Rockvale Writers’ Group

Rockvale Writers’ Group is comprised of three separate writing-related entities. Although all three entities share the name Rockvale, the same founder, and are linked via their websites, they operate separately. Think of them as three sisters within the same family – glad to be related, but with unique personalities and distinct purposes.

Rockvale Writers’ Colony, located in College Grove, TN, is a writers’ residency tucked in the beautiful rolling hills just south of Nashville.

Rockvale Review is an online poetry journal that publishes two issues a year. The journal presents 30-35 poems by established, emerging, and beginner poets and pairs each poem with a piece of art or photography chosen by a featured artist. Beginning with Issue Four, Rockvale Review intends to add audio files to showcase music composed in response to selected poems.

Rockvale Press, forthcoming in 2019, is a small, independent press publishing poetry chapbooks which are chosen through contest entry. Two to four winners will have their chapbook introduced each year. Because we are a Tennessee-based press and want to honor our home state and the writers in it, at least one of the chapbooks chosen will be from a Tennessee poet.


Please make sure you choose the correct Submission / Application form! There may be more than one open at the same time. 

This is Part One of a Seven-Part Yoga/Writing Retreat Series that explores the energy centers of the body (Chakras) and their relationship to writing and creativity.

What does it mean to be grounded, to stand firm upon the foundation you’ve set for yourself as a writer? What does it mean to feel secure in your relationship with the words you write? In this yoga and writing workshop, we’ll explore the Root Chakra, the energy center within the body that is responsible for our physical and emotional sense of safety and belonging. During sessions of gentle yoga and meditation, as well as generative writing workshops, we’ll consider how meeting the basic needs of body, mind, and soul can free creativity and make us happier and more productive writers. We’ll seek ways to ground ourselves into the earth and anchor our energy into the world. This retreat, Part One of Seven, begins our journey from base to crown, from roots to wings.

We’re happy to partner once again with yogi and writer, Cathleen Kahn, from Oak Ridge, TN.

As an educator and compassionate healer, Cathleen Kahn teaches people to see physical fitness as a path to positive change in their lives. Working as a yogi, wellness expert, and the founder and co-owner of CatFit Yoga, she helps her clients find sustainable paths to health, happiness, and self-love. She’s always loved yoga, but it wasn’t until Cathleen survived a battle with breast cancer that it became central to her life.

She says, “After cancer, I lived yoga. When I lost my hair, yoga didn’t care how I looked. When I felt betrayed by my body, the yoga mat welcomed me. Yoga was therapeutic and a place of acceptance and healing for me during and after my diagnosis.” When she’s not teaching, writing, or speaking, Cathleen loves to travel, volunteer, and savor a great glass of red wine. She enjoys learning as much as teaching and strives to make a lasting and positive difference in the lives of everyone she meets.

Cost Breakdown:

$365.00 – Room, meals, workshops, and gifts: Includes a private bedroom/bathroom for 2 nights, 5 meals (wine at dinner), snacks, 2 yoga/meditation workshops, 2 writing workshops, 1 combined writing, yoga workshop, and special themed gifts.

$50.19 – Applicable Taxes

$415.19 – TOTAL

Additional Notes: Each attendee will need to bring a yoga mat (and blocks/straps if desired)

Past RWC Retreaters are eligible to receive a $50 discount. Please note which retreat(s) you've attended in your application.

We hope you'll join us for this unique retreat. We're eager to welcome you!

NEW FOR ISSUE FIVE: WE ARE HAVING OUR FIRST THEMED ISSUE, AND THE THEME IS:

Communication

Here are some ideas to get you started thinking. These are just ideas. Feel free to expand and generate your own ideas.

What are you saying? What am I hearing? What do you really mean? What do I think you really mean? How can we share our ideas, thoughts, and beliefs and truly be heard? What does it mean to disagree and still communicate? Does nature talk to us? Can we talk to God, Spirit, Mother Earth, the Universe as it conspires to help us? What do you whisper to yourself late at night? What advice from your parents, grandparents, still guides you today? How does touch communicate? How does music communicate? What does your city, street, neighborhood, community say about you? What is the language of families, friends, lovers? What happens when we can’t, don’t, or won’t communicate? What are the ways we misinterpret each other? How powerful are the words you say? How can you use words to heal, save, protect, defend? When you close your eyes and speak only to yourself, what do you hear in that deep, secret chamber of your soul?


All our usual guidelines still apply. Here they are in case you need a reminder!

  • We Publish Only Poetry. Please read the following guidelines carefully and in their entirety. Disregarding our guidelines may result in your submission being disqualified.
  • The reading period for Issue FIVE goes from July 1 through September 30 and will be published in November. Work submitted outside this window will not be read. 

***IMPORTANTWe read blind, so don’t put your name anywhere on your work or on the title of the file you attach. If we see a name, the submission will be disqualified and we won’t read it. 

  • You can add a cover letter and a 100-word, 3rd-person bio in the appropriate section on the form if you wish, but we are more interested in the quality of the work you send now than in your past achievements. If your work is accepted, we will contact you for your author’s bio.

***ALSO IMPORTANT – Send 1-3 poems, no longer than 50 lines each, in a single document. Begin each poem on a new page. Submit only once per reading period. If your work is accepted, we ask that you wait a year before submitting again.

