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Idyllwild Arts Academy -- Poetry Workshop

  • Idyllwild Arts Academy 52500 Temecula Rd Idyllwild, CA 92549 (map)

Come join Samiya Bashir for a week of poetic discovery! Applications accepted until April 16th!

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Writers Week

July 1-5

Coordinators: Victoria Chang and Ed Skoog

Writers from around the world have found a special home at Idyllwild Arts. For decades, it has gathered thoughtful, provoking, and notable guests—among them Ray Bradbury, Norman Corwin, Lucille Clifton, Sharon Olds, Terrance Hayes, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Philip Levine, David St. John, and Natasha Trethewey. Join us to be inspired and challenged by world-class voices at our annual Writers Week.

Work and engage with some of the country’s premier literary artists. Writers Week includes:

  • Workshops

  • Daily craft talks

  • Public readings

  • Book signing receptions

  • Opportunities to socialize and exchange ideas

  • Six Merit Fellowships opportunities

  • Participant reading and farewell reception


The Idyllwild Writers Week gathers a diverse community of writers to work with talented and experienced faculty in fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.  For five days in July, attendees will improve their writing, refine their work, and hopefully have breakthrough moments through inspirational and thought-provoking workshops, craft talks, readings, and lively discussions under the mystic stars and Idyllwild pines.

Writers Week is open to anyone with an interest in writing, from enthusiastic beginners to emerging and established writers, as well as MFA students or graduates looking for some extra workshop time with different faculty. Faculty and guests will share their perspectives and offer feedback during the daily morning sessions and afternoon craft talks. Individualized attention is a priority so each of the six workshops has no more than 10 participants.  Each night, there will be readings by faculty, guests, and fellows.

Prior to arriving, attendees will submit five pages of poetry for feedback (12-point font and single-spaced or otherwise, depending on the form of the poems) in the poetry workshops or 15 pages of fiction or creative nonfiction (12-point font and double-spaced) for the prose workshops. Each group will meet every morning on Monday through Friday.

When you register for Writers Week you will select one of three options: Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction


Poetry: Samiya Bashir, Victoria Chang/Ed Skoog (co-teaching), Katie Ford
Fiction: Vu Tran
Nonfiction: Wendy C. Ortiz, David Ulin

Skill Level: All levels
Tuition: $775
Enrollment limited to 10 students per workshop/teacher

Writers Week Fellowship Applicants

**NOTE: Submissions accepted beginning February 1, 2019

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Samiya Bashir is the author of three books of poetry: Field TheoriesGospel, and Where the Apple Falls. Sometimes she makes poems of dirt. Sometimes zeros and ones. Sometimes variously rendered text. Sometimes light. Her work has been widely published, performed, installed, printed, screened, and experienced. Bashir holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as Poet Laureate, and an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she received two Hopwood Poetry Awards. Bashir lives in Portland, Oregon where she teaches at Reed College.

Victoria Chang’s fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2017 and won the Housatonic Book Award. The Boss (McSweeney’s) won a PEN America Literary Award and a California Book Award. Other books are Salvinia Molestaand Circle, and she edited Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation.  She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, a MacDowell Fellowship, and a Poetry Society of America Alice Fay di Castagnola Award for her fifth book of poems, OBIT, which will be published by Copper Canyon Press in 2020. Her picture book Is Mommy? (Simon & Schuster), was illustrated by Caldecott winner Marla Frazee and was named a New York Times Notable Book.  She is a contributing editor of the literary journal, Copper Nickel and a poetry editor at Tupelo Quarterly. She is currently on the National Book Critics Circle Board.  She lives in Los Angeles with her family and her wiener dogs, Mustard and Ketchup, and is Core Faculty at Antioch University’s low-residency MFA Program. @VChangPoet 

Katie Ford is the author of Deposition, Colosseum, and Blood Lyrics, all published by Graywolf Press. Blood Lyrics was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Rilke Prize. Colosseum was named among the “Best Books of 2008” by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review and led to a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize. She completed graduate work in theology and poetry at Harvard University, and, following that, received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Paris Review, The American Poetry Review, and the Norton Introduction to Literature.  She teaches at the University of California, Riverside.
Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of three books: Excavation: A MemoirHollywood Notebook, and the “dreamoir” Bruja. In 2016, Bustle named her one of “9 Women Writers Who Are Breaking New Nonfiction Territory.” Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. Wendy is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles.

