You arrive by Friday evening, March 2 and leave Friday morning, March 9, 2018. The workshop fee includes 7 nights lodging, all breakfasts, all writing instruction and workshop sessions, gentle yoga/stretching several times during the week, a personal coaching/feedback session with the instructor, and a grand finale celebration reading and dinner. You might want to arrive a day early to settle in to avoid a late night arrival or missed connection.
Workshop Leader: Professor Robin Greene
Our workshop leader and coach is published author/poet and university professor Robin Greene. With her help and feedback, with participation from the group, you’ll gain knowledge and perspective about the art and craft of writing. There will be plenty of time to retreat for writing — what you come here for!
We encourage you to write in the genre that best suits you: memoir, journal, poetry, personal essay, creative nonfiction or fiction. Or, explore one that you have been hesitant about trying.
Whatever your writing genre, you are welcome!
Optional yoga sessions are designed to open you up to stretch your writing capabilities. As you flex your body, you relax and stretch your imagination. Yoga develops core strength to find voice and creative center.
What Participants Say
- I learned I am fully capable of being the writer I dreamed of becoming.
- The site, teaching and program structure creates a truly transcendent experience of enormous value.
- I was challenged and that turned out to be exactly what I needed.
- Far exceeded expectations. Got many suggestions for how to write healing stories.
- It was wonderful!
- The combination of writing, yoga, meditation and shared sisterhood is transformational.
- Oaxaca feels safe, safer than my hometown in the USA.
- I identified a writing project that engages and excites me.
- The balance of intensive writing workshops, cultural excursions and yoga lead to a powerful experience on all levels.
- The feedback was so thoughtful. I honestly can’t think of anything I would change.
A healthy breakfast awaits you with brewed coffee (2017 retreat)
Accommodations — Lodging
We are based on a quiet residential street in the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle. We will occupy two family operated inns, located within steps of each other. The families live in residence, so it’s a great chance to practice your Spanish and to dine like the locals. Accommodations are basic, simple and clean.
Blue corn quesadillas
Our site is conducive to reflection and writing. The quiet retreat center offers plenty of private spaces to gather and express your thoughts. If you want street or rural inspiration, there is plenty to capture your attention, too.
Taking a lunch break from writing.
Topics participants write about have included family and relationships, women’s issues, health, health care and diagnoses, pain and recovery, loss, food and eating, and the spirit of life. We have heard voices that give us pause to laugh, cry and commiserate. The atmosphere is supportive and encouraging.
From Instructor Robin Greene
“The writing retreat is very relaxed. I ask each participant to send me a work in progress or writing sample before the workshop. This gives me an opportunity to tailor the workshop to strengths and needs. Our goal is to develop craft and we will support each other in this learning process.
I’ll also have plenty of prompts, writing exercises, and suggestions—and, of course, as women write, we energize each other. I like to encourage women to find their voices so that the retreat experience is personally meaningful. In addition to one scheduled conference with each person, I’m available for feedback and coaching throughout our time together. And, because I teach creative writing, I have a repertoire of techniques and strategies to share with writers at all levels.
Roses on the writing table with journal notes
We cannot promise that you will win a poetry prize, as did one of our participants after writing her winning poem at the retreat, or be published in The Sun Magazine and Minerva Rising literary journals as several past participants have. We CAN promise that you will explore, develop and deepen as a writer if you are open to the experience. Plus, you will make new friendships with like-minded people.
What the Retreat Includes:
- 21-hours of group workshop and feedback
- One-hour individual coaching session
- Focused sessions to hone your skills: grammar, reading in public, publishing, grammar, editing
- 7 nights lodging
- 7 breakfasts
- 5 dinners including celebratory final dinner
- Final Group Reading with Celebratory Fiesta Dinner
Optional activities you can arrange on your own:
- Optional yoga sessions that focus on stretching and flexing
- Afternoon visits to archeological sites, mezcal distilleries, or an outing to Oaxaca City
2017 Exquisite Corpse Poem
The Exquisite Corpse Poem is a collaboration. Each writer in the group contributes a random sentence or phrase that then becomes part of a complete poem. The result is surprising and creative! We do this each year as part of our closing ceremonies for the Oaxaca Women’s Creative Writing and Yoga Retreat. For 2015, our mission was different however.
