WRITE THE CATSKILLS
Me time and we time, contemplation and generation, work and play.
Whether you a poet who has always secretly wanted to write a song, or a songwriter who has always secretly wanted to write poems, you’ll have the opportunity to put together a retreat that feels custom-tailored for you, with wellness and self-care options available to add-on to your itinerary, too.
Stretch the end of summer with a four-day, three-night writing retreat in New York’s Catskill Mountains, at The Ashokan Center, a 230-acre eco-friendly nonprofit modeling sustainability practices while they teach, inspire and build community through shared experiences in nature, history, music and art.
Soak up some space, sunlight and starshine in a bucolic setting and reconnect with yourself, nature, your passions, and with your tribe, a consortium of creative, generous-minded people connected through a love of the written and oral arts.
This retreat isn’t headlined by any one particular writer. Rather, everyone is invited to offer their unique gifts and talents.
Want to lead a workshop? You can do that. Care to share your best writing prompts? That’d be great. Are you a performance artist who is looking to play on a world class stage, replete with professional gear? Guess what? As long as you let the rest of us enjoy the show, the stage is all yours.
Whatever phase, shape, and stage your writing life is currently in, give yourself the gift of time to recharge and replenish your creative life and energy.
Stretch out. Stretch your comfort zone and try a new genre. Stretch your body to daily exercise. Feel the juices flowing. Feel good again.
Schedule of Events
Back to our Roots
The Poetry Barn was founded on the idea that we all benefit from sharing our time and resources generously, and reap the greater-good benefits of cooperation and collaboration. From our beginnings as The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperatively, we have been offering free and low-cost workshops, readings and events for twelve years, so we know a thing or two about this!
The retreat will not "led" or "taught" by a curated few influencers/individuals. Anyone who is part of the retreat is invited to offer a workshop, panel, performance or activity. Want to lead a nature hike and write? You can do that. Care to offer your generative writing prompts or your editorial eye for an hour or two? That’d be great. Are you a performance artist who is looking to play on a world class stage, replete with professional gear? Guess what? As long as you let the rest of us enjoy the show, the stage is all yours.
And the great news is that all events are entirely optional and available by a donation of your choice.
This retreat is about sharing resources and inspiration. Whether you a poet who has always secretly wanted to write a song, or a songwriter who has always secretly wanted to write poems, you’ll be able to put together an itinerary that feels custom-tailored for you. Yoga and craft-making activities can be added-on to your itinerary, too. In addition to our creative lives and talents, most of us have ‘pay’ jobs and practical skills we can offer to others and get something back that we want or need in return. Good at line editing? Offer to mark-up a poem in exchange for someone’s finesse with an iPhone video of your reading a poem. Swap a photo shoot for a manuscript critique. Show someone how to set a letterpress tray in exchange for a knitting lesson. Learn how to play a ukelele after teaching someone how to scan a poem. Trade a hike for a hiaku lesson. Swap your swing dance moves for some hip-hop lessons. Teach someone a tune in exchange for lyrics.
There will also be Ashokan Center programs available, such as letterpress, blacksmithing, broom-making, archery, and tinsmithing. There is a horseback riding facility just minutes away, canoes, and a sauna, campfire, s’mores, a waterfall, a covered bridge, a basketball court and 230 acres of land to explore.
The Poetry Barn itself is just a five minute drive (or slightly longer bikeride) away, for you to discover its magic, and find that book that’s been waiting all these years for you, that poet who desparately wants to tell you a few things.
Submit a workshop, panel, demo, performance that
SHIBORI WORKSHOP: JAPANESE DYE TECHNIQUES
LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY BY JANE ELLEN MARK
MAKE YOUR OWN LIP BALM
DIY BUSINESS TIPS WITH UNION WINE CO.
Camp, commute or lodge in modern facilities that blend rustic charm with contemporary features. In addition to Esopus Lodge, which houses the performance hall, dining hall, and conference rooms, there are three buildings in which to stay. You may also camp or commute.
