Please contact us if you're interested in reserving a space.



A classic Montana river journey + generative craft workshop

hosted by Joe Wilkins


River, Language, World


This course is currently full - if you would like to be added to the waitlist, please reach out to us at [email protected]



Joe Wilkins is the author of a novel, Fall Back Down When I Die, praised as “remarkable and unforgettable” in a starred review at Booklist. A finalist for the First Novel Award from the Center for Fiction and the Pacific Northwest Book Award, Fall Back Down When I Die won the High Plains Book Award and has now been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, and German. Wilkins is also the author of a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers and four collections of poetry, including Thieve and When We Were Birds, winner of the Oregon Book Award. Wilkins directs the creative writing program at Linfield University and is a member of the low-residency MFA faculty at Eastern Oregon University.


When on a river—rafting, fishing, walking the rocky banks—one must pay attention. And on the Blackfoot, we’ll do exactly that: we’ll pay great and careful attention to the river and the landscape it carries us through, to the experiences, memories, and places we carry with us as we do so. We’ll work to translate those experiences into language, and then into story, and in so doing know again, and for the first time, this big, beautiful, and complicated world of ours.

This will be primarily a generative craft workshop, so come prepared to read, discuss, write, and share. We’ll explore themes of attending to, translating, storying, and knowing the World. 



Writers of all backgrounds, skill levels, and genres are welcome. This field course is offered for undergrad or graduate credit through the University of Montana and is open to non-students and students alike.




River, Language, World is eligible for scholarships through The Freeflow Foundation.

Because we believe teachers and students need regenerative outdoor experiences more than most, Freeflow always extends a small discount to contracted educators and enrolled students. We also offer a small discount to our alumni. Because we believe in paying our instructors, facilitators, support staff, and guides an equitable wage, we do not offer individual discounts that compromise the integrity of those wages. If you need financial support, please consider applying for our scholarships.

Your program cost of $2200 includes:

  • intimate, daily discussions, workshops, and generative sessions with Joe Wilkins + Freeflow faculty
  • pre-course logistical support + reading list
  • professional river guides, paddling gear, waterproof bags, safety gear, and rafts
  • delicious, healthful meals and snacks, plus wine and coffee, from lunch on June 2 through lunch on June 5
  • all permitting, camping, parking, and access fees
  • a Freeflow MiiR mug to use and take home

The course also serves as an introduction to the Freeflow galaxy of writers, leaders, and thinkers. Our alumni also receive discounts on future Freeflow courses. If you’d like to take the course for University of Montana credit, please let us know.

Guide gratuities are not included in the program cost. We strongly suggest giving your river guides some love, and we are happy to discuss norms for tipping – just ask.

Space on this very intimate adventure is limited to 8 participants. We will close registration once the roster is full. Please apply early.

All deposits and payments are non-refundable. Payment plans are available. Payments can be made by mailing in an old-fashioned check, or by credit card or bank transfer via the link in your electronic invoice.

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.





  • River, Language, World begins and ends in Missoula, Montana. 
  • The cohort will meet in Missoula around 4 pm on June 2 for an orientation.
  • We'll meet near downtown Missoula and head to the river by bus early morning on June 3.
  • We'll spend the next three days rafting the Big Blackfoot River, writing, and sleeping under the stars.
  • We will leave vehicles in one spot in Missoula and return to them early afternoon on June 5. (We suggest flying out on June 6, just to leave space for environmental delays.)
  • For accommodations the night before or after the course, we recommend our friends at the City Center Motel, or at Shady Spruce Hostel


Participants must bring their own camping gear (tent + sleeping bag). We will provide comfy sleeping pads. If you need access to these items, we will help you find them.



Make space for your creative work, movement, and new ideas this summer. Send us your questions and we’ll get in touch right away. If you know you’re ready to apply, head to the button at the top of this page. 

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