Regional Workshops

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Erica with participant.jpgSince 1999, nearly 1000 emerging poets have participated in Cave Canem’s community-based workshops, rare opportunities to work with accomplished poets for free or low-cost fees. Limited to an enrollment of 15, these ten-session workshops offer rigorous instruction, careful critique, and an introduction to the work of several poets.

With support from the Poetry Foundation, Cave Canem’s 2023 Regional Workshops are now available to participants outside of New York City.

This year, Spring 2023 workshops will take place in Montgomery, Alabama; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and of course, at the Cave Canem headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

Regional workshops are in-person, tuition-free, and free to apply. To be considered, please submit a cover letter and five original poems to our Submittable.


Fall 2023

Regional Workshop (Oakland)

“The World In & Around You” with devorah major
September 5 – October 31, 2023
Tuesdays, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. (PT) | Public Reading November 7, 2023

Some poets create poems that center friends, family, or personal history. Others seem to be drawn to outward subject matter: the streets, politics, the stars, etc. Using the work of poets such as Wanda Coleman, E. Ethelbert Miller, Sonia Sanchez, Tim Siebles, Natasha Tretheway, and Oakland’s own Mahogany L. Browne, this workshop will look to create poetry which seeks a balance between the two and investigates poems that include the self without the use of “I.” The sessions are structured to include time for both writing and critiquing.

1721 Broadway #201, Oakland, California 94612
Visit our Submittable Page to apply today

Submissions are free and open to Black Oakland-area residents.
Applications close August 6, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. (ET)

Born and raised in California, devorah major served as San Francisco’s Third Poet Laureate (2002-2006). She received Italy’s Regina Coppola International Literary Award performing in Sardinia and Northern and Southern Italy. Her sixth book of poetry, with open arms was released in a bilingual edition in Italy. A Willow Press Editor’s Choice, her seventh book of poetry Califia’s Daughter was published by Willow Press. major premiered her poetry play Classic Black: Voices of 19th Century African-Americans in San Francisco, with music composed and performed by Destiny Muhammad, at the San Francisco International Arts Festival. Trade Routes, a commissioned symphony with devorah major’s spoken word and chorus, premiered under Maestro Michael Morgan with the Oakland East Bay Symphony. She is on two CDs as a part of Daughters of Yam with Opal Palmer Adisa. devorah major performs her work nationally and internationally with and without musicians. She has been a participant in international poetry festivals in Italy, Belgium, Bosnia, Jamaica, and Venezuela, and performed her poetry in France, the Bahamas and Germany.


Regional Workshops (New York City)

Let Us Play: Creating Wit and New Forms on the Page” with Bakar Wilson
September 11 – November 6, 2023
Mondays, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (ET) | Public Reading November 13, 2023

Familiarity with traditional forms isn’t necessary for this generative workshop; we will play with language and look at poets who create forms for themselves: Harryette Mullen, John Yau, Elaine Equi, Carl Phillips and others. Let usB play on the page. Be prepared to take risks. By studying and workshopping both these poets and your own work, we will create poems unlike others you have seen before to create new ways of writing poetry.

Cave Canem Headquarters
20 Jay Street, 310A, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Visit our Submittable to apply today.

Submissions are free and open to Black New York City-area residents.
Applications close August 13, 2023, by 11:59 p.m. (ET).

Bakar Wilson has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Community of Writers, and the Colgate Writers’ Conference. He has performed his work at the Bowery Poetry Club, Poetry Project, The Studio Museum of Harlem, and The Asian-American Writer’s Workshop among others. His poetry has appeared in The Vanderbilt ReviewThe Lumberyard Radio Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Flicker and Spark: A Contemporary Queer Anthology, and The Ostrich Review among others. Bakar curated and hosted an hour of poetry at the Whitney Biennial for their poetry marathon in collaboration with A Gathering of the Tribes and received a commission from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for Juneteenth. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Bakar received his B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University and his M.A. in Creative Writing from The City College of New York. He is an Adjunct Lecturer of English and Creative Writing at Borough of Manhattan Community College at CUNY.

Visit our Submittable to Apply


QUESTIONS? Email us here.

This program is supported by a grant from the Jerome Foundation

Logos of Jermone Foundation, ConEdison, Inc, National Endowment of the Arts, and Poetry Foundation.







Cave Canem’s New York City Regional Workshop is supported by a grant from the Jerome Foundation and is also supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; and the Consolidated Edison Company of New York. Regional Workshops taking place outside of New York City are supported by a grant from the Poetry Foundation.