All beds are bunk-style, and have a comfortable, reversible mattress (soft/firm) and pillow. Some bunkbeds feature a queen bunk on the bottom and a twin bed on top.
Longhouse Lodge is a welcoming, spacious, and comfortable two-story bunkhouse that easily accommodates larger groups. With handcrafted log bunkbeds and a spacious, airy feel, Longhouse is the perfect mix of rustic and modern. It is divided into four wings, each with its own bathroom and a private bedroom with a queen bunk bed on the bottom and a twin bed on top.
Sycamore Lodge provides an intimate feel that is perfect for smaller groups. Its four bedrooms are linked by a large common area that features a mini-fridge and sink. Each bedroom has a queen bunkbed with a twin bed on top, a standard bunkbed, and a private bath. The upper level has a beautiful porch.
Red Maple features eight private rooms, each with two bunkbeds and a private bath. Both levels have a covered porch, and the second floor has a shared lounge area.
Please bring your own toiletries, towel, pillowcase and bedding/sleeping bag.
Ashokan Center Slideshow
We couldn’t be more honored to host some of the area’s most interesting and innovative organizations and individuals. Below are just some of the small businesses that will be at our 2019 retreat.
See the full list here.
Hyde specializes in simple, durable, unisex, and eco-friendly leather bags and wallets. Aliquam feugiat tortor nec scelerisque consequat. Integer at tempor ligula. Nam arcu lacus, eleifend vel sem ut, sollicitudin maximus ex. Phasellus nec mollis sapien. Curabitur sagittis erat eu pulvinar laoreet.
Writers in the Mountains
Handmade from recycled cloth, Marta’s womenswear is about comfort that conforms to people’s humanity. Aliquam feugiat tortor nec scelerisque consequat. Integer at tempor ligula. Nam arcu lacus, eleifend vel sem ut, sollicitudin maximus ex. Phasellus nec mollis sapien.
The designers at Thorne combine ergonomic stitching with classic materials like organic denim and leather. Aliquam feugiat tortor nec scelerisque consequat. Integer at tempor ligula.
Brine brings you one of the oldest forms of food preservation and adds a Californian twist. Aliquam feugiat tortor nec scelerisque consequat. Integer at tempor ligula. Nam arcu lacus, eleifend vel sem ut.
The Ashokan Center
Our accommodations are part hotel, part campground. Feel free to book a room, pitch a tent, park your trailer, or simply sleep under the stars. Slots will fill up fast, but we’ve secured rooms at other nearby motels so you’ll never be far from the action.
The oldest outdoor environmental education organization in New York State, and Ulster County Green Business Leader award-winner, the Ashokan Center’s bucolic 385-acre campus is comprised of fields, forests, trails and streams and powered by 100% Solar energy since last year.
The land also features a number of historically significant structures including Turnwood Covered Bridge (1885), the original Marbletown Schoolhouse (1817), and the Winchell Farmhouse (1780)
Environmental education continues to be at the forefront of Ashokan’s offerings, with nearly 5,000 students annually taking part in overnight and day programs focusing on natural science, living history, colonial crafts, music and the arts, team building, and life-changing experiences in the great outdoors.
Travel & Leisure, Lonely Planet and the TheWall Street Journal have all recently praised the Catskills, and Fodor's lists them in their "Go List" of 25 can't-miss spots! Strike out on one of our area's many trailheads, discover a hidden waterfall, or take in an event at the Woodstock Playhouse, Maverick Concerts, Bethel Woods, or Bearsville Theater. Join us and find an environment that will inspire your creativity to flourish. →
Contribute your skills and time and receive full access to The Poetry Barn’s fall retreat at The Ashokan Center’s 300+-acre campus, complete with waterfall, sauna, and campfires, and camaraderie! Please fill out our online form to get started, and thanks!
Want to get your book, broadside, or CD out into some good hands, eyes, and ears? You are more than welcome to sell or barter your wares. There will be a dedicated place where we can all admire each other’s creation