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Friday all day workshops

choose one of two workshops

Poemfest Caravan

led by William Howell

Join a caravan of poets on a writing journey with stops at two of Crestone’s spiritual
centers: Haidakandi Universal Ashram and Shumei International Center. Life at the
Haidakhandi Ashram is guided by Haidakhan Babaji's teachings of truth, simplicity, and love and is devoted to the Divine Mother. Shumei International fosters health, happiness, and harmony by applying the wisdom and insights of Mokichi Okada (Meishusama) who taught that a world free of discord is within everyone’s reach through the spiritual healing of Jyorei, the practice of natural agriculture, and the appreciation of Art and Beauty. At the ashram, we’ll gather in the temple to explore the theme of “garden” in readings and writing time. At Shumei, we’ll gather in the gallery and explore the theme of “Seeding the World.”

At both locations, we’ll share our words and lines with the possibility of composing a
collective poem. Lunch at the ashram is included on this poetic tour.

  • Caravan begins at 10 am at Crestone Post Office, 166 S. Alder St., Crestone, and will travel to Shumei International Center and Haidakhandi Universal Ashram.

  • Arrive 5 – 10 minutes early.


Behind the Words

led by M.E. VanWalleghan  

This hands-on workshop will explore how to conceptually illustrate poetry even if you don't consider yourself a visual artist. The process for Part 1 will include reviewing visual examples in both film and painting. Then working with assigned or self-selected partners, participants will share and discuss their work. Each participant will select three fragments that will become the basis for the mixed media art pieces. During Part 2 of the workshop, participants will then begin the process of creating one, two or three mixed media pieces of artwork. This is an opportunity  to interact with one's own poetry in a new and experimental way. All artistic skill levels welcome. 

Maximum size:  10 participants
To bring: 5 completed poems
Materials provided:  magazines, glue, scissors, pens, paints, brushes, and paper.
Part 1 – 10:00am to 11:30am;  Part 2 – 2:00pm to 3:30pm


  • At Little Shepherd of the Hills Fellowship Hall, Crestone

  • Head North on Alder, pass Galena Ave. Parking is on the left before you reach Carbonate Ave.

Friday half day workshops


choose one workshop

Writing Nada

led by Sharon Corcoran

at Nada Carmelite Hermitage

Todo y nada
To come to enjoy everything seek enjoyment in nothing.

To come to possess everything seek to possess nothing.

To come to be everything seek to be nothing.

To come to know everything seek to know nothing.

To come to what you do not taste go to where you taste nothing.

To come to what you do not know go to where you know nothing.

To come to what you do not own go to where you own nothing.

To become what you are not go to where you are nothing.
-St. John of the Cross

Part of St. John of the Cross’s idea of nada is space and emptiness—the amount of room God is given to maneuver.  In the setting of this retreat overlooking the high desert valley of San Luis, we shall give ourselves space and emptiness, a silent presence from which, perhaps, poetry of the numinous may arise.  During these hours, combining solitary exploration of the Nada grounds with time for writing and sharing in the Agape library, we will make ourselves available to the mystery that is best revealed by a stripping-away, by saying what it’s not.  As Charles Wright writes in "Poem Almost Wholly in My Own Manner," from Black Zodiac:


"Poetry's what's left between the lines --

a strange speech and a hard language,

It's all in the unwritten, it's all in the unsaid...."

Participants of all religious persuasions (or lack thereof) are welcome. Open to anyone with a yearning for a deeper sense of connection with whatever they consider holy.

Limited to 12 participants. 

  • At the Crestone Information Center kiosk, head south onto Camino Baca Grande. 

  • Drive just under 1.5 miles to Rendezvous Way. A small sign on the right indicates "Nada Carmelite Hermitage."

  • Turn right (west) and go about ¼ mile until you reach the parking lot by the gate. Park there or continue through the gate to park by Agape Hall.

  • The writing workshop is located in Agape Hall, the building to the left of the chapel.

Flight from the Palm

led by June Lucarotti

In this Flight from the Palm workshop, join June Lucarotti CYT-200, MFA to dive into the chakras in a whole new way. The workshop includes krama vinyasa yoga flow & restorative yoga paired with creative writing exercises. Writing exercises will be prose, poetry, and hybrid forms. Participants will work their way from the root chakra up to the crown chakra, healing, creating, and sharing. Workshop available in Spanish & English.

  • Due to limited parking at the workshop location, participants must car pool. 

  • Meet at 12:45 pm at the Crestone Post Office, 166 S. Alder St., Crestone, to begin the ride share to a local yoga studio.

Poemfet Caravan
Beyond Word
Writing Nada
Flight from the Palm
Building Audiences for Poetry
Between the Covers

Saturday morning panels

Between the Covers

led by Peter Anderson

9:00, Poemfest Poetry Lounge

Want to find out more about publishing in our region. Join a conversation with small press publishers and journal editors. Why do they do what they do?  
Who do they publish and who do they publish for? 

