Keweenaw Writers Workshop July 19-20

COPPER HARBOR – Aspiring and experienced writers both are encouraged to jump-start their creativity by attending the Keweenaw Writers Workshop in Copper Harbor, July 19-20.

This year, need-based scholarships will be offered, as well as generous “buddy discounts” (bring a friend and each gets a reduced rate).

This relaxing, weekend retreat will be held at the Willow Wisp Cottage and includes refreshments, writing workshops in either poetry or travel/life writing, and an evening presentation by visiting poet Randy Freisinger.

The theme this year is “The Wandering Word.” Over the weekend, workshop participants may enroll in additional activities designed to enhance creativity such as songwriting, yoga, meditation, QiJong, and guided nature hikes.

Workshop Descriptions:

The Wandering Word: Poetry and Transformation – This workshop will hone your skills with imagery and language, broaden your scope, and rekindle your creative energy. Workshop leader is Laura Smyth, MFA Columbia University’s Creative Writing Program.

The Wandering Word: Travel and Life Writing – This workshop is designed to help you access those places, bringing your memories to life in personal essays, short stories, travel memoir, and more. Workshop leader is Suzanne Van Dam (MFA University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Creative Writing Program).

The workshops will be held concurrently and include reading, discussion, the chance for participants to share and receive feedback on their work, and writing prompts designed to help writers overcome the intimidation of the blank page. Class size is limited to 12, so interested writers are encouraged to register early to hold a place.

Laura Smyth, the instructor for Poetry and Transformation, was awarded a Fellowship to attend Columbia University’s Creative Writing Program and while living in New York City had the opportunity to work with a broad array of poets including Diane Ackerman, Quincy Troupe, Anne Lauterbach, Jane Copper, Molly Peacock, and Derek Walcott.

She worked as an editorial assistant at the renowned Parnassus: Poetry In Review, and participated in a Master’s Class in poetry conducted by the poet Amy Clampitt at New York’s 92nd Street Y Poetry Center.

Her poetry has been included in several anthologies, literary magazines, online journals, and recent work has been nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize. Her teaching experience includes adjunct work at Finlandia University’s Suomi School of Arts and Science, International School of Art and Design, and Gogebic Community College. She is also the Creative Director for two small publishing companies located on the Keweenaw Peninsula: Thimbleberry Press and Mudminnow Press.

Suzanne Van Dam, the instructor for Travel and Life Writing, is an Associate Professor of Language and Literature at Finlandia University where she teaches English and creative writing. She earned both a bachelor of art and an master of art in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an master of fine arts from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Creative Writing Program. Van Dam has lived abroad in Tanzania, Malaysia, and Mexico, and has traveled widely.

She’s recently completed a novel and received an Honorable Mention for an essay in the New Millennium Writings competition.

Her work has appeared in Traverse Magazine, Further North, Mothering, Ceramics Monthly, Running Times, The U.P. Environment, and elsewhere.

For specific information or to register, go to or call (906) 370-5358.