Grasslands Weekend Writing Experience


Roger Mitchell

Roger Mitchell, award-winning poet and teacher, will be Prairie Wind & Silver Sage artist in residence July 14 to 24. Roger Mitchell is the author of eleven books of poetry and a work of nonfiction, Clear Pond, which won the John Ben Snow Foundation Prize. Other honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as the Akron Prize, the River Styx International Poetry Award, Ren Hen Press’s Ruskin Art Club Award, and others. A former director of the MFA program at Indiana University Bloomington and editor of The Minnesota Review for many years, Mitchell currently lives in the Adirondack Mountains of New York with his wife, the writer Dorian Gossy.

Grasslands Weekend Writing Experience
with Roger Mitchell
Friday July 15 to Sunday July 17, 2016

“It’s in the wildness of nature that we find most of our own self-definition. Part of that wildness is given us in our bodies, but a great deal more is given us in and through the remote parts of the earth. So, when we talk about saving the whales or the trees, we are talking about saving something that is or can be spiritually connected to us. I am not a tree or a whale, but I am a rooted thing and my capacity for submersion in what matters I have partly learned from the whale, to say nothing of my occasional “breeching.” I know that I am, if you will, part grassland, and I would let my eagerness to know more about that tell me how to help others see, hear, and feel what a grassland might mean to them if they would observe it closely and personally.

“My practice is based first of all on finding ways to encounter, in this case, the grassland alone, as someone trying to connect in a meaningful way with the thing being observed. Starting with our senses, we try to find words for what our senses are “telling” us. Then, with that grounding, we turn to our imaginations to understand what it has to give us. Finally, we have to face the issues of form. How can our experience be shaped as writers?

“The main thing in our contacts with nature, those that amaze and enlarge us, lies in how they make us aware of something that is larger and other than the physical universe. The grassland is made of grass, many very particular grasses, in fact, but it also spills over the horizon in our minds. It gives us the illusion when we stand in it that it is all there is, in that particular moment. It takes us away from the troubled, difficult sense of a self trapped in a wholly human world and reminds us we are part of a much larger drama. Life is larger than we probably have any way of ever knowing, but the strong reminders of that are everywhere around us, if we only look.  – Roger Mitchell

You are invited to join Roger Mitchell in experiencing the Grasslands and then in shaping your experience into written form. Approximately two weeks after the workshop you will be encouraged to return your grassland writing to Roger Mitchell  to be published as an online chapbook, which you may distribute as you choose.

Welcome evening: Community Words and Music. Open Mic at the Val Marie Hotel.
(Please note that the Community Words and Music Open Mic originally scheduled as part of this event has been cancelled. Check back for updates!)
Morning: writers’ gently guided research trip, Grasslands National Park, or explore on your own; Afternoon: first draft writing workshop, Val Marie
One-on-one consultations (please request when booking)

Pre-registration required
Fee: $65 includes Saturday lunch and breaks (all proceeds to the work of Prairie Wind & Silver Sage).
Open to writers of all genres and levels of experience
More information/register: phone 306 298-7782 or email

Information about weekend accommodation at Please book early!

During his residency Roger Mitchell will also offer drop-in Office Hours in Grasslands National Park and other locations. Please disturb the writer at work!