Poetry Workshop

The 50th Session of
the Poetry Program:
June 20-27, 2020

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

We are working away on the details for our 2020 program.
Full 2020 program information will be available on January 1, 2020.

Thank you for your patience. To be notified at that time, please sign up to be on our email list.

You may view last summer’s program details below.

June 22 – 29, 2019

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. Guest Director: Brenda Hillman.

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 April 1, 2019.

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

Forrest Gander  •  Brenda Hillman  •  David Tomas Martinez
Jane Miller  •   Sharon Olds  •  Gregory Pardlo

Special Guest: Robert Hass

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 Alpine Meadows 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.

Will Richardson has been birding and conducting field research in the Sierra Nevada since 1994, including several seasons working for PRBO Conservation Science in the Mono Basin and elsewhere in the Eastern Sierra. Richardson received his PhD in Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno, studying bird communities in Sierra Nevada aspen habitats. He resides in Truckee and now focuses most of his attention on the natural history of the Lake Tahoe region. He is currently authoring a status and distribution guide for the birds of the Lake Tahoe basin, and is co-founder and Co-Executive Director of a fledgling research, education, and outreach organization: the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science.

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 Forrest Gander, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, David Tomas Martinez, Jane Miller, Sharon Olds and Greg Pardlo 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 22 - 29, 2019
Deadline to ApplyApril 1, 2019
(before midnight PST)
Application Fee$35
Acceptance NotificationOn or before May 1, 2019
Deposit - NonrefundableA deposit of $800 will be due upon acceptance.
Deposit DeadlineMay 10, 2019
HousingNot included in tuition. See Housing & Meals.
Housing & Tuition BalanceDue on or before June 10, 2019
Registration/First Day of ConferenceSaturday, June 22, 2019
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: April 1, 2019 (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, 2019.
  • 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.