Online Courses

Building a home for poets of color in the South

In order to be more accessible and affordable for poets who can’t make it to the Winter Retreat, The Watering Hole hosts online courses.

Building a Writing Career Online Course Series

Overview for All Online Courses

Whether you’re halfway through a manuscript or have several loosely connected poems, this series of courses is intended to meet you where you are and take you where you want to be. We’re going to build together! The assignments are structured for mostly asynchronous work, but there are a few team assignments and Google Hangout meetings on Monday evenings (unless the class votes for another time).

The courses are designed, so that if you are able to take all of them, you’ll become a smarter reader, more impactful writer, and more widely published poet. The assignments are geared towards professionalizing you in this industry and giving you pieces of MFA-level knowledge. By the time you finish these courses, you’ll be ready for spring application season. You do not need to take one course in order to be eligible for a subsequent course: a la carte is fine. Mix and match as you please.

An important component of all TWH classes is building Tribe. We are not here to network with each other; instead, we’re here to really get to know each other and build relationships. When you leave the course, you should leave with a cohort of poets who will help build you, as you help build them.

Payment reserves your spot in the course. Payment is due in-full seven days in advance of the course’s start date. A 100% refund can be requested before the start of the first class session. A 50% refund can be requested before the start of the second class session. After the second class begins, all payments are nonrefundable.

Candace​ G. Wiley​ is co-founder of The Watering Hole and has been teaching since 2008. She has applied reading, writing, and funding strategies in her own career and has been awarded a Tulsa Artist Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, Lighthouse Works Center Fellowship, Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship (7-month), Callaloo Fellowship, James Dickey Fellowship, and Fulbright Fellowship to San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia. All but one of these fellowships came with a gift of time and money.

Candace has also been awarded one or more grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission, South Carolina Humanities Council, Metropolitan Arts Council, Emrys Foundation, South Arts, ROOTS,The Highlander, and South Carolina Poetry Initiative

During these courses, Candace will use techniques that she learned while teaching university-level literature and creative writing courses (most recently at Clemson University) as well as strategies she learned in her MFA program at the University of South Carolina. You’ll get the benefit of MFA knowledge, without the price.

To see where her work has been published, visit


Mini-Session: ″Funding Your TWH Journey″

Dates: September (e-mailed resources)

Tuition: N/A (These resources are limited new and current Tribe and Patreon Members.)
TWH Fellows: Free
Patreon Subscribers: Free ($5+ monthly donation)

This will be a resource packet that will help you find and apply for grants that will fund your retreat fee, travel, and possibly food expenses. The grants we find will apply to many writing opportunities, not just The Watering Hole. I will guide you through your search process, help you narrow down the opportunities that best fit, help you interpret what the application is really asking for, and help you convey that in your application materials. 

This is for you if you want help finding ways to fund your attendance at retreats, residencies, conferences, book festivals, slams, etc.

Warning: Almost all of these grant opportunities are set up for reimbursements. They typically will not pay the initial costs and will require copious, clear receipts to reimburse you for your expenses.

Session 1: ″Before You Do Another Thing: 6 Essential Poetry Concepts″

Dates: October 14 – December 1, 2019 (7 weeks, includes a one-week self-care break in the middle of the term)

Tuition: $300
TWH Fellows: 50% discount
Patreon Subscribers: 50% discount ($15+ monthly donation)
Residents of S.C., N.C., and G.A.: 50% discount

In this course, we’ll focus on reading the first and last books of popular writers. So often, we as writers fawn over award-winning books. Reasonably so. They’re amazing. However, as you’re developing your own first book(s), it’s helpful to analyze the first books of great authors. We’ll read three first books and three last books. In doing so, we’ll see the development of structure, approach, thematic priorities, form, language, etc. from their humble beginnings in the first book.

