Final Deadline for Spring Cohort: June 27, 2024 Apply Now

The Four Week Seminar

How do the Seminars work?

These are $497, four week courses of graduate level instruction and workshopping.

For March 2024, we are offering Seminars for Fiction and Poetry:

Crafting Compelling Beginnings: The Art of Writing the First Page

Fiction Instructor: Lauren T. Davila

Dates: Tuesdays 5-7pm PST 

March 2024

Cost: $497

The opening page of any written work is crucial; it sets the tone, introduces characters, builds out the world, and establishes the narrative’s direction. This four week seminar is designed to hone your skills in crafting captivating and impactful first pages. Through a series of interactive direct instruction seminars, peer guided workshops, and personalized editorial feedback, participants will delve into the techniques and strategies that make an opening page unforgettable. Whether you’re an aspiring novelist, short story writer, or a creative mind seeking to enhance your writing skills, this course will provide the necessary tools to hook readers from the very first line. 

By the end of this seminar, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the art of writing captivating opening pages, along with a refined and polished first page of your own writing project.

Every Seminar participant is also trained in the Critical Response Process method of peer workshop.


The Good Poem: Four Questions to Ask of Your Poetry

Poetry Instructor: Joshua Roark

Dates: Thursdays 5-7pm PST 

March 2024

Cost: $497

What key features of contemporary work can we use to signal to the gate keepers that we are an important voice in the conversation? Welcome to both beginning and experienced poets, this seminar will articulate (1) how good poems investigate urgent concerns of the human creatures writing them, (2) how they engage the reader’s body through imaginative sensory experience, (3) how they produce the tension that keeps a reader reading, and (4) how they explicitly express their own patterns. We will employ close readings, discussions, learning activities, and workshopping to wrestle together through the creation of a good poem.

By the end of this seminar, you will have developed an understanding of how contemporary publishers are reading poems, as well as the skillset to put that understanding into the practice of writing and revising your own work.

Every Seminar participant is also trained in the Critical Response Process method of peer workshop.

Join the Waitlist!

We’ve structured our Seminars to be three consecutive weeks of group instruction and workshopping, and we’ve designed the fourth week to consist of individual feedback and attendance at our virtual Writing Life Residency

Once you’ve registered for your Seminar, classes begin the first week of the month.

The PocketMFA Seminar Model

The First Week: Direct Instruction and Generative Session

Week one consists of graduate-level out-of-class assigned reading and writing assignments, as well as the initial two hour zoom with the full class. The focus will be on generating new writing as well as the introduction of new information and skills for the writer. 

Total time commitment for the writer: 4 hours. (2 hrs zoom + 2 hrs reading and writing)

The Second Week: Direct Instruction and Revision Session

Structured similarly to the previous week, you will spend your time completing reading and writing assignments and participating in the online class designed to develop and deepen the understanding of the seminar’s core elements.

Total time commitment for the writer: 4 hours. (2 hrs zoom + 2 hrs reading and writing)

The Third Week: Peer Workshopping

Prior to week three’s zoom session, you will have completed our Critical Response Process workshop training, as well as written feedback for your small group partners. Week three’s session will be two hours of critical conversation around your peers work and your own. 

Total time commitment for the writer: 4 hours. (2 hrs zoom + 2 hrs reading and writing)

The Fourth Week: Individual Feedback and Writing Life Residency

Week four is separated from the previous weeks, as its zoom sessions arrive with the nearest Writing Life Residency, either in January or July. When the residency arrives, you will be invited to attend the Keynote and two other sessions (out of 17 total sessions). This will be a total of 3-4 hours in live zoom sessions with professional writers, agents, and publishers.

Previous sessions during residency have been, for example:

  • Submitting to Magazines: Everything You Need to Know with Josh Roark
  • A Conversation Around Sustainable Process with Ken Liu
  • The Query Letter with Agent Malaga Baldi
  • Generative Session: Revision with Editor Courtney Harler
  • How to Get Involved in Publishing with Josh Roark, JP Dancing Bear, Jenny Molberg, and Courtney Harler
  • The Spirit of Creative Writing with Carmen Acevedo Butcher

In addition, you will send your writing in for direct, professional review and guidance. Our faculty will then provide a full 2-3 page letter of feedback within 5 days. 

Total time commitment for all four weeks (combination of reading, writing, and zoom attendance): 16 hours.