Workshop Retreats and Weekend Workshops


The Millay Colony for the Arts offers four-day Workshop Retreats in writing, art and music on Colony's sylvan campus. Each Retreat includes twelve hours of workshop time, all meals, and ample time to work, ruminate and explore our lush natural surroundings. Private bedrooms and spacious private studios are available for all participants. Participants delve into their work, explore new ideas, meet extraordinary teaching artists and collaborate with others while spending intense work-time on our gorgeous campus. Fragrant with blueberries, thyme, and wildflowers, the quiet loveliness of our campus provides uninterrupted calm and inspiration—the perfect retreat for creativity and relaxation.

We also offer a program of Weekend Workshops and Professional Development Classes in New York City. Weekend Workshops are two-day/eight-hour workshops offering intensive sessions with some of the most exciting teaching artists around. Professional Development Classes take place over four hours on a Saturday and seek to address some of the career challenges and questions facing artists now.



Writing Those Applications: A one-day workshop for Artists
with Carl J. Ferrero
May 24th, 2014 10:00am - 2:00pm

One day workshop for visual artists covering the basics on preparation for applications for MFA programs, grants, fellowships, residencies, and other opportunities. Topics covered will include choosing the right program for your practice, selecting the best work samples, writing artist statements and work descriptions, and creating customized applications. The group will review each others statements and work samples, and offer objective feedback.

Carl Ferrero is a practicing artist who has had solo exhibitions at Feature Inc., Vox Populi, Envoy Enterprises and Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts. His work has been included in exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Artists Space, The Elizabeth Foundation, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Exile in Berlin, and Artenova in Italy. Ferrero received his MFA from Brooklyn College in 2006, and has been awarded fellowships from the Millay Colony, the AIM program, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and the Gowanus Studio Space. You can find his artwork in Drawings On Writing, published by J&L Books, and in The Underminer, written by Mike Albo. Mr. Ferrero designed and taught undergraduate drawing and graduate painting courses at Brooklyn College. He currently teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he is a Post-Graduate Teaching Fellow. Ferrero has also has extensive experience teaching high school students at Parsons Summer Intensive Studies program, and teaching art to elementary school students from under-served communities through The Joan Mitchell Foundation.


Terribly Interruptible: A Workshop for Parent-Artists
with Rachel Zucker
June 7th

Alice Notley, Bernadette Mayer, and Sharon Olds included the voices and presence of their young children their work. Adrienne Rich wrote that poetry was the place where she was "no one's mother." Paul Auster said poetry and translation work were possible during early fatherhood but not novel writing. Tillie Olson waited until her children were older before writing her best work. In this workshop for parent-artists we will discuss the pleasures and perils of being derailed from one's creative life or habitual process by one's family. We will practice various strategies for writing with, without and around children including learning from and incorporating children, collaborating with children, escaping from children, setting and breaking limits and redefining patience and acceptance.

Rachel Zucker is the author of nine books, most recently a memoir, MOTHERS, and a double collection of poetry and prose, The Pedestrians. Her book Museum of Accidents was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Zucker lives in New York with her husband and their three sons. She teaches at New York University and is currently a National Endowment for the Arts fellow.



More Than Imitation: A Master Writing Class on "Influence" and "Writing After"
with Hoa Nguyen
November 15-16

In this workshop we will closely read poetry as sources and departure points for our own writing. What exactly happens in interesting language? Our focus will include noticing technical writing strategies: sonic arrays and patterns, the visual aspect of verse lines, rhetorical devices, and the tensions of meanings. Part forensic study and part improvisational writing, this workshop will have us writing after works by Lorine Niedecker, Sei Shonegon, Charles Olson, Joanne Kyger, Alice Notley, Ted Berrigan, Gertrude Stein, and more. The workshop will close with an intensive rewrite & revision component.

Born in the Mekong Delta and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Hoa Nguyen studied Poetics at New College of California in San Francisco. With the poet Dale Smith, Nguyen founded Skanky Possum, a poetry journal and book imprint in Austin, TX, their home of 14 years. She is the author of eight books and chapbooks including As Long As Trees Last (Wave, 2012). She currently lives in Toronto where she teaches poetics in a private workshop and at Ryerson University. Wave Books will release Red Juice, a gathering of her early, uncollected poems, in September 2014.


A Master Class in Overcoming Writer’s Block
Or Goodbye Writer’s Block, Part II

with Kara Lee Corthron
October 18-19

In this two-day intensive, writers of all genres are invited to come and try some wild writing exercises, get tips for when the inspiration well runs dry, and most of all to write, write, and WRITE some more. Have a project that you haven't been able to finish? Overwhelmed by deadlines? Or just plain stuck? Join us for two days of sucker-punching anything that blocks your muse in the gut!

