Need Longer Intervals Between Workshops?

Monthly Poetry Gathering and Workshop w/ John Morrison

"Here’s a workshop that can flow with the longer rhythms of your writing. A Saturday morning of each month, we’ll gather and share one or two poems in a comfortable but focused fashion. You choose the poem to share based on what feedback you are looking for; the poems could range from one you want ready to submit for publication, to an experimental piece that needs a supportive but critical eye. Along the way we’ll talk about craft and how to grow and sustain a fulfilling practice.  Come ready to share your poems and insights and to carry generous feedback home to your writing desk."

Learn more here.

Learn About Craft w/ Wayne Gregory

So You Wanna Be a Writer Workshop w/ Wayne Gregory

"You have a thousand stories inside your head. You dabble on the page but rarely if ever finish anything, much less share with others. “Is my work good enough?” you wonder.  “Do I have something original and interesting to say? What makes me think I can be a writer?”  The biggest obstacle for emerging writers is not lack of time nor lack of skill nor lack of things to write about. It’s a lack of self-confidence. This workshop is designed for those who want to be writers, but are not sure they can be.  It provides a safe space for you to explore your interest in writing within a community of others who are on the same journey of exploration that you are. You will have an opportunity to share your writing and receive feedback that will help you identify your creative strengths and build on them. If you have work to share, bring it. If you haven’t written anything, bring an open mind to the possibilities that the class may open for you. Learn about the craft and, in the process, discover what it is about you that makes your stories worth telling and makes you the only writer who can tell them."

Learn more here.

Add Sci-Fi to Your Poetic Palette

Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop w/ Ruben Quesada

"It Came from Outer Space: This class will focus on writing new poetry. In this workshop we will challenge our notions of ekphrasis by focusing our attention on sci-fi films to generate our poems. While the Greek term ekphrasis translates simply as ‘a vivid description’ of a thing, the long-established tradition of ekphrastic poetry opens the door to a wide range of creative approaches for poets to engage with a work of art in another medium. Ekphrastic poems utilize a myriad of forms and strategies, and they respond to, incorporate, investigate, embellish, interpret and/or reflect upon a vital work of art—usually either a painting, photograph, or sculpture. You will be expected to view one

or more of the films from the list below as the source of artwork."

Learn more here.

Revise with New Purpose

Seeing the Story with Fresh Eyes: Revision Workshop w/ Thea Chacamaty

"Two-hour Seminar: Have you finished a draft of a short story, essay, poem, or novel and are now ready to enter the next phase--the arduous, maddening, and fun process of revision? This two-hour seminar will help you see your work with fresh eyes. To revise in Latin means to “re-see” or to “see again.” Using targeted writing exercises to summon the heart of our writing, we will learn new revision techniques that make the writing new again."

Learn more here.

Need Some Fiction Fun?

The Future: A Generative Fiction Workshop w/ Elinam Agbo

"In the Netflix anthology series Love, Death, and Robots, the future takes many forms. Cats survive the apocalypse while humans are extinct. Farmers fight an endless battle. Sentient yogurt takes over the world. Many of these episodes are adapted from short stories, writers envisioning a range of possibilities, given what they know of the past and the present. So, how do we imagine the future when the present feels like dystopia? What remains the same in a world of endless innovation? What has the potential to change? In this generative workshop, we will explore the future through weekly writing exercises. And through the work of writers like Rivers Solomon, George Saunders, NK Jemisin, John Scalzi, and Octavia Butler, we will examine the many paths humanity can take from here, for better or for worse."

Learn more here.

Make it Small, Make it Nonfiction

Introduction to Flash Nonfiction w/ Brian Benson

"Flash nonfiction, simply put, is true-to-life writing defined by extreme compression: it's saying what you've got to say using as few words, and as much beauty, as possible. An endlessly accessible, playful, potent form, flash nonfiction is evermore popular; from Brevity to Barren, The Forgeto The Sun, legions of journals are eager to publish great flash.

