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Himalayan Poetry Masterclass with Rochelle Potkar

September 26 September 30

If Word be Water, then glacier, river, cloud, stream, or vapour?

Poetry reflects the voice of the heart and soul. It can be healing and transformative. Writing poems helps one deal with inner turmoil while providing comfort in words. Poems encourage inter-connectedness in the universe. The shortest way to sense and semblance from a state of flux.

Each poem has a distinct rhythm that inspires poets to dream, imagine, observe and think. With the Himalayas as your backdrop, in this masterclass, you will discover the magic of poetry in nature.

Explore Poetry in different forms in the Himalayas with award-winning poet Rochelle Potkar. Meld words to create magic and let the mountains – and Rochelle – be your muse.

The award-winning poet will lead you through the wonderland of poetry. You understand & appreciate poetry, and you write your own poems under her guidance.

  • Level: Novice. This workshop is great for aspiring poets and poetry lovers who want to learn the art of haiku, haibun, and freeverse. Prose writers who want to learn lyricism and brevity will also benefit.
  • Who: Rochelle PotkarFictionist | Poet | Screenwriter (For full instructor profile, scroll down).

Over three full days of learning and immersion, we will learn haiku, haibun and freeverse respectively. (detailed program below)

In this workshop we are also introducing the concept of “Poetry Film”. Poetry film is the coming together of film and poetry. It fuses poetry with visual images and sound to offer a form of creative expression. Each participant will be creating their own poetry film. You’ll need your phone camera to create this, along with a free editing software like Moviemaker.

The Himalayan Workshop sessions are held in the open or in the book lounge. Some meals maybe served in the open too if the weather is good. The outdoors are a very inviting and inspiring here.

The venue is the 5-star rated Himalayan Writing Retreat (you can read our reviews here).

While you’re here, walk in the wilderness, bask in the warmth of a sublime sunset, and gaze at the stars. Let your eyes feast on the magnificent Himalayan dusks and dawns, your ears on the live birdsong concert, your lungs on clean crisp mountain air, and your taste buds on the delectable, homely fare.

This workshop is INR 32000. Currently the early-bird price of INR 29000 is available. This covers a twin shared room for all four nights, all meals and taxes. Six of 10 seats remain. To book, please click the blue button below. Questions? Call or WhatsApp +91 73035 16665 .

About the Instructor

Rochelle Potkar

Picture Credit: Thomas Langdon, Iowa

Rochelle Potkar is a Mumbai-based award-winning poet and short story writer. 

Author of two poetry books, Four Degrees of Separation, and Paper Asylum – shortlisted for the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020. Internationally-anthologized, she is an alumna of Iowa’s International Writing Program (2015) and a Charles Wallace Writer’s fellow at, the University of Stirling, Scotland (2017).

She has read her poetry at literature festivals in India, Bali, Iowa, Dubai, Stirling, Glasgow, Hongkong, Ukraine, Hungary, Bangladesh, Dubai, Macao, and the Gold Coast.  Her work has been translated into Arabic, Hungarian, French, Spanish, Marathi, and German. Her recent collection of short stories Bombay Hangovers (2021) was well-received. 

As a screenwriter, her story ideas won the Pocketwala-Cinestaan Web Series Idea Contest 2021. Her first screenplay was a quarterfinalist at the Atlanta Film Festival Screenwriting competition 2020, and an NFDC, India Screenwriter’s Lab selection 2018. She has been invited twice as a creative-writing mentor for Iowa’s International Writing Programs of the Summer Institute (2019) and Between-The-Lines (2022).

Her awards/features–

  • Paper Asylum was shortlisted for the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020.
  • To Daraza, winner of The Norton Girault Literary Prize in poetry UK, 2018.
  • The girl from Lal Bazar, shortlist, The Gregory O’ Donoghue International Poetry Prize Ireland, 2018
  • Place, honorable mention, Asian Cha’s Auditory Cortex, 2018.
  • War Specials, first runner up, The Great Indian Poetry Contest, 2018.
  • Amber, included in the Hongkong’s Proverse Poetry Prize 2018 Anthology.
  • Inglorious Coins of the Counting House, her unpublished poetry manuscript was longlisted at the Eyewear Publishing, Beverly Prize Poetry Book Award UK 2019, and shortlisted at the 2nd Gaudy Boy Poetry Book Prize 2019, NY.
  • The Coordinates of Us/ सर्व अंशांतून आपण – her co-authored book of cross-translated English/Marathi poetry was a shortlisted manuscript at the iWrite – Jaipur Bookmark 2020 and won the Raza Foundation Grant 2020.
  • Poetry film Skirt was showcased on Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland.
  • Poetry readings on Disney+ Hotsar/ Shorts-English. (Link). 

Her Literary CV: https://rochellepotkar.com/bio/

Day 0 (September 26)

Arrive anytime after 2 PM, chill and take in the beauty

Day 1

9:00 to 9:30 AM – Speaking in the cæsura of silence

9:30 to 10:30 AM – Walking into the woods, into your wilderness

10:30 to 12:00 PM – Opening up to imagery & epiphany

12:00 to 1:00 PM – Sketching your own haiku: writing

Lunch 1:00 to 2:00 PM

2:00 to 3:30 PM – Sharing haiku, working on the fine balance: link & shift of phrase and fragment: critiquing

3:30 to 5:00 PM – Shifting tones to Poetry Films: raw footage

Day 2

9:00 to 10:00 AM – Nature’s Trail – Sharing about your relationship with Word, Self, & Time; your processes, tools & techniques

10:00 to 11:30 AM – Interpreting Haibun

11:30 to 1:00 PM – Writing Haibun (1-3 pieces)

Lunch 1:00 to 2:00 PM

2:00 to 3:30 PM – Sharing haibun, working on the prose, juxtapositions, and lyricisms

3:30 to 4:30 PM – Poetry Films: Editing & processing

4:30 to 5:00 PM – Nature Trail

6:00 PM onwards –

Freewheeling: sharing impressions of the day: what they provoke and invoke.

