The Conference

August 16 – 19, 2019

Short forms, long weekend.

In a world in which heft often rules the day, Iota inspires an economy of words. It’s a celebration of the small, the brief, the miniature. Short essays, flash fiction, short stories, prose poems: short forms deserve their own long weekend.

Iota faculty members guide participants through the crafting of short forms. Is a micro essay really a prose poem? Is a prose poem really a piece of flash fiction? Prepare to challenge your own assumptions.


FACULTY FOR 2019: Richard blanco and arielle greenberg

Richard Blanco

Selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, Richard Richard Blanco represented by Blue Flower Arts LLCBlanco is the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his three collections of poetry: City of a Hundred Fires, which received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press; Directions to The Beach of the Dead, recipient of the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center; and Looking for The Gulf Motel, recipient of the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award. He has also authored the memoirs For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey and The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, winner of a Lambda Literary Award. His inaugural poem “One Today” was published as a children’s book, in collaboration with renowned illustrator Dav Pilkey. His latest book, Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler, challenges the physical and psychological dividing lines that shadow the United States. A new book of poems, How to Love a Country, is forthcoming from Beacon Press in April 2019. Blanco has written occasional poems for the re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, Freedom to Marry, the Tech Awards of Silicon Valley, and the Boston Strong benefit concert following the Boston Marathon bombings. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary doctorates. He has taught at Georgetown University, American University, and Wesleyan University. He serves as the first Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets.

Arielle Greenberg

Arielle Greenberg writes poetry, creative nonfiction and cultural criticism–and is most delighted making and reading work that crosses boundaries, of genre and otherwise. She’s the author of five poetry collections, including the forthcoming Come Along with Me to the Pasture Now  and My Kafka Century;  her most recent books is Locally Made Panties, a collection of micro-essays, and she is co-author, with Rachel Zucker, of Home/Birth: A Poemic, a book-length lyric essay. She has co-edited three anthologies, including Gurlesque, forthcoming in an expanded digital edition co-edited with Becca KlaverArielle’s poems and essays have been featured in Best American Poetry, Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers and The Racial Imaginary, among other anthologies; she wrote a column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review, and she edits a series of essays called (K)ink: Writing While Deviant for The Rumpus. A former tenured professor in poetry at Columbia College Chicago, she has lived in Maine since 2011, teaching in low-residency MFA programs and in the community and occasionally writing things for money (i.e., not poetry or creative nonfiction).


Here’s what past Iota participants have to say:

“I’ve been to other conferences and retreats, but there is no comparison: the attention to every detail really couldn’t be improved upon.”

“Iota  was not merely helpful in terms of insights gained, it was helpful in terms of revitalizing me before I head back home to write alone. When the interactions at a conference are so consistently positive, and the overall dynamic the same, it can make one feel they are one member of a big community.”

“I feel liberated and encouraged as a fiction writer making a jump to non-fiction. It was thrilling to find out how many options are available.”

“Living and learning in a tranquil environment surrounded by nature was very peaceful, and allowed me to focus on my writing and not worry about work and other responsibilities.”

“I came away with two revised pieces of work and still had time to go hiking twice a day!”