Hamptons Retreat

Join us for our sixth annual, newly expanded retreat the weekend of June 29–July 2, 2018, for poetry classes, workshops, readings and conferences in a historic mansion in Amagansett within walking distance of the famous Amagansett ocean beaches as well as the beautiful beaches on Napeague Bay. The 14,000-square-foot house is the largest of the four Devon Colony estates in Amagansett, built as grand summer homes in 1909. The highest point for miles in either direction, with ocean and bay views, the house has seventeen bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a pool, hot tub, tennis court and game room, and is just a short car ride from East Hampton, Montauk and Springs, home to the Pollock-Krasner House and Green River Cemetery, where Pollock, Krasner, Frank O’Hara and other artists and writers are buried. Check out photos from last year’s retreat in Hampton Bays here.

Faculty members Natalie Eilbert, Jason Koo, John Murillo and Nicole Sealey will lead morning poetry classes on Saturday and Sunday devoted to writing new material and afternoon workshops providing feedback on previously written work. Students and faculty will share their work in evening poetry readings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. On Monday, students will meet with a faculty member individually for a thirty-minute conference on their work.

Registration covers tuition, room and board for the entire weekend. Poet-Chef Tracy May Fuad, who’s cooked for our past three retreats, will prepare our delicious home-cooked meals once again! See the full retreat menu here. Standard registration includes lodging with one or two roommates in a large bedroom—you can register with friends or we can arrange a roommate (or two) for you. Single registration comes with a private bedroom; premium single registration comes with a larger private bedroom and a larger bed. Volunteer to help in the kitchen and with clean-up to knock $100 off registration. Let us know your rooming preferences and any dietary restrictions you might have on the registration form, and let us know if you’d like to volunteer.

To get to the retreat, take the LIRR (train) or Hampton Jitney (bus) to Amagansett; if you’re driving, take the Sunrise Highway (NY-27 E) to Oceanview Lane in Amagansett. More detailed information is available upon registration.

Register early by April 3 to take $50 off registration and unlock three installment payments. Register between April 4 and 24 to take $25 off registration and pay in two installments. Register between April 25 and May 15 to pay full price all at once. Members can take $25 off registration and returning students $10 off when it reaches full price.

Standard registration: $745 (by Apr 3) – $770 (by Apr 24) – $795 (by May 15)

Single registration: $895 (by Apr 3) – $920 (by Apr 24) – $945 (by May 15)

Premium single registration: $995 (by Apr 3) – $1020 (by Apr 24) – $1045 (by May 15)


Retreat Schedule

Friday, June 29

5–8 PM: arrival
7–8 PM: happy hour/introductions
8–9 PM: dinner
9–10 PM: faculty readings

Saturday, June 30

8–9 AM: breakfast

9–10:15 AM: “Gimme the Loot, Gimme the Loot!: How to Steal Like a Poet” / John Murillo

Good poets borrow, great poets steal. —T.S. Eliot

In this workshop, we’ll explore strategies by which poets enrich their own art by deliberately imitating (i.e. “stealing” from) their favorites—and their favorites’ favorites! We’ll discuss topics such as voice, influence and originality, as well as the imperative of serving a serious apprenticeship as a poet. Participants should bring to this session a few passages from their favorite writer to plunder, or one passage each from a few of their favorite writers.

10:30–11:45 AM: “Seeing is Believing: Drafting the Lasting Image” / Nicole Sealey

In The Poet’s Companion, Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux argue that images should “produce a bit of magic, a reality so real it is ‘like being alive twice.’” As we know, images are closely linked to memory. As poets, after mining our respective memories, how do we deepen a reader’s experience with the poem via the image? How does one draft a lasting image—an image that readers will remember? This workshop will explore the image and its implications as more than mere scenery. We’ll work on focusing the image at the poem’s center. To do this, participants will review poems with images that reverberate and compare them to any of their own poems with images that idle, then work to reimagine them. Participants are asked to bring poems they would like to reimagine to workshop.

11:45 AM–3 PM: writing/rec time
2–3 PM: lunch
3–5:30 PM: manuscript workshops with Murillo & Sealey
5:30–7 PM: rec time/happy hour
7–8 PM: dinner
8–9:30 PM: student readings

Sunday, July 1

8–9 AM: breakfast

9–10:15 AM: “The Broken Thing” / Natalie Eilbert

In her private poetry anthology distributed to Columbia grad students, Lucie Brock-Broido prefaced the book with the following credo: “Prose proceeds; verse reverses.” This is a suitable update to Robert Frost’s stringent terms for poetry, that to write free verse is to play “tennis without a net.” The world is imperiled, cracked and bleeding Arctic ice caps, operating only under the shadow of structure. Our best poems extrapolate trouble through the information of language while also functioning within the ghost of form. Whether we are talking about a villanelle, a sestina, a sonnet or a ghazal, there is always a poet who agitates tradition, bursting open the formula to speak. These rule breakers continue the tradition by rattling it into something more parasympathetic than paratactic. We’ll closely examine poems by LaTasha Nevada Diggs, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Derrick Austin and Joyce Sutphen, investigating verse form and how beautifully it ruptures. We’ll consider how these poets break apart the perfect stone to reveal crystals of influence. Participants will choose their favorite element of a verse form and attempt its destruction, creating a new work.

10:30–11:45 AM: “The More-ning of the Poem: Inclusive Poetics” / Jason Koo

“The day always came with more than mere light,” writes Karl Knausgaard in the first volume of his massive six-volume autobiographical work My Struggle. What “more” does the day come with for you? In this workshop, we’ll explore answers to this question by writing poems that leave in rather than leaving out, looking at passages from diary-like long poems attempting to capture the “more” that each day brings, such as James Schuyler’s “The Morning of the Poem,” A. R. Ammons’s Tape for the Turn of the Year and, more recently, Tommy Pico’s IRL, which he started writing during this very workshop at our 2014 retreat!

11:45 AM–3 PM: writing/rec time
2–3 PM: lunch
3–5:30 PM: manuscript workshops with Eilbert & Koo
5:30–7 PM: rec time/happy hr
7–8 PM: dinner
8–9:30 PM: student readings
9:30 PM–12 AM: ’80s dance party!

Monday, July 2

9–10 AM: breakfast
10–11 AM: 1st round of student-teacher conferences
11:15 AM–12:15 PM: 2nd round of student-teacher conferences
12:30–1:30 PM: 3rd round of student-teacher conferences
10 AM–1:30 PM: writing/rec time for students not conferencing
1:30–2:30 PM: lunch
2:30–4 PM: departure