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2015 Summer Writing Retreat-"Radical Re-visioning for Poets" with Scott Wiggerman

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Sul Ross State University
Alpine, TX 79832

7/19/2015 to 7/23/2015 From 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Retreat Orientation to be held Saturday, July 18, at 6 pm -- Details will be shared with participants in advance of the retreat's start date.


$329 for members (Please log in for member pricing)

$379 Non-Members

Please read both the credit card handling fee information and the refund policy at the bottom of this page before purchasing a ticket.


Poet Stephen Dobyns claims that “the poem exists not in that first burst of creativity, but in revision.” Following that philosophy, Scott Wiggerman’s eighth Summer Writing Retreat workshop focuses on various methods for revising poetry drafts into fully accomplished poems.

Be clear, while editing is an important aspect of revision, many poets don’t take editing beyond surface revisions—corrected spelling, changed punctuation, a change in a word or two, suggested deletions, possible rephrasing of lines. No doubt these kinds of things are helpful, but they are only part of revision. True revision involves a complete “re-visioning.” It’s this kind of radical revision that this class aims to apply to your drafts.

Perhaps you’ve heard the story about a student of Robert Lowell’s who wanted a critique of his 17-line poem? Lowell read it, crossed out 16 of the lines, and told him to start with what was left. Sometimes, we have to be that drastic, even though it’s not easy. We grow attached to our words! We hate to lose them—even when deep in our hearts we know that the poem would be better without them. We likely won’t be that extreme, but be prepared to try revision techniques you’ve likely never tried before—and be willing “to kill your darlings.”

Each morning will begin with warm-up drafts to get the day flowing, but the rest of the day will concentrate on radical revisions of drafts that you bring with you to Alpine. Among the approaches will be some of the revision exercises from the two Wingbeats volumes, including Jill Alexander Essbaum’s “Right Turn, Clyde: Ten Variations on a Broken Poem,” Scott Wiggerman’s “Two Wrongs Make a Right: Revision through Recycling,” and Laurie Kutchins’ “Scissors & Gluesticks: Re-Visioning the Poem.” In addition we will try several techniques from Poem, Revised—redrafting poems by syllable count and/or stressed beats; reordering chronology; turning prose into poetry, and free verse into poetic forms.

We will also look at revision at the sentence and line levels, which can completely alter a poem’s sound and style, applying techniques such as shifting parts of speech, adding negation, altering types of sentences, creating compound words, and adding “intrusive” elements. In other words, attention will be directed to both the poem’s larger structure and to its smaller details. The goal is that by week’s end, you’ll have taken at least five mediocre, humdrum (“drafty”) drafts and radically changed them into poems that sparkle with the energy of new life.

Wiggerman’s classes are known for experimentation, and certainly this class is no exception. If you are willing to leave your comfort zone and take on the techniques of radical revision, your poetry can only benefit from the Alpine experience. Expect to work hard all week, but play hard too (including an evening of wine, dessert, and poetry exclusively for the members of this class).

About the instructor: 
Scott Wiggerman is the author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: SonnetsPresence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and the editor of several volumes, including Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga and Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry, named in the 2015 Poet’s Market as one of “Six Stellar Sources of Poetry Prompts.”  Recent poems have appeared in Decades Review, Frogpond, Pinyon Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and the anthologies Forgetting Home: Poems about Alzheimer’s and the Lambda award-winning This Assignment Is So Gay. Wiggerman is chief editor for Dos Gatos Press in Austin, Texas, publisher of the Texas Poetry Calendar, now in its eighteenth year.

Note: All credit card transactions will incur a 4% handling fee (this fee can be avoided by mailing in a check for registration with this form).


(Please read this refund policy closely before registering for the 2015 Summer Writing Retreat; no exceptions will be made):

Through May 1, 2015: 100% refund available.
May 2, 2015 - May 31, 2015: 50% refund available.

All cancellations will incur a $50 cancellation fee.

After May 31, 2015: No refunds will be made, but registrants can transfer their registration to another person as long as advance notice is given to the Writers' League of Texas. If you wish to transfer your registration, please call the WLT at 512-499-8914.

Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to