Summer 2018 Writing Retreat Applications are now closed.


Words to Hold a Glittering World: Crossing Genres Mindfully
Featuring Writer-in-Residence Holly Hughes

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Poet Jane Hirschfield writes that “a single moment’s perception is more than enough to hold a world. It glitters, both beautiful and transient, amid the words’ leaves.”   Beginning each writing session with mindfulness practice, writers will create space to explore their inner and outer landscapes, writing toward such moments of perception and finding meaning in their words. In addition, writers will discover that crossing genres can be freeing by studying the Japanese haibun, the prose poem and a variety of lyric essay forms.  Writers will also enjoy writing outdoors together, drawing inspiration from the natural world and each other, and sharing work in a supportive environment.  Join Holly Hughes for three days of lively writing, workshop, and individual conferences.  Poets and prose writers of all levels are welcome.

Special features of this writing retreat include:

  • Guest visit from former Wisconsin poet laureate Max Garland  (The Word We Used for It, etc.)
  • Q&A on Holly's latest poetry collection, Passings, the recipient of the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation
  • A  free reading for friends

June 21-24

I used to think writing was a solitary experience, but after the residency I realized the importance of community and the energy derived from a community of writers. I entered this residency not knowing anyone and left with friends and wisdom that I will never forget.

Speak, Write, Memory: On Writing Poetry by Searching Within
Featuring Writer-in-Residence/Wisconsin poet laureate Karla Huston

 Credit: Mike Romer /  Roemerphoto.com

Credit: Mike Romer / Roemerphoto.com

What role does memory play when crafting poems? And how much should we trust ourselves when imbuing our past with poetic meaning? Can place or an object act as triggers? Join Wisconsin Poet Laureate and Pushcart Prize recipient Karla Huston (author of A Theory of Lipstick) for three days of workshop, one-on-one conferences, and exploring the limits of memory. Enjoy a supportive community committed to self-discovery and personal growth.  

Special features of this writing retreat include:

  • Guest visit from poet Jon Loomis (The Mansion of Happiness, etc.)
  • Q&A on Karla's recent work and poet laureate travels
  • A  free reading for friends

June 28-July 1

“I came back from Cirenaica inspired and with my confidence levels raised...renewed in my feeling that poetry was a value in itself...”

From Start To Finish: On Beginnings, Endings, and All the Words in Between
Featuring Writer-in-Residence Michael Martone

                                                                                                         Credit: Theresa Pappas

                                                                                                        Credit: Theresa Pappas

What makes a title tick?  What propels a first line to the second?  How do you know when you’ve found the right ending, and how do you know when you haven’t?  In this multi-genre residency, writers will experience a new model of workshop, one that centers on the writing process as opposed to the product itself.  Join acclaimed writer and professor Michael Martone (author of Brooding, Four for a Quarter, among others) for a three-day residency focused on exploring the many facets of prose writing, as well as the larger issues of the genre itself.

Special features of this writing retreat include:

July 12-15

The atmosphere was perfect: smart, respectful, cooperative, and leavened with humor and fellowship. We were both instructed and encouraged. And this was true not only for our writer-in-residence, but for my fellow workshoppers. We grew together.

Building a Solid Base: Getting Your Fiction Off On The Right Foot
Featuring Writer-in-Residence Nickolas Butler

                                                                                                         Credit: Jeff Rogers

                                                                                                        Credit: Jeff Rogers

Whether it's crafting a well-written short story, or creating a compelling first chapter to your novel, this workshop is geared towards working with writers to best build their best starts.  Internationally best-selling novelist and short story writer Nickolas Butler will provide personal feedback on stories or novel starts combined with practical advice for beginning and aspiring writers.  

Special features of this writing retreat include:

  • Guest visit from novelist Peter Geye (Wintering, etc.)
  • Q&A with Nick on his current work.
  • A  free reading for friends

July 19-22

This was my first exposure with any kind of writing group outside of a strictly business context. I have to say that [Nick’s workshop] was quite a life-changing experience. I learned so many things in regards to not only writing, but life in general. A fantastic experience recommended to all, not only those who consider themselves “writers.”

Thickening the Plot: On Creating Tension and Suspense in Fiction
Featuring Writer-In-Residence Lindsay Starck

 Credit: Victoria McHugh Photography

Credit: Victoria McHugh Photography

As a reader, what makes you turn the pages? And as a writer, how can you ensure that readers are turning them, too? Moreover, how does one craft a compelling plot without sacrificing literary elements such as character, language, image, and theme?  Join fiction writer and professor Lindsay Starck (author of Noah’s Wife) for a three-day retreat focused on posing narrative questions, raising the stakes for your characters, and ultimately making your fiction even more engaging for your readers.

Special features of this writing retreat include:

  • Guest visit from Eric Rasmussen, writer and editor of Barstow & Grand
  • A reading from Lindsay's latest work
  • A craft talk on finding the right agent
  • A  free reading for friends

 August  2-5

Cirenaica is a peaceful, supportive oasis for writers in a busy world. I treasure the time I had there, and I would encourage any and all writers to seize such an opportunity.