founded Patchwork Farm Retreat in western Massachusetts
over 35 years ago, has led writing retreats there since
1992, and internationally since 1996. She celebrates our
relationship to the earth as sacred, to writing as a way
of finding what is deepest within us, and to teaching
writing as a participatory, supportive endeavor. She is
excited at the promise writing together holds for all
writing process is based on the method developed by Amherst
Writers & Artists, of which Patricia is an affiliate
and has been a national trainer of workshop leaders, and
provides beginning and experienced writers with a supportive,
encouraging context in which to write.
has spent much of her life as an advocate: for women, for
civil rights, for peace, for a healthy environment, for
small farms and rural communities, for the arts. Born and
raised in Austin, Texas, she moved north years ago with
her children. She is a business owner and trail walker,
and has been director of several organizations, including
women's centers, community economic development corporations,
district congressional offices, and served as an elected
county commissioner for four years. In 1985, when she joined
Pat Schneider's Amherst Writers & Artists writing workshop,
she finally found the courage to write for others to read.
holds an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College
of Fine Arts, and completed her undergraduate degree at
Smith College, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1970. She is a member
of the Texas Writers League, Straw Dog Writers Guild, the
Berkshire Writers Room, the American Poetry Society, and
is an affiliate of Amherst Writers & Artists. A grant
in 2011, from the Massachusetts Arts Council, enabled her
to help establish a writing program at her local library.
Trained to teach English to speakers of other languages
(TESOL), Patricia and friends volunteer in the Maya village
of Santa Cruz la Laguna on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where
Patricia also leads retreats at Villa Sumaya Retreat Center.
poetry, fiction and feature articles have appeared in a
variety of journals & anthologies, The Los Angeles Times,
Hampshire Life, and The Boston Sunday Globe. Her poems have
most recently appeared in The Berkshire Review,
Upstreet, Sanctuary: Magazine of the Massachusetts
Audubon Society, and Crossing Paths: An Anthology
of Poems by Women, Mad River Press. Her work has been
featured in the Berkshire Review, which nominated
her poem, "Two Hundred Wings" for a Pushcart Prize."
She was supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural
Council to perform her work as a benefit for the Miniature
Theatre of Chester. Her book of poems, A Kind of Yellow,
won Writer's Digest's International competition for self-published
books of poetry andis available at the Patchwork
Press Shop.High Lonesome, her latest collection
of poems, was published in 2011 by Hedgerow Books of Levellers
Press and is available from their Store.
Patricia is responsible for the writing program at all retreats.
In Patricia's writing circles, beginning and experienced writers find a supportive, encouraging context from which to write from their deepest selves. Participants write in response to exercises Patricia offers; they are invited to read their work aloud. Group members affirm what they like and what stays with them.
In all of her retreats and workshops, Patricia encourages the use of certain guidelines in responding to new writing. New writing which has not been edited is like a new baby: it’s vulnerable and easily damaged by negative judgements. To maintain a safe, confidential, sacred space in which to write:
We honor the writer by listening carefully
We treat everything as fiction
We refer to the narrator/speaker, not to the author, as the voice of the piece
remember this is a writing group, not a therapy
We are free to do what we want and are free to accept or reject the exercises that are offered
are invited to read and respond only with
what we like, what stays with us, what moves
us—not with how to make it stronger
We stick to the writing, avoiding our own anecdotes and asides
We hold everything in the circle in confidence
this gentle but rigorous approach, Patricia offers
occasional weekend retreats at Patchwork Farm,
week long retreats internationally, and 4-day
retreats in Texas & the Berkshire Mountains
For more information or to register for a Patchwork Farm event, please email Patricia... and tell us how you heard about Patchwork Farm!
Team - Past & Present
Charles is registered with the Yoga Alliance at the 500 hour level (the highest registration currently available), and is the co-founder and serves on the faculty of the Living Yoga Teacher Training Program. He is also the co-founder of Texas Yoga, and helps organize and presents at the Annual Texas Yoga Retreat.
He is a guest writer for Yoga Journal's "Ask Our Expert" column, and has been interviewed for articles in Yoga Journal four times, on yoga retreats, creativity, heart disease, and Yoga for overweight students. One of Charles' essays (written on retreat with Patricia) appeared as the lead essay in a National Chess magazine in India. He has numerous essays published in regional publications through out the US, and on the internet.
