Writing for Health and Healing Online Retreat: Oct. 3-4

Low-Residency MFA Creative Writing — Narrative/Poetic Medicine

Please join us for a free virtual writing retreat to restore your energy and well-being. We extend a special welcome to healthcare providers during this critical moment in our lives. Registered nurses can apply to get five continuing education units (CEUs) for attending the retreat.

Our retreat opens on Saturday with a reading and craft talk by distinguished poet and neurologist Dawn McGuire and continues the next day with generative writing workshops led by Dominican faculty and special guests. Sunday afternoon we offer a panel discussion on audio storytelling from the creators of The Nocturnists. The focus of the retreat is to explore the ways that writing can help us face today’s challenges and rejuvenate the spirit. Registration required.

This writing retreat is a service to the public and there is no charge for participating. Dominican University of California is a nonprofit institution. We invite you to learn more about our Low Residency Creative Writing MFA Program or sign up for a virtual Information Session.


Please note time is Pacific Standard Time (PST).

3-3:45 p.m Welcome Meeting
4-6 p.m.  Writing (Yourself) Well: Craft and the Neuroscience of Narrative
Keynote: Dawn McGuire

Dawn McGuire, neurologist and author of The Aphasia Cafe (Indie Book Award, 2012) and American Dream with Exit Wound (Northern California Book Award finalist, 2018), will explore how we “write ourselves well” with works that hold fragments in place or build a narrative center from which we can move forward. The neurobiology of compelling narratives will be touched on. The talk will include examples of poems by Ellen Bass, Natalie Diaz, Christian Wiman and others, either dealing with illness themselves or with seriously-ill loved ones.

Please note time is Pacific Standard Time (PST).

10-11:30 a.m. Writing Workshop
You will have the option of requesting a workshop preference in the registration process.

Workshop 1: Poetic Medicine with visiting faculty member David Watts

Workshop 2: Act Up: Enter the Tradition of Narrative Writing in Pandemic Times with Dominican Faculty member Thomas Burke

Workshop 3: Diagnosis and the Divine Detail in Poetry with Dominican faculty member Joan Baranow

Workshop 4: Ancestral Healing to the Future: On Genograms, Genealogy, and Poetics with special guests Norma Thomas & Raina J. Leon

Workshop 5: Dreaming Up Stories / Revising the Narrative with Dominican Faculty Marianne Rogoff

Workshop 6: Collective Healing through Writing with Dominican Faculty Perry Guevara

3:15-3:45 p.m. MFA Info Session
Attend the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing Information Session to learn how this advanced degree can help you achieve your writing goals. Sign up here
4-6 p.m. Panel Discussion
Audio Storytelling with the Nocturnists

University of California San Francisco physicians, Ashley McMullen and Emily Silverman, and producer Adelaide Papazoglou will share their work on The Nocturnists, a storytelling platform. Their work includes two new audio documentaries, “Black Voices in Healthcare” and “Stories from a Pandemic.” In this panel, they discuss the power of storytelling to heal, connect, and cultivate empathy across differences.

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