The Origins of Poet Camp

Poet Camp classrooms grew out of the retreats and classes which I’ve taught for nearly 30 years to students from ages 4 to 94 from the more traditional classrooms to wilder places – including the center of a mall, on the lawn of a botanical garden, in the lobby of a theater before a show, and and and!

After teaching approximately 20 online classes (mostly offerings for the Loft Literary Center and the Writer’s Center in Bethesda), I realized I wanted the flexibility to make my own schedule of classes (overlap was difficult!) I frequently teach classes elsewhere, but this has allowed me to continue to develop the Poet Camp community online. I still work with both the Loft and the Writer’s Center, and the Loft Literary Center awarded me the MISA Excellence in Teaching Award Winner this year, in early 2022.

My workshops are creativity labs which use readings to represent a variety of voices from our wonderfully diverse community of writers. I also frequently provide resources from other creative fields and items not normally considered “writerly” to inspire new work and new ways of thinking about the creative process. Feedback in my workshops focuses on the positive and the particular of what’s working, especially in courses generating fresh drafts.

So why “Camp?” I grew up going to summer camps, and even tho I wasn’t happiest in the sun or in a crowd, I’ve never forgotten the sense of possibility and delight that I found when taken outside of my comfort zone. Grownups need play, too! Play allows our muse to speak more clearly, and helps us take risks on the page. The idea of camp also embraces community. Even virtually. I want our camp to be a welcoming place, where we all come together to inviting surprise and delight.

From the start we’ve been a “roving retreat,” which means I’m always looking for delightful and inspiring places that our community might enjoy.

I hope to meet you at camp soon!

I love working with poets as a sort of “master gardener,” sharing tools which will encourage their work and writing lives to grow green and lush, and full of blossoms.

Meet Sarah

I’m a free range librarian and poet, leading workshops online and in the Northern Virginia area.

I’m a…

Workshop Leader
Poetry Mentor
Creativity Coach
Poet Camp Organizer

Sarah Ann Winn’s first book, Alma Almanac (Barrow Street, 2017) won the Barrow Street Book Prize, judged by Elaine Equi. She is also the author of five chapbooks, most recently, Ever After the End Matter (Porkbelly Press, 2019).

Her writing has appeared in Five Points, Massachusetts Review, Nashville Review, Quarterly West, Smartish Pace, and elsewhere. Sarah has led workshops at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Loft Literary Center and the Poetry Foundation. In 2022, she was awarded the MISA Excellence in Teaching Fellowship.

She’s the founder of Poet Camp, a creative community where she leads online classes, jumpstarts and cozy writing retreats.

Get in touch: sarah@poetcamp.com

Land Acknowledgement

While Poet Camp is mostly online, I live and teach on land whose traditional custodians were the Manahoac, who later united with the Monacan Nation. Forty years after the arrival of the Europeans, only a quarter of the original occupants remained. More than 4000 indigenous people still live and work in this area. I pay my respect to their elders past, present and emerging.

Bluebird Words was my original website, which hosted my work and was the landing site for my courses and one:ones for a number of years. If you found me on that site, and have migrated here with us, you might be a founding member! Welcome to Poet Camp!