Scenes from the Seminars

The Writing Seminars residencies offer an utterly immersive retreat from the rest of the world—a retreat in which workshops and symposia are conducted, friendships are born, and batteries are charged. Photos by Star Black.

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Bennington Review

First published in January 1996 with the Writing Seminars’ inaugural class, The Bennington Review is a biannual, student-edited anthology of graduating students’ work. Originally entitled Tesserae—an ancient term used to describe the small cubes or tiles of a mosaic—a new volume of the book is released and celebrated each residency. “The Reviews are a combination of talent, dedication, and hard work,” says BWS Associate Director Victoria Clausi. “We’re proud of these books, and proud of our talented graduates, whose work is preserved in each volume.”

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The Bennington College campus is known for its expansive beauty, critically acclaimed architecture, and rich history. Routinely named one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses by The Princeton Review, the College is also celebrated for its vibrant intellectual community and distinctive classroom experience.

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Around Town

There are plenty of things to do and sites to see in the Bennington area. You may be an art enthusiast, a history buff, an outdoors person, or a shopping guru. Whatever your tastes, you are sure to find an outing that suits you in Bennington and the surrounding areas.

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Program Requirements | Dual-Genre Option

The low-residency format can be seen as the response of the literary sensibility to the realities of modern life. It is an alternative time calculation, realistically reflecting the seasons and rhythms of a writer's actual work habits. It offers considerable freedom to the student, but the student must be willing to practice a good deal of Emersonian self-reliance. At Bennington, freedom and responsibility exist on a continuum just as freedom and responsibility exist in a dynamic interdependence.

Twice a year, in January and June, Writing Seminars’ students and faculty gather on the Bennington campus for residencies. Both students and faculty stay in houses on campus and take meals together in the College Dining Halls. What follows—10 intensive days of readings, lectures, craft sessions, workshops, musical events, seminars, and other activities—is a striking contrast to the six months of solitary work between residencies, and is meant to be.

During the six-month tutorial periods, students are expected to devote at least 25 hours each week to their writing and reading. Each student will work with four different teachers over the two-years required to complete the degree, exchanging regularly-scheduled packets of new creative work, revisions, critical responses to readings, and engaging in an ongoing literary/tutorial conversation with each teacher. We believe strongly that intense exposure to different sensibilities is one of the bounties of the Seminars. The student is inevitably forced to break the comfort bubble at some point, and nothing is more salutary to the work. By the same token, each writer gets the chance to study with four outstanding writers in her chosen genre, which can only enrich her understanding of her art.