Kara Lee Corthron is an NYC-based playwright. Her full-length plays include Julius by Design (Fulcrum Theater), Etched in Skin on a Sunlit Night (InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia), AliceGraceAnon (New Georges), Holly Down in Heaven (Forum Theatre in DC area), Spookwater, Listen for the Light, and Wild Black-Eyed Susans. Awards: Boomerang Fund for Artists Grant, The Vineyard Theatre's 3rd Annual Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Princess Grace Award, two NEA grants, the Helen Merrill Award, Lincoln Center's Lecomte du Nouy Prize (three-time recipient), the Theodore Ward Prize, the New Professional Theatre Writers Award, three MacDowell fellowships, residencies at Skriðuklaustur (Iceland), Djerassi, Hawthornden (Scotland), the Millay Colony, and Ledig House, and Fulcrum Theater (a company Kara helped launch with its inaugural production) received a 2013 Obie Grant. Commissions include South Coast Rep, New Georges, InterAct, E.S.T./Sloan, and Naked Angels. Kara is a 2012-2014 Women's Project Lab Time Warner Foundation Fellow. Her work has been produced and/or developed at the African Continuum Theatre (DC), Ars Nova, CenterStage (Baltimore), Electric Pear, E.S.T., Haulbowline Theatre Group (Cork, Ireland), Horizon Theatre (Atlanta), the Kennedy Center, Midtown Direct Rep, Naked Angels, New Dramatists, New Georges, New York Theatre Workshop, The Orchard Project, Page 73, Penumbra, PlayPenn Conference (2010), The Shalimar, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference (Guest Artist, 2012), South Coast Rep, TheatreWorks (Palo Alto), the Vineyard Theatre, Voice & Vision, and the Women's Project. TV: writer for NBC's Kings (2008-2009). Kara is an instructor at Primary Stages’ Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA), served as visiting professor in the MFA & BFA playwriting programs at Ohio University and has guest taught at various institutions including Spalding University and Rutgers. Juilliard alumna, New Georges Affiliated Artist, and member of Interstate 73 (2007-2008), the Ars Nova Play Group (2010-2011), 'Wright On! Playwrights Group (co-founder), Blue Roses Productions, the Dramatists Guild and the Writers Guild of America.




Breaking Form: Alchemies in Creative Nonfiction Structure
with Melissa Febos
May 30 - June 2

Conventional essay forms offer us familiar containers in which to pour our content. And essays are traditionally driven by content. It is a formula that works. The problem with formula, and the familiar, is that it lulls the imagination and protects the psyche. But what happens when we lead with structure? What happens to our content when it meets an unfamiliar container? In this retreat, we will generate work using unconventional forms, and find the hidden corners of our content. Appropriating forms from sources diverse as poetry, prayers, screenplays, bestiaries, and etymologies, we will surprise ourselves.

Melissa Febos is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin's Press, 2010). Her work has been widely anthologized and appears in publications including Glamour, Salon, Dissent, New York Times, Kenyon Review, Post Road, Bitch Magazine, The Rumpus, Hunger Mountain, The Portland Review, The Brooklyn Rail, and The Chronicle of Higher Education Review, and she has been featured, among other places, by NPR's Fresh Air, CNN, The Atlantic, and Anderson Cooper Live. Selected by Lia Purpura as the winner of the 2013 Prairie Schooner Creative Nonfiction Contest, she is the recipient of a 2013 Barbara Deming Memorial Fund Artist Grant, a 2012 Bread Loaf Nonfiction Fellowship, and MacDowell Colony fellowships in 2010 and 2011. Currently Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Monmouth University and MFA faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), she has also taught at Sarah Lawrence, The New School, NYU, and Purchase College. The daughter of a sea captain and a psychotherapist, she was raised on Cape Cod, and lives in Brooklyn.


A Poetry of Ideas
with Evie Shockley
July 31 - August 2

This workshop is for those who feel like they've amassed a number of wonderful tools and skills as poets, but find themselves searching for strategies that put their formal abilities to work in making poems with reach and impact. We will connect our own deepest concerns with situations far beyond us, in ways that bring into focus our many relationships to the world in which we live and illuminate some of the reasons humans have always created poetry.

Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, poet Evie Shockley earned a BA at Northwestern University, a JD at the University of Michigan, and a PhD in English literature at Duke University. The author of several collections of poetry, including a half-red sea (2006) and the new black (2011), Shockley is also the author of the critical volume Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (2011). Her poetry and essays have been featured in several anthologies, including Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (2009), Poets on Teaching: A Sourcebook (2010), A Broken Thing: Contemporary Poets on the Line (2011), and Contemporary African American Literature: The Living Canon (2013).


