Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Winter Update, 2007

Dear Ones,

Hope your new year is off to a happy and fruitful start. After a month on the road in the midwest and southeast, I'm back in L.A. for the spring semester at USC. My classes this fall went beautifully -- I realized how much I love being in the classroom, and how good for my soul it is for me to be with young people -- so I'm looking forward to the new term. I'll have a somewhat lighter teaching load, both at USC and in the low-residency MFA program at Western Connecticut State, so I hope to be able to focus as much of my time and energy as possible on my own work, though of course there's never quite enough time ...

I'm still working on the prose project about my travels in Poland and my family history, and also trying to put the finishing touches on a new book-length manuscript of poems. My chapbook, Narcissus, will be out from Tupelo Press in the fall of '07, and there's some work to be done on that, too.

While I'm continuing to limit the amount of time I devote to private teaching and other workshops, my schedule will allow me to take on one or two new private students in February -- get in touch if you want to talk about that, and keep in mind that I require a three-month commitment in advance.

There's also a plan in the works for a bi-monthly private workshop in L.A. starting in February and running through the end of April. I'll let everyone know those details as they emerge, but it's likely the workshop will be held on Saturday or Sunday, will focus on close critique, and will be limited to 10 or 12 poets who've studied with me before and are prepared to work at an "advanced" level, in terms of craft. If you want to be considered for the workshop, let me know which of the above-mentioned times might work best for you.

Because I'm limiting the number of workshops I lead and the number of participants in each, I've made the decision to reserve those spots for writers who've previously worked with me and are already on my workshops list, and to those referred by someone on that list. Anyone who hasn't been in a workshop with me before will be asked to submit a sample of their work and a brief bio, by way of application. It's not my aim to be exclusive, but to foster a certain intensity, intimacy and chemistry in the workshops.

Happily, my academic schedule will allow me to travel in March, and again when the semester ends in late April, so I'll be offering several workshops "abroad." Registration is now open for my Creative Writing Workshop at Centro Pokkoli in Vitorchiano, Italy (to be held in early March), and registration for the Paris Poetry Workshop (in May) will open in late February. While the workshop in Italy is open to writers working in all genres, and offers a somewhat secluded creative environment, the Paris workshop is focused on poetry and takes place within the lively English-speaking Paris poetry community -- two very different experiences. My intention with these international workshops is to introduce friends and fellow writers to one another, to connect people and places I love, to build bridges between creative communities so that we can all keep expanding our horizons. Additional notices about both workshops will be coming soon ...

I'll also be traveling in Poland, Ukraine and Turkey this year, and hope to offer a workshop in Istanbul in fall 2007. Announcement of that workshop should be out by early summer 2007.

In July, I'll be in Idyllwild, as usual. This year's "distinguished" guests at Summer Poetry in Idyllwild will be esteemed poets Marilyn Nelson and David Lehman; the marvelous Terrance Hayes will be back with us as a teaching poet, along with Eloise Klein-Healy, Richard Garcia, Natasha Trethewey, myself, and David St. John, who'll be leading a special week-long workshop on the chapbook manuscript. Watch for a new electronic newsletter on Summer Poetry in Idyllwild, coming this winter, and check the Idyllwild Arts website (www.idyllwildarts.org) for registration and other information. The workshops -- especially David's workshop on the chapbook -- are bound to fill very early this year.

Finally, I'm looking for an assistant to work with me one day a week (minimum of five hours, preferably on Saturday) in Los Angeles. The ideal person would have great organizational and administrative skills, familiarity with Macintosh computers, plus lots of initiative and creativity. The job involves helping with the administrative tasks involved in running workshops, setting up systems for keeping track of registrations and expenses, updating my website and mailing list, assisting with author questionnaires and other publication-related tasks, and generally holding down the fort in Los Angeles while I'm on the road. Someone with good research skills would also be a blessing, as I could use assistance on the Poland/family history project in that regard. I'm willing to pay well and/or offer free workshop tuition to whomever fills the bill. If you think this might be you, or you know someone who might be a good candidate, please let me know.

As ever, I hope your creative work is going beautifully, and that this new year brings peace and plenty and happiness to us all.

All best,