Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.




Big Sur Coastline, California Highway One facing north near Bixby Bridge
Photo by Elizabeth Munroz

February 8 - 10, 2013
Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA

This workshop will help keep the channels open. We will evade, elude, and distract the censors that silence or limit us. We'll approach our experience from new angles to find the story or poem within the events of our lives. We'll question the stories we think are true and experience the power of not-knowing and discovery. For more information, click here. To register, call Esalen at 831-667-3005.

May 28 - June 2, 2013

Taught by Dorianne Laux, Marie Howe, and Ellen Bass
Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, NM

Marie Howe, Dorianne Laux, and Ellen Bass are poets who work to tell the truth in ways that show us the beauty of life, even in the midst of heartbreak and loss. If you want to encounter more truth in your poems, to express it in the most beautiful way possible, to craft poems that reflect the inextricable marriage of truth and beauty, love and death, the luminous and the ordinary, please join us for this special workshop. For more information about this workshop, visit the page here. To register, email Jen Petras at jpeachtree@yahoo.com.

with Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux, and Joseph Millar
August 4 - 9, 2013
Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA

There is a world inside each of us that we know better than anything else, and a world outside of us that calls for our attention. Our subject matter is always right with us. The trick is to find out what we know, challenge what we know, own what we know, and then give it away in language. Mainly this will be a writing retreat—time to explore and create in a supportive community. Though we’ll focus on poetry, prose writers who want to enrich their language will find it a fertile environment. For more information, click here.

September 28 - October 5, 2013
La Serrania, Mallorca, Spain
In this small, intimate workshop, you have the opportunity to create writing that is more vivid, more true, more complex and powerful than you've been able to do before. This will be my seventh year teaching at La Serrania and it's always a deep pleasure to return. La Serrania is remote, gorgeous, and inspiring. If you'd like a chance to sink deeply into your writing, enjoy delicious food, go to sleep in a simple, yet elegant room, wake to sheep bells, this is the place. For more information,click here. For information about La Serrania, visit www.laserrania.com. To register, contact La Serrania. If you have questions, you can email Ellen.


"Oh, No!" She cried in the midst of her dream.

Oh No! awakened her, without the memory of why the foreboding and despondency was coming through her in waves like nausea.

The mirror told it all. The dark circles. The sleep tangled hair. The frown frozen on her face. The dried salt rimming her eyes. Telltale signs. Had it been a long dream? It had been bad?

What was it? Seeming to be her mother? Looking back against time? Regretting and understanding the missed opportunities for cherishing the joy? Instead dying into the darkness?


The awakening to the sense of the glass is half full. Half full with a cesspool of dark liquid threatening to suck her into the burning acid of heartache. It tortures her soul. She clings to the side of the glass. The fragile glass, like herself, ready to crack under the weight of pressure.

The cup of tea, the piece of toast, the swallowing of pills. Nothing to detract from the sensations of the dream still enveloping her.

Hang on! Hang on! It will go away!

Wash a dish. Feed the cat. Pace back and forth. Clean a cupboard. Keep distracted. It is like a persistent oily, ugly debt collector his foot well placed in the door. Hold him back! But, he has gained entry, and now inside, is at the shoulder, leaning his face too close, breathing stale air.

No escape! Grab a banana. Turn on the TV. Make some pudding. Clean off the counter. Put a banana in the pudding. Add some walnuts. Yes. Food will put it off. It used to do that so well. Like an alcoholic with the relief of a drink. But, no. Food doesn't do it anymore.

The grip is in the stomach. The eyes are tight. The forehead crinkled in pain. The cheeks begging for release of tears. The prayers for comfort. But, it does not work. So, it is another bad ride.

All she can do is wait it out.