We adapt the Exquisite Corpse Poem based on the game developed by the Parisian Surrealist Movement. Professor Robin Greene, our writing instructor and coach, takes liberties with the concept and edits what we have contributed into something more coherent than abstract, but always beautiful!
In Oaxaca, Everything is a Poem
An Exquisite Corpse Poem by the Writing & Yoga Retreat Women of 2017
Cool blue walls and pebbled floors surround us
as words flow like cool water over our sun-heated
skins…. Is everything a poem here? Even the ants
and the humans, hot, lucky, looking for their match?
Even the horseshoe-shaped bar that spills its words
onto the table where the watermelon butchers work,
while we women writers of Oaxaca speak out our
sentences through open but barred windows, only
to find a white cat sitting on a window ledge, then
rising to strut in beauty like an unwashed dream,
while we sit cross-legged on wide beds, hearing
city dogs bark, listening as the day lifts into evening,
and the radical sky turns one woman’s hands
such dark indigo blue that the goddesses feel envy
and drink her language like mescal? Is everything
a poem here? So that even if we could tent the house
and save our words, the termites still might never
leave, and the purest truth might never know regret,
might end up a doo-wop squatter, living life as if
back in the girdle-Ike years again, growing like cactus,
hard and full of tears until all hope plays dead.
At the daily workshop sessions to discuss and get helpful feedback
What Women Say . . . “I better learned how to put together a writerly life. The coaching session will help me stay on track. I enjoyed listening to and evaluating each others’ work. What a great group of women.” –Leslie Larson, California
“I came with the hope of being rejuvenated. I am leaving with a lightness and grounding that is beyond comprehension.” –Rebecca S. King, North Carolina
“The instruction was excellent and supportive. The personal coaching session offered me a chance to talk about my writing in a way I never had before. The workshops are especially valuable because the feedback is so thoughtful.” –Susan Lesser, New York
“I discovered that my writing entertains people! Yoga is the best I have ever experienced. A perfect combo of the physical and spiritual. –LeeAnn Weigold, British Columbia, Canada
Daily village market offers inspiration
“There is amazing resonance between the writing and yoga teaching — vigorous, solid, and accepting.” –Deborah Morris, M.D., North Carolina
“It was all perfect. You gave us a beautiful writing workshop in a beautiful village setting and you also gave us a strong community-of-women bond that will far outlast this conference. Mil gracias!” — Katie Kingston, MFA, Trinidad, Colorado
“The quality of the teachers was stellar and the combination was a perfect fit for me. Robin has a clarity that is lovely, supportive, truth-telling, knowledgeable, superbly skilled. Beth is a beautiful, beautiful teacher. Combining the yoga and sound with writing was profound.” — Nancy Coleman, Portland, Maine
Optional visits to local village artisans
“Robin’s knowledge impressed and guided me throughout the week. She is one of the most generous people, instructors and writers I have ever met. The week gave me the insight to investigate life and write about it.” Kathryn Salisbury, North Carolina
“The week helped with my intention to write my book. There were too many valuable parts to list! We experienced an amazing time together, sweating leaves, meditation, chanting, writing, and honoring our lives. This was an awesome experience.” — Susan Florence, MFA, Ojai, California
“We learned from the other women in the group, from the culture, the language and people in the village. It was magical.” –Bridget Price, Mexico City
Handmade beeswax candles at Casa Viviana
Your Writing Workshop Leader: Robin Greene
Robin Greene is Professor of English and Writing and Director of the Writing Center at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC, where she held the McLean Endowed Chair in English from 2013-2016. Greene has published two collections of poetry (Memories of Light and Lateral Drift), two editions of a nonfiction book (Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories), and a novel (Augustus: Narrative of a Slave Woman).
Greene’s second novel, The Shelf Life of Fire, is forthcoming from Light Messages Publishing, and Greene is currently working on a sequel. Greene is a past recipient of a North Carolina-National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Writing, and has published over ninety pieces of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in literary journals.
Greene has received two teaching awards, the latest of which, the Cleveland Award, received in 2017, is the most prestigious award offered by the university where she teaches. Greene has given over a hundred academic presentations, literary readings, and writing workshops in a variety of venues throughout the US. Additionally, Greene is cofounder and editor of Longleaf Press, a literary press that primarily publishes poetry, and cofounder of Sandhills Dharma Group, a Buddhist meditation group.
