Coming March 27-29, 2020
Tenth Annual Gathering of Poets

Featured poetry workshop leaders –
Ilya Kaminsky, Traci Brimhall, Helene Cardona, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Brian Turner, Jessica Traynor.

At the Brookstown Inn, Winston-Salem

Not open for sign-ups until the Fall. Watch here for notification.

Sign Up Here
A weekend of workshops and fellowship, food and readings. Informal wine reception and readings Friday night, a full day Saturday – four different 75-minute workshops, including breakfast and lunch, readings by workshop leaders, then open mic. And a Sunday morning workshop for those who stay over.

2019 Workshops:

Li-Young Lee – Poetry Masterclass

Crafted around poems submitted by students.


Marilyn Nelson – The Stone Soup Sonnet

We’ll see that the sonnet, instead of being a box or a scaffolding, can be a kettle of disparate ingredients, stirred with a big wooden spoon of formal tradition. We’ll write some sonnets that surprise us. Please arrive with a description of a recent dream (yours, or someone else’s), a phrase you won’t mind someone else using from a line in a poem you haven’t been able to finish writing to your satisfaction, a line you admire from a poem written by someone else, an ugly word, a Haiku you will compose the day before the Gathering, and a paragraph from a newspaper story which you have translated into iambic cadence.


Kaveh Akbar – Mining the Poetic Unconscious

Transcendent American poet Max Ritvo wrote that if the world outside a poet’s head is more interesting than the world inside their head, they might as well become a journalist. His point: it’s what’s inside the poet’s mind, what (or who) is hooting or singing or moaning or gagging inside the poet’s own totally unique psychic ecosystem that allows the poet access to a singular voice. In this workshop we’ll try various methods of popping under our own hoods and exploring our cognitive machinery (using things like meditation and bibliomancy and Rorschach tests), mining our discoveries for poetic language and imagery and more. Leaving the workshop, we’ll have generated drafts, jumping off points for new poems, and hopefully, if all goes well, better relationships with the little voices in our heads.


Lynn Melnick – Writing Truth from Memory

How do we write poems based on our memories if memory itself is so malleable and unreliable? In this workshop we’ll talk about the different ways we remember (visually, emotionally, etc) and read contemporary poems that play with memory as a sometimes problematic road to the truth. How can we use our memories to enhance our work and get to the emotional truth? Is it okay to change the details? To combine memories? Ahead of workshop, please think about memories that can serve as a springboard for your poems. Think about not just action and landscape memories, but also specific sense memories of sights, sounds, words, etc. Participants will finish the workshop with new drafts, ideas for future poems, notes and tips on how to revise grounded in both memory and truth.


Annemarie Ní Churreáin – Write What Burns You

What is the relationship between landscape and lyrical control? Between control and imagination? Between the place that you originally come from and the language in which your creative impulse today exists? Taking inspiration from Irish-born poet Lola Ridge who advised “write anything that burns you”, workshop participants will be encouraged to use autobiography as the starting point for poems that explore, reveal and transform the landscape of our lives. In a relaxed and supportive environment, participants will gain confidence in the process of generating ideas, experimenting with imagery and metaphor, and shaping individual poems on the page. Workshop activities will include listening exercises, reading of work by contemporary poets, creative writing exercises and group discussion.


Renee Emerson – Poetry of the Personal: Exploring the Confessional Poem

In our culture where the personal is made public, is there still a place for the Confessional Poem? Looking at the work of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Robert Lowell, and Sharon Olds, we will examine how this style of poetry rose to popularity and what causes it to still resonate with readers today. As writers, we will study how to use elements of confessional poetry writing in our own work without the poems diminishing to angst-filled journal entries. Prepare for a workshop where we will generate poems that shape unwieldy emotion into fine-tuned verse.

We are Sold Out for 2019 and will not accept further entries.


Payment is processed separately but is required. The fee is $125.
Do Not make payment until your acceptance is confirmed.  

Faculty Bios

Li-Young Lee is the author of five critically acclaimed books of poetry, most recently The Undressing(W.W Norton), Behind My Eyes (W.W. Norton), and a chapbook The Word From His Song (BOA Editions). His earlier collections are Book of My Nights (BOA Editions); Rose(BOA), winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University; The City in Which I Love You (BOA), the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and a memoir entitled The Winged Seed: A Remembrance (Simon and Schuster), which received an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and will be reissued by BOA Editions. Lee’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Lannan Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 1988 he received the Writer’s Award from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. He is also featured in Katja Esson’s documentary, Poetry of Resistance.

