SwampFire Retreat for Artists and Writers


8th annual retreat, 26-28 June 2015

Steve Smith opened his studio area and 4 Corners Gallery to SwampFire again this year. The rains of June didn't hold us back. Our tents stayed dry; we shared fine fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. And Steve provided a wonderful engraving and print-making activity for the group. We really enjoyed his on-site printing press.

Steve Smith's 4 Corners Gallery: Studio and Pottery


Curtis VanDonkelaar

A writer labors alone, just like a little worker bee. Put a few of them together and see what then can build.


A wonderful place with wonderful people; so many wonderful words.



Joyce Meier

June 27, 2015

What a lovely experience. Such a warm group of artists, talkers, learners, sharers. A wonderful time—I am so full of this richness. Am now hungry to get back to my writing projects further. Inspiring and generous, kind people




Dawn Comer

June 28, 2015

Reflection to come soon.






Rachel Baker

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Accidental evidences of the artist
Rembrandt's thumbprint immortalized
Sepia proofs document growth:
the ability to release what is necessary—
to make sure marks on a blank space
even when the surroundings are unseen—
and to accept imperfections despite their failure
to be graven in the image we desire.

Discover the solace of losing yourself
in the bosom of community,
seek to harness the strength of naming,
the decisiveness of words,
a coven of writers and artists
finding each other in those accidental



June 27, 2015

Inspired during the 1st night of SwampFire . . .

who consumes whom

by which appetite
do we alter the

embed your hand
into the breath
of life

unleash the secret
from your

MEH (M. D.) Hasbrook

Mary Catherine Harper

Nox, Rain

The best rains come at night
just after I’ve zipped myself
into the tent.

Shoes under the shelter
of the fly, feet dry,
mosquito buzz on the net’s
other side.

The first drop a ping,
the call to all fellow
rain to dive.

Bodies in free fall,
their staccato suicide
humming into the tent,


Marian Plant

July 19-20, 2015

Marian was not able to attend SwampFire this year, so she hosted a SwampFire II at her home in Defiance, Ohio. She opened her home to others who were not available for the June gathering, including Jan Bechtel, Jerri Courtney, and Eva English. Here is Marian's reflection:

I made a mini-SwampFire. I wanted something of what I could not have because I was away "on the job" the weekend of SwampFire. Others came who also could not go in June. And several anchors—Dawn and MC—did just that: came, and by coming, anchored us.
So Jerri, Jan, Eva and I, along with Dawn and MC, feasted on summer's bounty of fresh fruits and fresh veggies, grilled meats, cold salads, and winter's comfort of coffee, omlettes, spaghetti and sauce . . . and birds at backyard feeders, squirrels on tree trunks, breezes in humid air . . . retreat house with comforts of home, and room to write.
I am satisfied. I think Marie (the cat) is too.

Marian's house is surrounded by trees. She cultivates flowers and flowering bushes, and has a fine herb garden. Her grounds are home to numerous critters, including this luna moth, who showed up during Swampfire II.



At the June SwampFire, Steve explains how to create a print from an engraving.








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