membrane that separates our comfortable, everyday existence from the ragged margins of society. The questions he poses are tough and urgent. Flynn teaches creative writing at the University of Houston, and splits his time between Houston and Brooklyn, New York. More

Robert Hass has published many books of poetry including Field GuidePraiseHuman WishesSun Under Wood, and The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems. His collection of poems entitled Time and Materials won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He has also written books of essays including Twentieth Century PleasuresNow & Then, and  A Little Book on Form: An Exploration Into the Formal Imagination of Poetry. His book of essays, What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World, is the recipient of the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Hass translated many of the works of Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet, Czeslaw Milosz, and he has edited Selected Poems: 1954-1986, by Tomas Transtromer; The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and IssaPoet’s Choice: Poems for Everyday Life; the 2001 edition of Best American Poetry; and Modernist Women Poets: An Anthology (with Paul Ebenkamp). He wrote the introduction to an edition of selected Walt Whitman poems titled Song of Myself: And Other Poems. He also wrote The Poetic Species: A Conversation with Edward O. Wilson and Robert Hass. His most recent book is Summer Snow: New Poems. He directed the Poetry Program at the Community of Writers for over 20 years.

Edward Hirsch is a celebrated poet and tireless advocate for poetry. His first collection of poems, For the Sleepwalkers (1981), received the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University and the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. His second collection, Wild Gratitude (1986), won the National Book Critics Award. He has published eight additional books of poems: The Night Parade (1989), Earthly Measures (1994), On Love (1998), Lay Back the Darkness (2003), Special Orders (2008), The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010), which brings together thirty-five years of poems, Gabriel: A Poem, a book-length elegy for his son (2014), and Stranger by Night (2020).

Hirsch is also the author of seven prose books, including, most recently, 100 Poems to Break Your Heart (2022) and The Heart of American Poetry (2023), as well as A Poet’s Glossary (2014), the result of decades of passionate study, Poet’s Choice (2006), which consists of his popular columns from the Washington Post Book World, and How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national bestseller. He is the editor of Theodore Roethke’s Selected Poems (2005) and co-editor of The Making of a Sonnet: A Norton Anthology (2008). He also edits the series “The Writer’s World” (Trinity University Press).

Edward Hirsch taught for six years in the English Department at Wayne State University and seventeen years in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston. He has been president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation since 2002. More

Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and OlioOlio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Midland Society Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.  It was also nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN Jean Stein Book Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.  Leadbelly was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.”

Jess’ fiction and poetry have appeared in many journals, as well as anthologies such as Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American PoetryBeyond The Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Power Lines: Ten Years of Poetry from Chicago’s Guild Complex, and Slam: The Art of Performance Poetry. More

Sharon Olds has written thirteen books of poetry. Balladz was a finalist for the National Book Award, and Stag’s Leap (2012) received the Pulitzer Prize and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize. Olds holds the Erich Maria Remarque Chair at New York University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing, where she helped to found workshop programs for residents of Coler-Goldwater Hospital, and for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. More

Lisa Sewell is the author of several books of poems, including Birds of North America, with Susan Hagen and Nathalie Anderson, a pandemic-inspired collaboration that joins art, poetry and the love of birds, Impossible Object, which won the 2014 Tenth Gate prize from The Word Works, as well as The Way Out (Alice James Books) Name Withheld (Four Way Books), and Long Corridor, which received the 2009 Keystone Chapbook award from Seven Kitchens Press. A new book, Mean Season, will be published in June 2024 with The Word Works press. She is also co-editor of several collections of essays on contemporary poetry and poetics, including North American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Beyond Lyric and Language (Wesleyan 2021)  with Kazim Ali and American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (Wesleyan 2007) with Claudia Rankine. She has received grants and awards from the Leeway Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, and held residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Fundacion Valparaiso and The Tyrone Guthrie Center. Recent work is appearing or forthcoming in Harvard ReviewPloughsharesSalamander, Crab Orchard Review and Prairie Schooner. She lives in Philadelphia and teaches at Villanova University. More

Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

A selection of books published by Alumni & Staff:

April – June, 2023

Each quarter we are pleased to highlight some of the books published by members of our community. For a full chronology of alumni news, visit our Omnium Gatherum & Alumni News page, which is always up to date with the latest alumni news.

