October 2020 session registration is now OPEN!      

WHO: You + writers from all over the world

WHAT: Daily prompts + community + visiting poet talks

WHERE: The world wild web (via email, message board + conference calls)

WHEN: October 2020

WHY: To break out of the ordinary by creating, risking, sharing + growing together

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Email Shira today to apply for the August 2020 session!

This session features dynamic prompts,

incredible visiting poets, 

+ a package that includes

a 1-on-1 editing session with Shira.


Shira Erlichman is an author, musician, visual artist and educator living in Brooklyn. Her work can be found in The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed Reader, and PBS NewsHour's Poetry Series, The Seattle Times and The New York Times, among others. Her debut poetry collection Odes to Lithium was released in September 2019 & won the Publishing Triangle's 2020 Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. She is also the author and illustrator of the children's book Be/Hold: A Friendship Book. 


August is her 13th session of ISL.

October 2020 Visiting Artists

some of our past visiting artists

Hanif Abdurraqib

Paige Lewis

Eve L. Ewing

Tommy Pico

Safia Elhillo

Danez Smith

How much

does it cost?

ISL is about community, 

so there are many ways

to join.

There are 39 total spots in the August 2020 session:

Flat fee + 1-on-1 session with Shira (15 spots): $450

• Flat fee (15 spots): $350

• Nominate a Surreal Scholar* (9 spots): Free

*A Surreal Scholar is a Black artist (poet, writer, journalist, dancer, collagist, activist, mother, etc.) 

who you feel would enrich & be enriched by ISL.

You believe in them + their power + you want to add fuel to their rocket ship. Shira looks over all scholar nominations to award 9 brilliant scholars a tuition-free spot. Queer + Trans Black writers will be prioritized. 

Yes, you can nominate yourself!

Surreal Scholar positions are made possible by you, the friends, family, and alumni of ISL. To make a donation to the Surreal Scholar Fund, establishing 10 permanent, tuition-free ISL spots for Black writers, click here:

“I think you’d struggle to find a better writing class for the money. First of all, I was blown away by the brilliance and creativity of the writing prompts themselves—always thoughtful, thought provoking and inspiring. In addition, the conversations with the visiting poets fascinated everyone. How often do you get to hear directly from a writer about their own process and practice?? Last but not least, definitely book a 1-on-1 session with Shira!!! Aside from helping me expertly edit and revise two pieces I’d worked on from the class, Shira left me feeling encouraged and capable. What a gift!!!” - Brett Burns


"In Surreal Life remains one of the more generous, opening events in my quarter century experience. I was agape and dancing giddy for weeks. You deserve to experience the opening. I hope you will invest in your worthiness." - Misian Taylor

"Thank you for making this such a safe space to share. This workshop helped me become fluent in poetry again. When I'm writing consistently, everything goes from mundane daily details to possible material for a poem, so thank you, thank you." - Molly Raynor

“A new prompt in your inbox! Everyday! There's no better way to kill a case of writer's block. While the pace is intensive, ISL is the warmest and most encouraging workshop experience I have had. Shira does an amazing job at setting the tone and it is contagious. It's a wonderful environment to experiment and make new work.” - Laurel Shimasaki

“ISL has been the most powerful reminder of the kind of magic you're able to generate just through paying attention. Shira's spectacular prompts & the greater ISL community have created the most tender space, in which I was able to fall in love with so much of life, because so much of life was suddenly deemed worthy of attention.” - Paulina Ukrainets

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