Deep Sonnets: Chaos in Fourteen Lines
with Annie Finch
August 29 - September 1

From Shakespeare and Donne to Edna St.Vincent Millay (called by Edmund Wilson the greatest writer of sonnets since Shakespeare) to Ted Berrigan, Bernadette Mayer, and Jen Bervin, the sonnet is the longest-lived poetic form in English. This workshop will provide a safe and vibrant space to discover your own personal poetic relationship with the chaos in 14 lines. A selection of Millay's own sonnets and others from a range of perspectives (endo- and exo-, caudate and accentual, ballad, conceptual, and more) will act as jumping-off points and guiding spirits as we immerse ourselves in the historic complications and contemporary ramifications of this stubborn and fertile poetry source. What are this form's necessary structures, and what are its mercurial resonances? How can the sonnet inspire us as contemporary poets, and what, if anything, can we give the sonnet? Through journaling, composing, diagramming, performance, and discussion of sonnets, and above all through writing and sharing our own, each of us will find a new energetic connection with the powerful form on which Edna built her voice.

Annie Finch is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, plays, translation, literary essays, textbooks and anthologies, most recently Among the Goddesses, A Poet's Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry, Villanelles, and Spells: New and Selected Poems. Her poems have appeared in journals including Yale Review, Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, Partisan Review, Prairie Schooner, Fulcrum, Jacket, Agni, Poetry, and Paris Review, and in anthologies such as The Norton Anthology of World Poetry, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, and The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Her work has been honored with the Sarasvati Award and the Robert Fitzgerald Award. Annie's multimedia poetic collaborations have been produced at Carnegie Hall, the Spoleto Festival, and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Educated at Yale University (B.A.) and Stanford University (Ph.D.), she has taught widely and served as Director of the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing. Annie Finch has read and performed her work across the U.S. and in Canada, Europe, and Africa.


Workshop Retreat & Weekend Workshop Details

Workshop Retreat Schedule: Each day begins with a fresh breakfast followed by a three- hour workshop at 10:00 AM. Total workshop time for the retreat will be twelve hours. The afternoon can be spent working in the studio, visiting local sites, swimming in a nearby lake or walking the mountain trails. Dinner is served overlooking our gorgeous meadows. Evening hours are devoted to worktime.

Retreat Fees: $650 includes tuition, private room, private studio and all meals. $400 includes tuition and meals only. $1,100 for two Workshop Retreats, $1,500 for all three.

Participants may purchase a thirty-minute Private Consultation with their instructor for $150. Manuscripts (15 pages maximum) must be sent in advance; portfolios can be but this is not required.
Limited Scholarships, based on need, are available.
Millay Colony Alumni receive a 25% discount.

Weekend Workshop Schedule: We will begin each four-hour class at 10:00 with coffee, tea and a lot of ideas about a lively, focused, smart writing and art practice. Total workhop time is eight hours. The day ends at 3:00 PM (includes a lunch break).

Weekend Fees: $250 for a weekend class, $450 for two Weekend Workshops, $650 for three Weekend Workshops.

Limited Scholarships, based on need, are available.
Millay Colony Alumni receive a 25% discount.

Professional Development Class Schedule: Each class takes place over four hours on a Saturday. Class begins at 10:00 and we provide coffee, tea and brilliance. The day ends at 2:30 PM (including a lunch break).

PD Class Fees: $100 for a class, $150 for two, $200 for three.

Limited Scholarships, based on need, are available.
Millay Colony Alumni receive a 25% discount.

All our Weekend Workshops and Professional Development Classes will take place in the gorgeous, water-view-bedecked DUMBO/SKY in Brooklyn's own DUMBO. We are delighted to have landed in this remarkable space, directed by the remarkable poet Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

To Apply: Send a letter of introduction indicating your choice of workshop or class and including a brief biography with a $100 deposit for Retreats and $50 for Weekend Workshops and PD Classes. Also include a work sample (10 pages of writing, 10 images on CD or a brief video clip -- links to online work are also fine) for the workshops. Applicants will be accepted on a first-come first-serve basis. Please indicate if you require lodging and studio space for the Retreats.

Apply To: The Millay Colony for the Arts, 454 East Hill Road, Austerlitz, NY. Attention: Workshops. Make Checks payable to The Millay Colony for the Arts. You can also pay via PayPal using our DONATE Button.

For more information please get in touch with Caroline Crumpacker at 518-392-4144 or .