Policromia Poetry Workshop Summer 2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic our plans for Policromia 2020 are currently in flux.  We are monitoring the national and international situation and we will continue to celebrate poetry and translation in Siena in some way June 4-7, 2020. Please stay tuned or contact us for more information.


The annual Policromia Poetry Workshop offers intimate and intensive writing workshops for poets of all backgrounds and ages. In addition, workshop participants will attend Policromia 2020, an international and cross-disciplinary festival held in Siena, Italy, a medieval city in the heart of Tuscany. Siena is renowned for its Gothic architecture, winding streets, major monuments of early Renaissance art, 17 contrade and Palio, and of course—pastries! During our weeklong program, participants will have a unique opportunity to write poetry, explore Siena with expert guidance, and join a dedicated community of writers and artists.

2020 Dates and Location

The Workshop and Festival will be held Monday June 1 – Sunday June 7 2020 in Siena, Italy, and will be preceded by a celebratory dinner on the evening of Sunday May 31.

Workshops will be held at the Siena Art Institute headquarters, Il Punto/The Point, an independent building surrounded by greenery near the historic city gate, Porta Romana (address Via Enea Silvio Piccolomini 2, Siena).

Accessibility: The city of Siena itself is not fully accessible for persons with mobility limitations; it is a hilly area with uneven cobblestoned streets and most buildings do not have elevators.  Participants should plan on walking 20-30 minutes to/from Il Punto each day. 

About the Workshop

Workshops meet daily Monday through Thursday and are supplemented with individual conferences, faculty-run master classes, and an introduction to the art and culture of Siena. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to share their work in a Wednesday evening reading. Throughout the week, there will also be free writing time, short tours, and occasions to explore the city.

About the Festival 

In 2020 we will be celebrating our third annual Policromia Festival, a local and international festival centered on poetry and translation and committed to building young audiences and promoting deaf culture. Our venues are woven into the texture and fabric of the city of Siena, from the most striking halls, museums, and galleries to artisan workshops, bars, and commercial spaces. Readings are frequently supplemented by musical performances and aperitifs.

Our 2020 guests include acclaimed international poets, translators, and performance artists: Damiano Abeni, Eilean Ni Chuilleanáin, Moira Egan, John Murillo, Fabio Pusterla, Massimo Schuster, Nicole Sealey, Hannah Sullivan, Taije Silverman and the musicians of the Coro Polifonici Senesi.

Please also see info on last year's festival and our 2019 festival program

Workshop Faculty

Workshops will be led by poets and educators Mairéad Byrne and Will Schutt. 

MAIRÉAD BYRNE’s poetry collections include Nelson & The Huruburu Bird (Wild Honey 2003), Talk Poetry (Miami University Press 2007), SOS Poetry (/ubu Editions 2007), The Best of (What’s Left of) Heaven (Publishing Genius 2010, reprinted 2019), You Have to Laugh: New & Selected Poems (Barrow Street 2013), and Famosa na sua cabeça (Dobra Editorial 2015). Current publications include two chapbooks, In & Out (Smithereens 2019), and har sawlya (above/ground 2019); an essay, “Light in July,” in David Jhave Johnston’s ReRites: Human + A. I. Poetry (Anteism 2019); and work in The Cast-Iron Airplane That Can Actually Fly: Contemporary Poets Comment on Their Prose Poems, edited by Peter Johnson (MadHat Press, 2019). Mairéad emigrated from Ireland in 1994, earned a PhD in Theory & Cultural Studies from Purdue University, and works as a Professor of Poetry & Poetics at Rhode Island School of Design, teaching multi-media courses in Visual Poetry, Sound Poetry, Digital Poetics, Material Poetics, Contemporary Poetry, and Beginning and Advanced Poetry Workshops. In 2016, she won the John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching, a much-cherished award in a school known for teaching. For seven years, she co-curated couscous, a diverse poetry/performance event in Providence, Rhode Island and Cork city in Ireland. She is a co-curator of Policromia, an annual international festival of poetry and translation across the arts in Siena. 

WILL SCHUTT’s work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Yale Younger Poets Prize, the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship, and the 2019 Raiziss/de Palchi Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. He is the author of Westerly (Yale University Press, 2013) and translator of six works from the Italian, including My Life, I Lapped It Up: Selected Poems of Edoardo Sanguineti (Oberlin College Press, 2018) and Fabio Genovesi’s novel The Breaking of a Wave (Europa Editions, 2017; shortlisted for the 2018 ALTA Italian Prose in Translation Award). His poems and translations have appeared in Agni, Copper Nickel, the Literary Review, the New Republic, the Sewanee Review, the Southern Review, and elsewhere. Over the last fifteen years he has taught writing workshops and master classes in poetry and translation at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Bucknell University, Hollins University, and the University of Maryland, College Park. He currently teaches creative writing at Goucher College, where he directs the Goucher Young Writers’ Camp. Along with Mairéad Byrne and Miriam Grottanelli, he is the co-curator of Policromia, an annual international festival of poetry and translation across the arts in Siena, Italy.

Application Instructions

Applications are accepted until March 15, 2020. We accept applications on a rolling basis and will notify applicants of acceptance, or otherwise, within four weeks of application. Early applications are encouraged. 

Please submit a brief Statement of Interest (approximately 300 words) and a manuscript of your strongest work to policromia.workshop@gmail.com.

Statements of Interest should appear in the body of your email. In your statement, please tell us

  • why you want to attend the workshop
  • your previous experience, if any, in writing workshops
  • what you most want to gain from this workshop (and festival)
  • whatever else you would like us to know

Please write Your Name + Application 2020 Policromia Workshop in the subject line of your email.

Manuscript guidelines:

  • 10 pages total, with a cover page with a list of all poems included
  • Your name and a page number should appear on each page of the manuscript.
  • Manuscripts should have 12-pt. font and may be single- or double-spaced.

Payment Instructions: 

The $2,500 fee includes workshops and individual conferences with both instructors, attendance at master classes and all events of the festival program, seven nights’ accommodation in a hotel in the city, wine receptions, two celebratory meals, a brunch, and short guided tours. Participants will stay in single rooms with private bath. Double rooms can be booked for participants who would like to bring a partner or spouse. The fee for a partner or spouse is $750 and includes all events except participation in workshops and the workshop reading.

Fees do not include transportation to and from the airport. However, we can organize transportation at an additional cost. Applicants wishing to avail of this must notify us two weeks before the start of the workshop.  Please click here for information about transportation connections to arrive to Siena.

  • Non-refundable deposit of $500 due by March 30 by PayPal 

  • First installment payment due by PayPal April 15 of $1500 (fully refundable before April 30, 50% refundable before May 8)
  • Second installment payment paid in person in cash upon arrival at the Siena Art Institute  $500 (non-refundable)
  • Total cost: $2500 (standard accommodation in single room with private bath)

Contact Us

You are welcome to contact workshop leaders Mairéad and Will at policromia.workshop@gmail.com.

About the Siena Art Institute

The Policromia Workshop and Festival are a development of three programs: the Siena Art Institute, the Siena School of Liberal Arts, and the Mason Perkins Deafness Fund. All three programs work in partnership, emphasizing education, service, accessibility, and international exchange. In June 2019, the programs began a new chapter, moving from Via Tommaso Pendola, 37, site of the Regio Istituto Toscano per Sordomuti for more than a century, to a wonderful new home at "Il Punto /The Point" (address Via Enea Silvio Piccolomini 2, Siena). 

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