A Summer Writer's Residency in Italy
Spend 13 days strengthening your craft as a writer
of fiction, a writer of poetry—or both—in Umbria.
Dates: July 21-August 3, 2013 | REGISTER NOW (Instructions)
Course Code: EN375/EN475 | Period: 2013 Summer II
Highlights | Schedule | Course | Faculty | Accommodations | Registration
This exciting residential experience combines intensive craft workshops and small cohort sessions with excursions to some of the great historic urban centers and hill towns of the Umbrian Valley, including Assisi, Bevagna, Montefalco, Orvieto and Perugia.
English 375/475, Umbrian Writer’s Residency is open to graduate students in the field of English, as well as to junior and senior undergraduates with demonstrated prior experience as creative writers, who are looking to earn academic credit for the experience.
- Cost for the residency is $3,600, and includes:
- Roundtrip airfare from Philadelphia International Airport
- Accommodations and most meals at Bed and Breakfast San Marco
- Craft lectures led by Dr. Richard Wertime, Professor of English and University Director of Creative Writing
- Workshop with a visiting writer
- Transportation to cultural destinations and points of interest led by a private tour guide
- Entry fees to all museums and cultural sites
- Space is limited. Students may enroll in the program for undergraduate or graduate credit with the additional cost of tuition.
- Payment plans may be arranged through the University.
Scenes from 2011 Residency. Photos courtesy
of Steve Mazzeo and Michele Tooker.
Graduate students enrolled in this course will receive 3 graduate credits from Arcadia University, which credits are transferrable to other colleges or universities with the consent of those institutions. Undergraduates who enroll will receive 4 credits, and may similarly transfer those credits to other institutions serving as the students’ home schools. Graduate students will pay a discounted (by 15%) tuition cost of $2,085 for the 3 credits they receive, for a comprehensive price of $5,685 for the tuition and residency experience combined. Undergraduates will pay a discounted (similarly by 15%) tuition cost of $2,780 for a comprehensive price of $6,380.
THE COST OF THE EXPERIENCE WILL COVER a considerable number but not all of the students’ needs during the trip and the residency experience, and will afford participants some very privileged opportunities as visitors to central Italy. Here, first, is a general breakdown of what will be covered by the $3,600 fee exclusive of tuition:
- Round-trip air fare from Philadelphia International Airport, departing the evening of Sunday, July 21, arriving Monday, July 22, at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport (Fiumicino) in the early afternoon. The return flight from Fiumicino will depart the afternoon of Saturday, August 3, arriving back in Philadelphia the same day in the evening. Participants will be responsible for their own transportation to and from the airport at either end of the trip.
- Transport by private air-conditioned bus upon arrival in Italy directly from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport to the Bed and Breakfast “San Marco” in Umbria on Monday, July 22. The bus will make a lunch stop at a major service area on the highway en route to the bed and breakfast that will give students adequate time to eat a good lunch and use the facilities.
- Transport by private van the morning of departure from Umbria directly from the B&B “San Marco” on Friday, August 2, by way of the great hill town Orvieto for a mid-day three-hour stop, to the Hilton Garden Inn Rome Airport for one night’s stay (double occupancy) prior the plane flight home the following morning. Complimentary shuttle service will take the group directly from the hotel to the airport the morning of Saturday, August 3, for departure to the U.S. Students wishing to spend several extra days in Italy before returning to the U.S. may make those arrangements through Arcadia University at the time they enroll in the course.
- Double-occupancy accommodations with some sharing of bathrooms at the Bed and Breakfast “San Marco,” Montefalco (Umbria), Italy, a comfortable, hospitable, and impeccably maintained cluster of buildings situated in a beautiful farm valley some 20 minutes from Spoleto.