Are you an alumnus of the summer workshops or a former teaching staff member? Do you have news to share? You can send us your news any time here.

Selected New Books From Alums and Teaching Staff

Announcing issue 12 of the OGQ: The Omnium Gatherum Quarterly


Our twelfth issue of the OGQ (Omnium Gatherum Quarterly) features the 2023 Writer’s Workshops opening talk by Oscar Villalon, poetry by Lisa Alvarez and Frank Karioris; essays by Hilary Zaid, Rita Chang-Eppig, Jasmin Hakes, and Stephanie Austin; remembrances of Al Young by Barbara Tannenbaum and Persis Karim; a recipe by Natasha Saje; and a dispatch by Andrew Nicholls.

The OGQ is edited each quarter by Andrew Tonkovich.

Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni & Staff in October – December, 2022.

Congratulations to these Community of Writers alumni and teaching staff who have published books during the fourth quarter of 2022! We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below. Support these writers and buy their books!

Visit our Omnium Gatherum to explore all the recent alumni news.

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMS & TEACHING STAFF

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOPS ALUMS & TEACHING STAFF

Announcing the 2023 Summer Workshops

The Community of Writers is pleased to announce our Summer Workshops in Poetry and Prose in Olympic Valley, CA


POETRY – JUNE 19-25

WRITERS WORKSHOPS – JULY 10-17

We are delighted to announce our fifty-fourth annual summer workshops season!

Applications are open for our 2023 summer writing workshops in Olympic Valley. The gatherings are for serious poets and writers, and include workshops, panel discussions, and craft talks as well as special interest classes.

The Community of Writers was founded over four decades ago by California writers Blair Fuller and Oakley Hall, who wished to foster a literary culture in the West that would be conversant with the publishing establishment of the East Coast.

The Poetry Workshop will be held June 19 – 25, 2023. The program admits 70 serious poets into the week-long program. Directed by Brenda Hillman, this program fosters poets as they produce new work each day. Participating poets meet daily in session to share poems written during the previous 24 hours. Poets attend daily craft talks by the teaching staff poets, and meet in brief one-on-one sessions with staff poets. In addition, Sharon Olds will lead afternoon sessions. The week culminates in a public benefit poetry reading featuring the staff poets reading their recent work—sometimes poems written during the week. This year, again, the event will be live-streamed for a local, national and international audience to raise important scholarship funds.

The Writers Workshop will take place July 10 – 17 and accepts up to 110 fiction, nonfiction, and memoir writers. Writers meet in small workshop groups to discuss their submitted manuscript with a member of the teaching staff. The 2023 teaching staff includes fiction and nonfiction writers as well as literary agents and editors working in publishing today. Lectures and panel discussions on the craft of writing, as well as publishing, are offered daily, in addition to staff readings.

All interested writers of prose and poetry are encouraged to apply, though admission is competitive and the writing level is high. No prior publications or academic credits are required; the only criterion for admission is that the applicant submit a sample of their original writing. Financial aid is available including scholarships for the underepresented.

Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni & Staff in July – September, 2022.

Congratulations to these Community of Writers alumni and teaching staff who have published books during the third quarter of 2022! We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below. Support these writers and buy their books!

Special congratulations to staff members Ada Limón who was named U.S. Poet Laureate in July, and Sharon Olds who won a Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and published her new collection Balladz (Knopf), which is a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry.

Congratulations to Karen Joy Fowler whose novel Booth made the Booker Prize Long-List, and to Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, whose new novel On the Rooftop was named a Reese’s Book Club Pick.

Visit our Omnium Gatherum to explore all the recent alumni news.

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMS & TEACHING STAFF

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOP ALUMS & TEACHING STAFF

Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni & Staff Poets and Writers in January – March, 2022.

Congratulations to these Community of Writers alum and teaching staff who have published books during the first quarter of 2022! We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below. Support these writers and buy their books!

Visit our Omnium Gatherum to explore all the recent alumni news.

