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Poetry in the
Woods Workshop 2024

Saturday & Sunday, 10AM - 4PM

October 5 & 6, 2024

Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye is Chancellor Emeritus for the Academy of American Poets. She is the 2019 Lon Tinkle Lifetime Achievement Award Winner from the Texas Institute of Letters, and she has received a Lannan Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, and four Pushcart Prizes. She is the 2019 - 2021 Young People's Poet Laureate. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East was a finalist for the National Book Award, and....

Devin Johnston

Devin Johnston

Devin Johnston is the author of seven books of poetry including Dragons, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2023. He has also published Creaturely and Other Essays, meditations on the natural world. He works as an editor of Flood Editions, a nonprofit publishing house, and he teaches at Saint Louis University in Missouri.

Andrea Scarpino

Andrea Scarpino

Andrea Scarpino has published the poetry collections Once Upon Wing Lake, What the Willow Said as it Fell, and Once, Then, and the co-edited anthology Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice. She received a PhD in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, and an MFA from The Ohio State University. She is also co-editor of Nine Mile Magazine and served as Poet Laureate of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 2015-2017. She teaches at St Louis University High School.

James Crews

James Crews

James Crews is the author of the essay collection, Kindness Will Save the World, and editor of several bestselling poetry anthologies: Healing the Divide, The Path to Kindness, and How to Love the World. He has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, and in People Magazine, The Boston Globe, and The Washington Post. He is also the author of four prize-winning books of poetry, and his poems have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, and other journals.

Travis Mossotti

Travis Mossotti

Travis Mossotti currently serves as a Biodiversity Fellow in the Living Earth Collaborative at Washington University. His previous collections are About the Dead, Field Study, Narcissus Americana, and Racecar Jesus, and his fifth collection, Apocryphal Genesis, is forthcoming with Saturnalia Books in 2024. He’s been the recipient of the Miller Williams Poetry Prize, the May Swenson Book Award, the Christopher Smart – Joan Alice Poetry Prize, the Alma Book Award, and others.

PITW Workshop Details: 2024.

Scholarship Opportunity

Ten scholarships are available for applicants from the St. Louis Region whose combined household income is below $50,000. Additional Student Scholarships (up to 10) will also be awarded.

Member Discounts

Already a member of one of our partner organizations? If not, become a member and still receive the member discount.

No Cost to Apply

There is no fee to apply and the application form takes only a few minutes to complete.

Workshop Breakdown

Financial Scholarships (up to 10): No workshop costs.

Student Scholarships (up to 10): No workshop costs.

Student Rate ($50): Active high-school or part-time/full-time students enrolled in college, university or trade school can apply at student rate.

Member Rate ($75): Members of the Wildlife Rescue Center, St. Louis Poetry Center, St. Louis County Library Foundation, or St. Louis Zoo.

Non-Member Rate ($125)

More Questions?

Workshop Description

Forty applicants will be selected to join poets [TBN] for a two-day immersive poetry workshop on Saturday, October 5th and Sunday, October 6th.

There will be faculty-led poetry discussions, inspiring nature hikes, faculty readings, and a chance for workshop participants to share their own work in a reading event at the Saint Louis Zoo Anheuser-Busch Theater.

When & Where*:

Day 1 (Saturday, 10/5/24) 10AM - 4PM CST: Workshop will be held at Washington University's Tyson Research Center in the Living Learning Center.

Day 2 (Sunday, 10/6/24) 10AM - 4PM CST: Workshop will be held at the St. Louis Zoo's River Camp. Workshop participant reading event will be held at the Saint Louis Zoo Anheuser-Busch Theater from 6PM - 8PM CST.

* Specific program details with instructions will be sent to all selected participants. Any participant accepted into the program MUST be able to attend both workshop days.

Selection Process:

Applications for the Workshop can be submitted through this website and will be reviewed by PITW faculty. Applicants are required to complete a short questionnaire and submit a sample of their poetry.


Applications window will open in Spring 2024..


There is no cost to apply for the Workshop. Up to twenty eligible applicants will be awarded scholarships (financial and student) and members of our partner organizations will be given a member discount.

Visit the FAQ section below or reach out via email to

You can begin your application by navigating to Apply located on the top menu of the website.

Workshop FAQ

Is there a schedule activities for the Workshop?

Yes, a formal schedule will be made available to all participants who are accepted into the workshop. Formal schedule for 2023 is available on this page to get an idea for program.


