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2018 Summer Writing Retreat - "Please & Thank You: Crafting Poems that Express and Explore" with Christine Butterworth-McDermott

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Stephen F. Austin State University
1936 North St
Nacogdoches, TX 75962

7/29/2018 to 8/3/2018


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


"Please & Thank You" Class Meeting Times:

Sunday, July 29: Orientation, 6pm
Monday through Friday, July 30-August 3: 9:30am to 3:30pm (one hour break for lunch)


In an interview in Compose, award-winning poet Ada Limón noted that “that there are really only two prayers: thank you, and please. I’m not a praying person, but I think that same quote can work for poetry. Thank you and please is all I’ve got.”

Approaching poems as “pleases” and “thank you” helps us, as Limón suggests, “recommit to the world we are living in, to the ugly mess and beautiful strangeness of it.” It opens up surprising doors of possiblity for how to craft your work. It can be a liberating, energizing, and inspiring exercise for any poet.

Often poetry is used as catharsis, as a way to vent our anger or to investigate trauma. This is clearly a necessary and vital approach, but poetry as a form of gratitude, a desire to reveal the totality of human nature, can radically reshape our concepts of how to approach the artform and our subject matter. Whether you are new to writing poems or an experienced poet, this course will help you draft poems that are both “pleases” and “thank yous” to yourself, others, the world.

In the morning sessions, students will be asked to explore professional poems and study traditional devices focusing on imagery, placement, and sound that will allow them to craft poems that explore both their internal and external world. Through exercises and discussion, we will learn how to create movement in poems and incorporate stategies to fully engage an audience.

In the afternoon sessions, students will write, workshop, and/or hone poems in smaller groups. We will practice ways to use editing techniques to shape your poems to be more focused and professional. By the end of the workshop the student should ideally have 2-3 poems he or she will feel comfortable sharing and/or submitting. Students not interested in participating in workshops will be given that time to write solo or with other participants (writing exercises will be given).

This class is appropriate for both new and experienced writers of poetry.


About the Instructor


Christine Butterworth-McDermott is the founder of Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, an online journal that focuses on work with a magical twist. A graduate of Purdue’s M.F.A. program, her first book, Woods & Water, Wolves & Women was published in 2012 and her second, Evelyn As, about Gibson girl Evelyn Nesbit, is forthcoming from Fomite Press. Her poems, stories, and essays have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Cimmaron, The Normal School, River Styx, and Southeast Review as well as other journals and anthologies. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a Rhysling award, and received two honorable mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She teaches courses in poetry at Stephen F. Austin State University, which has the only BFA in Creative Writing in the state of Texas, with her husband, writer John A. McDermott.


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


(Please read this refund policy closely before registering for the 2018 Summer Writing Retreat; no exceptions will be made):

Through May 15, 2018: 100% refund available.
May 16 - June 21, 2018: 50% refund available.

All cancellations will incur a $50 cancellation fee.

After June 21, 2018: 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.