Atheneum Class of 2013 Readings

Atheneum Fellows at Stonehenge Studios

June 6 and June 13, 6:30pm

Hear the graduating class of 2013 of Atheneum Fellows read new fiction, memoir and poetry.


June 6: Shana Kusin, Melea Seward, David Melville, Amy Seaholt, JoAnna Prahl

June 13: Michael Sterling Farris, Nina Lary, Shelley Stearns, David Buchta, Katja Dilmann, Sara Fischer

Stonehenge Studios: 3508 SW Corbett Ave (503) 224 - 3640

Reminder: Attic Atheneum class of 2014 applications due May 31.

Wayne Gregory joins the Attic Institute as an Adjunct Fellow


Former Atheneum Fellow and Hawthorne Fellow to teach 'Writing Queer' this summer

Wayne Gregory is one of the most honored writers to study at the Attic Institute. A veteran of workshops with senior fellow Merridawn Duckler and associate fellow Ariel Gore, he was a 2010-2011 Atheneum Fellow and also a 2011-2012 Hawthorne Fellow. He has taught at Willamette University and Portland State University. Wayne is a linguist, a proud grandfather, and a card-carrying member of the Portland Gay Men's Chorus. He has recently completed a memoir about growing up gay in the conservative Christian South, which has been accepted by Rebel Satori Press.

Meet Wayne Gregory

Register for Writing Writing Queer workshop


Teach at the Attic Institute


Become a Summer Teaching Fellow

We're hiring! If you possess significant literary experience and want to teach at the Attic Institute, apply to become a Summer Teaching Fellow.

Summer Teaching Fellows offer five (5) week workshops in fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction, or poetry, as well as in general literary subjects such as publishing or literature.

Learn more

Garden designer Sean Hogan, woodworking designer Gary Rogowski, and poet David Biespiel talk about creativity

The Art of Design: Gardening, Woodworking, and Writing Poetry

January 24, 6-7:30pm at the Northwest Woodworking Studio (1002 SE 8th)

Engage your own creative side. Participate in an intimate panel discussion with three notable Portlanders.

Sean Hogan, owner of Cistus Nursery on Sauvies Island, Portland, and a world renown garden designer, lecturer, and author.

Gary Rogowski, Director of The Northwest Woodworking Studio, A School for Woodworkers. Gary is a well known woodworking designer, author, and lecturer.

David Biespiel, President of the Attic Institute, author of the Oregon Book Award winning collection of poems, The Book of Men and Women, and the inspiring book on creativity, Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces.

Join these three Portlanders as they each discuss their process, the triumphs and pitfalls, and the value of failure in the creative process. It is sure to be a lively evening of discussion. Come be inspired.

For more information:

Whitney Otto, Jon Raymond, and Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell join the Attic Institute as Adjunct Fellows

The Attic Institute is pleased to announce that New York Times Bestselling novelist Whitney Otto, Oregon Book Award winning novelist and Sundance Film Festival screenwriter Jon Raymond, and First Unitarian Church of Portland Minister Emerita Reverend Dr. Marilyn Sewell have been appointed adjunct fellows beginning January 2013.

"These are three amazing writers, speakers, and teachers here in Portland, and we're delighted to have them join our roster of exceptional literary teachers and to work with Portland's emerging writer in fiction, film, and spiritual writing," notes David Biespiel, president of the Attic Institute. "Any writer who wants to advance and learn would do well to take course or more with these three outstanding writers."

Otto, Raymond, and Sewell join a dynamic, national faculty of teaching fellows at the Attic Institute that includes David Biespiel, Cheryl Strayed, Karen Karbo, Paulann Petersen, Jennifer Lauck, Matthew Dickman, Wendy Willis, Merridawn Duckler, Elizabeth Rusch, Vanessa Veselka, Peter Zuckerman, and others, including critics Jeff Baker, Barry Johnson, and Shawn Levy.

Gifts for writers and visual artists




Give a free writing workshop or visual art assemblage    

Gift certificates make a great expression of support.

