Dragonfly Writers Retreat


Registrations are open for
The Dragonfly Writers Retreat.

Taking place at The HeartWell Institute, 
1015 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA 01602

June 9-11, 2023

Dragonfly Writers Retreat, at The HeartWell Institute,  1015 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA 01602

About The Retreat

The Dragonfly Writers Retreat will be conducted in the Summer 2023 at the Heartwell Institute.

Writers and poets will participate in a 3-day weekend retreat, where local writers and poets can attend writer's workshops, seminars, poetry readings, and performances of each participant's writings and of their teaching poet or writer. In addition, there will be a Keynote Writer and Poet Reading on the last day of the retreat, which will be Free and Open to the Public on that Sunday Evening.

There are 23 spots available; 10 in the fiction workshop, 10 in the poetry workshop, and 3 in the master 1-on-1 consultation workshop.

The purpose of the writer's retreat is to have a space in tranquility, where writers and poets can create their work for 3-days of uninterrupted concentrated time to build that manuscript. It can give a mid-career or emerging poet or writer the boost of encouragement to finish that manuscript or pursue more in our artistic life and career.

The two Workshop Teachers will be: African American poet, Tara Betts, who hails from Chicago and was one of the key figures in the 1990s Performance Poetry, is the inaugural Poet for The People Practitioner Fellow at University of Chicago. She is the author of the following poetry collections, Refuse to Disappear, Break the Habit and Arc & Hue. Her poetry workshop will be focused on the art of poetry and topics related to modern poetry writing and activism. Participants' manuscripts will be reviewed.

African- American writer and novelist, Rochelle Spencer is a founding member of the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop, and a former board member of The Hurston Wright Foundation. She is our fiction workshop leader, where participants will have a chance to receive feedback on their works-in-progress, or new fiction manuscripts submitted for the retreat. The workshop will focus on the elements and craft of fiction writing and related themes in modern fiction literary topics. Participants' manuscripts will be reviewed.

And lastly, Jina Ortiz will serve as a Master Poetry Teacher and will have one-on-one consulting sessions with emerging poets.

Friday and Saturday -All Day 1 and 2--- it will encompass 2 writer's workshop sessions, breaks for individual writing time, breaks for yoga/ meditation and reflection, and an evening talk/ reading performance for all participants to enjoy. On Sunday, there will be one last session in the morning, the lunch meal and the afternoon reflection session. Once the retreat is officially over, we will Open the Performance Reading to the Public for 6pm and beyond.

Meet the Workshop Leaders

Author Tara Betts

Tara Betts


Dr. Tara Betts is the author of Refuse to Disappear, Break the Habit, Arc & Hue. She served as the inaugural Poet for The People Practitioner Fellow at University of Chicago. Betts currently teaches at DePaul University and serves as poetry editor for The Langston Hughes Review. She is also founder of the nonprofit organization The Whirlwind Learning Center on Chicago’s South Side.

 Tara Betts, author of Refuse to Disappear, Break the Habit, and Arc & Hue.Refuse to Disappear is available at SPD Books now. 

Novelist Rochelle Spencer

Rochelle Spencer


Rochelle Spencer is author of AfroSurrealism (Routledge) and  The Rat People (The Fantasist and The Coil) and with Jina Ortiz, co-editor of All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (University of Wisconsin). A Pushcart Prize nominee, her work appears in The Crab Creek Review, The Believer, TriQuarterly, Callaloo, the African American Review, Solstice, Poets and Writers, Lithub, The Jamaican Observer, The Carbon Culture Review, The East Bay Review, Eleven Eleven, Ms., The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Hip Hop, The Millions, Graveyard Shift Sisters, Terrain, and Art Practical. Rochelle is an alum of the Clarion West Workshop taught by K. Tempest Bradford and Nisi Shawl and a National Black Writers Conference workshop taught by Victor LaValle.  A founding member of the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop, Rochelle is a former board member of the Hurston Wright Foundation, and a current member of the National Book Critics Circle and The Clearing, the collective founded by Serena Simpson.  Rochelle is represented by the writer and agent  Kima Jones.


Jina Ortiz

Poet and Author

Ms. Ortiz holds a Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College and is a writer and poet. She co-edited All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014) with writer and editor, Rochelle Spencer. Her short story, “Maribel y El Viejo,” was published in the anthology, Daring to Write: Contemporary Writings by Dominican Women (University of Georgia Press, 2016) She has numerous poems published in poetry and literary journals and magazines. Jina is represented by the writer and agent  Kima Jones for the anthology, STEAM: Brilliant People on the Intersections of Science and Art.

Tuition and Fees

The Tuition:
For the full 3-day writers retreat is a tuition fee of $750 dollars.

Room & Board: $250 dollars

If you wish to stay at The HeartWell Institute Retreat Center,
the fee covers all 3 days and 2/nights of the retreat.

Commuters: There is parking for your car for the 3 days of the retreat time; if you need other accommodations, feel free to email Raysa at thedragonflywriters199@gmail.com., or Jina at jinaortiz@gmail.com


Jasmine at Studio B

Jina Ortiz

Founder and Creator

Ms. Jina Ortiz is a nationally-recognized poet and writer; founder and creator of The Dragonfly Writers Retreat at The HeartWell Institute in Worcester, MA. The Inaugural retreat has been supported by a grant from the Worcester Arts Council (WAC) and the Mass Cultural Council (MCC). Ms. Ortiz holds a Bachelor's Degree in Comparative Literature and History with a concentration in International Studies Stream from Clark University and a MFA in Creative Writing from The Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College (now Lasell Solstice University).


Tara Betts

Assistant Director

Ms. Raysa Corporán holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Communication from Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in Dominican Republic and a Master's Degree in Media Communication and Education from Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona in Spain. She has 15 years of professional practice in the area of communication, with a concentration in content writing for written media and corporate public relations. She is passionate about the opportunity to discover new content that impacts and enriches the lives of those who follow her work.

Register to the Dragonfly Writers Retreat!