Vu Tran’s first novel, Dragonfish, was a New York Times Notable Book and among the San Francisco Chronicle’s Best Books of the Year. He is the winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and an NEA Fellowship, and his short fiction has appeared in the O. Henry Prize StoriesBest American Mystery Stories, and The Southern Review. He is a criticism columnist for the Virginia Quarterly Review and an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Arts at the University of Chicago.

David L. Ulin is the author, most recently, of the novel Ear to the Ground. His other books include Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, shortlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time, and the Library of America’s Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, which won a California Book Award. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, he spent 10 years as book editor, and then book critic, of the Los Angeles Times.

Ed Skoog is the author of three books of poetry: Run the Red Lights, Rough DayMister Skylight, and a fourth, Travelers Leaving for the City, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2020.  His poems have appeared in The New YorkerParis Review and Harper’s, and he has held fellowships from Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, The Lannan Foundation, Richard Hugo House, and George Washington University. A former chair of the Idyllwild Arts Academy’s Creative Writing Department, he has taught in the Summer Program since 2006. He lives in Portland, Oregon and is a co-host, with novelist J. Robert Lennon, of the literary podcast Lunch Box, with Ed and John.

Special Guests

Brendan Constantine is a Southern California poet and champion for the literary arts. He is well known for his workshops at Venice’s Beyond Baroque. He performs his work across the United States. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Dementia, My Darling and the chapbook Bouncy Bounce.  A popular performer, Brendan has presented his work to audiences throughout the US and Europe, also appearing on NPR’s All Things Considered, numerous podcasts, and YouTube. He currently teaches poetry at the Windward School and regularly offers classes to hospitals, foster homes, veterans, and the elderly.

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of 32 books, including Look to Your Left:  The Poetics of Spectacle, forthcoming from the Akron Poetry Series in 2020 and DARK HORSE: Poems (C&R Press, 2018).  She currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Press and Tupelo Quarterly, an opinion columnist at The Los Angeles Review of Books, a staff blogger at The Kenyon Review, a contributing writer at Publishers Weekly, and a freelance book critic at The New York Times Book Review. 

Janet Fitch is the author of the novels White Oleander, Paint it Black, and The Revolution of Marina M. Her short fiction and essays have been widely published. She has taught creative writing at the Esalen Institute, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, USC’s Master of Professional Writing program, the UCLA Writer’s Program, Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA Writing and Publishing program, and Pomona College, among others. She is frequently invited to speak on special topics in fiction writing. Her Writing Wednesday writing tip videos can be found on her author Facebook page.

Ben Loory is the author of the collections Tales of Falling and Flying and Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day, as well as a picture book, The Baseball Player and the Walrus. His fables and tales have appeared in the New Yorker, Tin House, Fairy Tale Review, and Weekly Reader’s READ Magazine, and been heard on This American Life and Selected Shorts. He is a graduate of Harvard and the American Film Institute and teaches short story writing at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

Halimah Marcus is the Executive Director of Electric Literature, a nonprofit organization amplifying the power of storytelling through digital innovation, and Editor-in-Chief of Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, a free weekly fiction magazine with personal recommendations by top writers and editors. She is co-chair of the Fiction Committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival. She has a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from Brooklyn College. Her fiction has appeared in The FiddlebackThe Fiction Desk, and Philadelphia Noir. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Marie Mutsuki Mockett’s memoir Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbyefrom W.W. Norton, was a finalist for the 2016 PEN Open Book Award, Indies Choice Best Book for Nonfiction and the Northern California Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. Her work in progress, A Kernel in God’s Eye, forthcoming from Graywolf Press, follows her journey through seven red agricultural states in the company of evangelical Christian harvesters, and was a finalist for the Lukas Prize, awarded by Columbia and Harvard University’s Schools of Journalism.

Javier Zamora was born in El Salvador and migrated to the U.S. when he was nine. Unaccompanied (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), his first poetry collection, explores how immigration and civil war have impacted his life and family. Zamora’s poems appear in GrantaKenyon ReviewPoetryThe New York Times, and elsewhere. He is a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University and holds fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University, the Lannan Foundation, MacDowell, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, Stanford University, and Yaddo. He is a member of the Our Parents’ Bones Campaign, whose goal is to bring justice to the families of the ten thousand disappeared during El Salvador’s civil war.