My Week at Hedgebrook: March 2013 Master Class with Carolyn Forché

4 AM 3.19.13. I wake to the smell of wood smoke, redolent of douglas fir and western cedar. The loft’s chill, dry air feels like an extra layer of fragile, impermeable skin. I inhale it in short, shallow puffs. Even so, my throat closes against it. Pulling the duvet up to my neck, I concentrate on the faint hissing-sliding noise on the roof above me, the sound that woke me. Not an animal. Not the wind.
Snow. It’s snowing.
So began my first day at Hedgebrook, where I took part in a week-long poetry master class led by Carolyn Forché in March 2013.
Located on a forty-acre farm on Whidbey Island, Washington, Hedgebrook is a writer’s retreat for women. Founded by Seattle philanthropist, Nancy Nordhoff, it offers a Master Class Program and a Writer in Residence Program.
Six of us enrolled in the poetry master class. We were each assigned one of Hedgebrook’s six cottages, our home—and workspace—away from home. Warmed by a Yotl stove, this “room of our own” offered something we all yearn for: private, uninterrupted time to think, read, and write.
After lunch in the cottage, we met daily with Carolyn in the common room to share and discuss our morning’s work. Critiques, questions, lively interchange, and banter wove around and through her insightful suggestions.
Our communal dinners occasioned wide-ranging exchanges about life-and-writing, life-in-writing, life in general against a backdrop of spectacular sunsets over sea meadows, Useless Bay, and the Olympic Mountains.
7 PM 3.25.13 Our last evening together. Just below the farmhouse, in a nearby inlet, a flock of migrating snow geese settles for the night. Preening and feeding, the birds bob in the blue-grey water, at home, far from home.
For more information about Hedgebrook and its application and selection process, go to Deadline for applications for the Writer in Residence program is midnight, PST, July 28, 2015

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