Retreats

2021 Retreat
2021 Retreat
2020 Retreat
2020 Retreat
2019 Retreat
2019 Retreat
2018 Retreat
2018 Retreat
2017 Winter Retreat
2017 Winter Retreat
2021 Retreat
2021 Retreat
2020 Retreat
2020 Retreat
2019 Retreat
2019 Retreat
2018 Retreat
2018 Retreat
2017 Winter Retreat
2017 Winter Retreat
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Building a home for poets of color in the South

The Watering Hole hosts the only Southern writing retreat for poets of color and draws 50 to 60 poets to the retreat each year.

About the Winter Retreat

Interested in learning more about the retreat’s history, previous facilitators, graduate fellows, and current fellows?

Basic Details

Submission Period: May 15 – July 1

Applicants Notified: in August

Retreat Dates: Dec. 26 – 30 every year

Branches: Workshop Fellowship or Manuscript Coaching Fellowship

Focus: Reading great poets, generating new work, and building tribe with each other

Location: Hickory Knob State Park in 1591 Resort Dr. / McCormick, S.C. 29835 / (864) 391-2450

Attendance: Fellows must be arrive no later than the afternoon of Dec. 26th and remain in attendance until Dec. 30th.

Accepted applicants may attend up to 3 retreats over the course of 5 years. Upon attending the 1st retreat, applicants become TWH Fellows. TWH Fellows reapply as normal for future years and receive priority during selection. Upon completing the 3rd retreat, Fellows become Graduate Fellows.

Public Events:

Dec. 27th, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Faculty Reading (Hickory Knob Convention Center)

Dec. 29th, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Keynote and Graduate Reading (Hickory Knob Convention Center)

Dec. 29th, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Fish Fry

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General Events

All fellows may attend a Performance Workshop, 3 Craft Talks, the Faculty reading, the Graduation Ceremony, the Fish Fry, other unofficial gatherings and classes led by other fellows.

Writing Workshop Fellowship

Workshop Fellows gather in small groups of 10 to 14 and take 3 hours of workshop on Dec. 27th, 28th, and 29th. They rotate among three facilitators. The purpose of the workshops is to learn craft and generate new work. These workshops include lectures, analysis, discussions, writing prompts, reading assignments, etc. These fellows have the opportunity to read the new work they generated at the retreat during the fish fry on the 29th.

Manuscript Coaching Fellowship

The purpose of this fellowship is to give up to six unpublished poets guidance with their manuscript in progress. In the fall, thee cohort members read and critique the manuscripts of their peers, using guidelines provided by the Ms. Coach. At the retreat, the they meet in their small groups, discuss manuscript building strategies, discuss individual manuscripts, receive feedback from their peers and coach, and work on the structure of their manuscript. They have the opportunity to read during the fish fry on the 29th.

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Manuscript Coach

Tara Betts

Tara Betts lives in Chicago and is the author of the manuscript “Refuse to Disappear,” as well as Break the Habit (Trio House Press, 2016) and Arc & Hue(Willow Books, 2009). She is a graduate of the New England College MFA Program. She represented Chicago twice at the National Poetry Slam, coached youth who went on to Brave New Voices, and appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Her writing has also been dramatized for the stage.


Performance Facilitator

Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson

Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson is a poet, singer, and hip hop artist. A San Antonio native, she is the author of the collection She Lives In Music (Flower Song Press, 2020). She has traveled internationally to perform and teach and currently serves as a Teaching Artist for Gemini Ink since 2009. Sanderson is the Poet Laureate of San Antonio, Texas and in 2021 received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship.


Writing Facilitators

Joshua Bennet

Dr. Joshua Bennett is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is the author of three books of poetry and literary criticism: The Sobbing School—which was a National Poetry Series selection and a finalist for an NAACP Image Award—Being Property Once Myself, and Owed. His first work of narrative nonfiction, Spoken Word: A Cultural History, is forthcoming from Knopf.


Paul Tran

Paul Tran is a Visiting Faculty in Poetry at Pacific University MFA in Writing, a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, a recipient of the Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and current Poetry Editor at The Offing Magazine, which won a Whiting Literary Magazine Prize from the Whiting Foundation. Their work appears in The New Yorker, The Nation, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere.

 

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Previous Years

2021 Winter Retreat–Tara Betts (Manuscript Coach), Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson (Performance), Joshua Bennett, Paul Tran (Writing Facilitators)
2020 Winter Retreat–Tyehimba Jess (Manuscript Coach), Ebony Stewart (Performance), John Murillo, Justin Phillip Reed, Denice Frohman (Writing Facilitators)
2019 Winter Retreat –Jericho Brown (Manuscript Coach), Monet Marshall (Performance), Dustin Pearson, Franny Choi, Tim Seibles (Writing Facilitators)
2018 Winter Retreat–francine j harris, Chen Chen, Phillip B. Williams, Kimbi the Goddess (Performance), and Remica Bingham Risher (Manuscript Coach/Keynote)
2017 Winter Retreat—Terrance Hayes, Delana R.A. Dameron, Danez Smith, Abiodun Oyewole (Performance), and Patricia Smith (Keynote), with honored 5th anniversary guests Dr. Joanne Gabbin, Jericho Brown, Keisha-Gaye Anderson, Dasan Ahanu, and L. Lamar Wilson
2016 Winter Retreat — Evie Shockley, L. Lamar Wilson, Bettina Judd, Dasan Ahanu (Performance), and Sharan Strange (Keynote),
2015 Winter Retreat — Jericho Brown, Tara Betts, Randall Horton, Ebony Noelle Golden (Performance), and Marlanda Dekine (Arts Activism),
2014 Winter Retreat — Frank X. Walker, Roger Bonair-Agard, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, Darion McCloud (Performance), and Nikky Finney (Keynote)
2013 Winter Retreat — Tyehimba Jess, Lita Hooper, and Remica L. Bingham Risher

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Your Fellowship

Have questions about your fellowship at the retreat, housing, facilities, fees, session calendar, payments, or what to expect when you arrive?

