Robert Hass

Cathy Park Hong

Harryette Mullen

C.D. Wright

Matthew Zapruder

Robert Hass

Cathy Park Hong

Harryette Mullen

C.D. Wright

Matthew Zapruder

Galway Kinnell (1927–2014)

The Community of Writers is morning the loss of Galway Kinnell who directed our Poetry Program from 1985 until 2002. He was the author of ten books of poetry, including The Book of Nightmares, When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone, Imperfect Thirst, and most recently A New Selected Poems and Strong is Your Hold. In 1982, his Selected Poems won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and in 2002, he was awarded the Frost Medal by the Poetry Society of America. In 2010 he received the Wallace Stevens Prize from the Academy of American Poets. He taught for many years at New York University, where he was Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing.

All of those who knew him and worked with him will remember what a large and splendid presence he was. The Squaw Valley poetry program, as we’ve practiced it since 1985 was mostly his conception, along with Sharon Olds's, and it reflects his attitude toward poetry. He believed passionately in the work and in sharing it, which for him involved living life as completely as possible and wrestling it into language. His enormous vitality, his warmth, his humor, a certain ferocity in his character (often visible on a tennis court or ball field) made his presence among us seem always large and splendid. He is going to be missed terribly.

June 21 - 28, 2014

staff bios | financial aid | accommodations | fees & deadlines | apply

The Poetry Program 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.

Tuition for the Poetry Program includes six evening meals and daily photocopying of poems. A limited amount of financial aid is available.

Poetry Director: Robert Hass
Note: We make no admissions decisions before all the submissions have been read and evaluatedDaily 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.

Naturalist Will Richardson will be informative early morning walks up Shirley Canyon 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.

On Wednesday we will go to Lake Tahoe for the afternoon and evening. Poet 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 wild-flowers, or just relax. We return to Squaw Valley at nightfall.

On Thursday evening
Robert Hass, Cathy Park Hong, Harryette Mullen, C.D. Wright,
and Matthew Zapruder 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.

Poetry Staff

ROBERT HASS is a poet, translator and essayist. Ecco/HarperCollins published a book of his prose this year, What Light Can Do: Essays 1985-2010. His other recent books include his selected poems, The Apple Trees at Olema (Ecco/HarperCollins), Time and Materials (Ecco/ HarperCollins), which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and his edition of Walt Whitman's Song of Myself and Other Poems (Counterpoint). His other books of poetry include Sun Under Wood: New Poems, Human Wishes, Praise, and Field Guide. He has also co-translated many volumes of the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz and is the author or editor of several other collections of essays and translations, including The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa; Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry; and Now & Then: The Poet's Choice Columns 1996-2000. He served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. Awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Book Critics Circle Award twice, he is a professor of English at UC Berkeley and directs the Poetry Program of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.

DON MEE CHOI was born and grew up in Seoul and Hong Kong and now lives in Seattle. The author of The Morning News is Exciting (Action Books, 2010), she has received a 2011 Whiting Writer’s Award and the 2012 Lucien Stryk Translation Prize. Her translation titles include: When the Plug Gets Unplugged (Tinfish, 2005) Anxiety of Words (Zephyr, 2006), Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers (Action Books, 2008), All the Garbage of the World, Unite! (Action Books, 2011), Princess Abandoned (Tinfish 2012), and Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream (Action Books, 2014).

CATHY PARK HONG’s first book, Translating Mo’um was published in 2002 by Hanging Loose Press. Her second collection, Dance Dance Revolution, was chosen for the Barnard Women Poets Prize and was published in 2007 by W.W. Norton. Her third book of poems, Engine Empire, was published in Spring 2012 by W.W. Norton. Hong is also the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. Her poems have been published in A Public Space, Poetry, Paris Review, Conjunctions, McSweeney’s, APR, Harvard Review, Boston Review, The Nation, and other journals. She is an Associate Professor at Sarah Lawrence College and is regular faculty at the Queens MFA program in Charlotte, North Carolina. WE ARE VERY SORRY, BUT CATHY PARK IS UNABLE TO JOIN US THIS SUMMER.

HARRYETTE MULLEN is the author of several poetry collections, including Recyclopedia, winner of a PEN Beyond Margins Award, and Sleeping with the Dictionary, a finalist for a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her poems have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish, German, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, Bulgarian, and Kyrgyz. A collection of her essays and interviews, The Cracks Between, was published in 2012 by University of Alabama Press. A new poetry collection, Urban Tumbleweed: Notes from a Tanka Diary (Graywolf Press) is a “top pick” for fall 2013 by the Los Angeles Times. She teaches American poetry, African American literature, and creative writing at UCLA.

C.D. WRIGHT is the author of more than a dozen books, most recently, One With Others: a little book of her days which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. A limited edition of her long poem Breathtaken with linocuts by Walter Feldman was published by Ziggurat in 2012. Her book Rising, Falling, Hovering won the 2009 International Griffin Poetry Prize. With photographer Deborah Luster she published One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana which won the Lange-Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. On a fellowship for writers from the Wallace Foundation she curated a “Walk-in Book of Arkansas,” a multi-media exhibition that toured throughout her native state. In 2004 she was named a MacArthur Fellow. Wright is married to writer Forrest Gander. They have one son, Brecht. She is the Israel J. Kapstein Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University.

