5 Tips for Applying to Writing Fellowships and Residencies by Danielle Corcione

I’m glad to be included here…enjoy.

5 Tips for Applying to Writing Fellowships and Residencies
by Danielle Corcione

If you’ve ever applied for a writing residency, retreat or fellowship, it sometimes feels intimidating to know your application is lumped into a pile with highly accomplished and well-established writers.
As a young writer, the application alone was a big enough barrier to scare me away from life-changing opportunities and thinking ahead in my writing career. For many writers like myself, it’s easy to fall into a hole of self-pity and invalidate our own personal achievements.
Luckily, the application process doesn’t have to be this way.
To learn some strategies about applying to residencies and fellowships, I reached out to a handful of writers who have been accepted to and completed prestigious opportunities. Here are their tips.

1. Communicate clearly in your application
Mailee Hung, a 2017 Bitch Media Writing Fellow, stresses the importance of effective communication in your letter of intent.
Your statement should “clearly outline what your project is, how you’re going to do it, [and] why that particular residency/fellowship is the best venue to do it in,” she says. “You need to state your claims early, if only to show that you’ve thought about it seriously and you know how to build an argument.”
Overall, you need to be ready to sell your best self.
Articulate why your work is particularly unique and special. Poet and former Artist-In-Residence at the Everglades National Park Miriam Sagan even recommends addressing some weaknesses.
“I heard through the grapevine I was once rejected for a residency because I asked for ‘too short” of a stay,” she explains. “From then on, I addressed my need for short stays directly.”

2. Understand your needs
Poet and teacher Laura Wetherington, who participated in residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Centre d’Art Marnay Art Centre, recommends writers begin their program search by identifying their own artistic needs because, as you’d expect, programs can be very different from each other.
“Are you looking for a place to collaborate with other artists and feed off the collective energy, or are you looking for a solitary, quiet situation?” She says. “Do you need the internet, access to the post office or to bring a bunch of books with you?“
Knowing the answers to these questions will strengthen your statement of intent, because it provides you with a stronger connection to the program and its accommodations.

3. Go abroad
Sagan has completed more than a dozen residencies and fellowships, both domestic and abroad.
She says international residences are far less competitive compared to those within the United States.
“[International programs] cost about the price of a Motel 6 daily or less and tend to be government subsidized,” Sagan explains. “If you need funding, look at short-term Fulbrights for artists and other exchange programs. Look at your city’s Sister Cities too.”
For potential funding opportunities as a Philadelphia-based writer, I can look into my city’s affiliate Sister Cities, which include Tel Aviv, Israel; Florence, Italy; and Aix-en-Provence, France.

4. Fundraise as needed
“The slightly funded residencies are much more competitive,” Sagan explains. “Go for unfunded ones as well.”
Sagan recommends pursuing crowdfunding if you’re pursuing an unpaid residency and all other funding opportunities fail. “A GoFundMe campaign can get you anywhere,” she says.
She also adds to keep your expenses as low as possible. Minimize your luxuries by cooking on a budget rather than eating out, for instance.
Also, remember to maximize your time and use it to the fullest if offered the opportunity. Take advantage of the financial investment (especially if the program isn’t funded) you’re making.
After all, it’s unlikely that you’ll fit that much writing into your regular schedule without a residency or fellowship.
Think about what you can do with sustained time that you can’t do on your regular writing schedule, and prioritize that,” explains Gemma Cooper-Novack, a writer with a CV of over six residencies including the Betsy Hotel Writer’s’ Room in Miami, Florida.

