Jena Schwartz
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Jena Schwartz
Fierce Encouragement for Writing + Life

Where: Nelson, Wisconsin

What: Three nights and days in a peaceful and beautiful rural setting. Space to listen to your own voice, get your words flowing, and see what happens when you give yourself permission to not know in advance and to let go of outcomes. Our focus will be on presence, playfulness, and the poetry of showing up — not on polishing or producing a certain number of pages. In other words, this is NOT a traditional writing retreat. If you are looking for a craft-oriented workshop or work on a specific body of work, this retreat may not be right for you!

Who: A small group of women who gather to write and rejuvenate for a few days and nights. Community and connection, solitude and space, good food. Maybe even a room of your own. Fall lends itself to letting go of what no longer serves our creativity — and harvesting what does for the winter months that follow.


“The sense of community…

…the open-hearted sharing of what was most central to each of us, the unprecedented opportunity to learn from each other fulfilled my highest expectations.  Jena makes the impossible happen.  She puts us at ease while, at the same time, energizing us to move beyond our barriers. She has a rare gift, one which opens up horizons and calms trepidations.”

~Jeanne Argoff



* We’ll begin on Thursday at 5:00pm with an opening circle and creative exercise, followed by light fare and fun at the farmhouse on Thursday night.

* Each morning, breakfast will be provided. Expect English muffins, hard boiled eggs, avocado, fruit, yogurt, the best homemade granola this side of the Mississippi, strong coffee, and a variety of teas.

* An informal lunch will also be provided on Friday. Friday dinner and Saturday lunch are on your own.

* Plan on a delicious group dinner out Saturday night.

* Lisa will point us towards additional places to nosh and caffeinate, such as the Nelson Cheese Factory and the Smiling Pelican Bakeshop.

* A variety of prompts and timed writing exercises will provide opportunities to write indoors and out, weather permitting. Expect bursts of freewriting interspersed with languorous periods of reading our work out loud, reflecting on each other’s words and stories in a space free of judgment and pressure, and chunks of unscheduled time to write, rest, or explore.

* We will complete our time together Sunday morning, wrapping up before noon.

Air transportation is not included in the retreat cost

  • MSP: Minneapolis International Airport (100-minute drive)

  • RST: Rochester, MN airport (60-minute drive)


“There was a feeling of profound permission being together in person that astounded me, really.

The level of trust and truth and the total beauty of everyone’s words filled me. That’s a very special state of being.”

~Lisa Moskowitz Sadikman



There are four private rooms available at the farm house where the retreat is being held. Additionally there are 6 spots available for those who wish to reserve their own lodging.

Unfurl : Wisconsin October 11-14, Writing Retreat with Jena Schwartz

Private farmhouse bedroom - $900 (4 spots available)

Retreat only, no lodging $450 (6 spots available)


“I recommend Unfurl to anyone who wants to write but feels too shy, inhibited, inferior, scared, uncertain, or stuck.

My recommendation: Take the leap. On the other side of your fear is a group of loving, open-hearted, generous, creative spirits who will welcome you into the fold and bestow upon you the well-deserved title: Writer. Yes, you, with all your fears and insecurities, you are a writer. Come to Unfurl to find your people and rejoice.” 

~Miv London


Nearby lodging:

Contact Jena for details about a newly renovated rental near the farmhouse

Cedar Ridge Resort

Hotel de Ville

Blue Door Inn

Turnings Water B&B 

Airbnb: Search in Alma and Nelson, WI and Wabasha, MN

Payments, cancellations, refunds:

Installment plans available upon request only. Please contact Jena to discuss.
* There is a six-person minimum and 12-person maximum for this retreat.
* If you cancel before the September 1, 2019, you will get a refund minus a $200 processing fee.
* If you cancel after the September 1, 2019 deadline, you will forfeit the entire registration fee.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about anything!

Your guides

Jena Schwartz | Unfurl: Wisconsin Retreat

Jena Schwartz

is a poet, promptress, and writing coach whose work weaves together a passion for language, poetry, and storytelling with a devotion to community-building based on kindness, connection, and inclusivity. She began leading online writing groups in 2014, and has since shared her unique flavor of fierce encouragement for writing + life with hundreds of people around the world. Jena has a BA in Russian Studies from Barnard College, an MFA from Emerson College, and advanced training with the Coaches Training Institute. In addition to blogging for over 10 years, she has self-published three collections of poetry and creative nonfiction. She is fiercely committed to LGBTQ rights, intersectional feminism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and writing as an expression of resistance. She lives in Amherst, MA with her wife Mani, human kids, Aviva and Pearl, and English bulldog puppy, Chalupa.

Lisa Grey | Unfurl: Wisconsin Retreat

Lisa Gray

is a writer, mother, wife, pet corraler, activist, languid blogger, voracious reader, and intrepid explorer of truth and beauty who hopes to ease her way back into writing again (see other roles). At home in gorgeous Winona, MN, she finds herself in her coffee cup, her books, her pets, and her family life. Though it’s always a surprise but hardly surprising, her truest self emerges on the page. A recipient of an Emerging Artist’s Grant from SEMAC (Southeast Minnesota Arts Council), you can read more of her work at Restless Gray Girl, which includes links to other publications.