April 12-14, 2024 – Poetry and the Divine Yes!: Engaging Holy Imagination through Poetry as Prayer

This retreat is designed to engage us with the Holy through poetry as prayer – the reading, writing, and embodying of it. One of my favorite poems is by Kaylin Haught, entitled, God Says Yes to Me. It ends with these words: “Sweetcakes God said/who knows where she picked that up/what I’m telling you is/Yes Yes Yes” What I love about this is not only how she imagines God to be, but how she imagines God interacts with her with a Divine Yes! In this workshop, we’ll dig into the ways in which God or the Divine (or whatever embodiment of the Holy speaks to you) invites us with a Yes! to speak our minds, bear our hearts, and dig deep into love through our poems. I hope you’ll join me on this adventure!


  • Place: Rockvale Writers’ Colony, 6994 Giles Hill Road, College Grove, TN
  • Time and Date: 4:00 p.m. Friday, April 12 to 11:00 a.m. Sunday, April 14, 2024
  • Cost: $425.00 plus tax. A $150.00 non-refundable deposit is due upon registration. The balance is due by March 22, 2024.
  • Includes: 2 nights in a private bedroom/bathroom suite, access to RWC common areas, gardens, and hiking trails, 5 meals with wine at dinner, 4 workshops, and community with other writers.

The Schedule (tentative)

Friday, April 12, 2024

4:00 to 6:00 p.m. – Check-in and settle in. We’ll show you to your assigned room.
6:00 p.m. – Dinner
7:00 p.m. – Welcome and Overview of Retreat
7:15 p.m. – Writing Workshop: Poetry as Wonder
In this session we’ll think about the universe as the weird and wild place that it is. Everywhere we look, we encounter little miracles of one kind or another. Poetry helps us attempt to name the un-nameable and embrace the mystery without needing a tidy answer.
9:00 p.m. – Free Time / Bedtime

Saturday, April 13, 2024

6:30 a.m. – Coffee Ready!
7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast is available. Come anytime you’re ready.
8:30 a.m. – Writing Workshop: Poetry as Lament
In this session we’ll sit quietly with some of those feelings that may not be so joyful. In fact, they may hold sorrow, pain, or regret. Through our writing, we’ll work on naming some of those laments, whether past or present, and hopefully find new ways of release by letting them have their voice.
9:45 a.m. – Free Time for Writing
12:00 p.m. – Lunch
1:00 p.m. – Guided Meditation (optional)
For those who would like to participate, I will offer a guided meditation for relaxation and inspiration. This will be a quiet and reflective time just for you to be in conversation with the Divine and welcome that conversation.
2:00 p.m. – Free Time for Writing
6:00 p.m. – Dinner
7:00 p.m. – Writing Workshop: Poetry as Shaking our Tiny Fist at the Universe
This session will focus on the ways in which we all, at one time or another, want to rail again the Divine out of anger, frustration, confusion, injustice, or any number of things that evoke passionate feelings in us. Our poetry can be a means of figuring what’s behind our strong emotions and perhaps uncover new information about ourselves or our relationship with the Divine that we weren’t aware of until that moment.
8:30 p.m. – Reading / Share Your Writing – Sharing is optional; however, we ask that you attend whether you read or not, in order to support other writers.
10:00 p.m. – Free Time / Bedtime

Sunday, April 14, 2024

6:30 a.m. – Coffee Ready!
7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Breakfast is available. Come anytime you’re ready.
8:30 a.m. – Writing Workshop: Poetry as Love and Invitation
Our final session will focus on the language of holy love. Often, the mystics spoke of the Divine in terms of human love, with all the fire and passion one might speak of a lover, yet this is a wholly other kind of love that burns in our innermost self. We’ll think about poetry as a means to draw nearer to the Divine and invite or deepen that holy relationship.
9:45 a.m. – Free Time for Writing
11:00 a.m. – Checkout and Goodbye

Facilitator: Nadine Ellsworth-Moran

Nadine Ellsworth-Moran lives in Georgia where she works in full-time ministry while pursuing her love of writing, poetry being her main genre. She is fascinated by the stories unfolding all around her and seeks to bring everyone into conversation around a common table. Her poems have appeared in Valiant Scribe, McNeese Review, Rust + Moth, Thimble, Sonic Boom, Emrys, Kakalak, and The Wild Word, among others. She hopes to continue listening closely and writing about the shared experience of life in these times, with particular interest in the joys and struggles of coming to understand the history, identity, faith, and culture of the modern South. She lives with her husband and four unrepentant cats.

Please note the following due dates and refund policy:

  • Fee: $425.00 PLUS TAX
  • $150.00 non-refundable deposit due upon registering.
  • Balance due three weeks before retreat start date (March 22, 2024)
  • If cancellation by retreater occurs more than 2 weeks before retreat (on or before March 29, 2024) – refund will be 50% of the balance.
  • If cancellation by retreater occurs less than 2 weeks before retreat (after March 29, 2024) – no refund
  • If RWC cancels the retreat for any reason, full refunds will be provided to all retreaters.