The cultivation of close and permeable attention will be the taproot of this advanced-level workshop. We will bring an open, intimate, and tenacious looking to words, worlds, and the craft-informed relationship between them where poetry begins. The workshop sessions will include generating a variety of poetic “starts” (whether rough drafts or near-finished poems) and also group attention to one previously written poem by each participant. In both, we’ll be making conscious the nameable elements of craft that underlie poetry’s power to conjure, transform, delve, evoke, counter, move, unravel, expose, augment, and surprise. Both mystery and generosity are part of any genuinely creative act. These are ungovernable and ultimately undomesticable forces. Yet they too can be invited, welcomed. A permeable and acute attention is the door through which unforeseeable energies slip into good poems.

The morning workshop will include writing experiments, close-reading responses to poems, and conversation on craft. Afternoons and evenings will be free for writing, reading, and exploring Key West. You will be asked to bring writing materials, four poems not your own (one page or less in length) which you particularly admire, and copies for the full group of one recent poem of your own for workshop discussion.


Note: This workshop is full. Please contact us if you wish to join the waitlist; do not make payment in the meantime. Winners of our named awards are guaranteed space in the workshop of their choice.

This workshop is intended for practicing poets, with some craft vocabulary, familiarity with the workshop process, and some strong intention toward a deepening relationship with the investigative art & investigative play of poems. Admission will be based on a writing sample: no more than 4 pages of poetry and a cover note (one page or less). Please prepare your submission as a single file in .doc format and name the .doc “HirshfieldSub_YourName.doc”; you will upload the file when you register for the workshop. A $100 deposit (fully refundable) is required to register for any workshop. The full cost of the workshop is $450.

About Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield’s most recent books include her seventh poetry collection Come, Thief and The Heart of Haiku, a best-selling e-book exploring the origins of haiku and the 17th-century Japanese poet Basho. She is the author as well of a now-classic collection of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, and co-translator and editor of four much-reprinted collections of work by poets from the past. Her poetry, called “radiant and passionate” by the New York Times Book Review, appears in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, the American Poetry Review, Slate, Orion, McSweeneys, and England’s Times Literary Supplement (TLS), as well as in many textbooks, anthologies, and seven editions of The Best American Poetry.

Hirshfield’s honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the 2004 Academy of American Poets Fellowship. In addition to her work as a freelance writer, editor, and translator, she has taught in the Bennington MFA Writing Seminars, at UC Berkeley, and at the University of San Francisco. She has been a visiting Poet-in-Residence at Duke University, The University of Alaska, The University of Virginia and elsewhere, and has been the Elliston Visiting Poet at the University of Cincinnati. In 2012, Hirshfield was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and received the third annual Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Award in American Poetry.