Poets Studio at the Attic Institute

Pour the poet into the art and the art into the poet.

Poets Studio is based on the idea that focusing on goals is the key to lasting growth as a poet. Poets Studio is a weekly workshop that runs for seven months. It is designed to give form and focus to your poetry writing. The Poets Studio is open to applications from all poets (see application information below). Poets Studio is a special experience: a steady, supportive, and comprehensive study of your poetry among other poets.

Modeled after the famed Actors Studio (whose members included Marlon Brando, Robert de Niro, Norman Mailer, Eli Wallach, Sidney Poitier, Edward Albee, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean), the Attic Institute's Poets Studio provides a private place for poets to work together in the development, experimentation, and completion of new poems and sequences of poems.

The philosophy of the Poets Studio: A poet's lifetime of experiences is the basis to develop poetic art, method, and practice— culminating in the creation, revision, and publication of new poetry. This approach to writing poems invites a wonderful sense of accountability, and it teaches you to experiment and learn more about your subjects, your style, and your capacity for growth as a poet in a highly supportive and focused atmosphere.

Becoming a member of the Poets Studio: The Poets Studio is open to all poets. All new members receive David's private reading list called "The First One-Fifty," which is comprised of 150 poems from anonymous to Auden that all poets in the studio are asked to read, culled from the Norton Anthology of Poetry. By joining the Poets Studio, poets confirm that writing and publishing poetry is a practice that calls for extended and sustained study.

To apply to join the next Poets Studio, please send ten (10) pages of poems and a 250 words "Statement of Goals" to the Attic Institute.

Deadline to apply is September 9 for the 2024-20245 Poets Studio. APPLY NOW

Weekly Studio: A core group of poets makes up the members of the studio and meets weekly. Studio sessions include close readings of works-in-progress, discussion of poetic forms and theories in poetry, assessments of the role of poetry in culture and society, and engagement with the scope of contemporary and canonical poetry in English and translation. A typical structure for a weekly session might include a recitation of a single published poem followed by discussion. Then, there is the presentation, close-reading, and critique of members' works-in-progress. Some sessions an intimately-directed experimentation and prompt writing session to generate new writing. There are periodic "book group" readings and periodic assignments, too (such as in the photogrpah above). Finally, the session might conclude with a recitation of a poem from the traditional canon in English and American poetry, or in translation, in order to invite the entire history of poetry into the Poets Studio.

Tutorials: Poets Studio participants meet one-on-one with David twice during the year for one hour discussion of your development, goals, review of specific poems, and other subjects. Tutorials are scheduled in November/December and March/April.

Writing Partners: Poets Studio participants are paired with fellow poets four times per year to meet, develop, and participate in prompted studies outside of the weekly sessions.

Registration: $2250. Installment plans available upon request.

Led by influential poet and founder of the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters, David Biespiel, the Poets Studio is a special gathering focused entirely on creating, revising, and publishing new poetry. 

To apply to join the next Poets Studio, please send ten (10) pages of poems and a 250 words "Statement of Goals" to the Attic Institute.

Poets Studio's meets Mondays, 5:30-7:30pm (rescheduled and make-up sessions take place on Sundays, 2-4pm).

Most years there is a summer session of Poets Studio open, without application, to all writers.


2023-2024 Schedule of Classes

Sep 25, 2023 - May 27, 2024, 30 weeks




Mondays, Sep 25 - Nov 20

No class: Nov 27

Mondays, Dec 4 + 11

No class: Dec 18, Dec 25, Jan 1

Mondays, Jan 8 -Mar 11

No class: Mar 18 + 25

Mondays, Apr 1 - May 20

No class: May 27

Last class: June 3

Sometimes I need to reschedule a class. Make-up days are Sundays, 2-4:30pm, and there’ll be plenty of advanced notice.



A Statement of Our Values

The Attic Institute of Arts and Letters opposes the legitimation of bigotry, hate, and misinformation. As a studio for writers, we do not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind. We embrace and celebrate our shared pursuit of literature and languages as essential to crossing the boundaries of difference. To that end, we seek to maintain a creative environment in which every employee, faculty member, and student feels safe, respected, and comfortable — even while acknowledging that poems, stories, and essays delve into uncomfortable subjects. We accept the workshop as a place to question ourselves and to empathize with complex identities. We understand that to know the world is to write the world. Therefore, we reaffirm our commitment to literary pursuits and shared understanding by affirming diversity and open inquiry.