  • Don’t send song lyrics or greeting card verse, poems with explicit language, or poems that are overtly political, sexual, or discriminatory. It is unlikely that we will publish rhyming verse. It is unlikely that we will publish translations. 
  • Please take a peek at our past issues before you submit. They are available for free under the Issues tab, so there’s no reason not to! We hope this will aid you as you select the poems you send us. Plus, we think the poems in our issues are fantastic. Prepare to be inspired!
  • We like Times New Roman and 12-point font best, so if you want to make us happy, you’ll like that too. Also, we accept only .doc, .docx or PDF files.
  • Occasionally, we may ask for a minor edit in a poem we really believe in.
  • While we’d love to compensate you for your beautiful words, we can’t do that yet.
  • We only accept work via Submittable at the link below. Simultaneous submissions are perfectly OK, but please let us know if your work is accepted somewhere else by making a note in Submittable. Previously published work is not accepted.
  • We acquire first North American serial rights for work we publish. All rights revert to the author upon publication. Should your work be subsequently published in a chapbook or full collection, please mention that it appeared first in Rockvale Review.
  • Thank you for sending us your work. We appreciate the chance to read it. We generally respond within 12 weeks. 

The featured artist for Issue FIVE is Henry Jones from Nashville, TN. Henry will pair every accepted poem with a piece of his art. 

The featured composer for Issue FIVE is Jeff Byers from Brentwood, TN. Jeff will respond to five poems with an original piece of music. 

We look forward to reading your work. Surprise us, amaze us, make us gasp, make us want to COMMUNICATE with you!


We accept applications year round and only through Submittable. A $35.00 application fee applies to all first time applicants.

If you are a previously accepted writer and it has been 12 months or more from your first application, you may apply under the “Returning Residents” tab and pay the application fee of $25.00. If you return for residency at RWC within 12 months of a previous residency, no application or application fee is required, but you will need to email the director at sandy.rockvale@gmail.com to discuss dates. If you have questions about this policy, please email and we can discuss your specific situation in detail.

Please Note Updated Policy: If you are interested in a 1-3 day mini-residency, no application is necessary. Please email the director sandy.rockvale@gmail.com to discuss dates.


Nature writing is often defined as environmental literature, or as the literature of place, or as landscape writing. The borders of the genre, though, are porous; after all, most writers write about nature in one way or another—some lovingly, some strategically, some politically, some lyrically. This September 13-15, join us at Rockvale Writers’ Colony for the “In the Name of the Land,” Weekend Retreat, where participants will hone their definitions and perceptions of nature writing. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage with natural landscapes, learn mindfulness practices to deepen their sensory and intuitive experiences of the natural world, and practice writing about nature in inventive ways.

These practices will be designed for people who feel a desire to write directly about the land in a variety of genres, as well as for people who want to learn to develop richer, more realistic, and more meaningful settings for their creative work.

We are excited to be joined once again by Melissa Jean, an Assistant Professor in the Mindfulness Studies masters’ program at Lesley University, where she also works as an Interdisciplinary Studies facilitator for Creative Writing MFA students. She teaches courses in academic writing, creative writing, research methods, and mindfulness and the environment. She received an MFA in Fiction Writing from Lesley, and a PhD in Human Dimensions of Ecosystem Science and Management from Utah State University. Her writing has appeared in The Colorado Review and a variety of online journals, including most recently Junoesq, The Hopper, Waxing and Waning, and Causeway Lit.

Are you a woman who writes? Join us this September 20-22, 2019 for an exclusive weekend retreat designed just for you!

What if women placed more importance on internal beauty rather than outer appearance? What if women recognized and trusted their own intelligence and abilities? What if women claimed equal status in society, in their work, and in their homes? What if women realized the power of their words? What if these women stood together instead of judging each other? And what if all these women were writers sharing their voices with the world?

Women can make an impact with the power of their words. Women are strong. Women are capable. Women are creative, unique, and talented. But in order to claim that, we need to let go of the labels that define us and become the women we’re meant to be. We need to believe.

In What If . . . A Retreat for Women Who Write, we welcome author and wellness coach, Sarah Hays Coomer, who will help us consider the connections between our mental and physical health and our creativity. We’ll draw from our own unique perspectives to construct honest and noteworthy pieces of writing. Together, we’ll discover our role as Women Writers.

This retreat is an opportunity for true community, a time of safety to examine our own “What ifs.” Join us as we explore how to confront our insecurities and become authentic, intentional writers and learn how this awareness can seriously impact what we create. We welcome women of all backgrounds, genres, and levels of experience.

**Please note that the themes of this retreat could be triggering for those working through traumatic events.

Cost Breakdown:

$340.00 – Room, meals, and workshops: Includes a private bedroom/bathroom for 2 nights, 5 meals (wine at dinner), snacks, 5 workshops

$46.75 – Applicable Taxes

$386.75 – TOTAL

*Past RWC Retreaters are eligible to receive a $50 discount. Please note which retreat(s) you’ve attended in your application.

 We hope you’ll join us for this unique and power-packed retreat at Rockvale. We’re eager to welcome you