In this prompt-driven workshop, we'll read short nonfiction by master writers, including Ross Gay, Natalie Lima, Ira Sukrungruang, Roxane Gay, Jerald Walker, Ruth Ozeki, and many more; we'll talk about what stories are suited for flash, how to tell them well, and where to publish them; and most of all, we'll write, and write, and write, via in-class exercises and take-home prompts. Students will leave the class with reams of new writing and ideas for where to publish."

Learn more here.

Spend Some Time With Your Stories

Story Building Workshop w/ Joanna Rose

"Stories have component parts, and they interact. Starting with the basic building block of scene we’ll start with character and move step by step through the micro-levels of sentences, concrete detail, cause and effect, narration, and structure. Each week includes a close read of an excerpt of a published work and a discussion of specific craft elements. Participants will be invited to turn in work each week and can expect to develop a language of non-judgmental critique that will lead to a supportive, in-depth conversation about each other’s work. We’ll look deeply into what it takes to build a prose narrative, real or imagined, long or short."

Learn more here.

Focus on Your Nonfiction


Art of Personal Essay and Memoir w/ Lee Montgomery

"Personal Essays and memoir represent some of the most adventurous writing today. Pushing narrative boundaries, utilizing traditional and nontraditional forms, this type of writing explores individuality and the minutiae of life unlike any other form. This workshop will help students explore the world of memoir and personal essay writing and understand both traditional and nontraditional narrative strategies available to them. Though the class will be run as a classic workshop, where students will submit their work to be reviewed in class, it will also combine craft lectures, outside reading, and in-class exercises. Students are expected to workshop twice. This will include their original essay submitted to class plus a revision."

Learn more here.

Don't Submit in the Dark: Erica Krouse's Submission Strategies

Alongside her Ranking of 500 Fiction LitMags and CNF-Specific LitMags, Erica Krouse also has a Submission Strategies resource for those new to submitting work or for those who want to try a new tactic.

By referencing the tiers in her "Ranking of 500 Fiction LitMags" and offering other tidbits of advice from her own submission experiences, Krouse illuminates a potential path to publication that is specific, structured, and useful.

Where to Submit: Erica Krouse's Submission List

In 2018, fiction writer Erica Krouse compiled a list of over 500 literary magazines and journals to help fiction writers figure out where to submit work based on each journal's awards, circulation, payment, and overall "coolness." 

Updated for 2021, Ranking of 500 Fiction LitMags is a great resource to begin the process of researching where, as a writer, you would like your work to be published and why. While the list is cultivated with fiction in mind, most journal's rankings also apply to poetry and creative nonfiction as well. 

Krouse writes "I've often had students ask me what the “best" literary magazines were. I realized that I didn't actually know, right after I agreed to teach an intensive class on the subject. Where are the best places to submit, and according to what standards? I stumbled Clifford Garstang's incredibly helpful blog. But then I wondered, what about Best American Short Stories? So I found John Fox’s excellent site. And the O. Henry site. Then I wondered why all the rankings were so different from each other. And then I wondered if I had any Valium left over from my prescription 10 years ago. And then I remembered spreadsheets."

Check out her exquisitely exhaustive submission list!

The Work Room: Attend to Your Creativity Remotely

In response to the pandemic, The Shipman Agency has created a bounty of online craft workshops, seminars, and manuscript consultations to not only provide income for the authors they represent, but to provide invaluable resources to members of the literary community across the world.

In The Work Room, the Shipman Agency offers classes year-round, so if you don't see one you're intersted in now—check back later and often! Furthermore, they are also offering scholarships to cover all or a portion of the course registration fees for individuals unable to afford the price of attendance.

So if you've ever wanted to discuss writing with Shelia Heti, Ilya Kaminsky, David Shields, Patricia Smith and more, now is your chance.

For more information, email

Want an MFA Experience (But Better?)

Listen to current Atheneum Fellows answer questions about their time in the Atheneum program:

What are you working on during your time as an Atheneum fellow?