- All breakfasts, many lunches, and most dinners will be provided by B&B San Marco during the residency period itself in its comfortable dining areas. Other meals—some lunches and one dinner during our tours of the area’s famous hill towns— will be at the student’s own expense. We eat outdoors at the B&B on a graveled terrace, or under a beautiful canopy of vines and overhead trees, when the weather permits. It often does! The Bed and Breakfast makes an abundance of fresh fruits in season, purchased from a local farmer, available to participants continuously throughout the residency. The cuisine is local and delicious. Strict vegetarian, vegan, and kosher dietary restrictions, however, cannot be accommodated.
- Wireless Internet connection (all students will be required to bring a laptop or computer of their choice connectable to the Internet) and photocopying facilities for the exclusive use of the class. A tech expert will meet the group upon our arrival at the B&B to link each participant’s computing device into the high-speed photocopier. The B&B also boasts seminar space for class meetings; and outdoor terraces, gazebos, and lawn chairs for study and conversation. The B&B is also equipped with a private indoor theater where we will be entertained with some short films culled from a local short-film festival of international repute.
- Virtually all entrance fees for prearranged visits to museums, historic buildings and sites, and other cultural destinations requiring a pass or ticket of admission.
- A morning or afternoon workshop with a visiting writer, who will discuss the writing process and give a reading from his or her work.
- Each student in the course will be covered at no cost by a University health-care policy covering emergency health needs and disastrous situations. For a nominal additional fee of less than $18, students may (and are strongly encouraged to) purchase supplemental coverage that will increase the medical care they are entitled to receive during the stay.
- Transport by private bus to nearby cultural destinations and points of natural and historic interest on the following schedule (weather and other conditions permitting). A licensed professional guide will accompany us for all or parts of most of our outings to give us historical background on what we are visiting.
Tuesday, July 23: Afternoon and early evening excursion by private bus to the nearby hill town of Bevagna. Famous in Roman times as one of the great market centers of the Empire, Bevagna retains a rich heritage in the practice of ancient crafts, and sports both elegant shops and superb restaurants. We will visit two of the craft sites—in paper-making and silk-making—with our licensed guide, as well as two of the famous Romanesque churches, a Roman bath, and an elegant historic theater. Students will be free to shop before we return to the B&B for dinner.
Thursday, July 25: Full-day excursion with our licensed guide to the provincial capital and major city of Perugia, famous for its architecture, great churches, museums, art treasures, and remnants of Etruscan civilization. Perugia also boasts an extant “underground” city which we will visit. Students will have lunch on their own and time to shop as well as visit the historic sites. Return to the B&B for dinner in the evening.
Sunday, July 28: Very festive afternoon and evening excursion to the nearby hill town of Montfalco to visit its museum and major church, do a walking tour of the town, and enjoy its fine shops and amenities. We will not need a tour guide for this excursion. From Montefalco our bus will carry us to a local wine estate to take part in a wine-tasting, a degustazione in Italian. Here you will sample vintages of two famous regional wines, Montefalco and Sagrantino, as well as local olive oil. You might want to purchase bottles of wine (and olive oil) at this estate to carry back to the United States. Following the wine tasting, the van will carry us back into Montefalco after the wine tasting for a festive dinner at one of the town’s popular restaurants, then back to the B&B for bed.
Tuesday, July 30: Full-day excursion to Assisi with our licensed guide. Our day on the road will begin with a tour of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, or the “Porziuncola,” where St. Francis died. From there we will go by bus to Assisi proper to visit major sites of interest, including the basilicas of St. Francis and St. Clair. Some of us may climb a steep half-kilometer to the great fortress, the Rocca Maggiore, which overlooks Assisi and the whole Umbrian valley. You will have a considerable amount of time in Assisi to shop, wander the streets, and then have lunch at your own expense at one of the many fine restaurants in town. Our bus will return us to the B&B for dinner.
Friday, August 2: Again, on our way south to the Hilton Garden Inn Rome Airport for our final night in Italy, we will make a three-hour stop at the famous hill town of Orvieto for some sightseeing, lunch (your own choice of restaurant, at your expense), and last-minute shopping.