5. Just do it
But most of all? “Don’t get discouraged!” Mailee adds.
Most writers will be too intimidated to even consider applying. Slap on some imposter’s syndrome and the application process becomes a nightmare. However, it’s important to just do the thing and at the very least submit an application.
The worst that could happen is, well, you won’t get an offer.
“Some of my most devastating rejections have led me to make the best decisions of my life,” she elaborates. Apply to anything you’re excited about, and know the value of your own work. There are a lot of reasons for rejection beyond “you just weren’t good enough.”
Plus, applying to programs gets easier over time.
“If it’s at all possible, I strongly advise taking the first residency you’re accepted to, even if you have to put down some money, get into one however possible,” stresses Cooper-Novak. “I do think that after I got my first residency [at Can Serrat in El Bruc, Catalonia, Spain)], other residencies started to look at me more closely.”
As you can tell from these writers’ advice, applying to a residency and/or fellowship doesn’t have to mean beating imposter syndrome. The process may still be a little intimidating, but not so much that it prevents you from actually submitting your application.
Take it from the experts: apply and apply again until you’re accepted.



Which Sang Of Butterflies Deeply by Judy Katz-Levine

Which Sang Of Butterflies Deeply

There was thunder, a downpour.
My friends are sleeping,
maybe a dream like a candle
with the face and eyelids of
someone ill from cancer.

We wonder if we will be next,
the room here is graced with
masks and prints of
Kandinsky and an abstract of a
marsh with green rushes long water lilies

friends – a tract of sea
on expanse of white sand

There is a native American dream
catcher on the wall, though
my dreams have been stolen,
feather mask watching mute
as rain before it rains
There’s a doll, a puppet from

We talked about a woman who
died too young, after her words
were buried forever, and the angels
and the angles of the face of my friend
with dark grays in planes from the late
night hair just white with strands of gray
and black, it was beautiful
when she was tired after
a meeting to free prisoners.

Her husband was falling asleep
after the concert and the cello
which sang of butterflies deeply
flying and infinitely small and huge

I am one who can fly
in a waking dream. I can fly
to a lover, kiss her in invisible
places, nipples
of dogwood flower, no one knows.
They would think something,
they would think something else,

I am told my best friend is
a symphony, with thighs
of lilac that I brush
in the divine light
across her lips.

I am one who can laugh
in the bathroom, when she comes to tell me
I am beautiful
in the shower of flute cadenzas
a blues for sure
with the words “honey”
in the invisible light of flight
that has no name

The lamp is singing in the great room
when I want to slip into azure spaces
in sleepless fields.

Judy Katz-Levine


For several years, I’ve been experimenting with art and craft to find a means of expression. My goal was not to be good–my goal was to find something I could progress in by doing.
Poured paint didn’t work too well. Embroidery was enjoyable but stayed conventional. I started knitting, but it was more for my nerves than creativity. I did a few weird book arts projects. Not much was happening.
My daughter Isabel taught me suminagashi about eighteen months ago.At first, I couldn’t even really see the ink floating on the water, or understand it. Last summer I finally got something going–and then–breakthrough, I started working on my own. I’ve printed hundreds of sheets. I’m getting the knack.

Thanks to Isabel for making these look good, and publishing them on https://sumi-a-day.tumblr.com/

Fish With Hats

These appeared a few weeks ago, in conjunction with a fiber arts festival. Looks like the fish outside the Santa Fe convention center are going to a women’s march! I gather the yarn bombing was taken down pretty quickly by the city–probably because it was on high visibility sculpture instead of hidden away. So glad I saw it.

Today’s Momentary Self Improvement

I decided to stop looking for a masterpiece to read or the perfectly structured bit of light genre…and instead read something on the “to be read” shelf, where presumably volumes have already passed some kind of test. I’m reading Red Pine on Chinese poets, but ignoring the book on MOSS. I like moss (guess that’s why I bought the book) but still…
I also thought about why I always eat the same dish at my favorite restaurants…a sign of age? At Maria’s it is always fajitas, at Saigon egg noodles…should I branch out? It’s gotten so bad that if anyone takes me to Santa Cafe for a festive occasion I always get lobster salad. I’ve had asparagus soup the last three times I’ve eaten at Paper Dosa.
And why do I eat out so much–shouldn’t I cook–why must I spend money better sent to the ACLU than on lunch all by myself…constantly. Well, probably because I like eating lunch out by myself as much as I like life itself.
And shouldn’t I…I was at Marisco’s La Playa, eating the shrimp kebab I always order, and have for twenty years, having left Red Pine at home, reading a very tasty bit of true trash (not genre, lives of the rich and idle type trash). At least I did NOT open the little packet of saltines to spread with salsa, but ate the more sustainable–and yes, more grown-up, chips.
Well, I enjoyed myself.

