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Weeklong Sessions


Sunday, June 21st - Friday, June 26th, 2020

See prices for non-credit and credit-seeking students here.

Weeklong Courses:

  • Artress Bethany White, Creative Nonfiction
  • Liz Abrams-Morley, Poetry
  • Jennifer Steil, Novel Writing
  • Elise Juska, Short Story
  • Julianna Baggott, Writer-in-Residence

The Power and Place of Metaphor (and Mystery) in Poetry

Metaphor informs all aspects of our communication; we think in metaphor. The right metaphor invites readers deeper into the poem, as does a well-controlled sense of mystery. In this workshop we’ll focus on strategies to deepen, sharpen and vary the use of metaphor and control of mystery so that the poems we create will not only be read, but reread.

'We’ll examine published poems, and create, discuss, revise and re-discuss new poems. Please bring your wonder and playfulness and leave your harshest self-critic at home. Prose writers interested in learning poetic tactics that will, without a doubt, enrich your prose are welcome to be poets for the week!

No submissions. Instructor will, on request, read/ discuss work in progress during the week.

Courtney BambrickLiz Abrams-Morley’s collection, Beholder, was published by Word Poetry, April, 2018. Inventory, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014. Necessary Turns was published by Word Poetry in 2010 and won an Eric Hoffer Award for Excellence in Small Press Publishing that year.

Her poems and short stories have appeared in a variety of nationally distributed anthologies, journals and ezines, and have been read on NPR. A former faculty member in Rosemont’s MFA program, Liz is Co-Founder of Around the Block Writers’ Collaborative. Poet, professor, gramma, activist, Liz wades knee-deep in the flow of everyday life from which she draws inspiration and, occasionally, exasperation.

Short Story Intensive

Have a new short story in need of feedback? A promising draft that’s striving to get to the next level? This workshop-style course will focus on thoughtful discussion of participants' stories-in-progress, complemented by readings and writing exercises focused on creating tension, complicating characters, writing realistic dialogue, and more. Participants should submit one short story to the Conference by June 10. Instructor will provide detailed written critiques.

5,000 words. Submissions due: June 10, 2020

Elise Juska.Elise Juska is the author of five novels, including If We Had Known and The Blessings, which was selected for Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers series, Entertainment Weekly's "Must List," and the Philadelphia Inquirer's Best Books of 2014.

Her short fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review, The Hudson Review, Harvard Review, Electric Literature, The Millions, and numerous other places. She is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize from Ploughshares, and her short stories have been cited by The Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. She teaches fiction writing at the University of the Arts, where she received the 2014 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Taking it Public: Expanding the Forum for Memoir Essays

Using author Rebecca Solnit’s introduction to The Best American Essays 2019 as a starting point, we will examine “how the personal and the public can inform each other” and engage in generative exercises to capitalize on this linkage in our own writing.

One five to eight page essay
Submissions due: June 10, 2020

Artress Bethany White.

Artress Bethany White is a poet, essayist, and literary critic. Her collection of essays, Survivor’s Guilt: Essays on Race and American Identity is forthcoming from New Rivers Press/Minnesota State University in March 2020. She is the recipient of the 2018 Trio Award for her poetry collection, My Afmerica (Trio House Press, March 2019). Her prose and poetry have appeared in such journals as Harvard Review, Tupelo Quarterly, The Hopkins Review, Pleiades, Solstice, Poet Lore, Ecotone, and The Account.

White has received the Mary Hambidge Distinguished Fellowship from the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts for her nonfiction, The Mona Van Duyn Scholarship in Poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and writing residencies at The Writer’s Hotel and the Tupelo Press/MASS MoCA studios. She served as 2017-2019 Visiting Professor of American Cultural Studies at Albright College in Pennsylvania.

Novelist Training Camp

Using author Rebecca Solnit’s introduction to The Best American Essays 2019 as a starting point, we will examine “how the personal and the public can inform each other” and engage in generative exercises to capitalize on this linkage in our own writing.

5,000 words. Submissions due: June 10, 2020

Jennifer Steil.

Jennifer Steil’s first novel, The Ambassador’s Wife, won the 2013 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Best Novel award and the 2016 Phillip McMath Post Publication book award. It was shortlisted for both the Bisexual Book Award and the Lascaux Novel Award. Jennifer’s memoir, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, is about her tenure as editor of the Yemen Observer newspaper in Sana’a, was praised by The New York Times, Newsweek, and the Sydney Morning Herald.

Her freelance work has appeared in a variety of outlets including the Saranac Review, World Policy Journal, The Week, Vogue UK, Die Welt, and Time. She is currently working on edits of her next book, a novel about Viennese Jewish refugees in Bolivia. Jennifer earned a BA in Theatre from Oberlin College, an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence, and a MS in Journalism from Columbia University.

Julianna Baggott -Writer in Residence

Efficient Creativity: Your process can save you, but first you have to save it.  -- Writers face many challenges that stand between them and their work -- doubt, fear, and a lack of time and focus amid our chaotic lives. The key to overcoming these challenges is acknowledging your creative process, getting to know, questioning it, working with it instead of against, and, hopefully, allowing your process to evolve. In this session, we will look at these challenges and begin the process of creating a stronger sense of you own creative process and how to hand-tailor that process so you can dig deep.

Julianna will meet with individual authors by appointment on a first come/first served basis. Anyone registered for the weeklong retreat can schedule a session with her. Appointments can be arranged by contacting MFA program director Carla Spataro at

5,000 words of prose or five poems not longer than 30 lines each. Submissions due: June 10, 2020

Jenniger Baggott, Writer-in-Residence.

Julianna Baggott has published over twenty books, including two New York Times  Notable Books of the Year—Pure and Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders. Her work has been widely published in such places as  Agni, Poetry Magazine, Best American Poetry,, Boston Globe, Washington Post, and on NPR. She teaches screenwriting at Florida State University’s Film School. 

There are over one hundred foreign editions of Julianna’s novels published or forthcoming overseas. Baggott’s work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Modern Love column, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The International Herald Tribune, Glamour, Real Simple, Best Creative Nonfiction, Best American Poetry, and has been read on NPR’s Here and Now, Talk of the Nation, and All Things Considered. Her essays, stories, and poems are highly anthologized.