Writers in the Round Retreat
   Star Island – September 5-8, 2019
(Registration begins April 1, 2019)

The 2019 Writers in the Round Retreat is a multi-day creative retreat for songwriters and poets (of any level of skill and experience) in a beautiful natural setting, on a history-rich island off the coast of New Hampshire. Our retreat is a time for artistic growth in a safe environment, fostered by instructors who are experts in their art, be it songwriting, poetry, or spoken word, and who are whole-souled in their approach to life.

Star Island

  A Supportive Approach

The small group experience consists of classes for instruction, workshops for creative expression, and evening programs, which support a healthy group dynamic.

We encourage participants to take risks and push themselves to explore new aspects to the process of writing. Honesty, compassion, and humor are qualities valued by retreat organizers and participants.


  Activities: New Beginnings and New Horizons

The development of a nurturing yet challenging creative environment is a central goal. Morning and afternoon session are organized around generative activities and workshops of poems and songs in progress There is also time for informal sharing, exploring, and meeting with other conferencees on the island.  Through immersion in structured and unstructured activities, participants often embark upon new creative directions and form new associations with others outside of their daily walk in life. As such, the retreat fosters diversity and celebrates new beginnings and new horizons.

  Registration Information

We enroll on a first-come-first-served basis. We also limit enrollment and seek a balance between songwriters and poets (of any level of skill and experience) to preserve the quality of the retreat for participants. Our conference enrollment tends to fill up fast. Room and board is arranged with Star Island, choices made at the time of registration. Our conference fee has remained the same for more about a decade – $110.

Registration begins on April 1, 2019 and it will remain open until our maximum enrollment of 24 is reached. We strive for a balance of 12 poetry-focused and 12 songwriting-focused participants.

Writers In the Round Registration Link (active April 1): REGISTER

Once our registration is closed, you are welcome to contact Ellen Taylor at: if you wish to be on a waiting list for potential openings due to cancellation.

Financial aid from the Star Island organization may be available. Retreat attendees have made good use of financial aid in previous years. Full details are listed on the Star website:


  About the Instructors

POETRY:  Paul Hostovsky
paulh pic
Paul Hostovsky is the author of nine books of poetry and five poetry chapbooks. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Carolina Quarterly, The Sun, Shenandoah, Bellevue Literary Review, Poetry East, and many other journals and anthologies. He has won a Pushcart Prize, two Best of the Net awards, the FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize, and has been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and 21 times on the Writer's Almanac. He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter and a Braille instructor. To read more about him, visit his website at
SONGWRITING:  Dan Blakeslee

Note: Sadly, MorganEve Swain had to cancel this year, but we're thrilled Dan can step in. We've invited him multiple years before and he was unavailable.
danb pic
With a suitcase of songs, Maine folk troubadour Dan Blakeslee ventured into the subways of Boston in 1995 to practice his craft. He has been making music and art throughout New England ever since, leading him to tour the U.S. performing with The Low Anthem, David Wax Museum, Lydia Loveless, The Lumineers, Liam Finn, Brown Bird, Joe Fletcher, Death Vessel and Kimya Dawson among others. In 2015 his dream of playing Newport Folk Festival became a reality, the location where Bob Dylan went electric 50 years earlier. Blakeslee is unafraid to bare his very soul on stage, emptying a loaded cache of emotion and passion onto the stage for all to witness, explore and devour.

  The Conference Co-Chairs
Long-time friends, Maine poet, Ellen Taylor, and New Hampshire songwriter, Craig Werth, have co-chaired this conference for many years. They volunteer their services to carry forward the legacy of this highly-acclaimed artistic experience. For more information about the Writers In the Round Retreat for Poetry and Songwriting, contact Ellen at:, or Craig at:


   About Our Founder
Note: “Writers in the Round” was created by our dear friend, singer-songwiter/publicist,
Deidre Randall, in 2005.
She led the retreat for several years until she passed it on to Ellen and Craig. Deidre's publishing company, founded by her father, Peter Randall, can be visited here.
Her beautiful music can be discovered here.


WITR Conference Registration 

Star Island Information

Financial Aid