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One-Week Exercise Program: Forms, Formulas, and More with Scott Wiggerman

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Sul Ross University
East Highway 90
Alpine, TX 79832

7/21/2013 to 7/26/2013 From 10 AM to 4 PM

Summer Writing Retreat

Sul Ross State University in Alpine

Online registration for this event is now closed. There might be one or two slots still available.  If interested, please email informing us of your intention to purchase a ticket and which workshop you are interested in. We will arrange sales on a first come/first served basis until the class is full.


Orientation is Sunday evening, July 21.
Classes run Monday through Friday, July 22 to 26, from 10 am to 4 pm

For some poets, writing in anything but free verse is downright formidable. Wiggerman is here to help you lose your fear of form poetry with a week of generative writing exercises focusing on form. Rather than restraining, forms can be very liberating, as you will discover throughout the week, where such forms as haiku, sonnets, sestinas, ghazals, villanelles, and centos will be explored through study and experiment. No previous knowledge of these forms is necessary. Many other less formal—even unorthodox—types of poems will also be explored, such as the list poem, the abecedarium, the cutaway. Hybrid forms such as haibun and the prose poem will also be explored. One week isn’t going to make anyone a master of any form, but it is enough time to move you past your fear of form poetry, especially once you learn some of the tricks—dare we say, formulas—for writing in form.

Of course, forms cannot be studied and learned without a grounding in other poetic techniques and concepts. There is no haiku without imagery, no sonnet without rhyme and meter. Throughout the week, writers will be exposed to lessons in imagery, metaphor, rhyme, meter, and revision as the various forms are explored. In fact, revisions of drafts will be required as homework each night. Poet and editor Scott Wiggerman, who has taught popular "Jump-Start" classes for the Writers' League and poetry classes for the past five Summer Writing Retreats, has gathered, used, refined, and developed numerous writing exercises over the years, and in the course of this week, you will experience dozens of them, including several from two volumes Wiggerman has edited, Wingbeats: Exercises and Practice in Poetry and the forthcoming Wingbeats II, on which he is presently at work.

During the week in Alpine, the class will engage in both individual and group writing exercises (including a field trip), and writers never leave town without a dozen or more solid drafts, whether the poems stay in form or evolve into something else. Wiggerman will guide you with new and creative approaches to your poetry! The One-Week Exercise Program: Forms will be a week you won’t want to miss.

Scott Wiggerman is the author of two books of poetry, Presence (Pecan Grove Press) and Vegetables and Other Relationships (Plain View Press), as well as co-editor of Wingbeats: Exercises and Practice in Poetry. Former poetry editor of the Austin Writer and di-verse-city, he has been published in dozens of journals and anthologies, including Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Pacific Review, Naugatuck River Review, Assaracus, Southwestern American Literature, and Spillway. In addition, he is one of the editors of Dos Gatos Press, which publishes the Texas Poetry Calendar, now in its fifteenth year.

For more details on the Writers' League of Texas Summer Writing Retreat and information about lodging, click

Refund Policy

We're sorry, but no refunds can be made. Please make sure you can commit to the dates before purchasing. Tickets are transferrable, so if something unforeseen arises you can make arrangements to have someone go in your stead. Simply alert the office via phone (512.499.8914) or email ( to pass along the name of your replacement.

Problems Registering?

If you are having issues registering online for any reason, you can sign up for the retreat via mail. Please send us your contact information, a check for the registration fee, and indicate which class you are interested in taking.

Mail check to:
The Writers' League of Texas
611 S. Congress, Ste. 505
Austin, TX 78704