She holds a M.A. in English from Binghamton University and a M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Art at Norwich University.
See Robin’s website: www.robingreene-writer.com
Perhaps an evening mezcal tasting can fit into your plans!
Preliminary Workshop Outline
- Friday, March 2, travel day, arrive and check-in. Dinner included.
- Saturday, March 3, introductions, orientation, workshop session, writing exercises. Breakfast. Lunch and Dinner OYO.
- Sunday, March 4, workshop session, writing exercises. Breakfast. Lunch and Dinner OYO.
- Monday, March 5, workshop session, writing exercises. Breakfast. Lunch and Dinner OYO.
- Tuesday, March 6, workshop session, writing exercises. Breakfast. Lunch and Dinner OYO.
- Wednesday, March 7, workshop session, writing exercises. Lunch and Dinner OYO.
- Thursday, March 8, yoga, reading preparation session. Reading and Gala Fiesta Dinner. Breakfast and Dinner. Lunch on your own.
- Friday, March 9, departure. You may choose to extend your time in Oaxaca City or environs. We can also recommend guides to take you to craft villages if you choose to stay on.
Celebratory Fiesta Dinner and Group Reading
Each Workshop Day includes breakfast, writing sessions, plus scheduled individual coaching sessions with Professor Robin Greene. We will include yoga sessions several times during the week together. Each day you will have choices for how you will spend your time — in retreat to write, to meander historic cobblestone streets and village markets, gather at cafes to discuss subject possibilities or work in process, or to schedule an optional massage.
Tasty food from home cooked to master village chefs
Special Pop-Up Events!
During the week, we might invite noted artisans to come to the B&B for special showings of their work. This might include textiles, alebrijes (carved and painted wood figures), clothing, pottery and other regional crafts.
The workshop does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, lunches and dinners (except the welcome dinner and final celebratory fiesta) and local transportation to and from the airport to our B&B. We will give you detailed instructions for how to get from the Oaxaca airport to our hotel after you register. We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.
Have you tried the chapulines?
Reservations and Cancellations. Send us an email to register. A 50% deposit is required to guarantee your spot. The last payment for the balance due shall be paid by January 10, 2018. We accept payment with PayPal only. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After January 10, refunds are not possible. You may send a substitute in your place. If you cancel before January 10, we will refund 50% of your deposit.
Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance: We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance. Proof of insurance must be sent at least two weeks before departure. We also ask that you complete a witnessed waiver of responsibility, holding harmless Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We will send this to you several weeks before the workshop start. Unforeseen circumstances happen!
Workshop Details and Travel Tips. Before the workshop begins, we will email you instructions to get to the workshop site from the airport, and documents that includes extensive travel tips and information. To get your questions answered and to register, contact: email@example.com
This retreat is produced by Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We reserve the right to make itinerary changes and substitutions as necessary.
Wendy reads her piece about heavy lifting.
2016 Looking for Frida Kahlo + Diego Rivera: Mexico City Art History Study Tour
Come to Mexico City to explore the lives of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera through their art. This is in-depth art history education at its best! We offer you a narrated cultural immersion that you can miss if you visit on your own. Come solo, with a partner or friend. Norma Schafer participates in all programs. Small group size limited to 8 people for quality experience.
Arrive and meet for a group dinner on Thursday at 7 p.m. We will have a long weekend — three full days — to learn about Diego Rivera‘s stunning Mexico City murals, visit Casa Azul where Diego and Frida Kahlo lived, and see the largest private collection of their work at the Dolores Olmedo Museum.
Man Controller of the Universe 1934 replicates mural destroyed at Rockefeller Center
Through their eyes, you will better understand Mexico’s political, cultural and social history, and their personal lives together. Theirs is a story of Mexico’s development as a post-revolutionary modern nation. You will also meet their contemporaries, muralists Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Sequieros, as you compare and contrast their collective work.
If you want to register, send me an email. Tell me the dates you prefer!
