If you want to encounter more truth in your poems, to express it in the most beautiful way possible, to craft poems that reflect the inextricable marriage of truth and beauty, love and death, the luminous and the ordinary, please join us for this special workshop. We will elude and distract the censors that silence or limit us. We’ll approach our experience from new angles to find the poem within the story. We’ll question the stories we think are true and experience the power of not-knowing and discovery. We will write poems, share our writing, and hear what our work touches in others. We’ll also read model poems by contemporary poets and discuss aspects of the craft. But mainly this will be a writing retreat—time to explore and create in a supportive community. Though the focus is on poetry, prose writers who want to enrich their language will find it a fertile environment. Although this workshop is appropriate for beginning poets, with much support and encouragement offered, it is also recommended for experienced poets, including those who have published books or chapbooks, are teaching poetry, or have simply been working at the craft for a long time.
This workshop is oriented toward generating new work AND revising those works. We’ll start each day with a talk about some aspect of the craft of writing. Then the rest of the morning will be devoted to writing. Unlike workshops where there are multiple short writing prompts, we prefer to schedule longer writing sessions so that there’s time to go deeply into your writing. You may not be actually writing that entire time, but there’s space for writing, reflection, starting off on a whole new topic, maybe taking a short break to refresh yourself and beginning again. Then we’ll have lunch together and there’ll be a little free time—to walk, read, relax, or, if you’re burning, to keep writing. In the afternoon, we’ll meet to share our work. For these sessions, we’ll divide into smaller groups, one led by each teacher (you’ll have the opportunity to work with both teachers in the small groups). Everyone will have a chance to read and to receive responses, encouragement, and support. Marie and Ellen will also provide guidance and suggestions for those who need or want that. Then we’ll have dinner and the evenings are usually free for relaxing, socializing, talking about poetry—whatever you’d like to do. The workshop begins with dinner on Sunday, February 18, and will end with our group poetry reading on Thursday evening, February 22. There will be a last breakfast together on Friday, February 23, before check out.
Set on a hilltop ridgeline above the town of Calistoga in Napa, CA and surrounded by spectacular 360-degree views, Mayacamas Ranch provides an awe-inspiring, natural setting. With its secluded and expansive grounds, comfortable guestrooms, organic based cuisine from their garden, Mayacamas is a stunning, secluded retreat center. Mayacamas Ranch has guest units and cottages situated in various buildings on the property. All beds at Mayacamas are 100% organic and feature organic sheets in all rooms. There is also a heated salt-water pool and hot tub, hiking trails and a spring-fed lake. If a trip to Italy isn’t on your calendar this year (or even if it is), come to Mayacamas Ranch! To see more of Mayacamas Ranch, visit http://www.mayacamasranch.com. Mayacamas has a variety of housing options depending on whether you would like to room by yourself or with another person. For a double occupancy room, the cost is $2,400 and for a luxury double occupancy suite (complete with a living room and private bathroom) the cost is $2,550. The options for single occupancy rooms include a single with a shared bath at $2,800, a single with a private bath at $3,000, and a luxury single occupancy suite with a sitting area, private bath, and patio at $3,150. The fees are all-inclusive, including the workshop, lodging, and all meals. Rooms cannot be guaranteed, though we will take your requests into consideration. If you have difficulty with stairs or any other mobility issues, please let us know when you register. Additionally, if you are familiar with Mayacamas and have specific rooms you would like to stay in, feel free to request them as well.
Marie Howe was the Poet Laureate of New York State and is the author of four books of poetry, the most recent being Magdalene (Norton). Her previous books include The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (Norton), The Good Thief (which was chosen for the National Poetry Series) and What the Living Do. She has also co-edited In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. Her poems have appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Agni, Harvard Review and New England Review, among many others. Marie Howe received a Guggenheim and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence and NYU. In the words of Stanley Kunitz: “Marie Howe’s poetry is luminous, intense, and eloquent, rooted in an abundant inner life. Her long, deep-breathing lines address the mysteries of flesh and spirit, in terms accessible only to a woman who is very much of our time and yet still in touch with the sacred.” www.mariehowe.com
Ellen Bass is the author of Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014) and The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007). She co-edited, with Florence Howe, the first major anthology of women’s poetry, No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (Doubleday, 1973). Her poetry has appeared frequently in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, and many other journals. Among her awards are a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fellowship from the California Arts Council, three Pushcart Prizes, The Lambda Literary Award, The Pablo Neruda Prize , The Larry Levis Prize and the New Letters Prize. Her nonfiction books include Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth and Their Allies I Never Told Anyone: Writings by Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse , and The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse which has been translated into twelve languages. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches in the MFA writing program at Pacific University.