MATTHEW ZAPRUDER is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon 2010), a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Sun Bear, forthcoming from Copper Canyon in spring 2014. He is also co-translator from Romanian, along with historian Radu Ioanid, of Secret Weapon: Selected Late Poems of Eugen Jebeleanu (Coffee House Press, 2007). His poems, essays and translations have appeared in many publications, including Tin House, Paris Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Bomb, Slate, Poetry, and The Believer. He has received a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, a William Carlos Williams Award, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship in Marfa, TX. An Assistant Professor in the St. Mary’s College of California MFA program and English Department, he is also an Editor at Wave Books. He lives in Oakland, CA.

Photo credits:
Robert Hass © Miriam Berkley
Cathy Park Hong © Brett Hall Jones
Harryette Mullen © Hank Lazer
C.D. Wright © Miriam Berkley
Matthew Zapruder © Chris Hardy

The Community of Writers rents houses and condominiums in the valley for participants to live in during the week of the conference. If, when you are accepted, you would like us to arrange your accommodations, you may choose to stay in shared houses or in The Village at Squaw Valley (first come, first served.) Choose between Single( $700-890), Twin ($465-525*) and Bargain Bunk ($275*) rooms within these units. A private One Room Condo is $1055 for the week. Some of the houses are within walking distance; some require a short drive, so please indicate whether you will have a car with you in the valley. Every unit will have a kitchen and will be supplied with linens. Visit our FAQ page for more information.

Dinners are provided each night. You may prepare your breakfasts and lunches in your house or visit one of the cafes in the valley. There is a small market within walking distance and supermarkets in the nearby towns of Truckee and Tahoe City.

For more information visit our Logistics page.

*Prices are for 7 nights and may change slightly without notice.

A limited amount of financial aid is available. Requests for financial aid must be made in our Financial Aid application. Please indicate the minimum amount of financial aid you would need to receive in order to attend. Financial aid decisions are made after admission decisions. If an applicant is accepted, but we don’t have enough aid for him or her, we will still issue an invitation in the hopes that other means of support may be able to be found by the applicant to attend. Likewise, if an applicant has indicated that she needs a certain amount of aid, but we can’t provide the full amount, we will grant out what we can.

The Lucille Clifton Scholarship:
If you would like to be considered for the Lucille Clifton Scholarship ($855 Tuition + Twin Housing), please indicate this on your
application form. Please refer to the scholarship requirements.

The Veteran's Poetry Scholarship sponsored by the Foundation for Art and Healing: If you would like to be considered for the Veteran's Scholarship ($855 Tuition + Twin Housing), please indicate this on your application form. Please refer to the scholarship requirements.

Scholarship for Locals:
The Local Scholarship ($855 toward tuition) has been established to help creative writers living within a radius of 100 miles of Squaw Valley to attend the Community of Writers Summer Workshops. After residency, qualification for the scholarship is based on financial need and the quality of work submitted. To apply, submit an application for financial aid and provide a paragraph titled "Application for consideration for the Locals Scholarship" In this paragraph, please introduce yourself. Tell us what you hope to get out of your week at Squaw Valley and why you would be a good candidate for a scholarship. Make sure to submit this paragraph in the Financial Aid application. Indicate your wish to apply for this scholarship in the "notes" portion of the online workshop application form as well.

Deadline for receipt of submission/application: April 5, 2014
Application Fee (Due with submission): $30
Notification Date: May 1
Tuition: $955 - A deposit will be due upon acceptance.
Tuition & Housing Balance: Due on arrival in Squaw Valley.


Admission is based on submitted manuscript. To apply, complete our online application form. Application must be received by the April 5 deadline. Past Poetry participants: See below.

Click here to open the online Application Form

  • Applications will be be submitted online.
  • Submission should consist of four or five pages of recent poems, typed.
  • Make sure you have created a PDF of your application manuscript: four or five pages of recent poems, typed, 12 pt. Please put your name in the upper right-hand corner of each page. (A Word document is also acceptable.)
  • Manuscripts will not be returned; they will be recycled instead.
  • One copy should be attached to the online application form; the other mailed.
  • Print out a duplicate hard-copy of your manuscript to be submitted by mail. There is no need to include a cover letter. Please include any special notes or things we should know in this form.
  • A $30 reading fee will be due with application & submission, payable by check or credit card, online. Checks payable to 'Community of Writers' may be mailed along with duplicate hard-copy of submission. Checks must arrive by the May 5 deadline.
  • You will get a confirmation email once you have submitted this form. Please print out a copy of the email and include with your mailed manuscript submission.
  • Those who require financial aid, should complete the separate Financial Aid Application Form online.
  • Mail duplicate hard-copy submission to

Robert Hass c/o Brett Hall Jones
S.V. Community of Writers - Poetry
PO Box 1416
Nevada City, CA 95959

  • Deadline for receipt of application/ submission: April 5, 2014
  • Notification of acceptance by May 1, 2014.

Click here to open the online Application Form

Past Poetry participants: We are very sorry, but the Lottery is closed for summer 2014. Please see letter from Robert Hass. Feel free to write or call: (530) 470-8440 or brett @ Put "Lottery" in the subject line.

QUESTIONS? Please go to our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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Slideshow Images by Tracy Hall