  • Traditional $499–Fellows with the Traditional Package are housed in a cabin with either retreat fellows or manuscript coaching fellows and may host one workshop for the retreat. Cabins consist of one bedroom with two double beds, one living room with a couch or futon, and one kitchen stocked with basic utensils. Fellows with a Traditional Package are housed 3 or 4 people to a cabin, which means that these fellows must be willing to share beds or sleep on the couch. Roommate preference forms are linked on the confirmation page immediately after payment. While we do our best to accommodate them, roommate preferences are not guaranteed. (Cabins are based upon availability and are therefore not guaranteed.)
  • Double $699–Fellows with the Double Package are housed in a lodge room with either a retreat fellow or a manuscript coaching fellow. Lodge rooms are similar to hotel rooms. They consist of one living space with two double beds. Fellows with a Double Package are housed 2 people to a lodge room. Roommate preference forms are linked on the confirmation page immediately after payment. While we do our best to accommodate them, roommate preferences are not guaranteed.
  • Single $899–Fellows with the Single Package are housed in a private lodge room. Lodge rooms are similar to hotel rooms. They consist of one living space with two double beds. Fellows with a Single Package are housed 1 person to a lodge room. The registration form is linked on the confirmation page immediately after payment.

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Getting Here

Check-In: Dec. 26th, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. First Event: Dec. 26th at 5:00 p.m. Check-Out: Dec. 30th by 10:00 a.m.

Nearest Airport: Augusta Regional Airport (about 75 minutes away)

Shuttles

* The last one will leave the airport around 3:00 p.m. on Dec. 26th. We will request early check-in for shuttle people. * The first one will arrive at the airport around 8:00 a.m. on Dec. 30th. * If these shuttle times don’t work for you, reach out to the Tribe in the Facebook Group (for a ride share) or e-mail us for other options.

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It will really help Candace and Monifa if any of you are able to take some of these tasks off of our plate. This is a new program, so we’re working the kinks out of it. We’ll need about 6 people to share this work. Each person would work between 9 and 13 hours over this period.

After acceptance, you’ll receive a registration link. You’ll be able to apply for the Work Exchange Program in that registration form. PLEASE, READ THE BELOW INFO. BEFORE APPLYING FOR A POSITION.

RETREAT DISCOUNT

We give each Work Exchange person a $150 discount as a sincere thank you. The discount comes as a reimbursement check after all duties are complete by January 30th.

THE WORK

We’ll need you on hand on the morning of December 26th to the afternoon of December 30th. The first and last days are clutch, meaning longer hours. The other days might amount to 2 hours of work per day broken up at different times of the day.

Dec. 26

  • DRIVERS–At least two people will drive fellows in shuttles, drive facilitators in, help me and Mo unpack the van (about 4-6 hours of work). On duty at 8:00 a.m.
  • RUNNERS–At least two people will pack and deliver gift boxes, run last minute errands to the grocery store, set up the conference room, carry boxes (up to 25 lbs), basically set up for the retreat (about 3-4 hours of work). On duty at 11:00 a.m.
  • FOOD PREP–At least two people will help the facilitator’s chef unpack and organize his equipment and goods. They’ll wash and chop veggies, design serving containers, deliver food, and clean the kitchen (about 2-3 hours of work). On duty at 1:00 p.m.

Dec. 27-29

  • DRIVERS–At least one person will need to take fellows to the grocery store on the 27th (about 1 hour total).
  • RUNNERS–At least one person will set up the conference room, deliver folding chairs to cabins, and be available for errands (about 1-2 hours of work each day).
  • FOOD PREP–At least one person will assist the chef at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They’ll wash and chop veggies, design serving containers, deliver food, and clean the kitchen (about 2-4 hours of work depending on the day).

Dec. 30

  • DRIVERS–At least two people will drive fellows and facilitators in shuttles and help Candace and Monifa pack the shuttle van (about 4-6 hours of work). Off duty by 3:00 p.m.
  • RUNNERS–At least two people will double check each room and cabin, pack up the host cabin, help Candace and Monifa pack the van (about 3-4 hours of work). Off duty by 3:00 p.m.
  • FOOD PREP–At least two people will help the chef pack his equipment and goods (about 1-2 hours of work). Off duty by noon.

ELIGIBILITY

DRIVERS

  • A valid driver‘s license
  • A clean driving history
  • Willingness to shuttle fellows in the TWH rental van
  • Active vehicle insurance (including standard liability)

RUNNER

  • Your own vehicle (for off campus errands that you run)
  • A valid driver‘s license
  • A clean driving history
  • Active vehicle insurance (including standard liability)
  • Ability to carry 25 lbs. 40 ft.

FOOD PREP. ELIGIBILITY

  • Cleanliness and safety awareness
  • Ability to carry 25 lbs. 40 ft.

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