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October 4, 2018 - October 14, 2018


The words of celebrated Italian Renaissance poet Vittoria Colonna, dear friend of Michelangelo, grabbed me by the throat when I read them first in Tuscany in early 2018: I write from habit, not because I am on fire. And now I extend you this invitation: Break old habits. Come catch fire. Please join me this Fall in Umbria for a life-changing poetry-writing experience.

What better place than Italy, at La Romita School of Art and at many other inspiring locations in Umbria and Tuscany, to bust out of old habits, old stories, and stand in the light from the blaze of your own new words.

In this ten-day poetry writing retreat we will maintain a constructive balance between facilitated writing sessions, lots of quiet times for writing and our out trips to some of the remarkable places near and far-near from La Romita including Assisi, Perugia, Spoleto, Todi and some of the lesser-known towns that dot the hilltops of Umbria, each with their own special features and histories.

The structured writing sessions, many in situ, or as artists say en plein air, at places we visit will be inspired by handouts based on meditations on craft, specific creative prompts and the poems of master poets such as Ocean Vuong, Patrick Lane, Rosemary Griebel, David Whyte, Mary Oliver, Frank O’Hara, Jan Zwicky, Roger Reeves, Ishion Hutchinson, Derek Walcott, James Wright, Giovanni Pascoli, Jack Gilbert, Seamus Heaney and many others.

The retreat will combine aspects of poetic craft with poetry’s ability to open you to surprising moments of discovery with ourselves and the world around you. This approach will help you write unexpected poems that stretch you as a person and as a writer. And you will discover the truth of these words by Canadian poet Susan Musgrave:  “It seems to me my poems know more than I do and are wiser than I am.”

The Benefits

There is something special that happens when a poet/retreatant lives in a community of other poets for ten days. Yes, life-long friendships can develop, but even more, a synergy can occur as poems are written together, shared and revised that leads to the retreatant going home with up to ten new poems quite unlike any others they have written before.

Who Should Apply

Open to writers of all levels of experience.

Pre-Retreat Work

To help prepare you for the poetry retreat you will receive a six-page introduction in early August 2018 chock full of poems and thoughts on poetics. In addition, a few weeks later, you will receive a pre-retreat writing adventure/assignment to be completed and brought with you to the retreat. The poem that comes from this will be at the core of how we introduce ourselves at the beginning of our time together.

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October 4, 2018
October 14, 2018
Workshop Categories:


La Romita School of Art
Terni, Italy


Richard Osler
250 597 7875
View Instructor Website

As La Romita School caters to multiple levels of instruction and various forms of the arts, prices will vary by session, season, instructor, and offerings.

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