Carolyn Forche by Sean Mattison

Carolyn Forché
Photo by Sean Mattison

Tutka Bay Writers Retreat with Carolyn Forché

Friday, September 5 through Sunday, September 7, 2014
Tutka Bay Lodge (59° 28' N 151° 30' W)

Thank you to everyone who participated in this year's retreat, and to Carolyn Forché for her wonderful leadership. Our writers generated powerful new poetry and moved forward with their memoirs-in-progress.

Plans are now underway for 2015.

The Widgeon at Tutka Bay Lodge

Join 49 Writers and acclaimed poet Carolyn Forché for an intensive, generative weekend workshop, "Writing on Tutka Bay: New Poems, New Passages." This year's retreat is designed for poets and memoirists who want to write new work and learn new techniques for revision. Poets will write poetry and memoirists will write new passages of their memoir, with much sharing and maybe a little crossing over!

Carolyn Forché is a poet, memoirist and human rights activist, and she is editor of two best-selling poetry anthologies, Against Forgetting and Poetry of Witness: The Tradition in English: 1500-2001. Her poetry books include Gathering the Tribes, The Country Between Us, The Angel of History and Blue Hour. She has been widely honored, receiving the Edita and Ira Morris Hiroshima Foundation Award for Peace and Culture in Stockholm, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and most recently, The Academy of American Poets Fellowship in Poetry for 2014. She has taught writing and literature for forty years, and has read her poetry around the world. Her poetry has been translated into more than twenty languages.

Your weekend of instruction and inspiration will take place at Tutka Bay Lodge, named by Fodor in 2012 as one of the World's Top 100 places to stay. Tutka Bay is a remote and rugged fjord characterized by soaring mountain, secluded beaches, old growth forest, and dramatic tidal fluctuations. To get there you fly or drive to the fishing community of Homer on the tip of the Kenai Peninsula (225 miles south of Anchorage) then take a twenty-minute water taxi ride across Kachemak Bay. On the way you will observe a variety of shore and water birds, and there is always the possibility of sighting sea otters, orcas, humpbacks, and other marine mammals.

Once there you will enjoy the full-service accommodation and renowned cuisine provided by the staff of Within The Wild. For its memorable meals, the lodge sources organic, natural, and local Alaska ingredients, often from their own gardens or foraged from nearby wild places. Our retreat facility, The Widgeon, is a whimsical crabbing boat dry-docked on a tidal lagoon just a short walk away from your well-appointed cabin.

The retreat experience begins on Friday at 1pm, when we gather at Mako's water taxi on Homer Spit for the trip across Kachemak Bay. A welcome session takes place at 3pm, and your first instructional session is scheduled for 7pm on Friday, leaving you plenty of time to settle in and explore. After a full day on Saturday, the weekend wraps up on Sunday with lunch after the morning session with Carolyn Forché. You'll depart Tutka Bay for Homer at 2pm, arriving in Homer by 3pm to continue your journey home. 

Inside the Widgeon

In addition to the daily instructional sessions with our retreat leader, there will be the opportunity to pursue assignments in the natural setting.

The schedule allows time for reflection and recreation in the form of beach walks and forest hikes, and time to work on your writing outside the classroom. Ÿou can choose to relax on the spacious oceanside deck, soak in the outdoor hot tub, or take an invigorating sauna. For an additional fee, you can take advantage of on-site services such as massages or local boat tours. Cookery classes and guided hiking and ocean kayaking and boating are complimentary.



$575 for 49 Writers members/$625 for non-members

The retreat lasts for two days and two nights. Retreat fees include instruction, meals, lodging in shared cabins, hot tub, sauna, and self-guided hiking. Registration for optional activities will be available to registered participants in early August, with those fees collected by Tutka Bay Lodge on arrival.

Please check if you are unsure of your membership status. To become a 49 Writers member click here.

All registration fees include $80 return water taxi fare from Homer to Tutka Bay Lodge. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from Homer, and we will facilitate opportunities for informal carpooling from Anchorage. Except for the water taxi, fees are non-refundable unless we have a replacement for your slot. If you must cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, you may substitute a replacement and we will do our best to assist by activating our wait list. A 10 percent cancelation fee will apply.

In order to offer more writers the opportunity to participate, all accommodations will be shared this year. Please note too that Tutka Bay Lodge will only be open to registered participants during the retreat, In consideration of our 49 Writers community.

Retreat registration is limited to 20 participants. All accommodations are in shared cabins; view details here. Rooming and cabin requests may be made at time of registration, but we reserve the right to place you according to availability. 

Our hosts at Tutka Bay Lodge are offering the following complimentary activities: Hike with guide; kayaking with guide; cooking class; and yoga. Activities available for a fee are: Tutka Bay boat tour ($25); Halibut Cove/Gull Island boat tour ($100); 60-minute massage ($100); and 90-minute massage ($150).

Past retreat leaders have included David VannDani Shapiro, Pam Houston, and Ron Carlson.

49 Writers
 49 Alaska Writing Center