A few little nips — Frida painted this after Rivera’s affair with her sister
This is an incredible experience! The Rivera murals at the Secretary of Public Education building were like nothing I expected. The scale, the intensity, the variation of themes, the continual flow of connecting vignettes – just mind blowing! It isn’t just an art tour. It is an intense immersion into the beginning of an art movement, a cultural movement, and a culmination of historic events that come alive. — Christine Bouton, North Carolina
Our expert guide is a noted art historian who holds a master’s degree in art history who is about to embark on a doctoral program. She shares her passion for the Mexican Muralists, narrates the expedition, and leads us through these spaces to give you the most meaningful educational experience:
Yes, you can visit these places independently. But it’s not likely you will get the same in-depth knowledge, insights, and perspectives if you do.
She called him toad. He was 20 years older. They were passionate about life, politics, each other. They shaped the world of modern art and she became an icon in her own right, creating an independent identity that serves as a role model for women. They were twice married and unfaithful, the subjects of books and film, and art retrospectives around the world.
Rivera’s Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in the Alameda Park survived 1985 earthquake
Casa Azul — Museo Frida Kahlo is a tribute to the life of both artists. Museo Dolores Olmedo Patiño holds the largest private collection of Frida and Diego paintings in the world. Lola Olmedo was a benefactor and life-long personal friend of Rivera who became executor of his estate that included Casa Azul.
Rivera’s mural at the Palacio Nacional (National Palace) covers detailed Mexican history, from pre-Hispanic America to the Spanish Conquest through industrialization, including the French and U.S. invasions, from 1521 to 1930.
David Alfaro Sequieros, Rivera rival, painted this mural at Palacio Bellas Artes
Plus, you will have lots of options for independent exploration: shop for outstanding folk art, and eat at local markets, historic and fine contemporary and traditional restaurants!
Lunch at the gourmet Mercado San Juan
See our reviews on Trip Advisor!
Base Trip Includes:
Also consider Evoking Frida Kahlo: Making Altars + Shrines Mixed Media Art Workshop — honor a loved one or create a self-portrait visual memoir
One of 125 Rivera painted at SEP, 1923-28, this one mocking the bourgeoisie
Palacio Bellas Artes built during the 30-year Porfirio Diaz presidency
The oldest street in Mexico next to the Palacio Nacional looks like Europe
Be ready to WALK and then, walk some more! Don’t forget to bring an extra suitcase to pack treasures you pick up along the way.
Choose the upgrade and stay with us at a comfortable bed and breakfast inn located in the historic center of Mexico City with breakfast included.
Tiffany glass ceiling at El Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico — an optional stop on our tour
What the base cost does not include:
Base Cost: $595. USD per person. Small group experience. Maximum: 8 people.
Upgrade: $895. USD per person double occupancy, includes B&B lodging with breakfast, private bath for four nights, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Otherwise, all exceptions noted above apply.
Single Supplement: $1,195. USD for private room and bath.
Optional: Arrive early and/or stay later to discover Mexico City and her incredible museums and restaurants. We will give you a list of recommendations to explore on your own.
Katharsis, 1934 mural by Jose Clemente Orozco, Palacio Bellas Artes
Reservations and Cancellations. A 50% deposit will guarantee your spot. The last payment for the balance is due 45 days before the program start date. Payment shall be made by PayPal. We will send you an itemized PayPal invoice.
Please understand that we make arrangements months in advance of the program. Deposits or payments in full are often required. If cancellation is necessary, please tell us in writing by email. After 45 days before the program starts, no refunds are possible. However, we will make every possible effort to fill your reserved space or you may send a substitute. If you cancel on or before the 45 day date, we will refund 50% of your deposit.
Frida died July 13, 1954, at age 47, not long after she painted these watermelons
Required–Travel Health/Accident Insurance: We require that you carry international accident/health/emergency evacuation insurance. Proof of insurance must be sent at least two weeks before departure. If you do not wish to do this, we ask you email a PDF of a signed and witnessed waiver of liability, holding harmless Norma Hawthorne Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. Unforeseen circumstances happen!
To register, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We accept payment with PayPal only. Thank you.
Frida’s sketchbook and journal. Notice the one deformed leg from childhood polio.
This workshop is produced by Norma Schafer, Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC. We reserve the right to adjust the itinerary and substitute leaders without notice.
A note to Frida from Diego two years after her death … “you live in my heart.”
Paint brushes in Frida’s studio at Casa Azul, exactly as she left them
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Posted in Cultural Commentary, Mexico City, Photography, Travel & Tourism, Workshops and Retreats
Tagged art education, art history, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, guided tour, Mexico City, murals, paintings, seminar, study, tour, travel