For the first time ever, the Chautauqua Writers’ Center is sponsoring a fall poetry workshop, led by former poet-in-residence Neil Shepard.

This 12-person workshop will be held from Sept. 28 – Oct. 2.

Each five-day workshop is taught by an experienced, published writer-in-residence in a small group setting. All workshops will be hosted on Chautauqua's new Online Classroom

As workshop descriptions are announced, each will clarify which of these models that workshop will employ:

  1. Generative Workshops: Offered occasionally, these workshops focus on in-class craft analysis, discussion and exercises, as well as (time-permitting) take-home prompts; ideal for writers at any level of experience looking for ways to invigorate or initiate their writing practices. $135. Enrollment capped at 12.
  2. Flexible Workshops: The most frequently-offered option, these workshops first consider work by participants who arrive on Monday with relevant drafts, then workshop participants who've generated work during the week, all in the context of regular craft analysis and discussion. $135. Enrollment capped at 12.
  3. Advanced Workshops: Offered once each season in both poetry and prose, these workshops focus on careful reading and response for everyone's submitted manuscripts, in the context of craft analysis and sometimes alternative revision strategies; ideal for dedicated and experienced writers hoping to make significant headway on their latest drafts; application required. $170. Enrollment capped at 8.

Week 1

Week 1 

Writing from Home

June 29–July 3 / 8:30–10:30 a.m. 

Bertram LillianYvonneLillian-Yvonne Bertram
Course Description:
Even in the best of times, “home” can be complicated. Now, most of us have been and are confined to our homes (be they permanent or temporary) and not by choice. What does it mean to write from home, in home, and about home, in these strange times? Can we find home, and be “at home” in our writing during these tumultuous times? Can we be at home in the world? Is home where we are, where we live, or where we come from? Is home a safe and comforting structure, laden with memories? Or are we most at home with other people, with blood relations or chosen family?

In this workshop we will look at poems that conceptualize “home” as physical and psychic spaces, from geographic spaces to being at home in one’s body, to being at home in the poem. Along the way we will talk about the writing strategies poets use to convey these meanings and significations in their poems with an eye towards using these strategies to write and talk about our own poems. Readings, prompts, and guidance will be provided. Come write with us, from anywhere, from home!  Flexible (ages 18+)

Bio: Originally from Buffalo,Dr. Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is the author of But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise, chosen by Claudia Rankine as winner of the 2010 Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award, a slice from the cake made of air (Red Hen, 2016) and Personal Science (Tupelo Press, 2017).Travesty Generator, winner of the 2018 Noemi Press Poetry Award, is forthcoming from Noemi in 2019.

Bertram is a 2014 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Poetry Fellowship, the 2020 Anna Rabinowitz Prize and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.

Writing Your Way Home: Personal Nonfiction and the Personal Place

June 29–July 3 / 1:15–3:15 p.m. 

David GiffelsDavid Giffels
Course Description:
The relationship between the personal essayist and his or her place is central to understanding the self and the world. Whether the setting is a Midwestern downtown, a childhood bedroom, an immigrant’s landing spot, a hiking trail, or all of Manhattan, writers possess unique authority, authenticity, and insight when exploring the places that formed them. Through short readings, writing prompts, craft lessons, and workshop exercises, writers will generate ideas and develop them into personal essays. Flexible (ages 18+)

Bio: David Giffels is the author of six books of nonfiction, including the upcomingBarnstorming Ohio: To Understand America, the memoirsFurnishing EternityandAll the Way Home, both winners of the Ohioana Book Award, andThe Hard Way on Purpose, longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. His writing has appeared in theNew York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Parade, The Iowa Review, Esquire, Grantland, and many other publications. He is a professor of English at the University of Akron, where he teaches in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts creative writing program.