The retreat will gather 6 poets and 6 activists from across the Northeast for three nights of dreaming, scheming, and skill-sharing in Western MA in summer 2022. Bringing together the radical creativity of poets with the audacity and expertise of activists, attendees will collaborate on envisioning a more liberated future through workshops, discussions, and writing sessions with faculty mentors. The retreat will culminate in the creation of new poems and a public reading/celebration in downtown Northampton.

Brew & Forge is a fiscally sponsored project of the Peace Development Fund, a 501(c)3 public foundation. If you'd like your contribution to go specifically toward funding the retreat, please write "for Witches & Warriors" under "add note."

WHO: 

Twelve participants (6 poets, 6 organizers) from across the Northeast, prioritizing BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people. Two established artist/activists will serve as faculty mentors.

WHEN: 

Three nights in summer 2022

WHERE: 

Hawley, MA (Nipmuc and Pocumtuc land)

WHAT:

Workshops, discussions, writing sessions, and community-building activities, plus time for rest and rejuvenation in the beautiful mountains of Western Mass.

GOALS:

  • To arm organizers with creative writing as a tool to enrich their movement work

  • To support emerging artists to bring a cultural organizing lens into their practice

  • To provide both groups with an inspiring space to rest and recharge

WHY?

The Witches & Warriors Retreat comes out of five years of building solidarity between writers and organizers through the annual Brew & Forge Book Fair. In the course of that work, we’ve seen how organizers everywhere are in dire need of restorative spaces to help them dream outside of the day-to-day grind of campaign work. Meanwhile, poets understand how our work can be transformative for communities, and yet often find ourselves siloed in academic spaces and/or struggling to create within an under-resourced field. We take heart in the way Pablo Neruda’s line “Podrán cortar todas las flores, pero no podrán detener la primavera” (“You can cut all the flowers, but you can’t stop spring from coming”) animated the Arab Spring and subsequent social movements; and yet, while several organizations exist to convene movement workers with artists in other genres, none exists that is--to our knowledge--specific to poetry. We believe writers, especially poets, can help make the fights for racial, economic, and gender justice more imaginative and more nourishing for the people in them. The Witches & Warriors Retreat will be a catalyst, a meeting point, a spark for future collaborations. 

But, like all good things, we can’t do this without community! While we are in the process of applying to grants and seeking sponsors, support from our communities helps us build long-term resilience while growing in right relationship with our people. Please consider donating, and help us plant the seeds for a more vibrant, creative, nourishing movement!