Irish poet Seamus Heaney talks of the diviner, “hunting the pluck/ of water” to make contact with what lies hidden. Poet and retreat leader Richard Osler wants to hunt the pluck of poetry and, like Heaney’s diviner, make palpable what was sensed or raised.
Through writing sessions inspired by written meditations on craft, the poems of master Canadian and international poets, and creative prompts, you will become the diviner. Both at La Romita and on our day trips in Umbria and Tuscany you will find hidden insights and transform them into life-giving poems.
Cut from the green hedge a forked hazel stick
That he held tight by the arms of the V:
Circling the terrain, hunting the pluck
Of water, nervous, but professionally
Unfussed. The pluck came sharp as a sting.
The rod jerked with precise convulsions,
Spring water suddenly broadcasting
Through a green hazel its secret stations.
The bystanders would ask to have a try.
He handed them the rod without a word.
It lay dead in their grasp till nonchalantly
He gripped expectant wrists. The hazel stirred.
Seamus Heaney from Death of a Naturalist, Faber and Faber Ltd, 1973
Richard Osler is a 70 year-old Canadian poet and long-term poetry blogger who has led generative poetry writing workshops and retreats in Canada, the U.S. and Italy, and now on Zoom, as well as twice-weekly generative poetry therapy workshops at a major mental health facility on southern Vancouver Island, B.C. Nothing in his previous life as a national business print journalist with the Financial Post, national business columnist on Canada’s CBC radio network and self-employed money manager would have suggested his current occupations. Richard was a finalist for the Malahat Journal Open Season poetry prize in 2011 and 2017 and was a 2021 finalist in the U.S. based Ruminate Magazine’s Broadside Prize. His poems have been published in U.S. and Canadian literary journals and poetry anthologies. In 2016 Quattro Books of Toronto published his first full-length collection, Hyaena Season and in 2012 Leaf Press published his chapbook Where the Water Lives. Richard’s blog and website: recoveringwords.com.
“You have given me the gift of poetry through patience, grace, humour and ultimately love, You are a master at holding space for this new voice.”
–Christine L., La Romita, Oct. 2018
“I’d worked briefly with Richard once and knew he would bring big energy and head and heart full of poetry. He did that and more. The more is his uncanny ability to enable people to find their own poetry.”
–Tonya L., La Romita, July 2017
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.