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Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces 2023 Summer Poetry Writing Retreat

Sundress Academy for the Arts Announces 2023 Summer Poetry Writing Retreat

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is thrilled to announce its Summer Poetry Writing Retreat, which runs from June 2nd through June 4th, 2023. The three-day, two-night camping retreat will be held at SAFTA’s own Firefly Farms in Knoxville, Tennessee.  All SAFTA retreats focus on generative poetry writing, and this year’s poetry retreat will also include the following break-out sessions: “The Cascade and the Overflow: The Use and Uselessness of Punctuating Your Poetry” and “Sex and Food: Toward A Poetics of Mess.”

A weekend pass includes one-on-one and group instruction, writing supplies, food, drinks, and all on-site amenities for $250. Tents, sleeping bags, and other camping equipment are available to rent for $25.  Payment plans are available if you reserve by March 31, 2023.

The event will be open to writers of all backgrounds and provide an opportunity to work with many talented, published poets from around the country, including workshop leaders Rita Mookerjee and Darren C. Demaree.


“Sex and Food: Toward A Poetics of Mess”: Rather than prioritizing methods that champion streamlining and productivity, let us celebrate the radical politics of food and mess-making as queer writing methods and joyful learning practices. Since poetry is often a genre of experimentation, the inclusion of queer mess invigorates our understanding of writing as well as how we compose our own work. When using messy modalities, we invoke the mouth as a political tool that adds delightful complexity to our poetry. We will unearth moments of joyful chaos in the works of Audre Lorde, Jose Esteban Muñoz, and Rajiv Mohabir. We will move beyond normative, ethical valuations negatively associated with both queerness and disorderliness in favor of mess-making as an accessible, equitable creative practice.

“The Cascade and the Overflow: The Use and Uselessness of Punctuating Your Poetry”: In this workshop, we will explore the strategy of punctuation in the poetic form, how it can be used, ignored, twisted and turned into what we need it to be or what we need to ignore to write the best possible poetry.

Workshop Leaders

Rita Mookerjee is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Worcester State University. She is the author of False Offering (JackLeg Press 2023). She is the co-founder of Honey Literary, Inc. and the Poetry Editor at Split Lip Magazine. Her poems can be found in CALYX, Copper Nickel, the Offing, Poet Lore, and Vassar Review.

Darren C. Demaree is the author of eighteen poetry collections, most recently the luxury (Glass Lyre 2023).  He is the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and the Nancy Dew Taylor Award from Emrys Journal.  He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Best of the Net Anthology and the Managing Editor of Ovenbird Poetry.  He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.


We have two full fellowships available–one for a writer of color and one general one–as well as limited 20% scholarships for those with financial need. To apply for a scholarship, send a packet of no more than (8) pages of poetry along with a brief statement on why you would like to attend this workshop to Erin Elizabeth Smith at no later than March 31, 2023. Winners will be announced in early April.

All participants must be vaccinated and present a negative COVID test taken within 24 hours of attending the event.

Space at this workshop is limited to 14 writers, so reserve your place today!

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