New Year 2017 Odonata Women’s Retreat: “Space and Place” in Our Lives, in Our Work


As much as ever, we need both place to gather as women together and space to tell our stories and hear ourselves into being. Join Sarah Sadie Busse and Odonata for this brief getaway, designed to refill the wells and restore the spirit. This opportunity offers a chance to join other like-minded women after the bustle and activity of the holiday season.  We’ll gather for a day of conversation and reflection around the themes of ‘space’ and ‘place,’ and how those themes feed into—or challenge—your life and your work (and play).

The Lakeview Room at Holy Wisdom’s Retreat and Guest House will be ours on Saturday, January 7, 2017 from 9 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon. The day will include a presentation with exercises in the morning, discussion, and time for your own work. Separate rooms are available for those who seek the greater solitude of an overnight stay. Creativity prompts will be available for anyone who needs a jump start, and one on one consultations with Sarah Sadie can be scheduled in advance.

**update: a few people have asked about coming in on Friday afternoon/evening, especially due to winter travel. I have worked with Holy Wisdom to make this option available. Prices below.

Coffee and tea will be available to us throughout the day and lunch for the group will be provided by the Sisters at the Monastery, and is included in the cost. For those staying longer, the Monastery will continental breakfast in the Guest House and dinner Friday night in the main hall. Cost included in the price. Dinner Saturday is on your own.


4200 County Road M
Middleton, Wisconsin 53562

JANUARY 7, 2017

$60 Sat. only (group room; non-refundable)
$130 Sat.-Sun. (check out 2 PM Sun)
$190 Fri.-Sun (check in 3 PM Fri, check out 2 PM Sun)

one-on-one conference with Sarah Sadie: $30

Checks may be made out to “ODONATA” and mailed to
Odonata LLC
5201 Old Middleton Rd.
Madison, WI 53705

Credit cards accepted. Contact Sarah at sarah[dot]sadie[dot]1313[at]gmail[dot]com to arrange.

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Sarah Sadie Busse at Woodland Pattern

Wisconsin Poetry Activists | Sarah Sadie Busse

Email to Lisa Vihos, November 19, 2015

A poem is an experience more than a container. Whether or not change occurs when one reads a poem, enters and undergoes the experience, depends more on the quality of attention on the reader’s part, their stance, their openness to being changed. The work of poetry happens one on one, writer to reader. Whether the poem is being read in front of a crowd or in the privacy of one’s reading nook, the essential exchange is still between individuals.

I am not sure poetry’s role is to have a measurable outcome. I think the work of poetry is 1) interior and 2) not linear, nor (often) immediate. I do this work because it is self-evident to me that the gifts of poetry are necessary to our time, as to every time. And still, even as a volunteer and advocate, doing all this work, I resist that word “central.” Poetry is marginal. It exists on the edge, and pulls us out of our ordinary. Pulls us out of our own middles and muddles. This is my conception of it, anyway.

Poets, with our nuanced language, our care-full attention, the way we listen… perhaps we can help to bridge the rifts that seem to open so easily, to help us all remember how to communicate across difference. To complicate any reductive binary model. More often than not, this is a question of learning to listen to difference, to listen deeply. And that deep listening is the work of poetry. Yes, yes it is.

Sarah Busse (Sarah Sadie) co-edited the anthologies Echolocations, Poets Map Madison and Local Ground(s)—Midwest Poetics, co- founded Cowfeather Projects and was Madison Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2015.

“Wisconsin Poetry Activists” is a flash interview series by Lisa Vihos, which grew out of research that she conducted for an article in Wisconsin People & Ideas, Turning on the Lights, Spring 2016.

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Local Ground(s)—Midwest Poetics: Selected Prose Verse Wisconsin 2009–2014

softcover, 428 pages
non-fiction/poetry criticism
Cover Art: C. Mehrl Bennett
ISBN 978-0-9846568-6-8
LCCN 2014952090

localgroundsFor six years, Wendy Vardaman and Sarah Busse co-edited the hybrid poetry magazine Verse Wisconsin working on laptops out of local coffee shops and libraries. Over 13 print and 15 online issues, they published the work and words of writers from around the corner and around the globe. Including poetry, essays, book reviews, interviews, verse drama, spoken word, visual poetry, and other poetic forms in print, image, audio, and video, they sought to build the audience for poetry and the community of poets, while working to define and re-define what community might mean.

Over the years, the mission of Verse Wisconsin underwent significant shifts, as editorial emphasis moved from a simple publication model toward creating conversations, activisms, and transformational circles, seeking to invite diverse voices into these conversations, to define and to redefine what a poetics of the Midwest might be, and to point the way towards what such a Midwest poetics might become. This volume represents another iteration of an ongoing conversation, as the voices of Verse Wisconsin’s editors weave in and out with those of other poets, once again reframing the questions by selecting work from over the years and placing pieces in new context.

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Echolocations, Poets Map Madison

echolocationsedited by Sarah Sadie Busse, Wendy Vardaman & Shoshauna Shy

ISBN 978-0-9846568-4-4, softcover, poetry
November 2013
also available as a Kindle book
Group Discussions: Download pdf of questions and promts

Proceeds benefit the Madison Poet Laureate Fund. Read more about the Madison Poet Laureate programa volunteer position overseen by the Madison Arts Commission.

Here’s a literary block party filled with both echoes and locations, as more than 100 poets share poems that refer to specific Madison places. Long-time residents live next door to writers who passed through for only a while. Local streets intersect with myth, history, personal narrative and ecology. More than geography, more than chronology, what emerges is something akin to the shifting psyche of a city. Poem by poem, a new map evolves, folds back upon its own stories, and rewrites itself over and over through its sounds and its silences, taking into account a variety of perspectives, a multitude of voices. In the end these poets ask us, How many Madisons are there?

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