This year, Orion is hosting regular Online Environmental Writers’ Workshops in poetry and nonfiction. This unique opportunity lets you maintain social distance, while improving your writing skills from home. Connect with us for six to eight sessions with an experienced instructor and writer. Learn more about environmental writing, and renew, illuminate, and deepen your relationship with nature and place.
Conducted over Zoom (or similar platform) and limited to twelve participants, the workshops will feature a combination of generative exercises, craft talks, readings, special guest appearances, and workshopping of student manuscripts. Individual workshops vary, but students can likely expect to spend several hours a week reading, writing, and commenting on work outside of class.
Each six-session Zoom workshop is available for $500. Payment within five days of acceptance will guarantee your spot. Cancelations up until a week before the start of the course will result in a full refund. After that, refunds will be conditional on our ability to fill your spot before the course begins.
HOW TO APPLY
These workshops tend to be quite competitive. Please send a cover letter and your best nonfiction writing sample of up to 1,500 words or up to five pages of poetry to the Submittable button in the instructor’s workshop page. Sample writing can be published or unpublished, and might, but probably will not be used in class. Applicants will be notified whether they have been admitted within two weeks of the application deadline. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall 2021 Online Workshop Application Dates: August 1 -15, 2021
CURRENT & RECENT INSTRUCTORS
Belle Boggs (nonfiction) is the author of The Gulf: A Novel; The Art of Waiting; and Mattaponi Queen: Stories. The Art of Waiting was a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay and was named a best book of the year by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, the Globe and Mail, Buzzfeed, and O, the Oprah Magazine. Mattaponi Queen, a collection of linked stories set along Virginia’s Mattaponi River, won the Bakeless Prize and the Library of Virginia Literary Award and was a finalist for the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers’ conferences. Her stories and essays have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Orion, the Paris Review, Harper’s, Ecotone, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She is an associate professor of English at North Carolina State University, where she also directs the MFA program in creative writing. Photo by Barbara Tyroler.
Nickole Brown (poetry) received her MFA from the Vermont College, studied literature at Oxford University, and was the editorial assistant for the late Hunter S. Thompson. Her first collection, Sister, a novel-in-poems, was published in 2007 with a new edition reissued ten years later. Her second book, a biography-in-poems about her grandmother called Fanny Says won the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Poetry. Currently, she teaches periodically at a number of places, including the Sewanee School of Letters MFA Program. She lives with her wife, poet Jessica Jacobs, in Asheville, NC, where she volunteers at several different animal sanctuaries. Since 2016, she’s been writing about these animals, resisting the kind of pastorals that made her (and many of the working-class folks from the Kentucky that raised her) feel shut out of nature and the writing about it. Her work speaks in a Southern-trash-talking way about nature beautiful, damaged, dangerous, and in desperate need of saving. To Those Who Were Our First Gods, a chapbook of these first nine poems, won the 2018 Rattle Prize, and her essay-in-poems, The Donkey Elegies, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in 2020. Photo by Donald Schuster.
Francisco Cantú (nonfiction) is a writer, translator, and the author of The Line Becomes a River, winner of the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction. His writing and translations have been featured in The New Yorker, Best American Essays, and VQR, as well as on This American Life. A lifelong resident of the Southwest, he now lives in Tucson, where he coordinates the Field Studies in Writing Program at the University of Arizona, a residency that fosters work at the intersection of border justice and environmental issues. In addition to working with MFA students, Cantú has facilitated and co-taught workshops for writers of all ages at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Under The Volcano, and the UA Poetry Center. He is currently at work on a collection of essays interrogating landscape, identity, and myth. Photo by David Taylor.
Joseph O. Legaspi (poetry), a Fulbright scholar and two-time NYSCA/New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow, is the author of two poetry collections from CavanKerry Press, Threshold and Imago; and three chapbooks: Postcards (Ghost Bird Press), Aviary, Bestiary (Organic Weapon Arts), and Subways (Thrush Press). His poems have appeared in POETRY, New England Review, World Literature Today, Best of the Net, Orion, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day. He co-founded Kundiman (www.kundiman.org), a national organization serving generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature.
Pam Houston (nonfiction) is the author of the memoir, Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country, which won the 2019 Colorado Book Award, the High Plains Book Award and the Reading the West Advocacy Award and even more recently, Air Mail: Letters of Politics Pandemics and Place coauthored with Amy Irvine. She is also the author of Cowboys Are My Weakness as well as five other books of fiction and nonfiction, all published by W.W. Norton. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level on a 120-acre homestead near the headwaters of the Rio Grande and teaches at UC Davis and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is cofounder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing by Writers and the fiction editor at the Environmental Arts Journal Terrain.org. Photo by Mike Blakeman.
Keetje Kuipers (poetry) is the author of three books of poems, all from BOA Editions: Beautiful in the Mouth (2010), which was chosen by Thomas Lux as the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, The Keys to the Jail (2014), which was a book club selection for The Rumpus, and All Its Charms (2019), which was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and includes poems honored by publication in both The Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. Keetje’s poetry and prose have appeared in Narrative, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly Review, The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, Orion, The Believer, and over a hundred other magazines. Her poems have also been featured as part of the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series and read on NPR. Keetje has been a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, the Katharine Bakeless Nason Fellow in Poetry at Bread Loaf, the Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College, and the recipient of multiple residency fellowships including PEN Northwest’s Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency. Keetje is Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Montana and Editor of Poetry Northwest. Photo by Fiona Margo.
Jessica J. Lee (nonfiction) Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author and environmental historian, and winner of the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award. She is the author of two books of nature writing: Turning and Two Trees Make a Forest, shortlisted for the 2020 Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. She has a PhD in Environmental History and Aesthetics and was Writer-in-Residence at the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology in Berlin from 2017–2018. Jessica is the founding editor of The Willowherb Review and a researcher at the University of Cambridge. She lives in London.
Scott Russell Sanders (nonfiction and fiction) is the author of more than twenty books of fiction, essays, and personal narrative, including Hunting for Hope, A Conservationist Manifesto, A Private History of Awe, and Earth Works: Selected Essays. His most recent book is The Way of Imagination, a reflection on healing and renewal in a time of social and environmental upheaval. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He and his wife, Ruth, a biochemist, have reared two children in their hometown of Bloomington, in the hardwood hill country of southern Indiana. Photo by Peter Forbes.
Other former instructors include: