Graduate Seminar in Poetry at Friday Harbor 2013

Students near lighthouse in Friday Harbor
photograph courtesy Kati Casto, past program participant

"The Nature of Poetry"

September 4 to September 14, 2013

(With a few additional meeting times during Fall Quarter, TBA)

*For information about the undergraduate, quarter-long program at Friday Harbor (part of the Marine Biology Quarter) click here.

Location: UW Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island
Faculty: Professor Richard Kenney
Students: Graduate students in Creative Writing and others on a space available basis
Cost: $500 for housing and meals; tuition may be included in Autumn Quarter tuition total
Applications: Deadline: June 28, 2013
Course credits: 5 credits of ENGL 581

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This is a ten-day seminar in the art and practice of poetry, to be held this coming September at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island. There will be lecture and discussion, reading, critique, informal chat and solitary time for composition. Participants will be housed in student quarters at the marine station, and will take meals together at the dining hall.

Course Description

ENGL 581: The Nature of Poetry, 5 credits

From our base in Friday Harbor, in the heart of the San Juan Islands, we'll spend ten breathless days considering aspects of metaphorical logic, musical effect and tonal inflection, working together toward an overview of the elements of the poet's art. The days will be breathless because the pace will be so joyfully unrelenting, and because the scenery is so beautiful, the evening firelight so cheery, and the company so good.

Credits and Tuition

MFA Students will receive five credits of ENGL 581, The Creative Writer as Critical Reader. Questions in regards to how these credits will fit into students' degree plans should be addressed to Pimone Triplett, Director of the Creative Writing Program.

Course credits will be included in students' AUTUMN schedules and tuition for this course will be covered by students' Autumn Quarter tuition. (Graduate students pay the same tuition rate for 10-15 credits, so matriculated MFA students may take this course in addition to the 10 credits they have planned for Autumn Quarter without paying additional tuition, so long as they enroll in a minimum of 10 credits and a maxiumum of 18 credits total (FH credits plus other Autumn Quarter credits.) The $500 fee for housing and food will be paid separately to the English Department (checks made payable to the University of Washington.) See payment schedule below.


Priority Application deadline: June 28, 2013 (thereafter we will consider applications on a space-available basis.)

We have reserved accommodation for just fifteen students. Make application by letter of inquiry to Linda Bierds (

Payment schedule

A $250.00 nonrefundable deposit is due upon acceptance to the program. The remaining balance of $250 to be paid in full by Friday, August 30, 2013. If a participant is forced to withdraw, a refund of all but the $250 deposit will be made if the withdrawing student's place is filled by someone on the waiting list. No refunds are possible after the program has begun.

Program Faculty

Linda Bierds is the author of Flight: New and Selected Poems; First Hand; The Seconds; The Profile Makers: Poems; The Ghost Trio, and other collections. Bierds has received several Pushcart Prizes, as well as grants and awards from the Seattle Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Poetry Society of America, and the MacArthur Foundation, who praised her in 1998 as "a poet whose attention to historical detail and to narratives of lyric description sets her apart from the prevailing contemporary styles." She has taught English and writing at the University of Washington since 1989, and was the director of its Creative Writing Program from 1997 until 2000.