Five Poems to Marge Piercy


Every year Marge Piercy runs the Marge Piercy Poetry Intensive. The application period opens on December 1, 2019 for the workshop to be held in Wellfleet, Massachusetts in June of 2020. It ends when she is satisfied she has her poets for the year. The application is both simple and difficult. You send her five poems. She doesn’t tell you they should be previously published or unpublished, she doesn’t say they should be formal or free verse, and she doesn’t tell you much about it at all except they should be five poems on up to seven pages.

I attended last year and felt I got a real boost. I’m always interested in working with a variety of poets, exchanging ideas and poetry. The week was all that and more. I met other poets and got to know Marge, someone I had heard of but did not know personally. Besides the morning sessions, we each had a private meeting with Marge when she gave feedback on the fifteen poems we sent her after we were accepted. The fee is $800 for the program itself, not including meals, lodging, or any other expenses.

Here is an excerpt from her own web site on the topic:
Limited to twelve serious poets, daily group sessions are held in a climate-controlled conference room just outside the village, while individual conferences take place in the gazebo at Marge’s hillside home among the gardens. The five-day week includes a poetry reading open to the public when the entire class reads with Marge to a sizable audience. Weather permitting, we host a bonfire on the beach. We want the experience to be a welcoming and friendly one as well as moving the poets to a higher level of skill. A private on-line social network is set up months before the class in order to begin building a sense of community among participants and to provide information on lodging and transportation. The private network continues after the workshop for poets to offer support and feedback on each other’s work.
This is a week to work with a master teacher and hone your craft with emphasis on imagery, oral aspects, line lengths and line breaks, work habits, and the uses of persona. Writing exercises are assigned to improve specific areas of technique. We also work on delivery throughout the workshop, since readings are the point of sale for most poetry books.

If you are thinking about this, get those five poems ready. Polish and send them. There is no application fee. Best of luck. Here is a link to her site with the details: https://margepiercy.com/portfolio-items/intensive-poetry-workshop.


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