2020 Poetry Workshop

June 20 – 27, 2020

Details about 2021 Coming Soon!

The Poetry Program at the Community of Writers 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. To help this happen we work together to create an atmosphere in which everyone might feel free to try anything. In the mornings we meet in workshops to read to each other the work of the previous twenty-four hours; each participant also has an opportunity to work with each staff poet. In the late afternoons we gather for a conversation about some aspect of craft. On several afternoons staff poets hold brief individual conferences. Director: Robert Hass.

Tuition for the Poetry Program includes seven evening meals. Financial aid is available; requests for our limited financial aid can be made in the Application Form. Admissions are based on submitted manuscripts. Please Note: Tuition does not include housing costs. See Housing and Meals. See Fees & Deadlines, below.

Note: We make no admissions decisions before all the submissions have been read and evaluated. The Application Form link is at the bottom of the page. Please make sure to read all the information here before applying. If you are a returning poet, please read the note about entering the Returning Poet Lottery, at the bottom of the page. 

Deadline for receipt of application/submission is March 28, 2020.

Click on the author portraits to learn about these poets and their work. Or View as List

Camille Dungy • Robert Hass • Brenda Hillman
Major Jackson • Ada Limón • Matthew Zapruder


Please Note:

As you may imagine, we are following the news about COVID-19 closely, as we look at our options in regards to possibly cancelling this summer’s writing workshops. The news on the Coronavirus changes hourly, and we are adjusting our expectations accordingly.

The health and safety of our participants, alums, teaching staff,  and the wider community is paramount.

If you are hoping to attend this summer, we encourage you apply. If events in 2020 related to the pandemic constrain us from producing the Community of Writers Summer Workshops, your application fee will be refunded in full.

We will keep everybody informed of any new developments or decisions that affect our plans, through email, our website, and social media.

Daily Schedule

In the mornings we meet in workshops to read to each other the work of the previous twenty-four hours; each participant will have an opportunity to work with each staff poet. In the late afternoons we gather for a conversation about some aspect of craft. On several late afternoons staff poets hold brief individual conferences.

Other Opportunities

Nature Walks

naturalist will richardson

Naturalist Will Richardson will lead informative early morning walks up Shirley Canyon scheduled for 8:00 AM, before workshops begin at 10:00. This is an opportunity to learn from a professional naturalist about the biology of this valley. These walks are suitable for almost all fitness levels and are free of charge.


Lake Tahoe

meeks bay lake tahoe

On Wednesday we will go to Lake Tahoe for the afternoon and evening. Softball will be played at the local elementary school for those who are interested, followed by a BBQ picnic at the spectacular Meeks Bay on the Lake. Poets may swim, hike the nearby trails to view abundant wildflowers, or just relax. We return to Squaw Valley at nightfall.

Poetry Reading 

On Thursday evening, Camille Dungy, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Major Jackson, Ada Limón, and Matthew Zapruder will read from their published and unpublished work, including poems written in Squaw Valley just days before. Their books will be available for sale and signing after the reading.

Fees & Deadlines

Program DatesJune 20 - 27, 2020
Deadline to ApplyMarch 28, 2020
(before midnight PST)
Application Fee$35
Acceptance NotificationOn or before May 1, 2020
Deposit - NonrefundableA deposit of $800 will be due upon acceptance. (Awards of financial aid may reduce this amount.)
Deposit DeadlineMay 10, 2020
HousingNot included in tuition. See Housing & Meals.
Housing & Tuition BalanceDue on or before June 10, 2020
Registration/First Day of ConferenceSaturday, June 22, 2020
Program Website
Make sure to read all information before applying
Poetry Website
ReturneesReturning Poetry Lottery Information & Application
Financial Aid & ScholarshipsView Financial Aid Information
Application FormApply Now (Poetry)

Application Guidelines

  • Deadline for receipt of application/submission: MARCH 28, 2020 (11:59 PM, PST)
  • Submission should consist of four or five pages of recent poems, typed, 12 pt. Submit PDF or Word.doc through our online application form.
  • Put your name in the upper right-hand corner of each page.
  • Attach a digital file (PDF or Word.doc) of your submission ms. to the online application form.
  • Once you have completed the online form, you will receive an email confirmation.
  • A $35 reading fee will be due with application & submission, payable by check or credit card, online. Checks should be made out to
    Community of Writers and mailed to:

    Community of Writers – Poetry
    PO Box 1416
    Nevada City, CA 95959

  • Notification of acceptance by May 1, 2020.
  • Please note: Once you have submitted your application online, you will immediately receive an email confirmation. If you don’t get that confirmation, we didn’t receive your application. If that is the case, contact us immediately.

Past Poetry Participants:
If you wish to attend this year see Returning Poetry Lottery Information & Application.