Mountain Writers Series

Writing Workshops 2016 - 2017

WATCH FOR UPCOMING SESSIONS with Christopher Howell, Lucia Perillo, Lidia Yuknavich and others.  

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If you have questions or wish to withdraw from a workshop, please call our message phone 503.232.4517 or write to programs@mountainwriters.org and we will get back to you soon.

If a reservation for a class or workshop is canceled 3 days or more prior to the start of a class or workshop, a refund of 75% will be made, less a $25.00 administrative fee. The reservation may be converted to a credit for an upcoming class or workshop, good for one year, if preferred. For any cancellation 48 hours or less before a class or workshop is scheduled to begin, no refund will be made, nor will a credit toward a future workhop or class be given.

Andrea Hollander 

The Lyric Essay: A Writing Workshop

The lyric essay – what innovator John D’Agata calls an oddball genre—combines elements of both poetry and essays, relying on the former in its insistence on compression, form, and the sound and texture of language, and on the latter in its devotion to the process of discovery based on fact. In this workshop we will attempt to define the genre for ourselves not only by reading what others have to say about the craft of nonfiction writing and by examining exemplary essays by established and emerging writers, but also by creating our own essays, sometimes modeled on the work of others and at other times experimenting with our own gestures and forms.

  • Cost:  $385 (Eight three-hour sessions)
  • Meets:  9:30 AM - 12:30 PM, Wednesdays, September 7 - October 26
  • Enrollment: Maximum 9
  • Location: TaborSpace Conference Room (5441 SE Belmont, Portland 97215)

An award-winning poet and essayist, Andrea Hollander is author of four full-length poetry collections—most recently, Landscape with Female Figure: New and Selected Poems, 1982 – 2012, finalist for the 2014 Oregon Book Award in Poetry. She is also the editor of When She Named Fire: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by American Women. Her first poetry collection, House without a Dreamer, won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Hollander’s other awards include two Pushcart Prizes (poetry and essay), the D. H. Lawrence Fellowship, the EllipsisPoetry Prize, the RUNES Award, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Literary Fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts. Her poems and essays have appeared in many anthologies, college textbooks, and literary journals, and she has been featured at writers' conferences and festivals throughout the United States, as well as in England and France. Before moving to Portland in 2011, Hollander spent 22 years as the Writer-in-Residence at Lyon College, where she was awarded the Lamar Williamson Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

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John Brehm

Reading as a Writer: Lucia Perillo

6:00 - 9:00 PM, Tuesdays

September 13 - October 18, 2016

This six-week reading-as-a-writer course focuses on the work of Lucia Perillo, one of the most original poets writing today. We’ll read and discuss poems from her most recent book, Time Will Clean the Carcass Bones: Selected and New Poems, as well as essays from her collection I’ve Heard the Vultures Singing, all with an eye toward how her work might open up new ways of approaching our own poetic practice. Participants will be invited to write poems in response to, or inspired by, Perillo’s work.

  • Meets: Tuesdays, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, September 13 - October 18, 2016
  • Cost: $290 (Six three-hour sessions)
  • Enrollment: Minimum 4, Maximum 12.
  • Location:  Room 23,  Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Portland OR 

John Brehm is the author of two books of poetry: Sea of Faith, which won the 2004 Brittingham Prize, and Help Is on the Way, which won the 2012 Four Lakes Prize, both from the University of Wisconsin Press. Brehm has published a chapbook, The Way Water Moves, from Flume Press (2002) and was the associate editor for The Oxford Book of American Poetry (2006). His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, Boulevard, Gulf Coast, The Missouri Review, New Ohio Review, The Best American Poetry 1999. He has taught at Cornell, Emerson College, and Portland State University and received fellowships from Oregon Literary Arts and Yaddo. He currently lives in Portland.


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Evan Morgan Williams

Short Story Workshop

6:30 - 9:00 PM, Tuesdays
September 20 - November 15, 2016


Through discussion of model stories by authors Raymond Carver, Colette, Kafka, Hemingway, Maile Meloy and others, participants will share and revise short stories in a rigorous but encouraging workshop environment. The focus of this 8-session workshop, designed for a class maximum of 8 participants, will be on the critique, revision, and re-critique of existing stories (i.e., stories written prior to the class). Participants are asked to bring eight copies of an existing story to the first meeting of the class. There will be a one-week hiatus mid session for submission of e-copies.

  • Meets: Tuesdays, 6:30 - 9:00 PM,  Sept. 20—Nov. 15, 2016 - with a one-week break October 18.
  • Cost:  $320 (Eight sessions)
  • Enrollment:  Minimum 4, Maximum 8.
  • Location:  Room 4, TaborSpace (5441 SE Belmont, Portland OR 97215)

Evan Morgan Williams' collection of stories, Thorn, won the BkMk Press Chandra Prize (University of Missouri- Kansas City) judged by Al Young. Williams has published over forty stories in such magazines as Witness, Antioch Review, Kenyon Review, and ZYZZYVA. He has an MFA from the University of Montana, and has taught in a public school for over twenty years. Most recently, he has held a Writers in the Schools residency and an AWP Writer to Writer mentorship. He has stories current in Phantom Drift, The Timberline Review, and Weber: the Contemporary West. He currently lives in Portland.



