Writing for Health and Healing Online Retreat: June 6-7

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. Our retreat opens on Saturday with a reading by distinguished poet Alicia Ostriker and continues the next day with a generative writing workshop led by author/professor Marianne Rogoff, followed by a panel discussion with novelist Joan Frank, poet Camille Dungy, and physician/writer David Watts. 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 welcome donations to our Low Residency Creative Writing MFA Program.


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Writing Retreat Welcome

Time: 3:30-4 p.m. (PST)
Format: Retreat community introductions

Toward a Visionary Poetics: A Female Gaze 

Time: 4:30-6 p.m. (PST)
Format: Reading and Craft Talk
Facilitator: Alicia Ostriker, celebrated poet and scholar

For the last half-century, under the radar of mainstream media and the academy, American poets have been re-imagining what we mean by spirituality, often outside of existing beliefs, churches and synagogues. The recovery of long-lost "goddess" images, the re-naming of sexuality as sacred, and the reinterpretation of scripture, are paths now taken by many poets. We will look at poems by Judy Grahn, Lucille Clifton, Mohja Kahf, as well as Ostriker’s own poems, as examples, seeing how the poets use language and form to create a range of new meanings.

Facing Fears

Format: Generative Writing Studio
Time: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (PST)
Facilitator: Marianne Rogoff, author of Silvie’s Life and Love Is Blind in One Eye

Narrative medicine proposes that writing down what we are afraid of can help to release its hold on our psyche. In Marianne Rogoff’s short story Firewalking, the character confronts her fears head-on. Rogoff will read from the story in parts, pausing to offer short prompts for your own writing, then invite you to compare your experiences with others. 

Writing the Body

Time: 4-6 p.m. (PST)
Format: Panel Discussion
Facilitator: Novelist Joan Frank, poet Camille Dungy, and physician David Watts 

Offering perspectives from creative-non fiction, fiction, and poetry, these authors discuss writing the body as our physical experience in the world in terms of health, healing and identity. They will share insights on how writing can be vibrant and transformative.

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