Creative Writing: The Great Smokies Young Writers Workshop – Sensory Writing & The Poet’s Toolbox

Hone your literary skills through workshops with experienced local authors and poets. Generate new pieces, revise works-in-progress and critique works of others in a collaborative workshop setting.


Come to Your Senses: Taking in the world as a writer means keenly using all of your five senses—and then pulling on your sensory experience to add context and ballast to your writing. Using imagery, sound, smell, touch/texture, and taste grounds your writing in the specific, making it more vivid and memorable. We’ll indulge all of our senses over our week together using a variety of launchpads into writing. Come tap into the tactile, try on the sensibilities of a synesthete, conjure a kitchen table from your past, and pluck aural details from your own “field” recordings. We’ll also read excerpts by beloved writers and poets to understand how to use sensory details sparingly yet effectively.

The Poet’s Toolbox: Explore a variety of poetic techniques and forms in order to expand our writing toolboxes and to hone our ability to use the tools we already have. Building things with words is difficult, but it’s also a lot of fun. We’ll balance discipline and play, rules and exploration, hard work and the gratification of sharing what we’ve made.

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Developing Voice




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Participating in peer workshopping sessions to give and receive feedback on work-in-progress

Students will be encouraged to participate in an end-of-week reading for an audience of family and friends

Sample Schedule

  • Morning

  • 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast
  • 9:00 a.m. – Developing Voice
  • 12 p.m. – Lunch & free time
  • Afternoon

  • 1:00 p.m. – Wordbuilding 101
  • Evening

  • 5:00 p.m. – Dinner
  • 6:30 p.m. – Activities / recreation / free time
  • Options could include: beach volleyball, Asheville Tourists game, observatory, game night, movie
  • 11 p.m. – Lights out


Meet Your Faculty

Luke Hankins

Luke Hankins is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Radiant Obstacles and Weak Devotions, as well as a poetry chapbook, Testament (Texas Review Press, 2023). He is also the author of a collection of essays, The Work of Creation, and a volume of translations from the French of Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, A Cry in the Snow & Other Poems. The founder and editor of Orison Books and a longtime editorial staff member at Asheville Poetry Review, Hankins lives in Asheville with a tiny dog named Fox.


Sondra Hall

Sondra Hall is a long-time educator, writer, and lover of language who wholeheartedly believes in the power of the written word to transform both writer and reader. Her passion for words inspired her to start an after-school creative writing program called “Take My Word For It! which sparked young writers’ imaginations for thirteen years in the San Francisco Bay area, Boston, and just outside of Washington D.C. She also developed a writing program for young adults, called Escape to the Page, which offers both online and in-person creative writing programs in community colleges, around kitchen tables and in summer writing residencies.

Sondra holds a Bachelor’s in Art History from Tufts University and a Master’s in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University. She’s taught in elementary, middle and high school classrooms for more than a decade. She lives happily in Asheville with her musician husband, and curly-headed dog, Willow.


Registration Details

  • June 16-21, 2024
  • $1,430
  • Pre-College Programs are open to rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
  • Price includes lodging, meals, all course materials, activities, and excursions
  • Scholarships are available through Great Smokies Writing Program (Click here for more information)
  • A $500 deposit is due upon registration with remaining balance due by May 1, 2024.  Click here to see our cancellation policy.
  • Students reside in campus residence hall and dine in campus dining hall
  • Enrollment is open until spaces are filled
  • Registration is through the Camp Doc platform.  Detailed registration instructions can be found here.




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