Write in Maui

A week of writing and inspiration on the Valley Isle. One space remaining.

maui base photoDates: April 30-May 6, 2017
Location: Lahaina, Maui
Facilitator: Jordan Hartt
Tuition and housing for six nights in a private room in the Pink Villa: $950
Tuition only (provide own housing): $300 
Registration: Available at bottom of page.

Workshop Description
“Still waters run deep,” “No man is an island,” “She’s adrift”: the language of ocean, rivers,Lahaina2 rain fills our literatures. From the hula to Homer to Hart Hemmings, from Melville to Mansfield to Morrison, from Woolf to Walcott to Williams, literary uses of water–and water’s relationship to land–have shaped the characters, narratives, and language styles of some of our best-known stories.

Water as healing, water as separation. Water as drowning, water as birth or re-birth. Water as a flood, water as a drop in your palm.

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it.” ~Margaret Atwood

kauai-snorkeling-green-sea-turtleOpen to poets and prose writers, we’ll begin the retreat by discussing how the external settings of water, and water’s relationship to land, can both reveal and change the internal thought and emotion of our narrators and characters as they move through their world.

We’ll also discuss how water/land metaphors are used individually and culturally–and how we as writers can artistically engage in conversation with these metaphors to deepen our work.

We’ll also each share true stories from our own lives involving rain, the ocean, a lake, a river–or maybe involving a waterfall or chlorinated pool. We’ll draw inspiration from these discussions, as well as from the existing works of literature that we read and the writing that we’re doing.

“The only land I own is that between my toes.” ~Hone Tuwhare

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. This Kahini technique has resulted in many, many published stories, essays, and poems generated in our many workshops.

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),/It’s always our self we find in the sea.” ~e.e. lahaina mapcummings

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 to last a lifetime.


Sunday, April 30: 6-7 pm: Arrivals, welcoming, and introductions. 7-9 pm: first session: we’ll do some simple freewriting based on prompts, and look at the styles and techniques of Kim Chinquee’s short-short story “The Waves Were Low” and Dana Levin’s poem “Watching the Sea Go.”
Monday, May 1: 10 am-1 pm. We’ll discuss the styles and techniques of Katherine Mansfield’s short story “The Voyage,” Carl Phillips’s poem “Swimming,” and Ernest Hemingway’s novella “The Old Man and the Sea.” Each person will also share a personal story involving an experience with water.
Tuesday, May 2: 10 am-1 pm. We’ll discuss the styles and techniques of Miranda July’s short story “Swim Team” and Erin Belieu’s poem “Last Trip to the Island.” Each person will also share another personal story involving an experience with water.
Wednesday, May 3: Writing day.
Thursday, May 4: 10 am-1 pm: workshop session; 6-9 pm: workshop session.
Friday, May 5: 10 am-1 pm: workshop session.
Saturday, May 6: Shared brunch and conversation in downtown Lahaina for those interested. Check-out by 11 am for all participants staying in the villa.

Register your space by contacting writing@kahini.org.

Jordan Hartt is a reader, writer, writing teacher, and community & events organizer. He facilitates seven annual writing retreats, including the Kaua’i Writers’ Retreat, the Jamaica Writers’ Retreat, the Desert Writers’ Retreat, the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, the YAWP series, and others, serving just over two thousand writers per year. Hartt’s own writing has appeared in many literary magazines and journals: a collection of rainy, watery narrative poems, “Leap,” appeared in 2015.

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

The workshop takes place at the Pink Villa, a private house in Lahaina. Whether you’re coming from on- or off-island you’re welcome to stay in whatever housing works best for you. There are many options within walking distance of the workshop villa, including the famous Pioneer Inn. If you stay onsite with us at the Villa, kitchens are included for you, you simply arrange your own dining.

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.


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