Reservation Process
Our online registration system requires payment in full at the time of registration. (To pay a portion now and the balance at the time of the event, please register by phone at 319-395-6700.) After submitting your registration request, you will receive a confirmation email. (If you do not receive this email within 24 hours, please call us.)
A 3% processing fee is added to all online registrations.
Refund Policy
Some of our events require a nonrefundable registration fee; the balance will be refunded to you if you cancel prior to the event start time. (See event notes for specific registration fees.)
Privacy Concerns
Whether you give us your contact information online or over the phone, it will never be sold or given to a third party. It will only be used to keep you updated about happenings around Prairiewoods.
July 2017 : Event Details
Tue, Jul 25 - 4:00pm
Thu, Jul 27 - 1:00pm
Mary Swander
A Writer's Ecology Retreat: Reading & Writing as Transformation
Reconnect with your creativity through reading and writing
Mary Swander

Note: This retreat was originally scheduled to be facilitated by Amy Nolan, but she is no longer available. Iowa's Poet Laureate, Mary Swander, generously stepped in to make sure this is still an amazing, creative retreat!

“It may be when we no longer know what we have to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey,” writes Wendell Berry.

Do you transform your experiences of God-in-nature into writing? In this mid-week retreat at Prairiewoods (120 East Boyson Road in Hiawatha), explore how writing can transform you individually and communally: deepening your experiences and creating works of art! Read and discuss the works of such eco-writers as Mary Oliver, Wendell Berry, Derrick Jensen, Annie Dillard and Terry Tempest Williams, among others. In addition, individually and as a group, you will explore your own experience and connection by engaging in contemplative writing, sharing and exploring the trails and labyrinth. The goal of this retreat is to reconnect with creativity and explore how you can use it to express what matters most to you.

Facilitator May Swander is the Poet Laureate of Iowa and the Executive Director of AgArts, a nonprofit that imagines and promotes healthy food systems through the arts. Swander has published more than 13 books of poetry and non-fiction, the latest called The Sunnyside, a limited edition collection of stories from Route 3 Press. Swander is currently touring two plays throughout the United States—Vang, a drama about recent immigrant farmers, and Map of My Kingdom or Who’s Going to Get the Farm?

The cost of this three-day retreat is $230 and includes sessions, lodging and all meals (including dinner on Tuesday). The commuter fee is $180 and includes sessions and daily lunch and dinner. A non-refundable deposit of $25 is required at registration. (Full payment is required to register online. If you prefer to pay the $25 registration fee now and the balance when you arrive, please call 319-395-6700.) If you want to stay in a Hermitage, you also will need to register by phone. If you have dietary restrictions that affect your health, please call or send an email to

Please help us spread the word! Click on "Brochure" at left to download a printable flyer to share with your family and friends.  

Regular Registration Fees
$180.00 Commuter (None Available)
$230.00 Single w/ Shared Bath (None Available)
Program Code: 17PGR11680
Good place for a control!