The Kauaʻi Writers’ Retreat

Past: January 29-February 4, 2017; January 28-February 3, 2018; January 27-February 2, 2019; January 26-February 1, 2020
Upcoming:
 January 24-30, 2021 (full); October 10-16, 2021 (two spaces available)
Admission:
Contact writing@kahini.org
Facilitator: Jordan Hartt
Cost: Tuition and housing: $1,500
Location: The Villas at Poipu Kai in Poʻipū, Kauaʻi

The Retreat

Retreat home at 2373 Hoʻohu road, Poʻipū, Kauaʻi

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

Read, write, and create memories for life

Each January, we hold the Kauaʻi Writers’ Retreat: a blend of generative writing time, workshop time, and private retreat time; beginning in 2021, this experience will also be available in October.

[W]here the poem and story meet. Maybe brevity—on sight—alerts a reader’s expectancy […] But the form costs—it sacrifices most of itself. Experience borders perilously on nothing. ~H.E. Francis

The Kauaʻi Writers’ Retreat focuses on craft, community, and inspiration

Whether you’re writing fiction, poetry, nonfiction, cross-genre, or un-genre work, short work is one of the most technically involved forms in our literature. To that end, we spend a week studying and writing the form.

Our goal is to complete one new written work of 1,000 words or fewer. And, each participant receives a full, hour-long workshop on this brand-new work of art.

You’ll leave with one new written and workshopped piece ready for advanced revision or submission, with new community and memories, and with new inspiration in the writing life.

A really good short-short, whatever else it may be, is a story we can’t help reading fast, and then re-reading, and again, but no matter how many times we read it, we’re not quite through it yet. ~John L’Heureux
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Daily Schedule

Read, write, and revise
Sunset from our villas

Sunday
4 pm-onward: arrivals, getting settled, introductory evening writing session
Monday
10 am-noon: craft discussion and generative writing session
7 pm to 8 pm: evening freewrite
Tuesday
10 am-noon: craft discussion and generative writing session
7 pm to 8 pm: evening freewrite
Wednesday
Writing day/island day
Thursday
10 am-noon: workshop sessions
7 pm to 8 pm: evening freewrite
Friday
10 am-noon: workshop sessions
7 pm to 8 pm: evening freewrite
Saturday
Departure by 10 am
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Facilitator: Jordan Hartt

I’m the author of two collections of narrative poems: “Leap” (Tebot Bach, 2015) and “Drifting,” (Tebot Bach, 2018). A third collection, “Paradise,” is forthcoming from Tebot Bach in 2020.

My lifework is creating experiences where people find the writing craft to reach for their best artistic and human selves, find the writing community to connect with others, and find the ongoing inspiration of the writing life.

To do this, I edit Kahini Quarterly, facilitate Kahini+, and host five annual writing retreats: two in Poʻipū, and one each in Kolkata, Las Vegas, and Kampala. A little more about my ethos, if interested.
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Past Participants

“The Kauaʻi writers residency was a treat. What struck me most were discussions we had
about the struggles of writing, publishing, and ultimately being open to try new approaches to expand my horizons.”
~Tom Arthur (2019)

“The Kahini writers retreat in Kauaʻi has truly changed my life. Kauaʻi gave me exactly what I needed at a time when my creative process was low: the chance to slow down and concentrate on my work. I also had the great pleasure of engaging with and learning from the other amazing writers and artists in my cohort. And Kauaʻi’s natural beauty was an endless source of inspiration for me. So if you’re looking for a break in routine, a way to kickstart or focus your creative process, in one of the most gorgeous places on earth, then I highly recommend this experience!”
~Tristan Beach (2019)

“It’s more than a workshop, it’s a retreat that brings new words for the page.”
~Dianne Butler (2018, 2019)

“The week I spent at Kahini’s Kauaʻi retreat gave me the focus and space I needed to drive to the finish of a novel in progress. A perfect blend of solitude and community in one of the most beautiful natural settings on earth. I highly recommend it!”
~Audrey Kalman (2019)

Kauai is an actual paradise and it was so restorative to be there in the company of
luminous writers. Thanks to Kahini for making it possible.
~Betsy Fogelman Tighe (2019)

“Not only is the writing retreat generative–it’s fun. And it’s Kauaʻi. A lot that’s wonderful happens in a week there.”
~Susan Landgraf (2017, 2020)

“The Kahini Writer’s Retreat in Kauaʻi offers writers the unique opportunity of blending a weeklong vacation in tropical paradise, with an engaging and dynamic writing experience. Balm for the soul and the mind, the result is nothing less than magical. The series, conveniently scheduled several times throughout the year, is directed by Jordan Hartt, former coordinator and director of the highly successful Centrum Writer’s Conference in Port Townsend, Washington. Jordan’s style might best be described as upbeat and inspiring. You can expect to be engaged on several levels. Immersed in the unparalleled beauty of the island, writers of various levels and genre gather together each morning in small, intimate groups.  In a relaxed atmosphere, with natural pacing and the encouragement of others, many participants experience a “spark” of renewed enthusiasm for their writing. On a personal level, I know that I feel gratified for the progress I made during the workshops, but also for the momentum that I have subsequently experienced after returning home.  I’ve also noticed that my writing has moved in a new direction, something completely unexpected. Another benefit of the retreat is that participants are given the freedom to choose to attend as many or as few sessions as they desire….so in a way you get to “customize” your own writing experience.  Like most others, I took some time to tour and enjoy the sites of the island.  I have also become very interested in learning about the historical and cultural aspects of Kauaʻi, and to some extent incorporating that into my writing. I also found that the retreat was a great way to make connections with other writers, and more importantly to me, new friendships.  Most participants choose to be involved in random “get togethers” like luncheons and pot lucks. A lot of valuable discussions seemed to occur informally while enjoying a meal or a beverage.
~Tom Mitchell (2019)

“If you are feeling stressed, burnt out, uninspired (insert affliction here), Kahini in Kauaʻi is the antidote. Think flowering trees, ocean views, and golden sunsets in a thoughtful & creative community. Highly recommended.”
~Lisa Pau (2019)

“Pretty damn amazing time. Early swim in the ocean followed by a great morning write with a bunch of talented writers. Then off to play in the afternoon with my wife (more walking, more swimming with the fishes, a lot of sightseeing). Sunset watching sea turtles haul themselves onto the sand. Followed by dinner and drinks with my new writer friends and their spouses. Then back to our apartment. Wake and repeat. Ho-hum. Can’t wait to return.”
~Ron Pellegrino (2019)

“I love Kauaʻi. It’s magical and inspiring, and I’ve written some of my best flash fiction there. And I’m awed when other attendees (quite suddenly) advance to higher levels by producing material mere edits away from being ready for publication.”
~Alison Reese (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)

“The Kauaʻi writer’s retreat brought a revitalizing breath to my writing practice. I came away with new work, feeling affirmed and ready to return to the hustle and bustle of regular life. And clearly, you could do worse than to spend a week enjoying the natural beauty of the Garden Island.”
~Megan Robinson (2019)

“I really can’t thank you enough for this. Also, I spent many years in the event planning business and y’all have got this down. Very impressive. Thank you.”
~Arica Wallens (2019)

“The Kahini workshop I attended in Kauaʻi was one of the best I’ve been in. Excellent teaching, writing exercises that led to poems, beautiful place, and, most important, a group of dedicated writers who formed a community for a little while.”
~Richard Widerkehr (2019)
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