Poetry Workshop Teaching Staff Information

We are so happy you will join us on staff summer 2020!

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

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.

What We Need From You:Sign

  • Please open and print two copies of your Engagement Contract emailed to you. Sign one copy and mail it back to me before November 25. (Or you may sign it digitally online.)
  • 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 2019 Staff List. You may submit your bio when completing the online Staff Information Form. (Link below.)
  • Complete the Staff Information Form (click button below) by November 25, 2019:
    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.

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 2019:  You can expect to receive 35 – 50 submissions the week of March 28. (Usually the number is about 35.) We ask that you supply Robert Hass 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 $250.00 for your breakfasts and lunches for the week in Squaw.

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.


Important Dates

  • Submit Staff Form & return signed Engagement Contract: November 25, 2019
  • Website Launch for 2020 Programs: January 1, 2020
  • Application Deadline: March 28, 2020 (You will receive 1/6 of the submissions to evaluate for acceptance that week.)
  • Deadline to provide applicant lists to Bob:
    April 12, 2020
  • CW Notifies applicants of acceptance: May 1, 2020
  • Poetry Benefit: Friday, June 19, 2020. Location TBD.
  • Opening Day: Saturday, June 20, 2020. Travel to Squaw Valley.
  • Closing Day: Saturday, June 27, 2020  (Final Morning Session meets until 10:30 am) Travel home day.

 Benefit Poetry Reading: Friday, June 19, 2020

Thank you for participating in the Benefit Reading. It will be held before the Poetry week, Friday night, June 21, location TBD. The reading will begin at 7:00 pm. More details to come. Proceeds from the Benefit will go to the 2021 Community of Writers Poetry Scholarship Fund, which will grant partial tuition waivers to help talented poets attend. On June 20, you will make your way by car to Squaw Valley. We will work out ride-sharing details among you.

Squaw Valley, CA

Squaw Valley is a ski area located in the California Sierra Nevada, close to the north shore of Lake Tahoe.  It was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Squaw Valley USA is owned and operated by Squaw Valley Resorts which provides venues for our programs each summer.  Many of our events take place in the Olympic House, the lodge at the foot of the ski area.

Summers are warm and sunny; participants and teaching staff will have opportunities to hike to the local waterfalls, take guided nature walks up the mountain, swim in Lake Tahoe, or bike along the Truckee River.

In summer, the weather is changeable; days are usually warm/hot and dry (72°- 87°) and nights are cool (40°- 50°). The elevation of the valley floor is 6200 feet. This coming week is cooling off though, so bring layers.

When checking weather or directions online, please note that California has two Squaw Valleys: ours is zip code 96146 and is located near Lake Tahoe, whereas the other is closer to Fresno. 

View /Print Sample Schedule of Events

Typical Daily Schedule

8:00 – 9:30     Poetry Elves collect and photocopy poems for the Morning Sessions
9:30                  Staff Poets send or bring poems in to be copied; pick up poems to take to Morning Session.
10:00 – 12:00  Morning Sessions
4:00 – 5:00     First Aid  (Your schedule will be available on arrival. You can expect to be scheduled 3 or 4 days)
5:30 – 6:30      Craft Talk (Except Wednesday when it will be at 12:30 pm)
6:30                  Dinner

Wednesday afternoon and evening are a break in the usual schedule. We have our lunch-time craft talk scheduled at 12:30 pm, after that we have no other afternoon events scheduled. Instead, we all go to Lake Tahoe for a softball game, or a wild flower walk and BBQ at Meeks Bay. Thursday evening is the Staff Poetry Reading. You may plan to read for about 12 minutes.

Morning Sessions

The emphasis is on generating new work. We ask all participants including the staff to bring a draft of a new poem to a Morning Session every day during the week. The Morning Sessions (groups 0f 12) meet from 10:00 – noon each morning 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.

We have an efficient system for printing and/or photocopying your daily poems for the Morning Session.  We recommend you bring your own laptop. However, there are several computers available for the typing of poems, if needed. We can print from most PC and Apple applications, but we prefer Microsoft Word or PDF. You may email your poem to us each morning, or walk your poem into the office on a USB flash-drive.

