The 2018 Maui Writers’ Retreat II

A week of island writing.

maui base photoDates: April 29-May 5
 Jordan Hartt
Tuition and Villa:
Maui Writers’ Group Member: $1
Maui Writers’ Group Member & Spouse/Partner: $500
Non-member: $1,400
Registration: available at bottom of page or by contacting [email protected]. Limited to 12.

Live and write among the plumeria, hibiscus, and beauty of Maui. As part of Kahini’s constellation of writing retreats, the Maui Writers’ Retreat is designed to get you to a completed short-short story in one week in one of the most beautiful, inspirational places for writers in the world.

Workshop Description: “Fire”

“She’s on fire,” “he’s smoldering,” “it really sparked their interest”—the language of fire, of flame, fills our literatures. Consider those with a “burning” passion/love/anger/obsession, how often fire shows up in religious texts, or how often we hear such words as “scorch,” “heat,” “fuel,” or “incendiary”–to name just a few–used in describing human actions.tiki

In addition to metaphor, fire—or the threat of fire, or the aftermath of fire—can play a veryfire literal role in the lives of our characters. Fire can destroy a house and lives; fire can renew a field for planting the following spring. Fire is warmth, but can also burn. Fire is necessary for life, but has the potential to end life, as well.

Fire as destruction, fire as cleansing, fire as re-birth (think of a phoenix rising from the ashes). From farmers to Faulkner, from Austen to Alexie, from George Eliot to T.S., literary uses of fire–and fire’s relationship to water, to air, to land, to character–have shaped the characters, narratives, and language styles of some of our best-known stories.

“Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves” ~Laura Esquivel, “Like Water for Chocolate”

Open to poets and prose writers, we’ll begin the Retreat by sharing a true story from our own lives involving fire—whether a house fire, a match or a lighter, a campstove or campfire, or maybe a metaphorical fire of some kind. We’ll draw inspiration from these discussions, as well as from existing works of literature.

Front Street

Very short fictions are nearly always experimental, exquisitely calibrated, reminiscent of Frost’s definition of a poem—a structure of words that consumes itself as it unfolds, like ice melting on a stove.
~Joyce Carol Oates

How can literal uses of fire both reveal and change the internal thought and emotion of our narrators and characters? We’ll also discuss how fire metaphors are used, and how we can artistically engage in conversation with these metaphors to deepen our work.

“The fire. The odor of burning juniper is the sweetest fragrance on the face of the earth, in my honest judgment; I doubt if all the smoking censers of Dante’s paradise could equal it. One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West. Long may it burn.”
~Edward Abbey, “Desert Solitaire”

This discussion and freewriting will comprise the first half of the week. Then we’ll switch focus to our own writing: we’ll each write a short piece of up to 1,000 words (a complete piece or excerpt from a longer work) and we’ll do a full, one-hour discussion on your new, raw draft to help you get it to its next inspiration or draft earlier. Kahini’s leisurely one-hour discussions of each piece are famous not only for how quickly they advance each individual piece, but for the richness of the craft discussion.

You’ll leave the workshop with a completed and workshopped piece ready for advanced revision, with new connections and community as a writer, and with great memories from a week in the Valley Isle to last a lifetime.


Sunday, April 29
4 pm onward: Arrivals, getting settled, welcoming drinks and conversation.
Monday, April 30
10 am-1 pm: writing and discussion
Tuesday, May 1
10 am-1 pm: writing and discussion
Wednesday, May 2
10 am-1 pm: Writing day/island day.
Thursday, May 3
10 am-1 pm: workshop sessions; 2 pm-5 pm: workshop sessions.
Friday, May 4
10 am-1 pm: workshop sessions; 2 pm-5 pm: workshop sessions.
Saturday, May 5
Departure by 11 am.


The historic town of Lahaina is located on West Maui, about twenty-five miles from the airport at Kahului.

Kitchens are included in the Aina Nalu villas, you simply arrange your own food. We are only two blocks away from Lahaina’s famous Front Street.

You’ll work intensively in a variety of styles, deepening and diversifying your writing voice, and finding much new writing inspiration and ways into your work.

In one of the most beautiful and inspiring locations on earth, spend your afternoons enjoying the best of what Maui has to offer, including enjoying the beach or water, discovering the history and culture of the island, or simply reading and writing at good restaurants and cafes.


harttJordan Hartt (right :^) is a reader, writer, and workshop retreat leader. In addition to the Maui Writers’ Group, he facilitates Kahini’s six annual writing retreats in Kaua’i, Maui, Las Vegas, and the Big Island of Hawai’i.

Participants in Hartt’s retreats have published in thousands of literary magazines, published over two hundred books on nationally ranked presses, and been featured in the Best American Essays, Best American Poetry, and Best American Short Stories anthologies, as well as many international journals and anthologies.

Hartt’s writing has appeared in many literary magazines and journals: his collection of narrative poems, “Leap,” appeared in 2015. He is currently at work on a new collection of narratives.