"I'm currently working on writing and revising a memoir about my concussion/traumatic brain injury, focusing on the first two years of my recovery. The book examines the themes of identity and family—How can one re-imagine a new life when so much has been lost? How can a family re-build itself and move forward? The challenges of navigating a medical system where little is known about concussion is also woven throughout the story." - Kristin Moran

"I’m writing a novel set in a California desert in the 1890’s featuring two women who are abducted by the Gorgons of mythology and taken to ancient Greece. " - Signe Kopps

"I'm working on my memoir! It's a coming of age story about discovering my queerness at seventeen years old, while navigating the Colorado River on an epic rafting adventure." - Gemma Hobbs

"I am working on a memoir about growing up with an intellectually and emotionally disabled mother. I was immersed in fundamentalist Christian culture and went to a Christian college. From this background I went to medical school and became a pediatrician. My memoir is about crossing a chasm and living in a different culture." - Mae Cohen

Fellow Feature: Ruben Quesada

Ruben Quesada

Meet Ruben Quesada, the Attic's newest writing fellow. As the author of two chapbooks and a collection of poetry, Quesada has plenty of writing experience. Alongside his writing, he is a poetry editor, literary translator, reading series organizer, and the founder of Latinx Writers Caucus. With such a diverse literary background, Quesada comes prepared to teach at the Attic with a nuanced set of tools.

Sign up for his upcoming workshops here

Check out his full bio on the Attic or learn more at his website

Q: How are you?

A: The past year has been very challenging, but I am hopeful about where things are going. I believe we’ll have some semblance of normalcy closer to the end of the year, and certainly at the start of next year.

One-Day Poetry Immersion

Generative Poetry Workshop: Four Temperaments w/ Ruben Quesada

"This one-day generative poetry class is an introduction to help you write and examine your own work for revision. Using the four elements of Story, Structure, Music, and Imagination, poets will identify and attempt to balance these elements in their own work. We will use Gregory Orr’s essay “The Four Temperaments and the Forms of Poetry” to examine and revise our own poetry. Prompts will be provided to encourage you to explore and deepen your understanding of each temperament. Reading: Gregory Orr, 'The Four Temperaments and the Forms of Poetry.'"

Learn more here.

Attend the Attic's Poets Studio

Poets Studio w/ David Biespiel

"One of the things I feel Poets Studio participants, regardless of experience and skill, can benefit from, is an extended concentration on only a few pieces over a couple months.

The theme for the Spring Sessions will be "Devotions." We'll focus on poems written "to" -- whether they're epistolary explicitly or dedicatiory. With a singular audience in place, Spring Sessions will progress as follows:

Sessions 1-3: Making. We’ll start from scratch on a few poems, developing strategies of imagination, research, trial and error, and writing several “test” drafts over several weeks.  

Sessions 4-7: Noticing. Here we’ll begin to be attentive to what might be possible with various drafts of poems, in the writing process — noticing what they are doing and not doing, what they are implying and avoiding, and what they are potentially able to become, and what they can’t ever become (but might as well try it out to find out for sure), as we make more and more drafts.  

Sessions 8-10: Changing. Someone else, not me, would call these last three sessions, Revision. The goal of the last three sessions is to continue making changes, narrowing the possibilities, all the way until your poem or poems are “finished.”  

My hope is that, after the ten Spring Sessions, you’ll have freshly experienced a process of writing, including writing together each week during Poets Studio gatherings that gives you new tools, skills, and patience for writing your poems. The goal of the Spring Sessions is for everyone to finish 2-3 brand new poems, while we’re all in conversation with each other, and then to prepare these, as you see fit, to submit for publication in the fall. "

Learn more here. Applications are due March 21st.

Attend the Attic's CNF Studio

CNF Studio w/ Brian Benson

"The Creative Nonfiction Studio is based on the idea that inspiration, accountability, and community are essential to every writer’s growth. The CNF Studio meets weekly for three-month sessions, and its curriculum is designed to help you deepen your writing through a keener understanding of both literary craft and your own voice. The CNF Studio is open to applications from all writers, and members often return for multiple sessions. This creates the Studio’s special experience: a consistent, deep, and supportive study of your writing in the company of other writers."

Learn more here. Applications are due March 28th.

AWP is This Week!

This week, from March 3rd-7th is this year's Annual AWP (virtual) Writing Conference!

