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

Introducing The Writers’ Annex!

The Community of Writers is delighted to announce our new project: The Writers’ Annex.

Online, and year-round, The Writers’ Annex will be made up of short courses, seminars, workshops, and more. Our vision is to bring the creative insight and experience of our staff poets and prose writers to our community in all seasons, not just in the summertime, and not just here in the valley.  We envision online offerings which might address such topics as eco-poetics, translation, and generative sessions. Some will be one or two days, some will be weekend intensives, and some will meet weekly for a month or two. 

Some of our offerings will be for writers, and others will be for readers and those who study the written word.  We learned from our two years of offerings from the Virtual Valley that opportunities like this can be crucial for participants who aren’t in an academic setting, and who can’t make a week-long trip to the Sierra whether because of mobility, financial, employment, or familial constraints. We see The Writers’ Annex as a bridge for them.

Our first offering from The Writers’ Annex will be in poetry: a short course called “Reading Milosz, by Robert Hass.” Czeslaw Milosz, Nobel Laureate, generally regarded as one of the great poets of the twentieth century, produced a large and various body of work.  Milosz’s  friend and neighbor, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Hass, worked with him for more than twenty-five years on the translation of his poems, many of which can be found in the anthology Czesław Miłosz, New and Collected Poems, a compilation that takes us across much of the intense life of the European twentieth century, in a poetry that uses ceaselessly inventive techniques and approaches to a range of subjects. The conversation promises to be rich and enlightening with Hass as our guide.

Stay tuned as we develop more from… The Writers’ Annex. We are extremely excited to be launching this platform and to be expanding our offerings! 

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.
*  *  *  *  *  *
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.