Summer Poetry in Friday Harbor

27 Apr

This September, join UW English Professor Richard Kenney and guest poet Jason Whitmarsh for two weeks of poetry in Friday Harbor!

This is a two-week seminar in the art and practice of poetry, to be held this coming September (Sept 5-18, 2010) 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. All comers welcome: no experience is presumed; a wide range of experience is anticipated. Participants will be housed in student quarters at the marine station, and will take meals together at the dining hall.

How to apply:   We have reserved accommodation for just fifteen students. We expect the seminar to fill quickly. Make application by letter of inquiry, along with the application form (attached), to Richard Kenney ( AND to Jason Whitmarsh ( If the program fills before the final deadline, a waiting list will be established.

Course credits: 5 credits of ENGL 283, 383, 483, or 493 (Autumn 2010)

Cost: $1,050.  This includes instructional costs, housing, and 3 meals a day.  (NOTE:  This price will not include tuition. A student’s Autumn tuition will be based upon total Autumn credits, including Friday Harbor credits. Evening Degree students must pay Evening Degree tuition directly to UW Professional and Continuing Education (formerly known as UW Educational Outreach), in addition to program fees paid to the Department of English.)  A non-refundable, $250 deposit will be due upon acceptance to the program, the remaining balance of $800 to be paid in full before Friday, August 27, 2010.

Priority Application Deadline: May 14, 2010 (Thereafter we will consider applications on a space-available basis.)

What is poetry? What are its forms and ways and means? What are its affinities with other forms of knowing, such as natural science, as practiced famously at the marine station? What is a poet’s relation to the natural world? Such widely-ranging questions, and others of mutual interest, will be explored in an experimental spirit at the point of the pencil: this is intended to be a practical apprenticeship in the poet’s art, rather than a theoretical or critically-minded literary seminar. In that spirit, writing will be constant and joyful. We’ll meet twice daily, with open time between. Expect lectures and discussion on the following topics: poetry and play, poetry and comedy, poetry and the natural world, nursery rhymes and nonsense, tone and gesture, and the generative nature of poetic constraints.

About the instructors:

Richard Kenney is the author of four books of poetry: The Evolution of the Flightless Bird, Orrery, The Invention of the Zero, and The One Strand River. He teaches poetry and verse writing in the undergraduate and MFA programs at the University of Washington.

Jason Whitmarsh earned his B.A. in mathematics from the University of Chicago and an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Washington. His poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Yale Review, Harvard Review, Ploughshares, and Fence. His book, Tomorrow’s Living Room, won the 2009 May Swenson Poetry Award. He lives in Seattle with his wife and children.

Questions?  Feel free to contact Bridget Norquist in English Advising ( or the program faculty.



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