Building Audiences for Poetry

led by Don McIver

10:45, Poemfest Poetry Lounge

Want to put on a poetry event? Create some po-buzz in your community? Find out how to do create a poetry audience. Seasoned event organizers will consider strategies and formats that have worked.

Saturday 9:00-10:30

choose one of two workshops

Garbanzo Journalizing

led by Cheryl Tischer

For writing artists who get blocked up sometimes, for folks who love to play with words, scissors, and gluesticks, for anyone who might benefit from an explosion of creative release, for expanding your journaling vocabulary, fun is going to happen! This particular variety of journalizing combines quick poetry with images that can be manifested in doodles and in verses.  Rapid-fire prompts keep the pages turning. We will fill pages with words and scribblings and try to complete as many thoughts and bits as possible in our time together. We will finish a few pieces but we’ll also lay down some inspirations for further reflection, to finish later in your own home space. Blank journals will be provided. Please bring your own favorite handwriting implements: markers, pens, pencils, crayons.  If you have questions, please email the presenter at    

Ekphrasis: Art as Poetic Muse

led by Rachel Kellum

In this workshop we will explore ekphrasis as an evolving, descriptive genre that plays in the space between linguistic and visual arts, and as a writing practice that offers poets the opportunity to leap into lyric from the edge of an aesthetic object. We will read and consider several ekphrastic poems, view the works of art that inspired them, and, finally, pen our own poems employing a variety of ekphrastic approaches.

Garbanzo Journalizing
Ekphrasis: Art as Poetic Muse

Saturday 10:45-12:00

choose one of two workshops

Shotgun Shell in a Bird's NEst

Poetry and How It Gets That Way

led by William Pitt Root

We will read a few striking example poems and explore how they get power through techniques we can transfer (i.e. steal) into our own verbal toolboxes for future use in both composing and revising our own work. If you have a poem of your own you feel is not quite clicking yet please bring 10 copies to pass around  so we may share constructive responses. [No, we will not "rewrite it.”]

Shotgun Shell in a Bird’s Nest: A Collage Workshop

led by Susan Tichy

In The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard characterizes two senses of created space by comparing a nest to a shell. Both are made by the animals who live in them; but where a shell is brought forth from the animal’s body, and remains part of the animal, a nest is made from the environment, and is like collage in that each piece used had another use and identity before. Collage reveals the poet’s imagination, just as a nest reveals the species that constructed it, but alters the claims of imagination away from metaphors of birth and creation, toward acts of perception and collection, linking and thinking, democratically available to everyone. Other models and metaphors for collage practice can be drawn from geology, oral tradition, Chinese calligraphy, Buddhist & Taoist thinking, and the role of bodily experience in the making of thought. In this workshop, we will practice making a poem from fragments of image and language, emphasizing the creation of voice and texture in a poem that feels free to incorporate anything useful, beautiful, startling, funny, ironic, or downright infuriating. Bring pen and paper (and scissors if you can). All other materials provided. Everyone will leave with a poem, a list of suggested reading, and a bunch of cool quotes about collage. 

Poety and How it Gets That Way

Saturday 1:00-2:15

choose one of two workshops

The Spirit of Wabi-Sabi

Don’t be Afraid, It’s Only Magic: How Craft and a Little Understanding of Form Can
Nourish the Hungry Imagination
Led by Wendy Videlock

Ursula LeGuin tells us "...the least adequate way to describe the human experience is with realism." In this class we'll discuss what makes a meaningful, memorable poem, and then engage in a series of simple writing prompts that will reveal your own facility with language, the potent nature of nuance, and the importance of trusting the reader.

The Spirit of Wabi-Sabi & Karumi in the American West

led by David Anthony Martin

A presentation on the evolution of the form of the haiku in America and its adaptation to the natural, literary and human ecologies of the rocky mountains and desert southwest. Through the work and words of contemporary poets from these interconnected regions we will look at how human ecology influenced the haiku to transform over time and yet retain its traditional sense and essential expressions of wabi-sabi and karumi. Participants will have the opportunity to participate by writing, sharing and discussing their own spare poems utilizing these valuable elements. 

Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite haiku, as well as their own haiku, small poems or micro-poetry to share, or refine through workshopping with other poets to gain insight and outside perspective of their works in progress.

Don't be Afraid

Saturday 2:45-4:00

choose one of two workshops

For the Fun of it

For the Fun of It

led by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

That’s right. Writing for pleasure. We’ll read poems that make us laugh and shake our heads and open our hearts and feel good, and then in that vein, we’ll write. Of course there will be a dark underbelly. Let’s tickle it.

Sculpting a Poem

led by Kate Kingston

This writing exercise is designed to generate new poems. Come with a clean slate and a sharp pencil ready to chisel into the heart of it. We’ll begin by creating our personal block of language through freewriting, much as a sculpture might choose a rough block of wood loaded with possibilities. Drawing on traditional forms and poetic devices, we’ll whittle away the excess, sculpting words into a work of art. We will work with tools and ideas that you can take with you, a small arsenal against future writer’s block.

Sculpting a Poem

fresh ideas, new perspective, new poems, meditations & 


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