Three-time National Book Award finalist, Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of seventeen poetry books and the memoir How I Discovered Poetry. She is also the author of The Fields Of Praise: New And Selected Poems, which won the 1998 Poets’ Prize, Carver: A Life In Poems, which won the 2001 Boston Globe/Hornbook Award and the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, and Fortune’s Bones, which was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and won the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. Nelson’s honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Frost Medal, and two Pushcart Prizes. She was the Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut from 2001-2006.

Kaveh Akbar was born in Tehran, Iran. His poems appear recently in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Times, The Nation, Tin House, Best American Poetry, The New Republic, The Guardian, Ploughshares, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. His debut full-length collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, won the 2017 Julie Suk Award (Jacar Press). His chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press. His work has been praised by Patricia Smith, Nick Flynn and received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. He is a professor at Purdue University, and on the faculty of the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson College.

Lynn Melnick is the author of the poetry collections Landscape with Sex and Violence and If I Should Say I Have Hope, and the co-editor of Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation. Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, APR, The New Republic, and A Public Space, and her essays have appeared in LA Review of Books, ESPN, and the anthology Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture. A former fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and previously on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, she currently teaches poetry at Columbia University and the 92Y, and works with saferLIT. Born in Indianapolis, she grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in Brooklyn.

Annemarie Ní Churreáin is from Northwest Donegal, Ireland. Her debut collection Bloodroot (Doire Press, 2017) was shortlisted for the Shine Strong Award for best first collection in Ireland and for the 2018 Julie Suk Award. She is the author of a suite of poems about Dublin titled Town (The Salvage Press, 2018). In 2016 Ní Churreáin was the recipient of a Next Generation Artist Award from President Michael D. Higgins on behalf of the Arts Council of Ireland. She was the 2017-18 Kerry Writer In Residence and is the 2018-19 John Broderick Writer In Residence for Westmeath. Ní Churreáin has been awarded literary fellowships from Akademie Schloss Solitude, Jack Kerouac House Orlando, and Hawthornden Castle Scotland. Her poetry is taught as part of the Writing Program at Florida Gulf Coast University. Ní Churreáin is a member of the Arts Council Writers in Prisons Scheme. In 2018-19 she is composing a libretto for an upcoming opera production.

Renee Emerson earned her MFA in poetry from Boston University, where she studied with Louise Gluck and Robert Pinsky, and where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2009. She is the author of two full-length collections: Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing) and Threshing Floor (Jacar Press), as well as 3 chapbooks. In 2016, she was awarded an Individual Artist Grant by the Arkansas Arts Council. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize on three occasions.

Past Years

A Look Back at 2018’s Gathering

Eight Annual Gathering of Poets –
Saturday March 24, 2018, the Brookstown Inn, Winston-Salem.

2018 Worskshops:

Lynn Emanuel – Obsessional Poetics: No One Writes Just One Poem
Patricia Spears Jones – Basic and Bold: The Uses of Contemporary Poetry
Sandra Beasley – What We Talk About When We Talk About Voice
Zeina Hashem Beck – The Ghazal and the Poetic Leap
Gary Fincke – Everything Matters: Deepening Experience in Narrative
Maggie Anderson – The Poet in the World: Writing Political Poetry

A Look Back at 2017’s Gathering

Seventh Annual Gathering of Poets –
Saturday April 1, 2017, the Brookstown Inn, Winston-Salem

2017 Workshops:

Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar – As From a Quiver of Arrows
Lauren K. Alleyne – Self and World: Writing the Poems That Matter
Rickey Laurentiis – Reseeing (Re)vision
Stuart Dischell – Walking the Line
Anya Silver – From the Personal to the Poem
William Wright – Activating the Imagination: The Versatility of the Lyric Poem

A Look Back at 2016’s Gathering.

Sixth Annual Gathering of Poets –
Saturday April 2, 2016, the Brookstown Inn, Winston Salem

2016 Workshops:

Kathryn Stripling Byer – The Legato Line: A Master Class on Sound
Lola Haskins – On Editing
William Wright – Reclaiming the Deep Image
Joe Mills – The Worst Things Ever: Metaphors, Similes, and Beautiful Dangerous Images
Howard Craft – The Poetic
Robin Greene – Frameworks: A Workshop on Contextualizing Poems