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My workshop leader, Wendy, was the most inspiring leader I could have ever dreamed of. I learned the art of poetry inside, outside, and upside down. At Juniper, I have met soul sisters, a team of superheroes.

My workshop “pod” became closer than any sort of tribe mankind’s language has ever described. By the end of the all-too-short nine-day experience, we were all clinging to one another. Even though our group will be dismantled and shipped back to the “real world,” the members will hold a fiery kinship. We will keep in touch.

I went to the Emily Dickinson House on the Wednesday tour. Tears filled my eyes as I entered her sacred living grounds. After leaving an offering at her grave, I was again complete.

I loved the evening readings. Heather Christle is literally the closest thing to a pixie that I have ever had the pleasure to observe. Between her and Betsy Wheeler, I was thoroughly inspired. Their words were as clever and beautiful as I hope to be.

When I heard Mark Doty say, in his Q&A, “Emily Dickinson becomes the great teacher of the usefulness of doubt,” I felt myself connect to his mind—it was beautiful.

As long as I live, I will hold a special place in my heart for my writing spot under the shady tree, by the lake, with the ducks. I am nearly finished filling a book of my own poetry as a gift for a friend’s birthday. The great majority of the content was written here at Juniper.

I would like to thank the Juniper Institute for creating an environment surrounded by the light of so many writers, both those who have flourished and those who are just blooming.

—Marianne Virnelson, ’11 & ’12 participant