Morning Session Schedule

You will be asked to lead a Morning Session on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings from 10:00 – noon. The Morning Session on the final Saturday is held early and tends to be over by 10:30 am, due to its being a travel day. 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. Let us know if you have a preference. If you will have hand-outs, please email those to us in advance for copying.

Schedule of Craft Talks (TBD)

  • Sunday:
  • Monday:
  • Tuesday:
  • Wednesday:
  • Thursday:
  • Friday:

Poetry First Aid

At 4pm 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 on arrival.)


During the week of the conference, you and the other staff members will be staying at the Squaw Valley Lodge, which is just a few steps from the conference center. These rooms are very nice and have small kitchens and living areas. You can visit them on the web: http://www.squawvalleylodge.com

Squaw Valley Lodge
201 Squaw Peak Road, Olympic Valley, CA 96146
(530) 583-5500


We set up a very simple snack bar in the conference center each morning: Coffee, juice, yogurt, hardboiled eggs and muffins are provided daily.

We will provide you with staples for your condo during the week such as coffee, tea, bread, orange juice and milk. There is a variety of restaurants in the Village, in Tahoe City (five miles away) and in Truckee (ten miles away).

Dinner will be served most days on the Deck of the Olympic House Lodge immediately following the Craft Talk. On our last night we will gather at the Hall House for a farewell dinner and a party. We accommodate most special diets including vegan and gluten-free.

View/Print Sample Dinner Menu


Squaw Valley is located near the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, a four-hour drive from the Bay Area and a one-hour drive from the Reno Airport. It may be necessary for you to fly into the city where we will hold the benefit on Friday and then drive up to Squaw Valley on Saturday. Some folks may fly home from Reno International airport on the final Saturday. Please do not book your airline tickets without confirming with Brett first.

Driving Directions

Be careful when you use internet mapping services such as Siri, Google Maps, or MapQuest or you might end up in Fresno, a house in Alpine Meadows, or taking the long way around Lake Tahoe! We recommend you use our directions, below.

  • Take Highway 20 (towards Truckee) – Highway takes you to East Bound Interstate 80.
  • Take I-80 to Truckee.
  • Exit Highway 89 South (Tahoe City).
  • Follow Highway 89 ten miles to Squaw Valley, turn right at the stoplight.
  • Follow Squaw Valley Road for two miles. The road will make a sharp left turn and just ahead is the ski area.
  • Turn right at the stop sign onto Squaw Peak Road.
  • Squaw Valley Lodge is just ahead on the left side of the street.

THE OLYMPIC HOUSE, our headquarters for the week, is just across the lawn from the Squaw Valley Lodge. You will see signs for the Community of Writers. Feel free to check into the Squaw Valley Lodge, and then come over to the office.

What to Bring to Squaw Valley:

1) You might want to bring something special to wear for the Poetry Reading on Thursday night.
2) A warm jacket or sweater for evenings. We hope it rains a bit, so bring a light raincoat.
3) Tools for writing: Your choice of laptop, discs, USB flash drive, or pad & pencil etc. See “Writing” section above.
4) Favorite reference book or app.
5) Hiking or walking shoes.
6) A swimsuit (if you wish).
7) A sun hat & sunglasses.
8) Sunscreen & lip balm.
9) A water bottle as we discourage the use of water in disposable plastic bottles.
10) Consider bringing a flashlight.
11) Mosquito repellent.
12) A cell phone and charger or phone-card for making long-distance calls.
13) Softball players: bring a mitt.
14) If bringing a bike is easy, bring one. You will be happy you did. (If taking the airport shuttle, please check with us first.)
15) If it promises to be hot and you are driving, consider a personal fan.
16) If you are bringing a laptop, bring a surge-protector and back up your files before your trip.
17) If you have food allergies, bring food to supplement the dinners we provide.
18) Our directions.

Reimbursementsphoto gallery

Your reasonable travel costs to the Benefit and to Squaw Valley will be reimbursed. As we are on a tight budget, please help us keep expenses as low as possible.

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.  However, please make sure to provide a list of up to three titles for us to order for the bookshop.  If books are no longer in print, you can always bring (or ship) books to consign.

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.

Refer students and colleagues

I hope that you will encourage talented poets you know to apply. And please let me know if there is someone in particular we should look out for, or someone you would like to recommend for a scholarship.


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 Squaw 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

The Items Below Have Been Completed: