English Study Abroad

Summer Creative Writing in Rome

June 17 - July 17, 2009

The Program

JOIN a band of ink-stained writer-adventurers for a month of concentrated exercise and conversation in and about the Eternal City. This is Rome from a generalists's perspective: history and geography, art and architecture, language and literature, the color and vagary and flavor of daily life all constellate in the writer's notebook. Following in the footsteps of those poets, painters, saints and soldiers who for some two and a half millenia have traveled where all roads lead, we'll sack the city word by cobble, in conversation, practice, and stride.

The Summer Creative Writing in Rome Program is open to anyone (undergraduates, graduates, alumni, citizens-at-large) seeking to join an intensive program in the written arts.

Classes are held at the University of Washington's Rome Center at the 17th-century Palazzo Pio, situated in the vibrant center of the city’s historical district.

Classes and Credits

Undergraduates will receive 13 credits [ENGL 363, Literature and the Arts; ENGL 490, Study Abroad Program; and ENGL 493, Advanced Creative Writing Conference —with some flexibility, depending on individual student degree requirements]. Credit questions should be directed to English Undergraduate Advising.

MFA students will receive 10 credits [ENGL 586, Graduate Writing Conference, and ENGL 600, Independent Study or Research.] Credit should be directed to Professor Maya Sonenberg.

MA/PhD students are also welcome to apply. Credit questions should be directed to Kathy Mork in the English Graduate Office.

The Seminar will be taught by Rebecca Hoogs and Johnny Horton, both graduates of the UW English Department's Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program.


How to apply: Please submit a Letter of Interest, along with names and contact information for two academic references, to both instructors. This may be done by email [rhoogs@lectures.org and jwh476@gmail.com], or by regular mail, care of the UW English Department (attn: Bridget Norquist.)

Your letter should outline your academic background and writerly interests and experience, remark on your reasons for wanting to go to Rome, and highlight what positive and special contributions you might make to a group constituted for maximum imaginative adventure in one of the world’s most remarkable settings. Formal training in creative writing is less important to us than pluck, serious enthusiasm, and reliably good humor. We will spend an intensive month in close quarters, at elevated temperatures and unfamiliar cultural pressures: you must be good company. With that caveat in mind, the program is wide open. Writers at all levels of experience are encouraged to apply.

INITIAL APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 6; thereafter we will consider applications on a space-available basis. Apply early: we have a rolling admissions policy, and the program tends to fill quickly. We may conduct interviews to make final selections.

Program Fees

The program fee is $3,350. In addition to the program fee, all program participants pay a non-refundable, IPE fee of $250. Non-UW students pay an additional non-matriculated student fee of $200. The program fee includes accommodation, tuition, facilities at the Palazzo Pio, field trips, excursions, and most program-related admission fees. It does NOT include airfare, board, or personal expenses.

Note: program fees are paid in dollars; most program expenses are paid in euros. Unavoidably, we must reserve the right to modify charges in case of unfavorable currency fluctuation. In this unlikely event, students would be notified, and an adjustment made to the final payment.

Upon acceptance to the program, students are required to sign a payment contract by which they commit to participation in the program and agree to pay all program and administrative fees. Payment amounts are charged to each participant’s UW student account and are payable through UW Student Fiscal Services in 129 Schmitz Hall or MyUW, according to the following payment schedule:

UW Students*

Total fees: $3,600.

*UW undergraduates, graduate students, residents, and non-residents all pay the same fees for the Summer 2009 program.

Non-UW Students

Financial Aid and Scholarships

FINANCIAL AID: UW students may use most forms of financial aid to cover the costs of this program. UW participants who are on financial aid should contact the UW Financial Aid Office to verify that their awards will apply. UW students interested in applying for increased financial aid during their quarter of study abroad should obtain a revision request from the Financial Aid office, and a budget of student expenses from the IPE office, and submit both to the Financial Aid office in Schmitz Hall.

Non-UW students should check with the Financial Aid Office at their home institutions for more information regarding financial aid.


A few suggested resources:

Withdrawal Policy

Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing to one or both Program Directors and to the Office of International Programs and Exchanges. The withdrawal date is considered to be the date a withdrawal form is received by the IPE office.