This course is for you…

  • if you want to practice analytically discussing individual poems or
  • if you want a better handle on the poetry collection as a concept or
  • if you’re partway through your own book and can’t figure out how to make it to the other side or
  • if you want to develop a framework that will help you read poetry collections as well as write your own or
  • if you want to (re)establish the fundamentals of reading and thinking about poetry.

Session 2: ″10 Vital Secrets for Building Compelling Poems: Drafting & Revising Your Way to Success″

Dates: January 20 – March 8, 2020 (7 weeks, includes a one-week self-care break in the middle of the term)

Tuition: $300
TWH Fellows: 50% discount
Patreon Subscribers: 50% discount ($15+ monthly donation)
Residents of S.C., N.C., and G.A.: 50% discount

In this course, we’ll focus on generating new, better, and more focused work. So often, we as writers write amazing drafts, just to put them away and never return. Even if we return, other than revision, what are we looking for? What is this old draft telling us about ourselves? As you’re developing your writing voice(s) and writing as freely as you possibly can, it’s helpful to be able pause and reflect: What are your writing obsessions, tendencies, fears, etc.? Can you parlay them into motifs, thematic priorities, formal concerns, etc.? You may think you’re writing about your mom, but what if you’re really returning to the idea of transformation

…or contending with the fear of flying

…or avoiding writing about your dad.

It’s important in all of our workshops that you connect with and build tribe with your peers. It will be especially important in this workshop. We’ll be sharing some personal things (if you are moved to do so). We need to be able to trust each other. After we share, we then need to be able to step into an analytical role and apply revision strategies.

This workshop is for people who…

  • want to practice giving and receiving constructive criticism,
  • who want push their writing and revision skills to the next level,
  • who need new ways to see/enter a poem.

We’ll be writing at least two new drafts per week, revising at least one draft per week, and giving weekly workshop critiques to our class peers.

If you are someone who is unwilling to consider constructive criticism, because your poem is already genius, do not submit those poems. All poems submitted for this workshop should be poems that need feedback and poems that are produced during the course.

Session 3: ″Speak to the World: 7 Tips, Tricks, and Habits for Publishing Your Work and Applying for Other Poet-y Things”

Dates: March 30 – May 17, 2020 (7 weeks, includes a one-week self-care break in the middle of the term)

Tuition: $300
TWH Fellows: 50% discount
Patreon Subscribers: 50% discount ($15+ monthly donation)
Residents of S.C., N.C., and G.A.: 50% discount

Spend National Poetry Month getting your work out into the world. If you’ve ever had questions about writing a bio, CV, cover letter, query letter, project proposal, or grant narrative, if you’ve ever had no idea where to start when submitting poems, submitting book proposals, applying for grants, fellowships, residencies, contests, and so on, then this is the course for you!

Submitting for publication, applying for opportunities, and applying for funding are essential to the life of a successful writer. Don’t let the world convince you that artists have to starve and struggle. There is another path! One with an occasional grass-fed locally sourced filet and organic kale salad from a local eco-friendly farmer.

In this course, we’ll focus on building a strong packet of application materials, collaborating on a spreadsheet of opportunities to apply for, decoding calls for submissions, choosing journals to submit to, and tailoring for each opportunity type. You will leave having submitted to 3-5 publication opportunities, applied to 2 grants, and applied for 2 other types of writing opportunities (fellowships, contests, etc.). You will also get practice in mock panel reviews by evaluating your peers according to a grant rubric. (Side note: These courses count as professional development. There are grants that pay for these. We can find and apply for these resources for future courses you might want to take.)

Shop below.

Payment Options

General Tuition

Discounted Tuition

Discounted Price is for

***Patreon subscribers at or above the $15 level
***TWH Retreat Fellows
***TWH Manuscript Coaching Fellows
***TWH Residency Fellows
***People who have taken an in-person workshop with TWH
***People who have performed in a TWH reading or slam
***Current Residents of South Carolina, North Carolina, or Georgia

Registrants may stack up to two discounts. To do so, e-mail us at and cc Use the subject line “Registration for Session # Class.” Include your Patreon name in the e-mail for verification.