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP TEACHING STAFF & ALUMS

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOP TEACHING STAFF & ALUMS

Announcing Issue 9 of the OGQ: The Omnium Gatherum Quarterly

Andrew Tonkovich, editor

Spring has sprung. Workshop applications are in, taxes filed, boosters available, wildflowers abloom, and the new OGQ…live. This issue of our online Community of Writers journal presents some of the best recent prose and poetry by alums, offered in celebration of their most recent publications. Do check out their full bios and by all means do purchase their work.

Meanwhile, award-winning short story writer Mary Kuryla shares a chapter from her newest, a debut novel. Poet Lester Graves Lennon memorializes state-sanctioned racist murder but also the life of our own Community of Writers legend Lucille Clifton: “Oceans remember,” indeed! Novelist Rhoda Huffey gamely engages her wild dreamlife, laugh-out-loud creative insights into perhaps the writing of her 31 Paradiso. Patricia Dunn considers the inspiration, perspective, and timing required to grow as a writer, with a shout-out to activist-writer hero Grace Paley herself. Poet and anthology editor Emily Perez meditates on what’s required to assemble an anthology on motherhood, a standout collection which features, happily, many Community of Writers alums! Author and activist Ellen Bravo delivers one of many real-life episodes of struggle included in her decades-spanning survey of American peace, justice and labor rights organizing, Standing Up: Tales of Struggle.

We offer hearty congratulations to all as we struggle, together, to affirm, create, and realize the best of our collective imaginings and re-imaginings.

Andrew Tonkovich
Editor, OGQ

Read the OGQ


Announcing the 2022 Summer Workshops

The Community of Writers is pleased to announce our Summer Workshops in Poetry and Prose – now in person and face-to-face once again

POETRY – JUNE 18-25

WRITERS WORKSHOPS – JULY 18-25

Photo of Olympic Valley - Poetry Workshop

This will be a particularly special year for the Community of Writers. We had intended to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary with all of you in our valley two years ago. While the past two years have been incredibly difficult for our Community, we also feel that we have demonstrated a capacity to come together as poets and writers regardless of our circumstances.

This will be our fifty-third year as a Community, but our fiftieth year together in our valley. 

The Poetry Workshop is founded on the belief that when poets gather in a community to write new poems, each poet may well break through old habits and write something stronger and truer than before. The idea is to try to expand the boundaries of what one can write. In the mornings we meet to read to each other the work of the previous twenty-four hours, and in the late afternoons we gather for a conversation about some aspect of craft.

The Writers Workshops assist serious writers by exploring the art and craft as well as the business of writing. The week offers daily morning workshops, craft lectures, panel discussions on editing and publishing, staff readings, as well as brief individual conferences. The morning workshops are led by staff writer-teachers, editors, or agents. There are separate morning workshops for Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction/ Memoir. In addition to their workshop manuscript, participants may have a second manuscript read by a staff member who meets with them in an individual conference.

This summer we are lucky to have a terrific teaching staff joining us in our valley, including poets, writers, teachers, agents and editors. We also anticipate this year to feature a cohort of extremely talented poets and writers – all of whom represent our community’s depth, diversity, talent and commitment to cultivating friendships that boost one another’s writing lives and careers. 

This pandemic has caused every member of our broader community to endure tremendous difficulties. We want those of you who will join us here in the valley to consider it a refuge, and a safe place in general. Therefore certain measures will be taken to ensure the safety of all of our community members. Please refer to our health guidelines over the coming months for up-to-date information on our evolving safety strategy.

Year-Round Online Opportunities

As we gear up for our first summer back in the valley since the pandemic began, we will continue to put out messaging to keep you abreast of the exciting year that is to come. In the meantime, we encourage you to engage with our virtual offerings. Now, we are building the infrastructure for year-round programming that is affordable and accessible to anyone through our Virtual Valley and through the Writers’ Annex, which is currently offering weekly courses offered by Community of Writers staff – all online and interactive. This month, Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet, Robert Hass is teaching a six-week intensive course on the life and work of Polish Poet Czesław Miłosz. Later this spring, Community of Writers Staff Poet Kazim Ali will teach a short course called “The Poetry & Poetics of Lucille Clifton.” Over the course of four weeks (Thursday evening sessions, live on Zoom), Ali will guide us through the work of long time Community of Writers staff poet, Lucille Clifton. The Writer’s Annex will continue to offer programming year-round as we seek to cultivate a broader and more inclusive community that is not limited to those who can attend the summer workshops. Likewise, we are exploring ways in which our in-person events can be made available online in some capacity moving forward, whether streamed or available as a Video On Demand after the fact. 


