Triple Power Poetry: Three Workshops, Three Teachers, One Amazing Week

Rockvale Writers’ Colony presents our July Full-Week Poetry Residency Experience, Triple Power Poetry: Three Workshops, Three Teachers, One Amazing Week

Join us from July 7-13, 2019 for a power-packed week of poetry! We’ve invited three powerful teacher/poets to teach one workshop each during the week. With engaging topics and inspiring discussions, writers can take what they learned in workshop to generate new poems. Three different teachers means three different approaches to teaching and three different views of poetry. This is a unique opportunity!

This special retreat packs two valuable writing experiences into one week. First, writers will enjoy a full residency with independent writing time and the freedom to choose how they spend the majority of their day. Writers provide and prepare their own food (with the exception of the Welcome Dinner and Lunches on M, W, and F). We provide plenty of pantry space and a large kitchen is available for use around the clock. Second, writers will attend a 2-hour writing workshop on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 to Noon. In addition, writers will enjoy detailed feedback on 3 poems within a 30 minute consultation. The time of structured learning balances the free time so that every writer receives both community and solitude, time to be engaged and time to be at the page.

We hope you’ll join us for this unique and power-packed retreat at Rockvale. We’re eager to welcome you and help you discover how to make your poems as powerful as they can be.

The Instructors:

Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum is an author, editor, educator, and meanderer. A native Nashvillian and nomad, Andrew has lived in twenty-three states and spent all of 2017 and 2018 living on the road. Andrew’s nation-wide book tour, freelance editing and ghostwriting business, and literary projects (, Apocalypse Now, the Floodgate Poetry Series, and his blog, TheMeanderingPoet) have cemented his a reputation as a literary entrepreneur. He works with authors of all types to craft top-notch literary novels, how-tos, memoirs, and potboilers published traditionally as well as self-published. He is Acquisitions Editor for Upper Rubber Boot Books, a podcaster, and occasional professor of English letters. His first book of poems, Ghost Gear, was published in 2014 with the University of Arkansas Press. His second book has been a finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Jake Adam York Poetry Prize, the Georgia Poetry Prize, the Miller Williams Prize, the Agha Shahid Ali Prize, the Akron Poetry Prize, and the Hudson Prize. His poems, reviews, interviews, articles, and podcast have been published in The Writer’s Chronicle, Poets & Writers, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Glimmer Train, American Literary Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Missouri Review, Blackbird,, storySouth, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among others. Andrew holds a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.

Amie Whittemore is the author of the poetry collection Glass Harvest (Autumn House Press). Her poems have won multiple awards, including a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and her poems and prose have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Nashville Review, Smartish Pace, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She is the Reviews Editor for Southern Indiana Review and teaches English at Middle Tennessee State University.

Gary McDowell is the author of a collection of lyric essays, Caesura: Essays (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, 2017) and five collections of poetry, including, most recently, Mysteries in a World that Thinks There Are None (Burnside Review Press, 2016) and Weeping at a Stranger’s Funeral (Dream Horse Press, 2014). He’s also the co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (Rose Metal Press, 2010). His poems and essays have appeared in journals such as American Poetry Review, The Southern Review, The Nation, and Gulf Coast. He lives in Murfreesboro, TN with his family where he’s an associate professor of English at Belmont University.

The Schedule (tentative):

Sunday, July 7, 2019

  • 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Check in and settle in. You’ll be given a short tour and we’ll show you to your assigned room.
  • 6:00 p.m. – Welcome Dinner, Introductions, Overview of Retreat

Monday, July 8, 2019

  • 10:00 a.m. to Noon – Writing Workshop – Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum
    • The Songbird Meets the Storyteller: Channeling the Lyrical Narrative Within
      • In this workshop, we will examine lyric and narrative poems and how we can use both to write poems that sing AND tell the stories that construct our lives.
  • 12:15 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:15 p.m. – Feedback on Poems (We will notify writers as to which day their 30 minute consultation will be.)

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

  • 10:00 a.m. to Noon – Writing Workshop – Amie Whittemore
    • Harnessing Description: a Generative & Revision Workshop
    • In The Art of Description, Mark Doty explores the role of description in poetry and its ability to help us to engage with reality and convey that engagement on the page. In this workshop, we’ll begin by reading excerpts and example poems from Doty’s book and trying out some writing exercises to flex our descriptive muscles. In the second half of the session, poets will share and discuss their own poems to explore how they might improve description in current drafts.
  • 12:15 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:15 p.m. – Feedback on Poems (We will notify writers as to which day their 30 minute consultation will be.)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

  • 7:00 p.m. – Sharing Time: Optional Reading for anyone who wishes to share their work. Whether you choose to read or not, we ask that you attend in order to support the other writers.

Friday, July 12, 2019

  • 10:00 a.m. to Noon – Writing Workshop – Gary McDowell
    • All Truth Must Conform to Music: On Making Your Poems Sound Like You
    • Richard Hugo tells us, in his essay “Writing off the Subject,” that “all truth must conform to music.” In other words, how we shape our experiences to the music of our language creates poetry. We owe reality nothing and the truth about our feelings everything, and yet still we find it hard to move beyond mere experience and memory to create image-driven, sonically pleasing poems. In this workshop, we will concentrate on finding our music—how do our experiences and our cultures and our obsessions shape our language, and more specifically, how then can we take possession of that language to create a unique and musical poetic lexicon.
  • 12:15 p.m. – Lunch
  • 1:15 p.m. – Feedback on Poems (We will notify writers as to which day their 30 minute consultation will be.)

Saturday, July 13, 2019

  • Noon: Checkout and Goodbye

Cost Breakdown:

$750.00 – Includes a private bedroom/bathroom for 6 nights, 1 Welcome Dinner (wine included), 3 Lunches, 3 Writing workshops, Detailed Feedback on 3 poems

$103.13 Applicable Taxes (Sales and Occupancy)

$853.13 Total


Click HERE to Register

Deadline for registration is June 26, 2019. Only complete the registration if you are sure you are able to attend. We will accept and notify everyone on a first-come, first-served basis. If the event is full, we will notify you and add your name to the Waiting List.

Full payment of $853.13 is due by June 24, 2019. If you would like to pay in installments, please let us know. We will be happy to arrange this with you!

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations made after June 24, 2019 will be refunded all payments minus 25%.