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: August 2021
WHY: To break out of the ordinary by creating, risking, sharing + growing together
August 2021 ISL is now open!
Email Shira today to apply as an "Early Bird"
for the August 2021 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, 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 the author and illustrator of the children's book Be/Hold: A Friendship Book.
August is the 17th session of ISL.
August 2021 Visiting Artists
past visiting poets
Eve L. Ewing
does it cost?
ISL is about community,
so there are many ways
There are 39 spots in the April 2021 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. We look 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!
• Break Off Group: All Surreal Scholars, as well as all Black poets in attendance, will be a part of a Break Off Group - a space to connect separately from the greater group, led by ISL alum & April 2021 Fellow, Kim Mayo. Alongside support & connection within the group, the group will have an exclusive Visiting Artist talk with Angel Nafis.
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:
"Wow. I felt as if I grew leaps and bounds with that session. It put to words so much that I hadn't known how to articulate before, and made me feel like I was a real poet...It was so special – Shira's generosity was so appreciated, and I felt as though I was uncovering so much about my work in that hour." - Emma Younger, August 2020 Surrealist
“Shira is one of the most incisive, thoughtful and generous teachers I have ever met. She met me at the edge of my learning and with a few questions was able to help me go further - she gave me a bunch of tools I didn't know were available to me. Her love of teaching and her respect for learners, their humanity and their work was so evident. It felt like a great gift to be exposed to her way of thinking, her rigor (which also felt like committed play) and consideration. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and hope to be able to take this class and do a one on one with her again, in the future.” - Mahira Kakkar, August 2020 Surrealist
“GODDAMN MAGNIFICENT. i cried. i laughed! i cried some more. how did we generate 6 drafts in under an hour? how did i learn the life-changing magic of giving a poem a name?! shira lovingly pushed me to consider not just my practice but my perspective; she offered beautiful insight, clear strategies and, most critically, she modeled for me what a playful, curious approach to poetry can look and feel like, and it's exactly where i'd like to build my castle. i do believe i am changed through this experience. all my love forever.” - Kristin Lueke, August 2020 Surrealist
“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, August 2018 Surrealist
"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, August 2016 Surrealist
"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, 4X Surrealist
“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, January 2020 Surrealist
“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, January 2020 Surrealist