Quarterly Roundup of New Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni & Staff Poets and Writers in October – December, 2021.

Congratulations to these Community of Writers alum and teaching staff who have published books during the fourth quarter of 2021! We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below. Support these writers and buy their books!

Visit our Omnium Gatherum to explore all the recent alumni news.

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP TEACHING STAFF & ALUMS

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOP TEACHING STAFF & ALUMS

Announcing Issue 7 of the OGQ: The Omnium Gatherum Quarterly

The fall issue of our online, in-house, invitation-only, COVID-era quarterly Community of Writers journal arrives, as you will note, with a lot of adjectival explanation.  Fortunately, the writing once again lives up to the hype, with poetry and prose which runs the gamut.  Running the gamut has been a marathon lately, as reflected in personal, political, meditative if reliably artful offerings from this issue’s contributors: poet David Mills, novelist Monica West and nonfiction writers Martina Clark and Kate Nason. Dear friend Kris O’Shee shares an excerpt from her memoir about life and love with longtime staffer Alan Cheuse (1940-2015), with archival photos by Brett Hall Jones and Tracy Hall.  Fiction Co-Director Louis B. Jones starts us off with a seasonal report from the actual Valley. I hope you are delighted, inspired, and affirmed by exemplary work from your Community of Writers pals, whether you’ve met them in real life at the conference or not.

Andrew Tonkovich

Editor, OGQ

Read the OGQ

Quarterly Roundup of Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni Poets and Writers in July – September, 2021.

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books during the third quarter of 2021! We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below. Support these writers and buy their books!

Visit our Omnium Gatherum to explore all the recent alumni news.

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMS

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOP ALUMS

Public Memoir & Narrative Nonfiction Events as Part of our Summer Workshops

August 1 – 6 , 2021 in the Virtual Valley

Join us for craft panels and readings which will take place as part of our workshop week.

Offerings includes craft discussions, panels on editing and publishing, and staff readings, and brief individual conferences.

Please see our schedule below.

These events are free; donations welcome.

All times Pacific.

Monday, August 2

1:00 PM: Panel: Structure and Other Essential Narrative Strategies in Memoir and Nonfiction, with Alex Espinoza, Debra Gwartney, Sands Hall, Julia Flynn Siler, moderated by Frances Dinkelspiel

Register

5:00 PM: Short Takes: Staff read work in progress and talk about issues of craft: Frances Dinkelspiel, Alex Espinoza, Julia Flynn Siler, Martin J. Smith

Register

Tuesday, August 3:

1:00 PM: Panel: Locating and Researching the Story You Need to Tell with Lauren Markham, Julia Flynn Siler, Martin J. Smith, Grace Talusan, moderated by Alex Espinoza

Register

5:00 PM: Short Takes: Staff read work in progress and talk about issues of craft: Sands Hall, Lauren Markham, Grace Talusan

Register

Thursday, August 5:

1:00 PM: Writing About Family and Other Difficult Topics, with Glen David Gold, Sands Hall, Gregory Pardlo, and Grace Talusan, moderated by Debra Gwartney

Register

5:00 PM: Short Takes: Staff read work in progress and talk about issues of craft: Glen David Gold, Debra Gwartney, Gregory Pardlo

Register

Friday, August 6:

1:00 PM: Panel: Short Forms, Hybrid Forms with Frances Dinkelspiel, Alex Espinoza, Debra Gwartney, Martin J. Smith, moderated by Sands Hall

Quarterly Roundup of Alumni Books

Books published by Alumni Poets and Writers in April – June, 2021.

