BWW Writing Retreats 2017
Beginning in July, the BWW will be offering a series of four writing retreats designed to provide our members with opportunities to gather in quiet, inspiring spaces for more focused discussion, instruction, and writing time—and new connections with other members.
To make sure there’s something for everyone, we’re offering a mix of locations, topics, and retreat types. As always, this programming is completely free.
Take a look at the information below to see what retreat might be right for you and how sign up works.
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Retreat Leaders and Descriptions:
Writing Fiction with Rebecca Starks
Date: Saturday, July 15
Place: Home of BWW Board Member Terry Cleveland (Georgia, Vt.)
Rebecca Starks’ short fiction has appeared in Tahoma Literary Review and Crab Orchard Review. She is working on a collection of stories and a novel. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Slice, Crab Orchard Review, Poetry Northwest and elsewhere. She is a founding editor of Mud Season Review and teaches literature to lifelong learners at the University of Vermont. After pursuing a PhD in English from Stanford University, she has taken a number of writing workshops in poetry and fiction, including with Stephen Wright and Antonya Nelson.
Plan for the day:
Beginning with the guidance of John Gardner and Francine Prose, participants will read short excerpts of stories and novels to push for a deeper understanding of craft and its history. We will spend two hours in the morning writing in response to prompts, then share that writing out loud and respond to it. We will then consider questions of style and significance, as a way of working on revision, and have two more hours to write in the afternoon—either responding to a new prompt, working on current material, or expanding on what was begun in the morning—leaving time to share at the end.
Writing Prose – Fiction and Nonfiction – with Robin McLean
Date: Saturday, August 26
Place: Home of BWW member Riki Moss (Grand Isle, Vt.)
Robin McLean was a lawyer then a potter for 15 years in the woods of Alaska before receiving her MFA at UMass Amherst. Her debut story collection Reptile House won the BOA Editions Fiction Prize and was named as one of the best books of 2015 in The Paris Review. Her stories have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, The Common, Copper Nickel, Carve, Green Mountains Review and many others. She teaches at Clark University and splits her time between Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and points West.
Plan for the day:
In this workshop we will be subversive. Using a variety of craft exercises we will attempt to turn our usual writing style upside down, find ourselves constructing lines we did know we could write, find some new tools. In doing so, I hope participants go away from the day comfortable with new methods and techniques to stimulate and open our prose beyond our tried and true.
Writing Poetry with Baron Wormser
Date: Saturday, September 16th
Place: Adamant Music School (Adamant, Vermont)
Baron Wormser is the author/co-author of fourteen books and a poetry chapbook. His books include Scattered Chapters: New and Selected Poems (Sarabande Books), The Road Washes Out in Spring: a Poet’s Memoir of Living Off the Grid (University Press of New England), and The Poetry Life: Ten Stories (CavanKerry Press). His novel Tom o’ Vietnam, about a Vietnam veteran who is obsessed with King Lear, will be published by New Rivers Press in the fall of 2017. Wormser has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. From 2000 to 2006 he served as poet laureate of the state of Maine. He has taught many dozens of workshops across the United States and continues to offer generative workshops along with workshops focusing on the works of a particular poet.
Plan for the day:
This will be a generative poetry-writing workshop. Participants will be given prompts of various poems that offer imaginative opportunities to take off into their own writing. The prompts will come from a variety of poets and show a variety of poetic occasions. There should be time to write as many as six new poems during the course of the day. We will discuss each poem, then there will be writing time, then time to read aloud what you written. We will not be critiquing what you write but rather talking about the imaginative presences that turned up and where they might lead.
Writing Nonfiction with Jericho Parms
Date: Saturday, October 21
Place: Rock Point Retreat Center, Burlington
Jericho Parms is the author of Lost Wax (University of Georgia Press, 2016). Her essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, The Normal School, Hotel Amerika, American Literary Review, Brevity and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, noted in Best American Essays, and anthologized in Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction and Waveform: Twenty-First Century Essays By Women. She is the Associate Director of the MFA in Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches at Champlain College.
Plan for the day:
Jericho will lead an interactive retreat at the Rock Point center on the shores of Lake Champlain, discussing craft, offering samples from authors, initiating periods for writing during the day, and sharing participants’ work. The property encompasses 130 acres on Lake Champlain and has hiking trails through various habitats, as well as a solar orchard and community gardens with a focus on responsible environmental practices.
How it works:
To make sure that all active BWW members have an equal chance of attending a retreat, if more people sign up than there are available spaces, participants will be selected through a lottery system. Here’s how it works:
- Sign-up for all four retreats is open now.
- Sign-up will close two weeks before each retreat.
- Since spaces are limited, if there are too many people, participants will be selected by The Retreat Committee—via a blind lottery—equal to the number of spots available in that retreat plus 5 alternates for a waitlist.
- We’ll contact you within 1 week after the close of the lottery to let you know if you’re on the attendance list or waitlist—and you’ll have 2 days to confirm your commitment.
To be considered an active BWW member, you must have:
- Attended at least 3 workshops in the past 3 months OR fulfilled a volunteer role with the BWW within the past year
- Had no “no-shows” (not coming to a workshop you signed up for without changing your RSVP)
Note: Changing your RSVP to avoid a “no-show” status is easy. If you need to drop out of a workshop you’ve signed up for, just go to the workshop description on Meetup.com and click “CHANGE” under “Your RSVP”. Doing this also allows someone from the waitlist to take your open spot.
In an effort to ensure that as many members who want to attend a retreat have that opportunity, all available spots in each retreat will first be given to members who have not attended a previous retreat in the series.