Any student withdrawing from the program on or before March 27, 2009 will not be responsible for any payments beyond the non-refundable, $350 deposit and the non-refundable, $250 IPE fee (a total cost of $600).

Any student withdrawing from the program after this deadline will be subject to the following refund and withdrawal policy:

Students will be responsible for paying any charges posted to their student accounts by the designated due date, as well as late fees incurred for late payment. Any reimbursements of program fees will be credited to student accounts once a withdrawal has been processed. Typical withdrawals are processed 4-6 weeks from receipt of complete withdrawal paperwork.

Passports and Visas

You will need a passport to travel to Italy, as well as a student visa for Italy. You must have your passport in hand before you can apply for a visa. It can take time for your passport application to be processed and your passport issued, so it's a good idea to get the wheels turning as early as possible. The cost is $97 for a 10-year passport, and the University Neighborhood Service Center, 4534 University Way NE, is the passport acceptance facility closest to campus.  The most extensive passport information, including application procedures, fees, office locations, and even printable application forms you can download, is available from the State Department's passport services website.  Some general information on applying for passports is also available by calling the National Passport Information Center toll-free number: 1-877-487-2778, while an automated appointment line and some general information is available at the Seattle Passport Agency: (206) 808-5700.

You will also need a student visa to enter Italy for the Rome Program. The International Programs and Exchanges Office will assist students with this process.


Rebecca Hoogs

Rebecca Hoogs is the author of a chapbook, Grenade (2005) and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, AGNI, Crazyhorse, Zyzzyva, The Journal, Poetry Northwest, POOL, The Florida Review, and others. She is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony (2004), Artist Trust of Washington State (2005), and Jack Straw Productions (2008). In 2007, she presented commissioned work at the Seattle Poetry Festival and The Roethke Readings, a presentation of ACT Theatre and Eleventh Hour Productions. Before joining Seattle Arts & Lectures in June 2004, she taught English at the University of Washington, where she received her M.F.A. in Poetry and an M.A. in English. She is the Director of Education Programs and curator for the Poetry Series for Seattle Arts & Lectures.

Johnny Horton

Johnny Horton is a graduate of the University of Washington's MFA program in poetry. Currently, he teaches writing and American literature at Seattle Central Community College. He's published poems in Notre Dame Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Willow Springs, The Laurel Review, Mare Nostrum and other magazines. His poems have been performed before the Seattle City Council and anthologized in Pontoon: An Anthology of Washington State Poets. His awards include a Washington Artist Trust GAP grant, and residency fellowships from The Espy Foundation, Casa Libre en Solana, The Ragdale Foundation, and The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His work is influenced by history and sorcery, and he's concerned with the hypnotic, trance-inducing qualities of metrical verse. Some of his favorite poets include Yeats, Frost, Robert Graves, and Richard Wilbur. Rome is not his first love, but it might be his best.

Additional information

CONCURRENT ENROLLMENT & PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION: Students participating in the program must submit UW Concurrent Enrollment forms for summer quarter, 2009. In addition, students will be required to take the IPE Mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation, which can be completed online. For more information, please refer to this page on the IPE Website.

NON-UW STUDENTS: Non-UW students should submit the Non-Matriculated Application for Non-UW Students to IPE upon acceptance to the program. They will then be assigned a UW Student Number, a UW Net ID and access to the MyUW personal page, UW email, etc. The fee for this (as noted above) is $200 and will be assessed to the student’s new UW account upon receipt of the form. This fee is non-refundable.

INSURANCE: The University of Washington strongly recommends that students participating in this program carry major medical insurance coverage (check your policy for international coverage rules). More information about insurance can be found at http://ipe.washington.edu.

FOR MORE INFO: Contact Bridget Norquist (206-543-2634) in English Advising, and/or Rebecca Hoogs and Johnny Horton.


There are innumerable Rome sites on the web -- let your favorite search engine loose and explore.  Here are a very few to get you started. (Remember, some sites will be in Italian; these often have English translations, which you can access by clicking on a little English flag or graphic -- but this is usually the Union Jack, not the Stars and Stripes.  In Europe "English" usually means "England.")

Photos courtesy Rebecca Hoogs.

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