Whether you're looking to give Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza gifts, consider

giving the writer or artist in life - or yourself, for that matter - the gift of creative living.

Gift certificates for writing workshops and visual arts assemblages are easy to set up.

And we love helping you do it.

Contact us

Attic Institute Adjunct Fellow Emily Harris to begin reporting from Jerusalem for National Public Radio

Congratulations to Emily Harris, adjunct fellow, who will reporting from Jersusalem for NPR beginning March 2013. Emily joined the Attic in late 2011 and remain on the faculty (on leave) for the next three years when she plans to return to Portland.

Learn how to work one-on-one with Emily (before March)

Learn more about Emily Harris


Special opportunity for Attic Institute writers: Create a blog and write a query letter

These days it's all about platform for new and up and coming writers.  Writing, blogging and social media can be overwhelming.  How do you juggle it all? Join Kelly Wallace for a three-hour class for writers on December 15, 2012 that will teach you the first step in the platform process: how to create a blog. Want to share the message of your small business? Campaign? Life story?

See you at Wordstock, October 13-14


Historic first reading together of Oregon poet laureate and Attic Institute Associate Fellow Paulann Petersen and Washington poet laureate Kathleen Flenniken on the Attic Institute poetry stage.

Writers compete in the Attic Institute / Wordstock OPEN WRITE improv writing competition.

Attic Institute Adjunct Fellow Wendy Willis and John Daniel read on the Attic Institute poetry stage.

Writers gather at the Attic Institute booth.

Our booth!


Tools for Writers: "How To Turn Your Writing Around" by James Bernard Frost

On Writing

James Bernard Frost, Adjunct Fellow at the Attic Institute

Learn more about James Bernard Frost

Upcoming workshop with James Bernard Frost

“I sit at my table and wage war on myself. It seems like it’s all, it’s all for nothing.”

These are the lyrics from a song by R.E.M. called World Leader Pretend that inspired my first novel. It’s also how I feel on those days when the writing simply isn’t going well.

Special free event tonight

3rd Annual Atheneum Reading 
Merridawn Duckler. Lee Montgomery. G. Xavier Robillard.
Karen Karbo. Wendy WillisDavid Biespiel.  

David Biespiel

Tonight, September 13, 7pm, free
Profile Theater, 3430 SE Belmont

AFTER-PARTY: Cash bar at the Blue Monk. 3341 SE Belmont.
Plus: Meet the class of 2013 Atheneum Fellows.

Willamette Week hails tonight's reading to be "like getting a free class in literary genius."

Attic Institute to occupy Wordstock, October 13-14


We are delighted to be EVERYWHERE at Wordstock October 13-14, including creating the 'Open Write' writing competition, hosting the poetry stage, and our faculty fellows giving talks, readings, sitting on panels, and more. 

OPEN WRITE: Wordstock and the Attic Institute team up for an action-packed, fast-paced, improv writing competition. Hosted live from Wordstock's weekend Book Fair at the Oregon Convention Center, Open Write gives brave writers the chance to showcase what they can do with only a writing prompt, a computer, and nine minutes. Their prose is posted to the web, the digital audience and the judges each select a champion. Winners announced daily at 5:30pm from the Open Write podium next to the Drinkery.


Saturday, October 13

11am: John Brehm & Stephanie Lenox

12pm: A Face to Meet the Faces: Anthology

1pm: Crystal Williams & David Axelrod

2pm: Floyd Skloot & Greg Chaimov

3pm: Bruce Beasley & Suzanne Paola

4pm: Andrew Feld & Jodie Marion

5pm: Ed Skoog & Scot Siegel


Sunday, October 14

11am: Kathleen Flenniken & Paulann Petersen

12pm: Poetry Northwest

1pm: Andrea Hollander Budy & Lisa M. Steinman

2pm: Jim Shugrue & John Morrison

3pm: Poets from the Athenuem at the Attic Institute

4pm: Wendy Willis & John Daniel


Attic Institute faculty fellows read at the following times: 

