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 Sample writing can be published or unpublished, and might, but probably will not be used in class.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 email@example.com.
Winter 2022 Online Workshop Application Dates: November 15-30, 2021
CURRENT, RECENT, and Upcoming INSTRUCTORS
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.
Alison Hawthorne Deming’s (nonfiction) most recent nonfiction book, A Woven World: On Fashion, Fishermen, and the Sardine Dress was recently published Counterpoint Press. She is the author of five nonfiction books and five poetry collections, including Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit, and Stairway to Heaven. Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and Walt Whitman Award, she is Regents Professor Emerita at the University of Arizona. She is a frequent and long-term contributor to Orion. Photo by Bear Guerra.
Jennifer Elise Foerster (poetry) is the author of Leaving Tulsa and Bright Raft in the Afterweather. Her third book of poetry, The Maybe-Bird, is forthcoming from The Song Cave in 2022. Jennifer served as the Associate Editor of When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry. She earned her PhD in English and Literary Arts from the University of Denver, is the recipient of a NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford. Her poetry has recently appeared in POETRY London, The Georgia Review, Kenyon Review and other journals. Jennifer currently teaches at the Rainier Writing Workshop and is the Literary Assistant to the U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo. She grew up living internationally, is of European (German/Dutch) and Mvskoke descent, and is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma. She lives in San Francisco. Photo by Richard Blue Cloud Castaneda.
Moeko Fujii (nonfiction) is a writer and a critic whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, Aperture, the Criterion Collection, The Point, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Columbia and a BA from Harvard College, and has received scholarships from Tin House, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Kundiman. She currently writes the film column “Green Screen” for Orion, and calls New York and Tokyo home.
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.
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.
Christopher Merrill (poetry) has published seven collections of poetry, including Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; many edited volumes and translations; and six books of nonfiction, among them, Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars, Things of the Hidden God: Journey to the Holy Mountain, The Tree of the Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War, and Self-Portrait with Dogwood. His writings have been translated into nearly forty languages; his journalism appears widely; his honors include a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French government, numerous translation awards, and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial and Ingram Merrill Foundations. As director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa since 2000, Merrill has conducted cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries. He served on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO from 2011-2018, and in April 2012 President Barack Obama appointed him to the National Council on the Humanities. Photo by Ram Devineni.
Sandra Steingraber (nonfiction) is an author, biologist, and cancer survivor who writes about climate change, ecology, and the links between human health and the environment. She is a frequent contributor and former columnist for Orion, and the author of many books including Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, and Raising Elijah: Protecting our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis. Sandra has been named a Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine, a Person of the Year by Treehugger, and of the 25 “Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” by the Utne Reader. She is the recipient of a Rachel Carson Leadership Award, among others. Her work and interviews have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Rolling Stone, Outside, on NPR, “The Today Show,” and “Bill Moyers & Company.” She is currently a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. Photo by www.laurakozlowski.com.
Amber Flora Thomas (poetry) is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She earned her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. She is the author of Eye of Water: Poems which was selected by Harryette Mullen as the winner of the 2004 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Her other books include, The Rabbits Could Sing: Poems and Red Channel in the Rupture: Poems. She has taught at the Cave Canem annual retreat and the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers Conference. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and Sewanee Writers Conference. Her poetry has appeared in The New England Review, Tin House, Ecotone, Callaloo, Orion Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, Saranac Review, and Third Coast, as well as Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, and numerous other journals and anthologies. Currently, she resides in Washington, North Carolina with her dog and three cats. Photo by Bobby Davis.
Felicia Zamora (poetry) is the author of six poetry books including, I Always Carry My Bones, winner of the 2020 Iowa Poetry Prize (University of Iowa Press, 2021), Quotient (forthcoming from Tinderbox Editions, 2022), Body of Render, Benjamin Saltman Award winner (Red Hen Press, 2020), and Of Form & Gather, Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize winner (University of Notre Dame Press). A CantoMundo and Ragdale Foundation fellow, she won the 2020 C.P. Cavafy Prize from Poetry International, the Wabash Prize for Poetry and the Tomaž Šalamun Prize. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Georgia Review, Guernica, Missouri Review Poem-of-the-Week, Orion, Poetry Magazine, The Nation, and others. She is an assistant professor of poetry at the University of Cincinnati and associate poetry editor for the Colorado Review.
Other former instructors include:
- Belle Boggs
- Chris Dombrowski
- Amy Irvine
- Toni Jensen
- Drew Lanham
- Nadia Owusu
- Janisse Ray
- Scott Russell Sanders
- Joe Wilkins