Cagibi Fall 2018 Hudson Valley Writing Retreat

This October, join a small group of writers for a long weekend of dedicated writing time and workshops co-led by teachers and editors under the spell of Hudson Valley’s spectacular autumn. Tuition includes gorgeous accommodations on-site in a stunning renovated farm house, three scrumptious meals a day, and one-on-one consultations. The retreat leaders will be Matt Pasca (author of A Thousand Doors and Raven Wire) and Terri Muuss (author of Over Exposed, co-editor of Grabbing the Apple), along with Cagibi founding editors. The retreat weekend is Oct 18 to 21, Thursday to Sunday.


Updates and News:

The Writing Retreat—what to expect

“[The workshop] hosted by Terri Muuss and Matt Pasca is perhaps the single most important investment I’ve ever made in my writing.” —S. Licardi, author and spoken word poet

Daily fun, inspiring generative workshops with leaders Matt Pasca and Terri Muuss, along with 1-on-1 editorial consultations of your current writing project with the two Cagibi founding editors, Sylvie Bertrand and Christopher X. Shade (author of The Good Mother of Marseille). More about the retreat leaders under “Faculty” below.

  • Thursday night Opening Remarks and Reading by retreat leaders
  • Daily group reading, discussion, and critique workshop sessions
  • Daily fun, meaningful writing prompts
  • In-depth work with you on the project you choose to bring
  • Clear and constructive criticism from workshop leaders, and group feedback, with a roadmap for revision and next steps
  • With a faculty-to-participant ratio of 1:3, plenty of access to the leaders all weekend in impromptu conversation, to learn about lessons and tips they’ve learned along the way and joys of the creative process
  • Friday and Saturday night readings by participants
  • Private, quiet writing time (designated silent areas)
  • Pre-dinner group social time, if you choose
  • Evening bonfire social time, if you choose
  • Swimming pool, pond, tennis court (rackets and balls provided), ping pong, pool table
  • Hiking trails

This retreat will enrich your writing projects and your writing life. It will deepen your understanding of craft and mechanics, while fostering a discussion around aesthetic choices and creative freedoms.

“Hands down the best writing facilitators I’ve ever come across, Terri and Matt provide innovative, thought provoking prompts and offer compassionate, laser sharp advice that simultaneously lifts you up while pushing you to improve your craft, in just the way you need to hear it.” —B. Beatus, a past workshop student

You will have many opportunities to ask questions in private and group settings; conversations to motivate you to bring your best self to this and future projects; conversations to decipher what it takes to get published, nuts and bolts, how to navigate the editorial process;conversations about the realities of, the commitment to, the regular practice of a writing life.

Also, an editorial consultation that focuses on your current project or topics of your choice: Participants may register with either of the Cagibi co-founders and editors Sylvie Bertrand or Christopher X. Shade for a 45-minute session oriented around completed workup to either 5–7 pages of poetry or up to 10 pages of prose, as well as writing goals, writing life advice, and other writing life topics. There will be a sign-up sheet at the house to specify the time slot.

Location—how to get here

From NYC, to make your travel easy and stress-free, we’re providing transportation from the train station.

The house is located outside of Rhinebeck, NY. From NYC, it’s an hour-40 train ride from Penn Station, and then our pre-arranged 25-minute shuttle from the station to the house (and back again on Sunday).

If you are arriving by car, we will provide you with driving directions.

Dates: Oct 18 to Oct 21, 2018—Thursday to Sunday

Please plan to arrive on Thursday, Oct 18, between 5 and 6 pm. Dinner is at 7 pm, when introductions and preparation for the next day take place. Thursday night, there will be opening remarks and a reading. The workshops and meetings begin with breakfast at 8:00 am on Friday, and last until 11:00 am on Sunday. The retreat will end with lunch on Sunday.

Accommodations—and food!

All arrangements for lodging and meals will be made for workshop participants.

The Cagibi retreat house is within a bucolic setting, with a pond, a pool, and a tennis court outside. Inside, it has spacious, quiet rooms throughout the house, with many good spots for your writing (your cagibi!). Some bedrooms are two‐room shared suites. Others are single rooms. You will choose your preference on the application. WiFi will be available throughout the house and property.

The meals will be an abundance of hearty vegetarian dishes, organic and locally-sourced where possible. Contact us to discuss any special dietary restrictions.

Application Process

Apply to the retreat by clicking on the button below, or at our Submittable page. You will provide a cover letter, answer a few questions, and submit a brief writing sample of either 5–7 pages of poetry or up to 10 pages of prose. Once you apply, you can expect to hear a status of your application within a few weeks.

Registration and Fees

In the case of a successful application, the registration fee is $1200 – 2000* per person, depending on desired accommodation. This includes the workshop and tuition fees and materials, as well as lodging for three nights plus all meals, snacks and beverages. (Travel excluded.)

* EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Reduced fee of $1050 – 1750 per person for applications received now. For locals who do not require a room, the fee is $520, and still requires the application and acceptance. EARLY BIRD PERIOD EXTENDED — Registrations received now will receive early bird pricing.


