Poetry Workshop

June 20 – 27, 2015

The Poetry Program

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
Guest Director: Brenda Hillman
Note: We make no admissions decisions before all the submissions have been read and evaluated


Daily 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.

Other Opportunities

Nature Walks

naturalist will richardson

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.

Lake Tahoe

meeks bay lake tahoe

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.

Poetry Reading 

On Thursday evening Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Forrest Gander, J. Michael Martinez, Sharon Olds, and Evie Shockley 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

View as List

  • Forrest Gander
  • Robert Hass
  • Brenda Hillman
  • J. Michael Martinez
  • Sharon Olds
  • Evie Shockley

Photo credits:

Robert Hass © Miriam Berkley
Brenda Hillman © Brett Hall Jones
Forrest Gander ©
J. Michael Martinez © Jensen Larson Photography
Sharon Olds © Brett Hall Jones
Evie Shockley © Brett Hall Jones


How to Apply

  • Past Poetry participants: If you wish to attend this year, contact us for information about the returning poet procedure, or read additional guidelines, here.
  • Deadline for receipt of application/submission: April 2, 2015
  • Submission should consist of four or five pages of recent poems, typed,12 pt. Submit PDF or Word.doc through our online application form.
  • Put your name in the upper right-hand corner of each page.
  • Attach a digital file (PDF or Word.doc) of your submission ms. to the online application form. (Manuscripts will not be returned; they will be recycled. Digital files will be deleted.)
  • Once you have completed the online form, you will receive an email confirmation.
  • A $30 reading fee will be due with application & submission, payable by check or credit card, online.
  • Notification of acceptance by May 1, 2015.
Apply Now