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Peter Sears

Fall 8-week Poetry Writing Workshop

6:30 - 9:30 PM, Thursdays

September 29 - November 17, 2016

This eight-week poetry-writing workshop is limited to nine people to ensure that each person can have a poem discussed during each session. Worksheets are prepared in each session for the following class. No beginners. No prompts. Revisions encouraged. Priority enrollment will be given to poets who have before taken the 8-week fall writing workshop with Peter Sears. Others may request that they be put on a wait list or, for those who have not taken the fall workshop, may apply:

  • Meets: 6:30 - 9:30 p.m., Thursdays, September 29 - November 17, 2016

  • Cost: $385 [Eight three-hour sessions]

  • Enrollment: Maximum 9.

  • Location:  Room 23,  Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Portland OR 

Peter Sears, who served a two-year term as Oregon Poet Laureate from 2014 - 2016, is the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently Small Talk: New and Selected Poems (Lynx House Press, 2014). Previous books of poetry include Tour; The Brink, which received the Gibbs-Smith poetry prize and the Western States Book Award for Poetry; and Green Diver; as well as a number of poetry chapbooks. He also has two books on teaching writing, Secret Writing, and I'm Gonna Bake Me a Rainbow Poem. A graduate of Yale and the Iowa Writers Workshop, Sears has taught at Reed College, Pacific's low-residency MFA program, and in numerous community-based programs, including Mountain Writers Series year-round writing workshops. He has served as Dean of Students at Bard College and the community services coordinator for the Oregon Arts Commission. Sears is the founder of the Oregon Literary Coalition and co-founder of Friends of William Stafford and Cloudbank Books. He serves on the board of advisors for Fishtrap, and splits his time between Corvallis and Portland


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Annie Lighthart

Love Poems: The Good, the Bad, and the Delightfully Strange

Saturday, February 11, 2017
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM 

If you’ve been wary of writing love poems, or have had a folder of them stashed away for years, join us as we take a new look at love poetry. It’s true that love poetry is a wonderfully tricky form, but together we’ll read a range of vital poems and see what makes them tick. From forlorn to vibrant, from Rumi’s Friend to Christopher Smart’s cat, we’ll explore the many facets of love poems and try a variety of exercises to create our own. All levels of writing experience welcome.

  • Meets: 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM, Saturday, February 11, 2017
  • Cost: $85 (one three-hour Saturday session)
  • Enrollment: Minimum 4; maximum 12
  • Location: Room 23,  Multnomah Friends Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark, Portland OR 

Annie Lighthart started writing poetry after her first visit to an Oregon old-growth forest. Since those first strange days, she published her poetry collection Iron String with Oregon’s Airlie Press. Her poetry has been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac and chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye to be placed in Ireland’s Galway University Hospitals as part of their Poems for Patience project.  Annie has taught at Boston College, as a poet in the schools, and with students of all ages. She currently lives in a small green corner of Portland, Oregon.



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Following a River

Writing & Conference with Gary Miranda


                         Freedom is not following a river.
                         Freedom is following a river
                         though, if you want to.

                                             -- William Stafford

These tutoring sessions are intended to help serious poets improve their poems and writing skills through consultation and revision. While individual poems will receive careful attention and thorough feedback, the emphasis will be on finding the poet's overall strengths and weaknesses in an effort to maximize the former and minimize the latter. Gary Miranda likes to think of this in terms of a river: "Some poets need more current, others need more banks." "Banks," he notes, "are a lot easier to learn." 

Students will submit their poems to Mr. Miranda in the week preceding their appointment. Hence, the fee includes tutor preparation to read and annotate the poems, and the individual conference session (an hour) to discuss and suggest directions. These one-on-one writing & conference sessions, by appointment, will be held Wednesdays at the TaborSpace Cafe. Request for other days/hours will be considered on an individual basis.

  • Meets: By appointment, Wednesdays between 10 AM and 4:30 PM
  • Cost:  $385 for 4 individual sessions or $100 per session
  • Location: TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont, Portland 97215
  • Enrollment: Individual writing-and-conference sessions, by appointment.

Register securely online through Paypal at www.mountainwriters.org or send check payable Mountain Writers to 2804 SE 27th, #2, Portland, OR 97202.

Online registration: fill in amount on PayPal website, indicating in "Add special instructions . . . " your enrollment preference: instructor, number of sessions, etc.

Gary Miranda has taught writing and literature at various colleges and universities, including three years as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Athens in Greece and, as writer-in-residence at Reed College in Portland. His poems have been published in numerous magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere, and widely anthologized. He has published four collections, one of which, Listeners at the Breathing Place, won the Princeton Contemporary Poetry competition and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He has also published a translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies. His awards include an NEA Fellowship, nine awards from the Poetry Society of America, and an invitation by The Atlantic Monthly to serve as poet-in-residence at the Robert Frost Place in New Hampshire. His poems have been taped for Harvard University’s Lamont Poetry Collection and the Library of Congress Poetry Archive. He lives in Portland.

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