EN 375/475, The Umbrian Writer’s Workshop, is a standard curricular offering among the creative-writing courses in Arcadia University’s program in English, both at the undergraduate and at the graduate levels. Its being offered in Umbria in this distinctive format obviously requires adaptation to the special conditions under which it will be taught. Below is a description of its distinctive features and the expectations which students will be required to meet.
Required texts. Students will be asked to purchase in advance and take with them on the trip a single paperback, 30/30: Thirty American Stories from the Last Thirty Years, published by Penguin.
Each student, further, will be equipped when we gather for departure at the airport on July 21 with a copy of the Umbrian Writer’s Workshop Handbook, compiled by the program director, Richard Wertime. It’s a rich, hefty spiral-bound volume that will serve as our craft handbook throughout our residency in Umbria.
Required materials. Each student must bring a laptop computer, which will get active use during the course. Students should also equip themselves with at least one good sturdy hardback notebook that can be carried around during our excursions to cultural destinations, since part of the course will require students to take notes on and write about what they experience in Italy. (Bring a good supply of pens!)
Advance homework and meetings prior to the trip abroad. Since our residency in Umbria is of such short duration and so filled with events, each student will be required to arrive in Umbria with a recently authored piece of his or her original fiction, in the 6-to-10-page range (double-spaced, please, and printed in 12-point type), or with the manuscripts of four freshly written poems. You can bring those with you in your computer, to be printed out on the photocopier at the B&B. These “first works” will prime our creative pumps at the outset of the residency, and enable all the students (and the instructors) to acquaint themselves with everyone else’s work. It is mandatory, not optional, that students be prepared and willing to share their writing with the instructors and their fellow-students during the residency. Anyone reluctant to share his or her work with others should not seek admission to this course.
Course expectations. Many of the mornings during the residency period will be devoted to intensive 3-hour workshops, to begin soon after breakfast, during which students will meet in a seminar setting to
(a) receive craft lectures by the instructors;
(b) discuss common readings in the required text and in the instructor’s handbook;
(c) participate in assigned free-writing and guided writing exercises;
(d) work with the other members of their cohort on selective activities and stories-in-progress;
(e) participate in formal critiques of other students’ works;
(f) attend the presentation by the visiting writer
Barring unforeseen health problems, students will be expected to participate in all of the scheduled activities and complete all of the assignments. Selectively “opting out” will not be an option! Each student is assigned a place in a cohort of 4-5 students, and will work with the others in his/her cohort throughout the residency.
Certain evenings will be devoted to more informal group get-togethers in which students give impromptu readings of works-in-progress, discuss craft issues, and review our recent cultural outings. Our hosts at the B&B will also be providing us with some delightful evening entertainment as well as serving us delicious dinners. Some of those dinners will last deep into the evening and evolve into warmly friendly festive occasions.
Body of student work to be produced in the course. Including the story that students will have written in advance and brought with them to Italy (which story students will be encouraged to revise and refine), each student focusing on fiction during the residency will be expected to have produced a body of 3 complete short stories, together with the assigned exercises that will have been completed during the residency period. The three short stories, cumulatively, are not to exceed a total page length of 40 pages, nor fall short of a minimum of 25 pages. Students interested primarily in working on poetry will be expected to have completed a portfolio of 15 pages of poetry over the length of the course. Students interested in working in both genres can make special arrangements to do so with the instructors in the course.
Presentation of written work at the end of the course. Since the whole trip to Italy encompasses a period of only 14 days, students will have until the end of August to submit in paper copy, either in person or by Priority U.S. Mail—not by electronic transfer—their final portfolio, for which a checklist will be provided. Following the group’s return to the States, the director of the program will be periodically available to consult with students about their work The end of August will be the firm deadline for the submission of the final portfolio for this course.