Check out hundreds of panels, resources, and the bookfair throughout the week, but first, be sure to register here. For a full schedule of the conference, click here.  In the meantime, here's a sneak peak of some of the panels below:

The Biggest (Online) Writing Conference: AWP 2021

March is right around the corner which means so is this year's AWP Conference!

Running from March 3rd-7thAWP Conference & Bookfair is "the annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers of contemporary creative writing. It includes thousands of attendees, hundreds of events & bookfair exhibitors, and five days of essential literary conversation and celebration. The AWP Conference & Bookfair has always been a place of connection, reunion, and joy, and we are excited to offer the same experience in a new way this year."

Better yet, this year's conference is entirely virtual. Not only does that mean that the bookfair and the panels are more accessible than ever, but that the videos of the conference will be available on-demand until April 3rd.

Be sure to register and take advantage of being a member of the global literary community.

Fellow Feature: Brian Benson

Brian Benson

Brian Benson, former Attic student and current Attic fellow, talks generously about writing, Portland, and his book This is Not for You that is out this month.

Sign up for his upcoming workshop "Craft of Memoir" here.

Order This is Not for You from OSU Press here

**Over fifty percent of the royalties earned on This Is Not for You will be donated to organizations working on behalf of Black Portlanders.

Want to learn more about Brian? Check out his website to keep up to date.

Q: How are you?

A: I’m doing okay, thanks! I’m one of those weirdos who likes the gray and cold, so I’ve been doing alright with the COVID winter. Also, after a month or so off, I’m back to teaching, which is such a comfort; this past year especially, writing workshops have been my number-one antidote to loneliness. And I’m gearing up for the release of This Is Not for You, the memoir I wrote with and about Portland activist Richard Brown. After many months of monotony and dread, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. 

Don't Write Your Memoir Alone

Craft of Memoir w/ Brian Benson

"Whether you're just getting started or looking to improve your work-in-progress, this new workshop will help you translate your personal experiences into a vivid, absorbing memoir. Through a mix of discussion, guided exercises and peer critique, we'll explore the many ways to pull compelling, relatable stories from one's life story, and we'll read and discuss a wide variety of memoir for inspiration and insight. Students will leave the workshop with many reading recommendations and writing resources."

For more information, click here.

Show Your Poetry Some Love

Writing the New Poem Workshop w/ Ashley Toliver

"What happens when we expand our creative focus and let go of our expectations? In this workshop, we'll use writing practices and generative techniques, explore poems and strategies, all with the goal of completing the workshop with a handful of new poems. Can we find liberation from the pressures we place on ourselves and our work? Join the experiment and let's find out!"

For more information, click here.

Need A Poetic Recharge?

Other Inspirations Poetry Workshop w/ Matthew Dickman

"In this class we will be exploring Ekphrastic Poetry and looking to painting, photography and music as our inspiration. Can ekphrastic poetry be more than a reflection or comment on a piece of art? Can it be more than a beautiful description of another piece of art? We will find out together through looking at the paintings, photographs, and music that has inspired great poems-- as well as writing our own."

For more information, click here.

Do You Believe In Magic? Do You Write It?

Fairytales, Myth, and Dystopia: A Fiction Workshop w/ Elinam Agbo

"Snow White. The Round Table. Persephone and Hades. From hybrid prose to web comics and blockbusters, fairy tales and legends are constantly retold across mediums. Why do we continue to relate? How do they help us find meaning in uncertain times? What can we borrow from these forms to examine the past and future in light of climate change, migration, and capitalism? In this course, we will study writers like Helen Oyeyemi, Carmen Maria Machado, Sabrina Orah Mark, and Joy Williams. Then we will begin our own stories, inspired by existing lore. If you are drawn to cross-cultural myths, obscure tales, or the idea of Rapunzel on Mars, this is the class for you."

For more information, click here.

