The Word Barn serves as a home and cultivation point for a variety of arts and community gatherings.

Below are a few of the current offerings you can find in this space.

Fragments of a Great Mystery: A Writing Workshop with Mercy Carbonell & Sarah Anderson
July 8, 15, 22, 29

This Summer Writing Workshop, led by Sarah Anderson & Mercy Carbonell, provides a chance to explore the translational and horological power of writing from saved artifacts, preserved objects, the inherited stuff of our lives. Through Poetry, Lyric Reflection, Flash Fiction and the interweaving of Photography, we will unravel what the poet, Philip Levine, called “the fragments of a great mystery.” We will generate writing through prompts of our collected matter through time: a grandmother’s silver thimble; a father’s leather baseball mitt; a scarf worn during the Allied Invasion in Africa; a daughter’s watercolor painting of a dragon in second grade; a friend’s tiny box of glitter. We may offer short readings such as Meg Day, Carolyn Forsche, Erica Plouffe-Lazure, Robert Hass. This workshop is designed for those who “hold everything dear” (John Berger) and want to capture in language the memory, imagination, story, essence of the tactile, physical and tangible. Each Monday evening, we will have the opportunity to experiment with new forms of writing as well as provide each other with feedback. The Workshop Series will culminate in an optional Word Barn reading.

As a member of the English faculty at Phillips Exeter from 1993-1996 & 2000-present, Mercy Carbonell has taught Advanced Senior Creative Writing Workshops and seminars on The Craft of Fiction, Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and Love. She has developed writing workshops for student speakers, parents, alumni and the annual MLK, Jr. Day, co-authored the 25th Anniversary of Title IX Assembly, submitted visual/literary Art in the Gallery and delivered six Meditations to the Academy Community in Phillips Church. She serves as co-Chair of the MLK Day Committee, Advisor for Arts & Activism Club, coach for various sports, Summer School Faculty/Harkness Coordinator & co-Director of The Writers’ Workshop Summer Institute. In 2016, Mercy was on Sabbatical in San Francisco doing research on Students in Social Justice Activism, writing and volunteer teaching/tutoring at 826 Valencia Writing Spaces. She lives in Exeter with her partner Lisa and her retriever Scout.

Sarah Anderson holds an MFA in poetry from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She has 15 years of high school teaching experience. With her husband, she owns and operates The Word Barn in Exeter, NH, a gathering space for literary and musical events, where she runs a reading series (The Silo Series) as well as writing workshops. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including The Hunger Journal, December Magazine, Off the Coast, and The Café Review.

6-8:30 pm


Register Here

A Poetry Workshop with Lee Ann Dalton & Matt  W. Miller
July 9, 16, 23, 30

This summer writing workshop, led by Matt Miller and Lee Ann Dalton, we will look closely at line, sentence, language, metaphor and image in an attempt to revise and reshape our poems into stronger versions of themselves. Whether you are working in strict poetic form or testing the boundaries of what a poem can be, our goal will be to work collaboratively and be supportive while at the same time honoring the voice and vision of the individual. Looking at our poems in progress, we will offer suggestions for revisions and use our discussions to perhaps generate new work. As well, we will look at outside poems for models of craft and sources of inspiration. And along the way we will be sure to have a good time.

Lee Ann Dalton is a poet, fiction writer, and LGBTQIA+ youth advocate. She received her MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Mezzo Cammin, New Ohio Review, Faultline, and The Formalist. She is the 2014 winner of the Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Award given by Hunger Mountain, and her fiction has also appeared in Stoneboat. She is an Exeter native, a Canadian/American dual citizen, and she lives in Brentwood, New Hampshire with her husband, Justin Kane, and their daughter.

Matt W. Miller is author of The Wounded for the Water (Salmon Poetry), Club Icarus (University of North Texas Press), selected by Major Jackson as the winner of the 2012 Vassar Miller Poetry Prize, and Cameo Diner: Poems (Loom). He has published poems and essays in Birmingham Poetry Review, Southwest Review, Harvard Review, Narrative, Crazyhorse, 32 Poems, Adroit Journal, The Rumpus, and other journals. He is winner of the Nimrod Internationals Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, River Styxs Microfiction Prize, Iron Horse Review’sTrifecta Poetry Prize, and The Poetry by the Sea Conferences Sonnet Crown Contest. The recipient of poetry fellowships from Stanford University and The Sewanee Writers Conference, Miller teaches at Phillips Exeter Academy where co-directs the Writers Workshop at Exeter. He lives with his family in coastal New Hampshire.

6-8:30 pm


Register Here

Fermentation Workshop
April 7
10am – Noon  – SOLD OUT

Come ferment with us!

Join us for a little history, a little science, and a lot of bacteria talk! We will taste-test a variety of ferments and all make kraut together.
Fermented vegetables are not only delicious, but they are great for you – boosting your all-important gut microbes, they add pizzaz and tang to any meal, and kept in the fridge, last indefinitely. Fermented vegetables are also easy and safe to make at home.
Everyone will go home with a jar of kraut to ferment.
Curious and aspiring fermenters are encouraged to come, no fermenting experience required!
This workshop will be led by Katie Semro, owner of Shipwreck Ferments, Rollinsford, NH.
SPACE IS LIMITED, and this sold out quickly last time. Locking in your space in advance is required and subject to availability.

$30 per person
Reserve a Spot

Time to Write
1st & 3rd Thursdays, 7-9pm

An ongoing writing workshop led by co-owner of The Word Barn and host of The Silo Series, Sarah Anderson (and occasional guest writers).

Come exchange work with writers; give and receive feedback; use a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing and more.

1st & 3rd Thursday of every month, The Word Barn
7-9 pm

Register here.

Ongoing Bi-Weekly Studio Painting Classes
Christopher Volpe

Evening oil painting group classes, suitable for beginners and adventurous painters alike.

Demos, instruction, refreshments, and fertile ground for skill-building and self expression.

All you need to bring is a basic painting kit (paints, brushes, mineral spirits, canvas and easel), your favorite bottle of wine (if so inclined), and your sense of adventure, as each week a new game plan is tried out for the painting du jour.

Christopher Volpe is an oil painter creating moody, poetic landscapes in an expressive, tonalist style. Though rooted in landscape, his atmospheric paintings combine the traditional and the contemporary to express intangible feelings and ideas. Largely self-taught, Volpe has quickly established himself as an artist with uncommon vision and truly evocative style.

Learn more about Christopher Volpe’s workshops, about Christopher Volpe, or visit his website.