Charles MacInerney has studied Yoga and Meditation since 1971. He teaches classes on Yoga, Meditation, Posture, Visualization, Breathing, Balance, Creativity, Concentration and biofeedback for a variety of businesses, corporations and institutions. He has worked with over 12,000 students in Austin, where he lives.
is a writer and a therapist. She writes short stories,
novels, and essays and has been published in Peregrine,
Berkshire Review, Kaleidoscope, Earth's Daughters,
Anseo, and Hampshire Life. Her first novel, Truth,
was published in 2003 by Free Press of Simon and Schuster.
Her second novel, Lost
& Found, was published 2007 by Avon, Harper
Collins. Lost & Found has been on the
New York Times Bestseller List and has been optioned
for film by Katherine Heigl, star of Grey’s
Anatomy. Her third novel, Now
& Then, was published in 2009 by Avon, Harper
Collins. She has published travel articles (Winter
in Soviet Georgia), short stories (most recently in
the Berkshire Review), and numerous essays and radio
pieces.She is currently working on her fourth novel.
In 2005, she was the editor of the anthology,
Writing From Prison. This anthology
is the culmination of eight years of writing workshops
sponsored by Voices From Inside, an advocacy group
for incarcerated women. She has served as fiction
editor of the online Patchwork Journal.
her work as a writer and therapist, the practice
of yoga has been a sustaining and inspiring part
of Jacqueline's life for nearly 20 years. She has
taught Yoga at Patricia's writing retreats in the
British Isles since 2001. Jacqueline teaches a restorative
style of yoga based on Hatha and Anusara Yoga that
is accessible to beginners as well as those who
want more challenging poses. Writers can start and
end their day by revitalizing, relaxing, and strengthening
the body, mind, and spirit.
M Gordon’s poems and stories have been published
widely in such journals as The Massachusetts Review,
Nimrod and The Northwest Review. Prizes include
The Betsy Colquitt Award from descant, The Editor’s
Choice Award from the Beacon Street Review, and
First Prize for a short story in Glimmer Train.
Phi Beta Kappa, Masters in Music from Boston University,
she’s the recipient of a 2008 Massachusetts
Cultural Council Artist Fellowship in fiction, having
been a finalist in poetry in 2004.
been an equestrian and chamber musician, and currently
works as a free-lance editor in both poetry and
prose. She was the poetry editor for our online
Patchwork Journal. She facilitates weekly public
discussion of contemporary poetry for Forbes Library
in Northampton, Massachusetts, and is the author
of Fourth World (Adastra Press, 2010) and
at the Institute of the Possible (Hedgerow
Books, 2011). She’s currently at work on a
novel set in the islands of British Columbia.
Celia has led AWA certified workshops for over eight
years. She has an extensive background in education
and publishing and earned her MFA at Lesley University.
Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines,
in the anthology Beyond the Yellow Wallpaper and
in Westview: the Journal of Western Oklahoma.
offers workshops in the craft of writing for participants
in our international retreats, as well as working
with individual writers on their manuscripts. She
has served as managing editor for our online Patchwork
Journal. In Fall, 2011, Celia will travel to Botswana
to serve in the Peace Corps. You can contact her here:
A gifted writer and painter, born and raised in England,
David Clemson has Masters Degrees in Research and
Statistics, and in Writing Studies. David began his
creative writing life at Patchwork's first retreat
in Scotland in 2000, but over the years he has writen
more than 100 mathematics textbooks for youngsters,
their teacher and parents, the newest of which will
be published later this year.
He currently leads a writing group in Wiltshire,
England and has produced a collection of the group's
work to be published this Spring. A journalist published
widely in the U.K., including in the Guardian, he
has appeared in Television and radio, is a published
poet and is completing his first novel and a collection
of stories for a memoir. David will lead a craft
of writting workshop during our Wales retreat in
2007, and consult with individual writers on their
Jane is a writer, singer and actor,
in addition to being a gifted yoga instructor.
She is currently working on her first novel and
greatly appreciates the safe and supportive environment
of the creative writing/yoga retreats that provide
the opportunity for the muse to come forward.
Her dream is to continue to travel the world going
from one such retreat to another, as when she
is at home her level of procrastination when it
comes to writing is impressive!
Jane Mortifee has twice completed
the 200 hour RYT certification. Her approach to
teaching is to make yoga safe and accessible for
practitioners of all levels. She has studied various
forms of meditation, focusing on Tibetan Buddhism
for the last 17 years. Yoga is a constant companion.
Ponteir Sackrey is an Anusara-Inspired
(TM) yoga teacher, with a following in Jackson,
Wyoming. Being rather “sturdy” physically,
she approaches her practice with humility, humor,
and joy. Ponteir uses her good humor and down-to-earth
approach to ensure that yoga is accessible to all.
