Writing Workshops

Poetry Workshop | Fiction Workshop | Request Housing


Want to spend a weekend surrounded by fall foliage, covered bridges, walking paths, and cool clear rivers, while working on your writing? Join us beside a warm fire and learn how to hone your craft! Salem Art Works, in Salem, New York, presents its writing program with workshops in both poetry and fiction, October 5th-6th, 2019.

‘The writers’ workshop at Salem Art Works was valuable for its small-group structure and artistically charged setting. The staff and facilitators made it a folksy, relaxing, profitable, inspiring weekend.
— Stan Galloway, Founder of the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival


Saturday, October 5th, 2019

10:00am-12:30pm Workshop One

Poetry Workshop One: Exploring New Modes in Contemporary Poetry
Fiction Workshop One: The Elements of Strong Storytelling

7:30pm Reading

Sunday, October 6th 2019

1:00pm-3:00pm Workshop Two

Poetry Workshop One: Poetry Editing Roundtable
Fiction Workshop One: Story Development Roundtable


Poetry Workshop

Christopher Salerno is the author of four books of poems and the editor of Saturnalia Books. His most recent collection is Sun & Urn, selected by Thomas Lux for the Georgia Poetry Prize and published by University of Georgia Press in early 2017. Previous books include ATM, (Georgetown Review Poetry Prize 2014), Minimum Heroic (Mississippi Review Poetry Prize 2010), and Whirligig (2006). He is a recipient of the Laurel Review Midwest Chapbook Prize, the Prairie Schooner Glenna Luschei Award, and a New Jersey State Council on the Arts fellowship. His poems have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets series, Guernica, Gulf Coast, Fence, Boston Review, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. He is an Associate Professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey where he teaches in the undergraduate and MFA writing programs. 

Workshop One: Exploring New Modes in Contemporary Poetry

In this workshop we will identify and practice writing in various contemporary poetic modes found across the spectrum of well-known poets publishing today. With an eye toward the free verse lyric and narrative poetries, this workshop will employ a range of close readings and exercises to help you generate poems that make the most of the moment and keep the reader engaged. By surveying the current landscape of poetry and its dominant styles, manners, and techniques, we will explore the ways various celebrated contemporary poems work on the page as well as how we can locate and distinguish our own work in the larger conversation of craft.  

Workshop Two: Poetry Editing Roundtable

This workshop will provide an opportunity for students to generate and share several pages of their work, whether finished or in progress, and receive positive critical feedback from the group. We’ll use the elements discussed in Workshop One as the framework to address each student’s manuscript.

‘The weekend I spent at the SAW writing workshops became one of the most memorable weekends in my writing and academic career.

The artistic setting, the welcoming staff, the incredible workshop all inspired me not only to continue working on the poems I drafted during that weekend, but also to return to SAW for future residencies and writing workshops. I can't wait to return to SAW, because it has become a place I associate with personal growth and creative opportunity.’

–Nicole Yurcaba, Professor at Bridgewater College


Fiction Workshop

Ciaran Cooper has a BA and MFA from Bennington College, Vermont.  He has received numerous awards for his fiction and poetry, including an Artist’s Fellowship Award for Fiction from the Illinois Arts Council, and a nomination for an O’Henry Prize. He has been an Associate Fiction Editor for The Chicago Review, the University of Chicago’s literary journal, and Senior Editor for CHEW, a series of chapbooks for emerging writers. Ciaran’s short stories and poetry have been published in nationally recognized literary journals. He is currently at work on a novel.

Workshop One: The Elements of Strong Storytelling

What makes a great story? We'll address this through the analysis of how character, plot, and powerful language work together to support the narrative arc.

This workshop will employ a range of exercises and close readings to help you create vivid characters and develop strong emotional turning points for them while maximizing the impact of your words to draw your readers in and keep them engaged. We’ll focus on developing strong scenes, including point of view, character development, dialogue, setting, and story movement, as they relate to the overall story arc.

We'll look at writing samples from some of the best contemporary and classic fiction that illustrate the elements of strong storytelling in a range of structures, including short stories, micro-fiction, and novels.

This workshop is open to all levels of writer, whether you’re just starting out, have written a few stories but want to hone your craft, or have already published but want to develop some new approaches in a supportive environment.

Workshop Two: Story Development Roundtable

This workshop will provide an opportunity for students to share up to ten pages of their work, whether finished or in progress, and receive positive critical feedback from the group. We’ll use the elements discussed in Workshop One as the framework to address each student’s manuscript.

‘I can't thank you enough for the writing workshop this past weekend.  The two days were packed with topics directly related to my current project, a teen action thriller novel. Focusing on "the hook" in my first chapter, Ciaran helped me to work through specific challenges, providing tips that tightened up a lengthy and burdened first few pages.  My exercise was to rewrite the opening paragraphs, using some basic principles of story construct. It was exactly what I needed to move my novel forward.

Ciaran also gave me several authors to read whose books are within my novel's genre.  We compared their writing to mine, so I had firm examples to illustrate techniques that keep the reader engaged and wanting more.  His pointed critique helped me to identify and tackle problems I knew I had but didn't know how to resolve. In two days, I walked away with practical tools I can use throughout the writing process and the confidence to move forward.  I could not have hoped for a more productive and positive experience. I highly recommend Ciaran's workshop for anyone starting or in the process of completing a creative writing project.’

-- Charlie Duveen

Request Housing