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. 

Ends on April 30, 2019$10.00
$10.00

Please read the guidelines carefully and completely. 

THE THEME IS: TIME 

At Rockvale Writers’ Colony, we believe a writers’ retreat is a gift of time you give yourself and your writing. We’d like to further explore the concept of time in all its myriad forms, modes, aspects, and perspectives. What notion about time leaves an impression on you? 

Think about timelessness, playtime, retirement, aging, birth, couples time, time out, nighttime, daytime, timely, clocks, watches, gift of time, timebound, sometime, a moment in time, hard time, double time, the fullness of time, a question of time, borrowed time, losing track of time, once upon a time, party time, race against time, one day at a time, the last time, third time’s a charm, time flies, time and time again. These are just ideas. We’re sure you have more of your own.

Submit 1-3 previously unpublished poems in a single document. Begin each poem on a new page. Please use 12 point, Times New Roman font.

*****IMPORTANT***** The word “time” (or some form of the word) must appear somewhere in the title or body of the poem. Omitting this will result in disqualification.

*****IMPORTANT***** This is a blind process. DO NOT put your name in your uploaded file or your file title. Any identifying information will result in disqualification.

Submission fee is $10.00 and must be paid through Submittable.  

The winning poet will receive one free week of residency (6 nights, 7 days - subject to availability) at Rockvale Writers' Colony. The winning poem will be published in Rockvale Review, Issue Five.

Before you enter this contest, make note that the winning poet must make his/her own travel arrangements to RWC and must provide his/her own food while there. If you  know you will not be able to travel to TN or spend a week at the colony, please reconsider submitting. All rules and regulations of RWC apply, including reading and signing the Writers’ Contract. 

The Directors of RWC will judge. Family and close personal friends of the directors are not eligible to submit. Those affiliated with Rockvale Review should also refrain from submitting.

Deadline is April 30, 2019 at midnight. The winner will be announced on May 15, 2019. The prize must be redeemed by April 30, 2020. 

We Publish Only Poetry. Please read the following guidelines carefully and in their entirety.

Disregarding our guidelines may result in your submission being disqualified.

We have TWO reading periods each year:

  • Jan 1 through March 31   (with an issue published in May)
  • July 1 through September 30  (with an issue published in November.)

Work submitted outside these windows will not be read. Right now, our issues are un-themed.

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 prefer .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.

NEW FOR ISSUE FOUR: Ashley Trabue will be our Featured Artist. Ashley will pair each accepted poem with a piece of her art. The poem and art will be published together on our website and in the optional print magazine. Sherry Paige will be our Featured Composer. Sherry will choose 3-5 of our accepted poems and write a musical composition that responds to that poem. The audio file will be available with the chosen poem on our website.  

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.


April 5-7, 2019 Weekend Retreat

Many creative people are drawn to other creative endeavors that lie outside their main field of focus. They use these types of artistic expression as a vehicle to new observations, new ways of comparing and interpreting the world around them. A visual artist perceives an idea for a painting by watching a video or play. A videographer gets a great idea for a film by listening to music. A musician reads a story and hears the music beneath it and begins to compose. A writer creates a story within the lines, dimension, and texture of visual art. At Rockvale, we honor all types of creative expression and are committed to exploring the relationships between them. 

In The Artful Writer Weekend Workshop, we’ll explore the connection between image and word. We’ll delve into the world of visual art and see how it can inspire and enhance our writing. We’ll start with several Ekphrastic exercises (writing in response to paintings and photography) and then try our hand at creating our own visual art with the aim of writing towards those pieces at the end of the weekend. We’ll study geometric patterns and practice the art of meditative doodling. There’s no need to worry that you’re not an “artist” or that you can’t “draw.” You can do this and you’ll be amazed at the beautiful things you create. You’ll be equally amazed at the words you write that are inspired by visual art. 


Mini-Retreat May 4 - 5, 2019

In this workshop, you'll encounter a number of sensory experiences meant to help you recall, with greater clarity and awareness, memories triggered by smell, sound, movement, and taste. We will talk about the way embodied experience helps us access unexpected moments from the past, and help us create richer, more fully realized narratives of our lives. Participants can expect to generate three short pieces of memoir in prompts designed to allow for--but not force--exploring interconnected memories toward generating one longer piece. 

Price is $170.00 PLUS applicable taxes. You will receive an email with more information and payment details. Full payment is due before April 20, 2019

A Unique Full-Week Residency Experience: July 7-13, 2019

Join us for a power-packed week of poetry! We’ve invited three powerful teacher/poets to teach one workshop each during the week. With engaging topics and inspiring discussions, writers can take what they learned in workshop to generate new poems. Three different teachers means three different approaches to teaching and three different views of poetry. This is a unique opportunity!

This special retreat packs two valuable writing experiences into one week. First, writers will enjoy a full residency with independent writing time and the freedom to choose how they spend the majority of their day. Writers provide and prepare their own food (with the exception of the Welcome Dinner and Lunches on M, W, and F). We provide plenty of pantry space and a large kitchen is available for use around the clock. Second, writers will attend a 2-hour writing workshop on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:00 to Noon. In addition, writers will enjoy detailed feedback on 3 poems within a 30 minute consultation. The time of structured learning balances the free time so that every writer receives both community and solitude, time to be engaged and time to be at the page. 

The full cost of this retreat is $910.00. The fee listed here is the $100.00 deposit that must be paid upon registration. 

We hope you’ll join us for this unique and power-packed retreat at Rockvale. We’re eager to welcome you and help you discover how to make your poems as powerful as they can be.


A Full-Week Fiction Retreat - July 21-27, 2019

Join us as traditionally published author & experienced book coach Sheila Athens shares the secrets she’s gained by providing developmental edits on dozens of manuscripts.  In addition to workshops and plenty of writing time, you’ll get individualized feedback on the first ten pages of your novel.  You’ll learn the elements that make literary agents, acquiring editors and readers latch onto a story & fall willingly under its spell. 

This special retreat packs two valuable writing experiences into one week. First, writers will enjoy a full residency with independent writing time and the freedom to choose how they spend the majority of their day. Writers provide and prepare their own food (with the exception of the Welcome Dinner). We provide plenty of pantry space and a large kitchen is available for use around the clock. Second, writers will attend a 2-hour writing workshop each day from 10:00 to Noon led by author and book coach Sheila Athens. The time of structured learning balances the free time so that every writer receives both community and solitude, time to be engaged and time to be at the page. 

We hope you’ll join us for this unique and power-packed retreat at Rockvale. We’re eager to welcome you and help you discover how to make your stories as strong as they can be.

The full cost of this retreat is $910.00. The fee listed here is the $100.00 deposit that is required to hold your spot. The deposit must be paid upon registration. The balance is due by July 1, 2019.


Sheila' Credentials:

• Traditionally published novelist with a major publishing company

• Experienced book coach, both via her private practice & via Author Accelerator, one of the nation’s most well-respected providers of book coaching & developmental editing services

• Current Chair of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association Agent Pitch Events, which means she’s communicating on a regular basis with agents who are currently open to submissions

• Gained her knowledge by attending many of the nation’s foremost writing conferences & seminars, such as Robert McKee’s Story seminar & Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel.

• Experienced presenter & facilitator, including: 

  • Former Training Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
  • Former Vice President of Human Resources for a Fortune 100 company
  • Has presented writing-related topics on both a regional and national level