Ponteir was first introduced to hatha
yoga in her early 20’s through her affiliation
with the Nityananda Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
an organization dedicated to the study of Kashmir
Shaivism. She considers that affiliation a great gift,
one which set her on a path of curious discovery and
inner reflection. In 2000 she was introduced to Anusara
yoga, another fortuitous moment, and has recently
received her Inspired-level certification. Founded
by John Friend in 1997, Anusara yoga is a school of
hatha yoga, which unifies a life-affirming Shiva-Shakti
Tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness with Universal
Principles of Alignment. It offers an uplifting philosophy,
epitomized by a "celebration of the heart"
that looks for the good in all people and all things.
Students of all levels of ability and yoga experience
are honored for their unique differences, limitations,
Ponteir is married and has two school-age daughters.
She has an MBA from Simmons College and is director
of development and marketing at the National Museum
of Wildlife Art, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and immediate
past-president of the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce.
Kathy has studied and practiced yoga since 2002
and received a Yoga Foundation Certificate in UK
in 2009. She led yoga classes in Zimbabwe in 2010
for complete beginners and regularly leads small
groups on writing retreats. She is interested in
the principles of basic Hatha yoga and what this
means for a practice (Ha – the sun representing
male energy; Tha – the moon representing female
energy), and uses the teaching of A.G. Mohan and
Personal Reintegration in her own practice.
Kathy holds a M.Ed and Diploma
Adult Education (Glasgow, Scotland). She writes short
stories, when she makes time, stimulated by her work
across Africa and internationally. She has had one
(only!) published by Leaf Books and does not spend
enough time submitting others for publication. When
she is not working abroad, Kathy lives in England.
Retired, Dave now travels, usually with camera in
hand, in continual hope of capturing something of
the essence of places visited – that "kernel
of personality" through which they speak; the
mystery of time and place they embody. His career
as a geophysicist – where the goal was to obtain
ever clearer pictures of earth's subsurface structure
and composition, "earth's image" as it were
– witnessed continued progress in the art of
gathering, processing, and interpreting these earth-soundings.
There was a metaphorical side to all this, as with
all human activity; Imagining Earth is the book he
imagines writing someday, to capture the sense of
has lead other digital photographers in our retreats
on “walkabouts” to capture some of the
unique beauty that is Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
and on the the Isle of Cumbrae in Scotland.
are many things to see, unwrapped gifts and free
surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn
with pennies cast broadside by a generous hand.
But- and this is the point- who gets excited by
a mere penny? If you follow one arrow, if you crouch
motionless on a bank to watch a tremulous ripple
thrill on the water and are rewarded by the sight
of a muskrat paddling from its den, will you count
that sight a chip of copper only, and go on your
rueful way? It is dire poverty indeed when a man
is so malnourished " -- Annie Dillard "Pilgrim
at Tinker Creek"
picture by Chris Fraser
Patchwork Farm Retreat is on 103 acres of wooded mountainside just 20 minutes from downtown Northampton in western Massachusetts. The forest of red oak, sugar maple, beech, ash, white, yellow and black birch, white pine and hemlock trees is laced by several miles of beautiful walking trails.
picture by Chris Fraser
in the center of the land, looking southeast to
the Holyoke Range and the Pioneer Valley, sits
the little Cottage where we have held creative
writing retreats since 1996, and where we eat
delicious meals. The cottage is occasionally available
to rent, fully furnished.
Recent visitors to the cottage include a gyre of seagulls, two pileated woodpeckers, a 3-legged doe, ruffed grouse in the sumac, coyotes on the compost pile, a momma Moose with baby, and a one-eared Black Bear known locally as "Lefty". Chickadees, tufted titmice, nuthatch and goldfinch regularly clean out the birdfeeder; and juncoes, bluejays, wild turkeys and squirrels - gray, red and flying - vie for what's left on the ground.
Downhill from the cottage is the Lower Woods cabin, available to those seeking a peaceful, simple and lovely place to work, dream and meditate.
Prayer by Michael Leunig
We give thanks for places of simplicity and peace. May we find such places in ourselves. We give thanks for places of refuge and beauty. May we find such places in ourselves. We give thanks for places of acceptance and belonging. May we find such places in ourselves. May we begin to mend the outer world. According to the truth of our inner life.
From A Common Prayer, Collins Dove (Harper Collins Australia Pty. Ltd.) 1990.