Revision Process Based on Physical Limitations

I originally wrote this poem for the geocache Iz and I are doing inside the painted eggs:

shell of the cosmos
cracks with light
yolk of suns

chickens in the yard
cluck over their bit of earth
beneath the rooster’s comb

follow the trail
with your dog, taking a stroll
with your heart on a leash

things also allow us—
the report of rain,
raven feather, the past

a deathless ogre in the fairytale
store a soul in a needle
in a nest in a tree

in an egg
in a Canadian goose
in a jackrabbit

locked in an iron chest
buried beneath a green juniper
in the Chihuahuan desert

it’s dangers
to hide all of your spirit
outside of yourself

and yet this land
compels all of those
who walk it.

But then we realized it was too long, we weren’t looking for that many sections So I reduced it:

shell of the cosmos
cracks with light
yolk of suns

follow the trail
with your dog, taking a stroll
with your heart on a leash

a deathless ogre in the fairytale
stores a soul in a needle
in a nest in a tree

locked in an iron chest
buried beneath a green juniper
in the Chihuahuan desert

it’s dangerous
to hide all of your spirit
outside of yourself

and yet this land
compels all of those
who walk it.

It’s obviously better for the project, and it is tighter. A little something has been lost–maybe in terms of music–but such is revision. Your thoughts? Have you ever experienced this?

What I’m Reading by Karla Linn Merrifield

I’m reading In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust — all six volumes, which I began in October. Now finishing up Vol. V. Read solely on my couch (one here, one in Florida) as a prelude to my almost-daily siesta. Getting a lot more out of it now as a mature woman reading in English instead of the graduate French student.

It’s a blast!

Geocached Poetry!

Isabel and I are working on designing a poetry geocache at Santa Fe Skies RV Park. It will be along the dog path, and consists of a series of cages, each containing a painted egg.

Inside each egg will be a suminagashi scroll, with part of a poem on it.

In preparation, we created a geocache of haiku signs on the westside (https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC75VNF_haiku-signs). Rather to our surprise, we immediately had visitors. We made a few mistakes, which folks were happy to help us correct. It now seems to be running smoothly–and people are enjoying the haiku treasure hunt.

News From Brass Bell


This is an invitation to submit haiku for the June issue of brass bell: an online haiku journal. The theme is a single date: Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

You can write about ANYTHING that you experience, observe, think about, etc. during this one day.

I will consider one-line and 3-line poems.

I’ll be reading work on Tuesday, May 23 and Wednesday, May 24 (up until 5 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time).

Yes, the submission “window” is very tiny!!!

Publication: June 1.

If possible, please send more than one haiku; the more choices I have, the better.

DO NOT send me anything before May 23. Whatever you write, it should be ABOUT YOUR LIFE, as you experience it, on that particular date. DO NOT include the date in the haiku! Naturally, your poems will not have been previously published because they will be brand new!

NOTE: I will send an e-mail to let you know that your work has been received. If I have questions or suggestions, or if I don’t feel I can use the haiku you send, I will let you know. Otherwise, I hope you will be pleasantly surprised when you see what I’ve chosen, when the issue goes online. I will send the link to you via email at that time.

Please follow the GUIDELINES carefully and REMEMBER: I am looking for NEW HAIKU that you write on Tuesday, May 23. That’s all.

Paste your haiku in the body of an email — no attachments — and send to:


Be sure to include your name exactly as you wish it to appear. INCLUDE YOUR COUNTRY, even if you think I already know! The list of countries will be noted at the top, not with each poem.

If you are new to brass bell and haven’t read any previous issues please look at the current issue as well as the archives before you send me work. This will give you an idea of what the journal is like.

IMPORTANT: it is very likely that brass bell will go on a summer holiday. After the June issue you may not receive another notice until late August, with guidelines for the September issue.