A Week at the Wildbranch Writing Workshop was Essential For Me

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The landscape around Craftsbury Common, Vermont.
The landscape around Craftsbury Common, Vermont.

It’s not often that I endorse something not affiliated with Terrain.org, but I wanted to take a moment — with the looming April 12th deadline — to promote the Wildbranch Writing Workshop, sponsored by Sterling College and Orion magazine in Craftsbury Common, Vermont. The weeklong workshop this year is June 24-30, and features Christopher Cokinos, David Gessner, and Ginger Strand as faculty extraordinaire. View all the details, and apply, here.

Wildbranch is the country’s foremost writing workshop for people interested in honing their ability to write honestly and powerfully about the natural world. In addition to the faculty, you spend time with and receive amazing feedback from members of the Orion editorial staff for a week of writing and conversation in the rolling hills of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. I remember well, for example, my canoe ride with Jennifer Sahn, Orion editor, which was both fun and informative. And she managed to pull me out of the dark water without too much strain following my mad and one might argue unexpected dive for loons. Better not to tell more of that story, however…

Jen and Chip Blake, Orion’s editor-in-chief, offer participants the option of a one-on-one critique of a piece of their writing. A limited number of manuscripts will be accepted for review on a first-come first-served basis and a 4,000-word limit applies. Those wishing to take advantage of this opportunity are asked to submit their work to the workshop director by June 1. I took advantage of it, and it helped considerably.

When I was there, in 2008, I had the good fortune to study under Scott Russell Sanders. Four years later, I still keep in close touch with my fellow Sanderlings, as we (nerdingly, I admit) call each other.

So if you’re a writer of any age or ability, with a deep passion for our natural world and how we find our place in it, you should sign up for the Wildbranch Writing Workshop. And enjoy those first-light birdwalks, too.

Sandhill Cranes in and above the Platte River

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.