There will be faculty-led discussions or lectures (each of the faculty members will choose their topic of interest and the format of the session(s)), inspiring walks/hikes through secluded Missouri woods at Washington University's Tyson Research Center, dedicated composition time, group workshop where participants can get feedback from peers and faculty (optional), and a culminating participant reading event held at the Saint Louis Zoo Anheuser-Busch Theater (each participant will be able to invite 4-6 friends/family to attend the reading).

Who reviews applications for the Workshop?

Each application is selected by a member of the PITW Faculty. 

How are faculty selected for the Workshop?

All faculty are selected based on their expertise in the craft. But also, PITW works hard to bring in local and visiting faculty with ties to the St. Louis region. We are also focused on bringing in voices from a wide range of backgrounds and orientations with a focus on inclusiveness. Each year, you can expect to see new faces and names.

Will food/lunch be provided at the Workshop?

Light snacks and beverages will be available all day. Lunch will provided both days. Lunch at the St. Louis Zoo on 10/8/23 will also be available for purchase @ Kudu Cafe, Lakeside Cafe, etc. Participant may opt to bring their own lunch to the workshop.

What if my application is not accepted this year?

Keep an eye for next year's application window. The seats are competitive, but we also want to extend the opportunity to as many St. Louis Area poets as possible. Also, visiting faculty rotate.

Also, there will likely be a waiting list. Should an accepted applicant drop out, those on the waiting list will be offered a seat.

If I was accepted and attended workshop last year, can I apply again this year?


If I'm accepted, what time should I arrive at Workshop each day?

Workshop participants should expect to arrive a minimum of 1/2 hour before Workshop begins.

What do I need to bring to Workshop?

Participants can bring their own preferred writing materials (including journals, laptops, tablets, etc.). Legal pads and writing implements will be provided.

Poems for Workshop: Applicants who are accepted will be invited to submit a poem (one page) for workshop. PITW will send specific details about this process, and PITW will print off hard copies of poems submitted for workshop. NOTE: You are not required to have your work included in the constructive critique workshop and are not required to submit your work.

Dress for the weather: On Saturday, the workshop will hike approximately 1 - 2 miles with a moderate elevation increase. Participants are not required to participate in the hike and may instead opt for outdoor composition time. All outdoor activities are subject to the whims of the weather. Participants should check the weather and dress appropriately (a decent pair of sneakers or hiking shoes is recommended) and umbrella in case of rain. 

Do I need to attend both days of Workshop?

Yes. Seats are competitive, and PITW wants to ensure the seats are filled.

The below form is to be completed by poets who've been accepted into the Workshop.

Workshop Poem & Participant AB Reading Form

Please complete the below form to submit your poem for workshop and complete your information for the Participant Reading at the AB Theater in the Zoo's Living World on Sunday, 10/8/2023. If you cannot complete this form due to technical issues, please answer all questions in a WORD Document and email completed WORD Doc to (remember to include a workshop poem as an attachment to that email).

Workshop Poem

Upload one poem in MS WORD .doc or .docx format to include for PITW Workshop:

  • Include at First Name/Last Name, “Poem Title” at the bottom of document.

  • Single Spaced, size 12font, One Page Max.

By submitting this poem, you agree to have the poem included in the printed/electronic workshop materials (will only be made available to accepted workshop participants). Participants may include a poem here and will be able to opt out of having their poem workshopped. Participants may also opt out of reading their poem aloud (may select to have faculty read their poem aloud). Poem submitted here will not be made public or published beyond the workshop materials.

Upload File

Participant Reading Event

Add at least 4 (max 10) Email Addresses (separate each email address with a semi-colon) of individuals you'd like to invite to the participant reading event that will be held on Sunday, October 8th, 2023 from 6:00PM - 8:00PM in the St. Louis Zoo (Anheuser-Busch Theater in the Living World). Individuals added here will be sent a formal invitation. Participants are required to submit a minimum of 4 individuals and a maximum of 10 individuals.

Participants may choose to read a poem at the event, but are not required to do so (opt out option below). Participants may read ANY poem they wish (not required to read poem submitted for workshop). Participants in reading event will be limited to 2-3 minutes MAX (please be considerate of this when selecting your poem; ~1page = 2min). You do NOT need to identify the poem you plan to read.


Apply Now

Join the workshop

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