Once you have been accepted, a Welcome Packet will be provided to you with the schedule and other information.

Faculty—the workshop leaders

Terri MuussTerri Muuss is a multi-career tour de force who balances a full-time social work gig with directing shows, writing books, speaking at conferences and colleges, running a private practice, performing her one-woman show, teaching writing workshops and curating a popular poetry series with her husband, author Matt Pasca. Her poetry has appeared in dozens of publications and anthologies. Her first book, Over Exposed, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She co-edited an anthology of New York women poets entitled Grabbing the Apple.

“Terri Muuss excavates trauma as an archeologist would—with care, detail and an artistry that is both precise and exquisite. These poems are for all of us—they are tender, lovely, mournful, and celebratory. They are also stark and unflinching, full of the brilliant wonder of simplicity.” —R. Bonair-Agard, author

Since 1996, she has worked in over 200 schools, teaching musical theatre, improv, scene study and monologue workshops to thousands of students throughout New York City, Westchester, Connecticut and Long Island. Terri has been a guest instructor at Bay Shore High School’s nationally recognized writing conference The Ethnic Pen since 2004. In her workshop entitled Improv-ing The World, Terri helps middle school and high school students use rhetorical and theatrical techniques to gain a deeper understanding of how to navigate differences between people and to break barriers and build bridges. Most recently, she has taught leadership/public speaking workshops at NY Cares.

Matt Pasca
Matt Pasca is a poet, teacher and traveler who believes in art’s ability to foster discovery, empathy and justice. His first book-length collection, A Thousand Doors, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his second, Raven Wire, was selected as a Finalist for the 2017 Eric Hoffer Book Award.

“Matt and Terri play off each other’s work and performance in a synergistic way that is exciting and thought provoking. They tackle issues in their work that is relevant to social and societal issues in a way that many are afraid to confront, and they do it with a dynamic theatrical skill that can be found few and far between on the scene. Their symbiotic energy together, infused with a sense of raw sexiness between them is like an a roaring ocean wave crashing into a silk sand beach. Go experience them. You will come away better for it.” —R. Green, author

Individual poems have appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies. He has taught Creative Writing courses and workshops for two decades at high schools, universities, conferences, libraries, continuing ed programs and museums. He specializes in inspiring reluctant writers, pushing writers towards specificity, deep revision and self-exploration, curing readers of “poemophobia” and illuminating the importance and nature of the Writing Process. Matt runs a weekly writing workshop with his wife, author Terri Muuss, entitled The Sunday Grind.

20161206_DCAandepiphany_0675 200 x 200Sylvie Bertrand is a writer and creative writing teacher living in Brooklyn. A native French speaker, she was born and grew up in Montreal. She writes poetry, short stories and is working on a novel. Her stories have appeared in several journals, and she was nominated for the 2017 PEN / Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers as well as for two Pushcart Prizes. One of her stories received a 2018 Pushcart Special Mention. She teaches memoir and creative writing at The Writers Studio in NYC.

CXS-Author-8-2 squareChristopher X. Shade is author of the novel, The Good Mother of Marseille (2019). He is an award-winning writer, as well as book reviewer, editor, and creative writing teacher. Over twenty of his stories have appeared in publications, and he has won story awards including the 2016 Writers at Work fellowship and Pushcart nominations. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, his book reviews have also been widely published. He teaches prose and poetry writing in NYC. For five years he was an editor of an independent print literary journal.



Where do I apply?

The big REGISTER buttons on this page, or here.

What happens after I apply?

Once you apply, you can expect to hear from us within a few weeks and know whether you are accepted into the program. Once you are accepted, you will receive a welcome packet with detailed information regarding the program, and payment details.

I’m a Hudson Valley local. Is there a tuition-only option?

Yes. There is a tuition-only option available for the full retreat, as space allows. It assumes full participation, and includes the full retreat program and all meals. Extended early bird pricing is $520, and still requires the application and acceptance. The deadline for this option is October 1, 2018. To apply, click on of the big REGISTER buttons on this page, or here.

How will the applications be reviewed?

The recipients will be chosen based primarily on the potential s/he demonstrates (or has demonstrated) as a writer, and on the other questions in the application. All applications will be reviewed by Cagibi. Final decision on acceptance will be made by Cagibi.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. It is not possible to make changes to your application once it has been submitted; you will receive email confirmation that your application has been received.

Your background: We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and with all levels of writing experience. The quality of your writing is what is most important, whether you are just starting out or have been working for a while. The genres of this retreat welcome, and are limited to, fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

What’s the cancellation policy?

After you have paid for the workshop, should you have to cancel for any reason, we will exercise our best efforts to find a qualified writer to replace you. If we can do so, we will refund your tuition. If we cannot replace you, we will not refund your tuition payment. The later the cancellation date, the more difficult it is for staff to find a qualified participant. We recognize that emergencies do happen and we will do our best to help you. But we cannot guarantee that we will be able to replace you in the event of a cancellation.