Although we can’t gather in person this week, we are offering an assortment of prompts and curated online content to nurture your writing and reading.

These materials are available for you to view on your own schedule for free; no registration or payment is required (though we won’t say no to a donation — see the left-hand column for options).

Book titles link to Readers’ Books, our long-time conference bookseller. Your purchase supports this beloved community resource. Titles from this series are 15% off all week; the discount is applied automatically online, or if ordering by phone  or buying in person, mention the writers’ conference to claim it. Shipping and curbside pickup available!

Brian Teare | Faculty Poet – 2014, 2016

Writing Prompt: Little Calendar.
Your job is to write your own “little calendar” of a day wherever you live in July or August of 2020. It seems an especially good time to stop, take note of the season, and measure out a day in images and phrases.
View the full prompt (PDF download)

Latest Work: Doomstead Days

Reading Now: Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge, Empathy; Justin Phillip Reed, The Malevolent Volume; Cecilia Vicuña,New & Selected Poems

Essential Viewing: Doomstead Days with Brian Teare,” from Poets House (2020)

Online Writings: The Best Job on Earth: On the Poetry of C.D. Wright” at the Harriet blog; “Textual Preference” for the Poetry Foundation

Lan Samantha Chang | Fiction Faculty – 2002 to 2019

Writing Prompt: I have been thinking about middles lately. Here is a prompt:  “I knew it was over when…”

Latest Work: All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost

Reading Now: James Alan McPherson, Hue and Cry

Essential Viewing: A Writer’s Workshop” on “The Open Mind,” PBS; “Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Famous for Training Top Writers, Turns 75,” “NewsHour,” PBS

Online Writings: Writers, Protect Your Inner Life,” Lithub (based on a craft talk from Napa); “Letters to a Young Writer,” Narrative (free registration required)

Q&A: Lan Samantha Chang Interviewed by Mia Funk,” for the Creative Process Project (2019); “The Millions Interview with Edan Lepucki,” The Millions (2010)

Robert Hass | Future Translation Faculty – 2021

Writing Prompt: Poet’s Choice
You glimpse the original, or your idea of the original, behind the English of the translation, and the idea of it haunts you. It’s the impulse, often enough, that starts the translation.
View the full prompt (PDF download)

Latest Work: Summer Snow

Reading Now: Terry Tempest Williams,  Erosion: Essays of Undoing; C. D. Wright, Casting Deep Shade: An Amble; Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility; Mark Doty, What Is the Grass: Walt Whitman in My Life (and Whitman’s Leaves of Grass to go with it); David Abernethy, The Dynamics of Global Dominance

Essential Viewing & Listening: Conversation with Roland Flint,” The Writing Life (1996); “The Fresh Air Interview: On Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’,” “Fresh Air”, NPR (2010)

Online Writings: Robert Hass’s Inner History of the Decade,” by Dan Chiasson in the New Yorker; 

Q&A: Robert Hass Interview,”; “Robert Hass, The Art of Poetry No. 108,” interviewed by Jesse Nathan for the Paris Review


Like the Content? Please Support Our Work

Even without a physical conference this year, our staff has been on the job, and we anticipate rising costs and increased need for scholarships as we move into planning for 2021 and beyond.

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Caffeinate & Donate!

A percentage of sales July 26-31 of the Writers’ Conference Blend from the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Co. will be donated to the conference.

Buy Online for Home Delivery