The Maui Writers’ Retreat

Since 2017
Upcoming: April 24-30, 2022
Faculty: Erin Belieu (four spaces available out of ten); Pam Houston (three spaces available out of ten)
Registration: available below, or please contact writing@kahini.org
Host: Jordan Hartt
Location: Lahaina, Maui
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The Retreat

Lahaina is one of the most beautiful, historic, and inspiring towns in the world

The Maui Writers’ Retreat brings nationally ranked writers together with ardent participants in a week of writing and community.

With a focus on writing craft, writing community, and the inspiration of the writing life, the Maui Writers’ Retreat offers writing instruction, afternoons to enjoy all that the Valley Isle has to offer, and a thriving evening readings series, as well as our Open-Mike & Mai Tais series for participants.

Sunset on Front Street

Workshops, gatherings, and the opening banquet happen at and around Lahaina’s famous Pioneer Inn.

The retreat is limited to ten writers in each workshop.

Both tuition-only and tuition-and-housing options are available. If you book housing through us, we stay at the Aina Nalu Villas in Lahaina, and get a slight discount because of the number of villas we book.
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Schedule

Since 2017

Sunday, April 24
Arrivals and getting settled.

Monday, April 25
9 am-noon: morning workshop

Tuesday, April 26
9 am-noon: morning workshop
7 pm-8 pm: faculty reading
8 pm-9 pm: participant open-mike

Wednesday April 27
Writing day/island day

Lahaina’s famous Pioneer Inn

Thursday, April 28
9 am-noon: morning workshop
7 pm-8 pm: faculty reading
8 pm-9 pm: participant open-mike

Friday, April 29
9 am-noon: morning workshop
7 pm-8 pm: faculty reading
8 pm-9 pm: celebratory farewell gathering

Saturday, April 30
Departure for those staying at Aina Nalu
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Faculty: Poetry

Born in Nebraska, Erin Belieu earned an MA from Boston University and an MFA from Ohio State University. Belieu’s work focuses on gender, love, and history, filtering wide-ranging subject matter through a variety of theoretical frameworks. She often addresses feminist issues in her artistic work, and is known for infusing traditional formal conventions with colloquial speech patterns ranging across decades and geographies.

Belieu is the author of five books of poetry: “Come-Hither Honeycomb” (forthcoming in 2021), “Slant Six” (2014), “Black Box” (2006), “One Above & One Below” (2000), and Infanta (1995). Belieu also co-edited the anthology The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women (2001).

With poet Cate Marvin, Belieu cofounded VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts, an organization that seeks to “explore critical and cultural perceptions of writing by women” in contemporary culture. She has taught at Washington University, Boston University, Kenyon College, Ohio University, and Florida State University. She currently teaches in the University of Houston’s MFA/PhD Creative Writing Program, as well as for the Lesley University low-residency MFA in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

CLASS DESCRIPTION, “Vision and Revision”

As most of the heavy lifting when making a poem happens in the revision process, we’ll spend our time in this workshop discussing strategies and techniques for taking drafts to the next level. Why do some poems refuse to stand up straight? How do I construct a narrative to support the story my poem tells? Is my poem telling the best part of the story? How and why does a lyric work? What are other formal choices that might suit the voice and imagery with which I’m working? There are constructive strategies one can learn to help answer these questions, ones that will keep you writing well beyond our workshop. My goal is to give you new tools for your tool box that will help you solve these conundrums when you’re working on your own. This process may involve generating new poems during our time together at the conference as well as poems you’ll be asked to bring with you to class.
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Faculty: Fiction

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir “Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country”; two novels, “Contents May Have Shifted” and “Sight Hound”; two collections of short stories, “Cowboys Are My Weakness” and “Waltzing the Cat”; and a collection of essays, “A Little More About Me,” all published by W.W. Norton.

Her stories have been selected for volumes of The O. Henry Awards, The Pushcart Prize, Best American Travel Writing, and Best American Short Stories of the Century, among other anthologies. She is the winner of the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Award for contemporary fiction, the Evil Companions Literary Award and several teaching awards.

She teaches in the Low Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is Professor of English at UC Davis, and co-founder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers. She lives at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

It was great when it happened, gorgeous when it lived in your imagination, transcendent as you hit the “on” button of your computer and got to work. Now that it is on the page it is seeming both flat and unapproachable. In this workshop we will look at drafts of stories and novel chapters that aren’t quite making it, and see if we can figure out how to make them not just good but great. We’ll address structure (making sure that form is following function or vice versa), narrative tension, voice, point of view, dialogue, and beginnings and endings. We will talk about how to find the real pain spot of a story and we will force ourselves to slow down where it hurts. We will make sure that our glimmers, those hunks of the physical world that sent us into the story in the first place, have been remade in all of their complexity in language. We will talk about the difficult moments when writing feels like juggling an apple, a chainsaw, and a toaster, and celebrate the rare but intoxicating moments when the place we were most afraid to go did not kill us after all. We will do some brief, nightly exercises, and I would like you to read Mary Gaitskill’s “Don’t Cry” and Tim Winton’s “The Turning,” before you come to the retreat.
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Register

Registrations are fully refundable through February 23, 2022, less a $50 processing fee, and nonrefundable after that date.


The Maui Writers’ Retreat