A Closer Look At Letters

The Letter as a Literary Form w/ Wendy Willis

A note from Wendy:

"Since quarantine began, I have written dozens of letters. I have relished the physicality of whisking paper and ink—via my favorite government agency—from my hands into the hands of friends and family members and colleagues. It has been a source of mammalian solace for sure, but it has also made me attend to letters in a new way. I realize that the “I” recounting the days at her desk is slightly different depending upon the “you” who will collect the letter at the mailbox. The stories are selected just for that particular “you;” the diction is different depending on who—mother? novelist-friend? best pal from high school?—is at the other end; the level of bawdiness is carefully monitored.

Not surprisingly, all this attention to my own letter writing has driven me back into the arms of literary letters—the stunning letters between writers (think: Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell or Anais Nïn and Henry Miller), as well as the incredible examples of epistolary literature like the melancholy letter at the heart of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead or the incisive warning and indictment in the letter which comprised Between the World and Me by Ta-Nahesi Coates (inspired in part by an epistolary essay by James Baldwin). And the hundreds of epistolary poems that span the centuries from Ovid to Langston Hughes to Victoria Chang.

All that is to say that the world is contained in a letter, and—starting February 1st—we are going to explore that world as we dig deep into everything from consciousness to word choice to audience. We will read letters and write them and experiment with what they have to offer us as readers and as writers. So, I hope you’ll join us . . . or just let me know if you need a letter. (All genres and all experience levels are welcome)."

Register for Wendy's workshop here.

A Workshop For Beginning or Beginning Again

So You Wanna Be A Writer w/ Wayne Gregory

"You have a thousand stories inside your head. You dabble on the page but rarely if ever finish anything, much less share with others. “Is my work good enough?” you wonder.  “Do I have something original and interesting to say? What makes me think I can be a writer?”  The biggest obstacle for emerging writers is not lack of time nor lack of skill nor lack of things to write about. It’s a lack of self-confidence. This workshop is designed for those who want to be writers, but are not sure they can be.  It provides a safe space for you to explore your interest in writing within a community of others who are on the same journey of exploration that you are. You will have an opportunity to share your writing and receive feedback that will help you identify your creative strengths and build on them. If you have work to share, bring it. If you haven’t written anything, bring an open mind to the possibilities that the class may open for you. Learn about the craft and, in the process, discover what it is about you that makes your stories worth telling and makes you the only writer who can tell them."

This workshop starts on February 18th. For more information, click here.

Listen to Your Stomach

Last chance to register for this incredible workshop!

Telling Our Stories Through Food w/ Zahir Janmohamed 

"Did you try to bake something ambitious at the start of the pandemic and fail? Great. I did, too. That’s sort of what this class is about: what can our food stories tell us about ourselves? Food is an incredible vehicle to speak about pleasure, pain, history, family, nostalgia, place, race, gender, class, sexuality, colonialism—you name it. In this course, we will read examples of powerful, first person food essays, as well as write our own food stories. Each class will feature a mixture of generative exercises and workshop. We will also hear from a guest speaker about how to write a recipe."

For more information, click here.

A Proper Farewell

As 2020 came to a close, LitHub published "Notable Literary Deaths of 2020" to honor the lives and mourn the deaths of the mutliple literary figures that we lost last year.

"Among the many unhappinesses of this year, we lost what seems like an unusually large number of members of the literary community, from poets to novelists to editors to critics to publishers to booksellers. To them, we say a last thank you, and goodbye. They will be missed."

$2000 Publication Opportunity for Emerging Essayists

Do you have an essay ready to send off for publication? Do you have three or fewer publications under your writerly belt?

If so, GAY MAG, edited by Roxane Gay, is launching a new publication opportunity for emerging nonfiction writers. Each month, Gay and her editors will publish an essay from emerging writers

twice a month starting January 2021. Each accepted submission will recieve $2,000.

For more information on submission guidelines, and other parameters, click here.

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From David Biespiel, President of the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters


Letter in 2010 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."


Essay in the New York Times on they mysteries of poetry

"Poetry connects us to our past, and poets unmask both private and civic memories, dreams, and urgencies. By harmonizing the body with the mind, serving both young and old, poetry is a guide to deliver us into a fresh engagement with our inner lives and with modernity."


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."