Day 3

9:00 to 10:15 AM – Interpreting Free verse poetry

10:15 to 11:30 AM – Writing Free verse (1-2 pieces)

11:30 to 1:00 PM – Sharing Free verse, working on rhythm, resonance, line break, structure

Lunch 1:00 to 2:00 PM

2:00 to 3:00 PM – Wag the Dog: Discussing a Dreamer’s life and place in a capitalistic world. Also: editing, submitting, publishing: A Life Journey

3:30 to 4:30 PM – Poetry Films: Presentation

4:30 to 5:30 PM – Nature Trail

6 PM onwards – Open-mic: Perform/Present your Pieces

Day 4 (September 30)

Leave, unwillingly, after a yummy breakfast.

The Himalayan Writing Retreat is built for writing and learning. We are rated 5-star on google and facebook.

Once here, you will be sharing a room with a fellow participant (unless we’ve confirmed a single). All essentials like food, hot water, towels etc. are provided. No hidden costs.

Book lounge snow winter
The book lounge on a snowy day

It can snow in winter. Weather can vary and the weather chart of Mukteshwar (12 km from the retreat) is here. A pair of sturdy walking shoes, some rain protection and an extra layer or two are always a good idea.

Our rooms are built to let nature in and inspire you. To see pictures of the rooms click here . To see pictures of the writing spaces click here

Depending upon where you travel in from, you can reach us by road, train or air. Even if flying or taking a train, the final stretch is a drive, and the last 150 metres is a walk.

By Road

The retreat is a 370 km/9 hours drive from Delhi. If driving, we recommend you leave early. Note that parking at the retreat is on the road – we do not have any private parking. We have limited driver accommodation, so please check in advance.

Overnight Volvo buses ply between Haldwani and Delhi, the more reliable of which are government operated. You con book those here. Private Volvos and Sleeper buses also ply between Delhi and Haldwani, which you can book on redbus. Make sure you pick a bus with a high (4+) rating.

By Train

There are three trains a day from Delhi to Kathgodam, the nearest train station. Some others also come in from Kolkata, Lucknow and Dehradun. From Delhi, Ranikhet Express is a convenient overnight train both ways, but finding tickets can be difficult. 

Most people prefer to take the Kathgodam Shatabdi (Delhi dep: 6.20 AM, Kathgodam Arr: 11.40 AM). A cab from Kathgodam to Satkhol takes about 2.5 hrs / Rs. 2200 (more for a big car). Cabs are often shared by participants. 

By Air

There are daily flights from Delhi to Pantnagar. A cab from Pantnagar to Satkhol takes about 3.5 hr / Approx INR 4K.

There are direct flights from Mumbai and Bangalore to Bareilly 3-4 days a week. Satkhol is a 5hr / INR 5.5k cab ride from Bareilly. (More for a big car). Cabs are often shared by participants.

  1. Why should I choose HWR Workshops?   
  • Personal Attention: We don’t take more than 10 students in a class. You get a lot of personal attention and feedback. No classrooms of 20-30 people or one-way pre-recorded videos here.
  • Class Quality: For most courses, we filter our participants. You can’t just pay and sign up. We need to see a writing sample (in our application form) to ensure the class is of a uniform standard.
  • Cost per hour: Our courses are long and intense. As an example, the Creative Writing course is 18000 for 24 contact hours (3 days, 8 hours each day). The cost per hour = 750 / hour. That is comparable to many of the “cheaper” courses.
  • Quality of faculty: No lightweights here. Many of our faculty are award-winners. All are experts and great teachers. We don’t settle for average.
  • Feedback scores: Across courses, we are rated 4.5/5, or higher. You can read our reviews HERE.
  1. Do I get a certificate of participation?

Yes, certificates are available on request.

  1. Any discounts for students / other categories?

At the Himalayan Writing Retreat, we follow a strict No-Discount policy.

  1. Is the workshop fee refundable?

Our cancellation policy is as follows:

  • Online Writing Workshop: 100% refund if cancellation 2 weeks before the event start date, 50% if cancellation one week before the start date, 0% if less than one week before the start date.
  • Creative Writing Workshop at the Himalayas: 100% refund if cancellation 4 weeks before the event start date, 50% if cancellation two weeks before the start date, 0% if less than two weeks before the start date.
  1. Is the Himalayan Writing Retreat a business or an NGO?

The Himalayan Writing Retreat is a social enterprise. It works closely and actively with two local NGOs in its community work initiatives: Chirag and Alaap. In 2020, HWR raised INR 6.1 Lakhs to support the Chirag School.

Have more questions? Feel free to write to us at namrata@himalayanwritingretreat.com or connect with us at +91 73035 16665 (Call/ WA/Signal).

Event Summary


September 26
September 30
Event Category:

Additional Guests, Single room and Cancellation Policy:

Additional Guests may stay with participants, subject to availability. Their stay is charged at a rate of INR 4000 per night including meals and taxes for a shared room.

Single rooms can be requested but are subject to availability. The additional cost for a single room is 3000 per night including meals and taxes.

100% refund if cancellation 4 weeks before event start date, 50% if cancellation is done two weeks before start date, 0% if less than two weeks before start date.

If participants test positive for Covid-19 before travel (RTPCR Report Required), full credit will be held for six months for any future event, subject to availability.

Village Satkhol
District Nainital, Uttarakhand 263138 India
+ Google Map
+91 73035 16665