Writing for Writing's Sake: Ireland
Travel Dates: April 26 - May 11
Instructors: Martha Gehringer and Meg Upchurch
Number of Students Enrolled: 22
Location: Ireland

A residency at the Burren College of Art will provide students with the space and time for reflection and for writing. Students will have a month to commit to a preconceived writing project or simply to explore a range of writing possibilities

Description | Course Requirements | The Burren | The Journal


In Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing, Margaret Atwood shares an impressive list of reasons (seventy-four of them!) that writers have given to her in answer to the question: why do you write? Every one of those reasons has singular merit, yet for many of us who call ourselves writers, there is a single compelling reason why we write. We write to write, to be writing. To many of us, the act of writing, the practice of writing is worthy use of time. Because writing demands so much time and effort, though, many of us give up on it altogether. Life, it seems, forces us to shut down the writing—and get on with business. Some few, however, do not let this happen. They find the time and they make the space for writing (often in relative isolation and mostly without much recompense).

Most of us think of writing as a solitary act. We are by ourselves, early in the morning, before the din of the day takes us away from our thoughts, or deep into the night, when the noise has died down. However, most of us acknowledge a need to interact with other writers. We seek community, we find a circle of writing colleagues, and we figure out a way to get together regularly both to write with one another and to talk about our writing. Our writing circle becomes a source of energy, a writing lifeline. Our fellow writers spur us on and help us hold fast to our belief in writing—for its own sake. This May Term class is one of those circles.

You are about to steal away to a magical place, to spend time with other writers—writing. You are about to embark on a writer’s retreat to an inspired and inspiring locale, the Burren in the West of Ireland. The May Term course you are about to undertake is designed to give you time and space to be a writer, time and space to dedicate yourself to writing and to enjoy, unabashedly, pleasure of writing—and of reading about, talking about, and writing about writing.

The Burren

We will travel to the Burren, a place where landscape has, since Neolithic times, “delicately affected” the people who have made their homes there, a “bewildering” place where people have been “laying down an almost bewildering succession of human meanings” for two thousand years (The Book of the Burren, Tir Eolis 2001). Bounded on the north east by mountains, extending west from Corofin to the sea at the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren is a very special place. To many it is, perhaps, a “sacred” space. With respect for this fact, we will take up residence there as writers and as guests, rather than as students and as tourists.