Poetry Workshop Teaching Staff Information – In the Virtual Valley

We are so happy you will join us on staff summer 2021!

Kazim Ali  •  Blas Falconer  •  Forrest Gander
Brenda Hillman  •  Sharon Olds  •  Evie Shockley

Program Dates: June 19 – 26, 2021

This webpage is here for your information. If you have any questions, please let Brett know.

Please review the information on this page, and feel free to return to the page as needed. You may want to bookmark it in your web-browser.

Reading Submissions

We will be receiving applications to the Poetry Workshop until the deadline.  In order to make sure that the workshop includes work from a broad spectrum of tastes, we hope each of you will read 1/6 of the submissions. Each submission is generally 4 -5 pages of poems.  Please mark it in your calendars for 2021:  You can expect to receive 35 – 50 submissions the week of March 28. (Usually the number is about 35.) We ask that you supply Brenda with the ranking of your favorite applicants by April 12; please provide a numerical ranking of your top 15 applicants. It is especially helpful if you use these numerical rankings. We would like to thank you in advance for doing this important work. 


We are required to send you (and the IRS) a 1099 for your honorarium. Your honorarium for the week will be $3,500 plus a stipend of $200.00 for your meals during the week.


If you haven’t already, please complete the W-9 Form. You may choose, instead, to provide us with your tax information in the online Staff Information Form.

The state of California requires that any out-of-state contractors who earn more than $1500 in a year must have taxes withheld. We must file a Form 592 Resident and Nonresident Withholding Statement.  If we pay nonresident independent contractors or recipients of rents and royalties, the payee receives 93% of the total and we must keep 7% to remit to the State on September 17th. If you believe you are exempt from withholding, you can complete Form 590.  The form explains who is exempt, etc.

View /Print Sample Schedule of Events

Typical Daily Schedule in the Virtual Valley)

8:00 am    Deadline to submit your poem*
9:00           Morning Workshop (2 hours)
2:30-3:30  Poem First Aid Appointments
4:00            Afternoon Craft Talk
5:00 (after talk) Optional Staff House Gathering

Due to the different time-zones, you may have different specific hours.

Wednesday late afternoon and evening are a break in the usual schedule.

Daily Workshops

The emphasis is on generating new work. We ask all participants including the staff to bring a draft of a new poem to a Daily Workshop every day during the week. The Daily Workshop (groups 0f 12) meets everyday and the poets read each other their new drafts, and give and get feedback, with the understanding that these are drafts, not necessarily finished poems.

Morning Session Schedule

You will be asked to lead a Morning Session on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings from 9 – 11 AM (Pacific). Most of the 72 Poetry participants will cycle through the Morning Sessions you lead, so that by the end of the week you will have worked with almost every participant.

Craft Talk

Please plan a 45-50 minute talk to present during the week on some aspect of craft. Please be in touch with Brenda about your craft talk, and let us know when you have your title/topic. If you will have hand-outs, please email those to us in advance for sharing.

Schedule of Craft Talks (Tentative)

  • Sunday: Brenda “The Poetic Fragment and Your Writing”
  • Monday: Blas
  • Tuesday:Kazim
  • Wednesday: Sharon – Q & A (Questions submitted in advance)
  • Thursday:  Forrest “Writing a Poem for an Artwork”
  • Friday: Evie
  • Saturday: Bob

Poetry First Aid

At 2:30 pm (Pacific) each day a few staff poets hold very brief (6 minute) individual conference sessions so that participants can ask specific questions about current poems. You can expect to hold a consulting hour 3 or 4 days during the week. (Schedule will be available in your packet.)

Bookshop and Your Books

Every summer, the Community of Writers creates a popup bookstore for the week of the Poetry Workshop. The bookshop will be open for the convenience of participants and staff. Because we run our own bookshop, we will be somewhat limited in the number of titles we can carry.  Make sure you have provided a list of up to three titles for us to order for the bookshop. This year, because we are entirely online, we will partner with Bookshop.org.

Benefit Poetry Reading: Thursday, June 24, 2021

Thank you for participating in the Benefit Reading. It will be held during the Poetry week, Thursday night, June 24, online. More details to come. Proceeds from the Benefit will go to the 2022 Community of Writers Poetry Scholarship Fund, which will grant partial tuition waivers to help talented poets attend.

Code of Conduct

The Community of Writers will not tolerate any instances of discrimination, harassment, or any other form of mistreatment in conjunction with any of our programs.  Respect and consideration for others, both within and outside our sessions, are core values to be upheld by all participants and teaching staff. Harassment or disrespect of community members on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status or disability is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Should a staff member, volunteer or program participant be found to violate any aspect of the organization’s code of conduct, the Community of Writers reserves the right to dismiss her or him from the program.


We have an extensive scholarship program and we are always in need of more funding. If you are interested in donating a portion of your honorarium, we would be very grateful. All donations are tax-deductible.


It is our goal to attract a diverse group of talented poets to this program. Please help us with this goal by recommending our program to poets you think would benefit, especially those from underrepresented communities. In addition, please tell those folks about our robust scholarship program.


You may be interested in our alumni. Please visit our Omnium Gatherum Alumni News page. You can view just poets by selecting Poets from the left-side panel.

And please visit our impressive Notable Alumni Poets page.

Poetry Review

An annual poetry anthology is published each year of poems written during the week in the Valley. It is compiled and edited by volunteer editors from the ranks of that year’s participants. We hope you will submit poems when the time comes.


Community of Writers
PO Box 1416
Nevada City, CA 95959
Brett at communityofwriters dot org
Office: 530-470-8440
Cell: 530-205-8779


What We Need From You:Sign

  • Please open and print a copy of your Engagement Contract emailed to you. Sign your copy and file it. For us, you can sign the contract digitally online when you complete the Staff Information Form. (Link below.)
  • Please download and read the following documents. You will be able to submit a digital signature for each item in the form.
    Liability Waiver
    Sexual Harassment Policy
    W-9 Form
  • Please prepare a brief bio and portrait for use in our publicity. For examples of bios, please visit our former Staff List. You will submit your bio when completing the online Staff Information Form. (Link below.)
  • Complete the Staff Information Form (click button below) by December 10, 2020:
    Go To Staff Information Form

The form will allow you to  submit digital signatures for your Engagement Contract and other documents, to upload your photo and bio, and to provide us with other important details including books to order.