Peter Zuckerman, 11am, Saturday, October 13

James Bernard Frost, 1pm, Saturday, October 13

Yuvi Zalkow, 5pm, Saturday, October 13

Paulann Petersen, Sunday 11am, October 14

Karen Karbo, Sunday 12pm, October 14

Wendy Willis, Sunday 4pm, October 14


Attic Institute faculty fellows sit on panels or giving talks at the following times:

James Bernard Frost, panelist, "Putting Words in the Mouth of God," 11am, Oct 13

Peter Zuckerman, talk, "Triage: A Better Way to Revise," 1:30pm, October 13

Karen Karbo, panelist, "The Allure of the Lives of Others," October 13

Yuvi Zalkow, panelist, "What Sex Does To a Story," 4pm, October 13

Yuvi Zalkow, talk, "Obsession X Voice," 12pm, October 14

Lee Montgomery, panelist, "The Art of the Ending," 3pm, October 14

James Bernard Frost, talk, "The Anti-Hero's Journey," 3pm, October 14

Attic Institute appoints Margaret Eccles Yost as Senior Fellow and Director of Visual Arts

New visual arts assemblages to begin January 2013.

The Attic Institute is delighted to announce the appointment of artist and teacher Margaret Eccles Yost as a senior fellow and director of our new visual arts program which will offer workshops, or "assemblages," to beginning, emerging, and established visual artists beginning January 2013.

Emerging in the late 1980s as a visual artist in Portland, Margaret's work can be found in public and private art collections both in the United States and abroad, and has been seen in numerous exhibitions worldwide in galleries, on-site installations, museums, and film festivals. Interviews and reviews of her work have been featured in Art in America, The New York Times, The Oregonian, The New Jersey Star Ledger, Willamette Week, and other national publications.

Meet Margaret Eccles Yost.

On September 10, get a handle on making your characters come alive

Adjunct Fellow Martha Gies invites you to write amazing stuff in her popular and inspirational creative writing workshop.

In this workshop, we will look at ways of showing and telling that make character come alive on the page. "...every feeling waits upon its gesture," said Eudora Welty, who learned her craft traveling around Mississippi during the Depression and photographing people for the WPA. In addition to writing short sketches in class, we will read assigned fiction by Dagoberto Gilb, Susan Minot, John Sayles and Miss Welty, in order to study how they how they deliver characters that we may hate or love, but always hear and see.


Save your spot by registering now

Memoir writers -- beginning September 17 -- tell the stories of your life

Associate Fellow and New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Lauck helps you hone the art and craft of your autobiographical tales.

Says Jennifer: "This is the first of what I hope will be an ongoing critique circle or "good in the morning" writers. Each week, three to four writers will have the opportunity to read aloud, hear their own voice and get facilitated feedback from their peers and myself. If you are in this class, you have a story to tell and are on your way. This is not a beginning level memoir group. This class is for those who know what they want to write, or have a pretty good idea and are ready to improve their writing in a significant way. All elements of craft will be discussed in this class but most of all, this is your community of support."

Also with Jennifer:

"So Many Essay Forms, So Little Time" begins on Sept. 17.

"How Did They Do That" begins on Sept. 18.

Save your spot by registering now

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Notes from David Biespiel, President of the Attic Institute


Letter announcing the new Attic Institute

"Eleven years have gone by in a blink. But today begins a new era as we renew our dedication both to the word and to the world."


Interview about the founding of the Attic Institute

"All sorts of excellent pieces of writing get started and finished here. That's what it means to be a literary studio."


Farewell commentary as editor of Poetry Northwest: " A Sense of Form and A Sense of Life"

"I realize now that the divide between Modernist American poetry and, let's call it, Rilkean American poetry is largely unnecessary. Poetry can be both a repository of wisdom and contain revolutionary feeling -- even in the same poem."


Essay on poets and democracy in Poetry magazine: "This Land Is Our Land"

"America's poets have a minimal presene in American civic discourse and a miniscule public role in the life of American democracy. I find this condition perplexing and troubling -- both for poetry and for democracy."