Program Director Dr. Richard A. Wertime, Professor of English and University Director of Creative Writing, holds a B.A. in English from Haverford College, and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where he specialized in Shakespearean studies and focused his work on Late Medieval, Renaissance and Eighteenth Century British literature. He has taught at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA, since 1975. For many years he has served as Arcadia’s Director of Graduate Studies in English and the Humanities, and he also serves as University Director of Creative Writing. Initiator of Arcadia’s new MFA in Creative Writing , he regularly takes responsibility for organizing much of Arcadia’s annual literary season, inviting to campus the internationally renowned, the nationally famous, the up-and-coming—and former Arcadia students who have established solid literary reputations for themselves.
Wertime regularly teaches one of Arcadia’s advanced fiction writing courses, as well as a wide range of courses in English and American literature, including a seminar on the major novels of Willa Cather. His short fiction (nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize) has appeared in such journals as The Hudson Review and Ploughshares; his articles on cultural subjects as diverse as modern Italy and Classsic Maya civilization have appeared in such journals as The Yale Review and Southwest Review; and his literary criticism has appeared in a wide array of publications. From 1972 until 1995, Wertime served as the senior Contributing Editor to Archaeology Magazine, to whose pages he contributed essays on a multiplicity of archaeological subjects. In the fall of 2000, Wertime published a memoir with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Citadel on the Mountain: A Memoir of Father and Son, which was the 2001 recipient of the James A. Michener Memorial Prize for literature. His was the first non-fiction work to be awarded that prize.
Assistant Program Director and Poetry Instructor Michelle Reale, Faculty Librarian, is an academic librarian on faculty at Arcadia University. She holds Master's degrees in English and Library Science. Her prose poems and fiction have appeared in a wide variety of publications both in print and online, including Nano Fiction, Smokelong Quarterly, Pank, Gargoyle, The Pedestal, elimae, JMWW and many others. Her work was included in Dzanc's 2011 Best of the Web Anthology as well as being included in other anthologies. She is the author of four collections of short fiction and prose poems. Her collection This is Not a Situation in Which You Should Remain Calm is forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press in the Fall of 2012. She reads fiction for the Los Angeles Review and writes a monthly column for Flash Fiction Chronicles. She has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She travels to Sicily several times a year to work with refugees and asylum-seekers, and blogs about her experiences with immigration and Migration and Social Justice in the Sicilian context at www.sempresicilia.wordpress.com
THE BED AND BREAKFAST “SAN MARCO”
Part of the national consortium of inns that spans all of Italy, the Bed and Breakfast “San Marco” is hosted by the literate, urbane Italian and French couple (husband and wife), Carla Romagnoli and Philippe Papapietro. Their engaging son Nicola speaks good English and, despite his youth (he will be 21 this summer), is the founder and director of the remarkable Montefalco World Short Film festival, some of whose entries we will enjoy in the B&B’s private theater. “San Marco” is a casale, a coherent, village-like cluster of buildings set amid graveled courtyards and lawns; well-tended vineyards and acres of sunflowers stretch generously around it. No industry or modern housing is to be found anywhere near the premises, which are tranquil and secluded—though a good main road is just hundreds of yards away. The B&B affords amazingly ready access to a dazzling array of magnificent hill towns—nearby Gualdo Cattaneo, Montefalco and Bevagna, Spoleto, Trevi, Foligno, the magnificent Spello, and, just farther north, Saint Francis’s hometown, Assisi. Perugia is less than an hour away. Smaller gem-like hilltowns dot many a steep wooded hillside in the region. The region is steeped in multiple layers of history that reach back through Renaissance, Medieval, and Roman times to a great Etruscan past and the area’s earliest culture, that of the Umbri. More information on B&B "San Marco".
Registration & Deadlines
- Dates: July 21 - August 3, 2013
- Course Code: EN375/EN475 | Period: 2013 Summer II
- REGISTER NOW (Instructions)
PAYMENT DEADLINE EXTENDED!
Schedule of payments for the $3,600 cost of the residency, NOT counting tuition.
- $700 due April 10, 2013
- $2,900 due June 1, 2013
Upon submission of the final payment, each traveler must also submit a photocopy of the photo page of his or her passport. The passport must not expire prior to January 2014.