Robert McDowell has taught in Bennington College’s MFA program; at the University of Southern Indiana and UC Santa Cruz; and at writers’ conferences such as the Taos Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers Conference, Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, and Donegal Festival.
He has led retreats and workshops at Esalen, Kripalu, Pine Manor Retreat Center, West Chester Conference on Form and Narrative, California Poets-in-the-Schools, and Killybegs Festival in Ireland.
Topics for Seminars, Workshops, & Retreats
Initiation Rites for Boys and MenThis workshop, seminar, or retreat invites boys and men to discover rituals that lead to adulthood and independence. Along the way, participants also experience the healing of old wounds and learn how to build better relationships with mothers, sisters, coworkers, friends, and partners.
Poetry As Spiritual PracticeBased on Robert McDowell’s bestselling book, Robert guides participants in search of their soul poems, helping them discover the core language of their spiritual foundations. This workshop accommodates practitioners of any religion, including none at all.
The Art of RevisionAs editor of more than 300 books by winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and NBCC Award as well as books by newcomers and mid-career authors, McDowell shares revision strategies for your work in poetry and prose.
The Voice CelestialThis workshop focuses on the epic poem, The Voice Celestial, by Ernest Holmes, who cofounded the Science of Mind movement with his brother Fenwicke Holmes. We explore the stories, themes, verse structures, and antecedents of this thought-provoking poem and its bedrock role in the science of mind community. You will leave with a deeper understanding of both faith and poetry.
Saint Francis and the Leper: Overcoming Obstacles That Paralyze YouEveryone has a problem, and most of us have many. No matter how positively others may perceive our lives, there is always something. It may be relatively mild like the inability to grasp a particular computer program. It could simply be that you just don’t like golf or tennis or spelunking as much as your partner. Or it might be a darker, corrosive secret you’ve harbored since childhood.
Even the saintly are not immune. As a young monk, Francis of Assisi cloaked a shameful secret that called into question his faith and nearly destroyed him. Only a revelatory moment of extraordinary courage saved Francis from a life of resigned bitterness and oblivion. Like Francis, you, too, can confront your greatest fears—and poetry can help.