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Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice
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Poets and Scholars Summer Writing Retreat 2021

“We are not asking for seats at the table. We are building tables.”

About the Retreat

The retreat, which ran from July 13 to July 23, 2021, featured 10 days of presentations, talk-backs, and a radical reimagining of traditional writing workshops that allowed for the participation of auditors who may or may not consider themselves writers, but want nonetheless to contribute to the mission of the retreat. Participants included writers of all disciplines, genres, and backgrounds who are committed to anti-racist writing practices. The Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice seeks to create spaces for scholars and creative writers to be in conversation as both an aspect of their work and for the mutual exchange of knowledge within and throughout the university and its surrounding communities. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • A: We borrow the model of the anti-racist workshop that strengthens writers of color through “innovative reading, writing, workshop, critique, and assessment strategies,” from Felicia Rose Chavez’s book, The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom (Haymarket Books, 2021). The anti-racist workshop asks writers to interrogate the positions from which they are speaking (both as writers and as critics in response to peers’ writings), and not to presume objectivity. In contrast to traditional writing workshops whose critiques respond to only what is “on the page,” the anti-racist workshop takes into account multiple ways of knowing and acknowledges the social and cultural context that shapes the act of creating and sharing literature. This workshop also explores ways of making legible the contexts of which the writer may have been unaware in the process of creation. The anti-racist workshop centers marginalized identities and acknowledges that “craft” is itself a cultural construct. We envision this workshop as an open learning community.

  • A: No. Program participants are drawn from all disciplinary backgrounds throughout the humanities and beyond, including but not limited to writers of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, and literary scholars.

  • A: This program seeks to resist the boundaries between creative and critical practice. The retreat will encourage mutual exchange and transdisciplinarity among poets and scholars. The name of the program acknowledges the truth that everyone who is engaged in crafting language is concerned with the language of craft. “Theory” as bell hooks tells us, “is liberatory practice.”

  • A: The Poets and Scholars Summer Writing Retreat meets virtually for 10 days from July 13 to July 23, 2021. The workshops will be augmented by lectures that offer innovative and interdisciplinary frameworks to inspire new conversations around writing and racial justice. Each lecture will be followed by a moderated talk-back with featured respondents and Q&A.

  • A: Yes. In addition to presenters and our participant cohort, groups of writers, individual writers, artists, thinkers, and makers are invited to join us as registered auditors. Auditors may attend all workshops and lectures, and may offer questions and comment, movie theater-style, through the moderated chat function.

  • A: No. All of the programs are free.

  • A: We are no longer accepting applications for contributing participants, however, auditors may register for events by clicking here.

  • A: In advance of the retreat, registered contributing participants and auditors will be given the URL for a master webpage that will contain all pertinent webinar information and links. Participants and auditors are asked not to share the URL.

  • A: The Poets and Scholars Summer Writing Retreat is a collaborative effort of the creative writing programs throughout the Rutgers University community, including Rutgers–Camden, Rutgers–Newark, and Rutgers–New Brunswick. The program is underwritten by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For more information about the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, visit our website at

Poets and Scholars Summer Writing Retreat Summaries

Explore a summary of the retreat.

An accessible retreat summary is here.