Congratulations to these Community of Writers Alums who have published books during the second quarter of 2021! We are delighted to share their success with you. You can explore these books by clicking the book cover images below. Support these writers and buy their books!

Visit our Omnium Gatherum to explore all the recent alumni news.

NEW BOOKS FROM POETRY WORKSHOP ALUMS

NEW BOOKS FROM WRITERS WORKSHOP ALUMS

Conversations from the Virtual Valley featuring David Ulin and Laura Cogan

We are pleased to present another Conversation from the Virtual Valley with ZYZZYVA‘s Laura Cogan and Air/Light‘s editor David Ulin.

The Community of Writers continues its series of literary conversations as part of our online literary journal, The OGQ: The Omnium Gatherum Quarterly.

With the release of its Los Angeles-themed issue, Bay Area-based ZYZZYVA provides our “Conversations from the Virtual Valley” video-cast series an opportunity to see how one Northern and one Southern California magazine consider and, at times, reconsider Los Angeles. ZYZZYVA editor Laura Cogan joins editor, author and anthologist David Ulin, whose new online magazine Air/Light is devoted to Southern California writing, to talk about, share, and critique the literary scene in Los Angeles. In this Conversation, these two experienced and engaged literary pals, and friends of the Community of Writers, talk about their projects, offer insights, celebrate writers, and encourage readers of, and possible contributors to, each of their magazines.  And, ultimately, invite you to become subscribers to both journals!  
View Conversation

The 50th Anniversary Poetry Anthology featured in the newest issue of Blue Door magazine

Read about the anthology in the Blue Door magazine:

“The poems tell a California story and the story of the American West and American poetry,” Alvarez says. “Contributors include some of the country’s most acclaimed poets, along with those just starting out, each with something to say about where and how we live together.”

From The Blue Door, Issue 14

“The poets in the (Poetry) program are being celebrated in a new anthology published by Heyday Books: Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers. The title comes from a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell, who directed the Poetry Program for 17 years: “Then why to these rocks/ Do I keep coming back why.”

Read More at Blue Door (pgs. 38-39)
More Details about the Anthology
Order the Book

New Upcoming Readings for our 50th Anniversary Poetry Anthology

We’re delighted to announce two new poetry readings to celebrate the publication of our 50th anniversary poetry anthology, Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers.
• April 11: At the Sierra Poetry Festival online. More details
• April 16: At Skylight Books reading series online. More details.

The Community of Writers celebrates fifty years of its annual poetry workshop with an extraordinary collection by some of the country’s most prominent contemporary poets. “Why To These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers” includes over 140 poems inspired by or written in High Sierra during the annual workshop week. Read more.

Order Book

At the Sierra Poetry Festival!

Sunday, April 11 | 11:30 AM (Pacific)

The Community of Writers will join the Sierra Poetry Festival online for a virtual poetry reading for Heyday’s release of Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers.

Introduced by: Lisa D. Alvarez, the anthology’s editor.

Both teaching staff poets and alumni poets of the storied annual summer Poetry Workshops of the Community of Writers will read from the first section of the anthology, “Poems about Place.” In addition to reading from their own work, each featured poet will also select another poem to read. Although the place where these poems were first written unifies these poems, they are as varied and distinctive in their lyricism, voice, and scope as the watershed of the Sierra itself.

Join Chris Davidson, Christina Hutchins, Patricia Spears Jones, Francisco Márquez, Sharon Olds, Maw Shein Win, and Matthew Zapruder for another celebration of the publication of this extraordinary anthology, as they read and discuss poems first written during the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop.

REGISTER TO ATTEND EVENT SIERRA POETRY FESTIVAL

At SkyLight Books!

Wednesday, April 21 | 6:30 PM (Pacific)

Virtual event on Crowdcast. Registrants will be sent a Crowdcast link upon registration.

The Community of Writers will join SkyLight Books online for a virtual poetry reading for Heyday’s release of Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers. The evening will celebrate fifty years of poetry written during the Poetry Workshop in the High Sierra.

Emcee: Lisa D. Alvarez, the project’s editor.

