Recap Retreats in 2018 | Looking forward to 2019! 

Retreats and Lead Authors in 2018 Included:

Write More, Write Better and Be Happier with Joni Cole, July 14, 2018

Joni B. Cole at Burlington Writers Workshop Joni B. Cole is the author of the newly released Good Naked: Reflections on How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier, included in Poets& Writers list of “Best Books for Writers.” Joni is also the author of the acclaimed book on writing, Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive (“I can’t imagine a better guide to [writing’s] rewards and perils than this fine book,” American Book Review), and Another Bad-Dog Book: Essays on Life, Love, and Neurotic Human Behavior (“Funny, smart, original, and, just to keep us on our toes, occasionally heartbreaking”). She teaches in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program at Dartmouth College, serves on the creative writing faculty of the New Hampshire Institute of Art, and is founder of the Writer’s Center of White River Junction, Vermont. She is also a contributor to The Writer magazine, and leads expressive writing workshops for a diversity of social service and academic programs. Joni has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and USA Fellowship Award.

How it worked:
This retreat helped writers cultivate a healthy and productive creative process that will serve them for the rest of their writing lives. They learned tips and techniques to get started and stay motivated plus quality instruction on craft. They foud inspiration and generated new material through writing prompts and other forms of sustenance, most notably gathering within a supportive community. As part of the retreat, everyone was asked to bring 3-4 double-spaced pages of writing to share for appreciation and quality critique. Both nervous beginners and seasoned authors attended.

“This workshop meets you where you’re at in your writing life, and moves you forward from there. Please leave your inner critic at home.” – Joni B. Cole

Writing Prose – Fiction and Nonfiction – with Robin McLean,  August 25, 2018

Robin McLean and Friend

Robin McLean was a lawyer and then a potter for 15 years in the woods of Alaska before receiving her MFA at UMass Amherst in Massachusetts. Her first short story collection Reptile House won the 2013 BOA Editions Fiction Prize and was published in May 2015. The collection was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Short Story Prize in 2011 and 2012. McLean’s stories have appeared widely in such places as The Cincinnati Review, Carve, The Common, Copper Nickel, and many others.

A figure skater first—having learned to skate and walk at the same time—McLean believes that crashing on ice prepared her for writing fiction. Besides writing, her careers and interests have been diverse: pushcart hotdog sales, lawyer and mediator, potter and tile maker, political activist, union organizer, sculptor, haunted corn maze manager as well as zombie trainer. She currently teaches at Clark University and divides her time between the high plains desert of central Nevada and New England.

How it worked:
Using a variety of craft exercises, writers became subversive, attempting to turn their usual writing styles upside down, to find themselves constructing lines they did not know they could write. In doing so, participants went away from the day comfortable with new methods and techniques to stimulate and open their prose beyond the tried and true.

Writing Poetry with Baron Wormser, September 8, 2018

Baron Wormser, BWW guided poetry retreat leader


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.

How it worked: This was a generative poetry-writing workshop. Participants were given prompts of various poems that offered imaginative opportunities to take off into their own writing. The prompts came from a variety of poets, showing a variety of poetic occasions. There was time to write as many as six new poems during the course of the day. They discussed each poem, followed by more writing time, then read aloud what was written. They did not critique what was written, but rather talked about the imaginative presences that turned up and where they might lead.



Writing Nonfiction with Jericho Parms, November 11, 2018

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.

How it worked:
Jericho 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.

Questions about the retreats?