WRITING & KNOWING
9th Annual Poetry Workshop with
Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux, and Joseph Millar
Esalen, Big Sur, CA
August 4-9, 2013
"What another would have done as well, do not do it. What another would have said as well or written as well, do not say or write it. Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself."—Andre Gide
There is a world inside each of us that we know better than anything else, and a world outside of us that calls for our attention. Our subject matter is always right with us. The trick is to find out what we know, challenge what we know, own what we know, and then give it away in language.
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 we'll focus on poetry, prose writers who want to enrich their language will find it a fertile environment.
"There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy . . . that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist. . . . It is not your business to determine how good it is. . . . It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open." —Martha Graham
The focus of this workshop is on generating new poems. Dorianne, Joe and I will each give a short talk on craft to help us extend our skills.
Please join us if:
- You've hit a plateau in your writing and want to break through to the next level.
- You're just beginning and want to get started with supportive teachers.
- You're an experienced writer and just want a chance to learn more from the best.
- You're in a dry spell, due to lack of inspiration or time.
- You love to write and want a gorgeous, inspiring retreat.
Although the emphasis is on poetry, this workshop is open to prose writers too. Rich, textured, evocative language is the province of all writers, so this workshop will be applicable to writers of fiction and memoir as well.
Lastly, there's Esalen itself. If you've been to Esalen before, you already know it's one of the most magnificent places on the planet. If you haven't, don't postpone it. It's breathtakingly beautiful and deeply nourishing. We'll be having our group meetings in the Big House overlooking the Pacific. We'll also be breaking into smaller groups for individual attention. Participants will have an oportunity to work with all three teachers.
Esalen fees cover tuition, food and lodging and vary according to accommodations—ranging from $650 to $1215. The least expensive rate is for sleeping bag space which can be very comfortable, but it's limited, so you need to sign up for it early. Some work-scholarship assistance is available, as well as small prepayment discounts and senior discounts. All arrangements and registration must be made directly with Esalen. If you have questions about the workshop itself, please email Ellen or call her at 831-426-8006.
Please register directly with Esalen at 831-667-3005 or visit www.esalen.org/workshop/11958
ELLEN BASS's most recent book of poems, The Human Line, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women, has published several volumes of poetry, including Mules of Love, which won the Lambda Literary Award. Her poems have appeared in many magazines, including The Atlantic, The Progressive, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, and The Sun. Among her awards are the Elliston Book Award for Poetry from the University of Cincinnati, Nimrod/Hardman’s Pablo Neruda Prize, The Missouri Review’s Larry Levis Award, the New Letters Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and a Fellowship from the California Arts Council. She is also co-author of Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth and The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, which has sold over a million copies and has been translated into ten languages. She teaches in many beautiful locations and at Pacific University's MFA Program in Oregon.
DORIANNE LAUX’s most recent books of poems are The Book of Men, winner of the Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry and the Paterson Poetry Prize, and Facts about the Moon, recipient of the Oregon Book Award and short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Laux is also author of Awake, What We Carry, finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, and Smoke. She is the recipient of two “Best American Poetry” Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Widely anthologized, her work has appeared in the Best of APR, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and The Best of the Net. In 2001, she was invited by late poet laureate Stanley Kunitz to read at the Library of Congress. Recent poems appear in The American Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, and Tin House. She and her husband, poet Joseph Millar, moved to Raleigh in 2008 where she teaches poetry and directs the MFA program at North Carolina State University. The Book of Men was recently reviewed in the NY Times as one of 5 books of poems for summer reading, and shortly after its release, reached number 1 on amazon.com’s Bestseller list, beating out Tom Waits and Tupac Shakur.
JOSEPH MILLAR grew up in western Pennsylvania and was educated at Penn State and the Johns Hopkins University, where he earned an MA in poetry writing. He worked as a commercial fisherman and telephone repairman for more than 20 years, and his accessible narrative poems often take working life as a means of engaging themes of class, family, and romantic love. Millar is the author of several poetry collections, including Blue Rust, Fortune, and Overtime, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Montalvo Arts Center, and Oregon Literary Arts. His poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s National Public Radio program The Writer’s Almanac, and won a Pushcart Prize. Millar, who has taught at Pacific University, the University of Oregon, and Oregon State University, lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, poet Dorianne Laux.