Join Francisco Aragón, Joan Baranow, Katie Ford, Jay A. Fernandez, Lester Graves Lennon, Michelle Brittan Rosado, Vickie Vértiz, Sholeh Wolpé, and Charles Harper Webb for another celebration of the publication of this extraordinary anthology, as they read and discuss poems first written during the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop.

REGISTER TO ATTEND SKYLIGHT READING
Order Book

Celebrating 50 years: A Community of Writers feature in the SF Chronicle’s Datebook.

The Community of Writers turns 50 this year. A new book highlights how the Olympic Valley retreat steered California’s voice.

“In late 1969, California’s literary scene was in trouble.” Two couples founded the Community of Writers to save it. In this article from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Datebook, written by Scott Thomas Anderson, read about our 50-year history and our new poetry collection from Heyday Books celebrating this milestone called Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers. Read the article here.

The 2021 PEN Emerging Voices Scholarship

The Community of Writers is delighted to announce two scholarships for PEN Emerging Voices Fellows who require financial aid to attend the Community of Writers Summer Workshops this summer.

Dates:
Poetry: June 19 – 26, 2021
Fiction Workshop: July 11 – 17, 2021
Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir Workshop: August 1 – 6, 2021

Deadline to apply: March 28, 2021

Each scholarship will be for the full tuition cost of each workshop ($900 for Poetry, $880 for Fiction, and $850 for Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir).
Interested Emerging Voices Fellows will need to apply to the workshop by March 28, and request this scholarship in the application form. Fellows offered scholarships will need to submit a $100 deposit (which will be refunded on the first day of the workshop.) This is a scholarship for poets and writers who have not previously attended the Poetry Workshop.

More Details

The 2021 Cave Canem Poetry Scholarships to attend the Community of Writers

The Community of Writers is delighted to announce three scholarships for Cave Canem Fellows who require financial aid to attend the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop this summer.

Dates: June 19 – 26, 2021
Deadline to apply: March 28, 2021

Each scholarship will be for $900, which is the full tuition to the 2021 Poetry Program.
Interested Cave Canem Fellows will need to apply to the workshop by March 28, and request this scholarship in the application form. Fellows offered scholarships will need to submit a $100 deposit (which will be refunded on the first day of the workshop.) This is a scholarship for poets who have not previously attended the Poetry Workshop.

More Details

Summer Writing Workshops in Olympic Valley Cancelled (But New Opportunities Available!)

Dear Friends,

We are sorry to report that we have been forced to cancel our summer workshops in Olympic Valley due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was to be our 50th Anniversary session, and so we’re particularly sad that we won’t be able to get together.

Image of a tree - Omnium Gatherum PageOur participants and teaching staff come in from all over the country, and a dozen foreign countries as well. They live together in houses and condos during their stay, eat dinner together, meet for lectures and panels, and in smaller workshops where they sit close together. It was a hard decision to make but we feel it would be impossible to run the workshops and still keep everybody safe.

Please visit our program pages for more information.

POETRY:

The Community of Writers will offer the Poetry Workshop entirely online this year. June 20 – 27, 2020. It will be the very same intensive week of writing, craft talks and individual conferences.
More details can be found on the Poetry Workshop page.


WRITERS WORKSHOPS

The Writers Workshops week is entirely too complex and large to shift over to the online format as is, so we will be postponing the 50th Anniversary session to July 5 – 12, 2021.  Mark your calendars!  Our plan is also to put together some online offerings for 2020. More details can be found on the Writers Workshops page.
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We don’t yet know how this pandemic will play out in 2021, but we hold out hope that we will be in a position to hold the workshops again then. We will miss workshops this summer in our beloved valley, we’ll miss getting acquainted with all of you, and we will miss the thin mountain air, those bluest of skies, and gathering under the stars together in the evening. Here’s hoping we can all be together next summer and that this worldwide nightmare will be behind us.

2007 – The Closing of the Follies. Pictured here too many to name, but there’s James D. Houston on the upright bass, and Al Young, and Alan Cheuse. In the foreground is Louis B. Jones, Greg Spatz, Caridwen Spatz, Sands Hall, Sue Miller. Some day we will sit together again and talk about poetry and prose. Some day soon we will stand together again and sing.