Catching Fire -Writing En Plain Air – An Invite to Richard’s October Retreat in Italy 2018


 A Generative Poetry Writing Retreat
with Richard Osler –
experienced poetry facilitator
and author of Hyaena Season

“Catching Fire –
Writing En Plein Air”

I write from habit, not because I am on fire.
— Vittoria Colonna (1492 – 1547)

La Romita School of Art
Terni, Umbria, Italy

10 Days

Oct. 4th to 14th, 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 in Umbria (click here for the La Romita website) 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.

En plein air, Cathie and Jodi writing in Umbria, 2017

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.


En Plein air, Nancy writing at Carsulae, 2017


Open to writers of all levels of experience.


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.


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.


La Romita School of Art, located in the hills overlooking Terni, Umbria, sixty miles north of Rome and a three-hour drive from Florence.


Includes room, all meals at La Romita, return airport transportation from Rome, all poetry facilitation and all frequent out-trips. The price does not include airfare to Italy.

For Double Occupancy:  US $2,500.00.  Single Supplement: U.S.$200.00. Please contact Richard Osler or the U.S.-based registrar for discounts that might be available to you.

A deposit of $500.00 is required to register. The deposit is non-refundable unless the retreat minimum of eight participants is not reached by July 15th, 2018. Final balance, non-refundable, will be owing no later than August 1st, 2018.


Richard Osler

Richard Osler (66) is a poet and experienced poetry writing facilitator and workshop leader who leads up to one hundred writing retreats and workshops a year in the U.S. and Canada. His full-length collection, Hyaena Season, was published by Quattro Books, Toronto in the Fall of 2016. His website, which includes his poetry blog published about fifty times a year, can be seen at


Please Contact: Tracy Posey at  phone # 202-337-3120, and cc  Richard Osler at . For further information please contact Richard by email or by phone at 250 597 7875.


Being at La Romita, in the hills of olive groves, within the deep history of Umbria and the story of the once-Capuchin monastery itself, was enchanting. I’d worked briefly with Richard Osler once and knew he would bring big energy and a head and heart full of poetry. He did that and more. The more is in his uncanny ability to enable people to find their own poetry. He invites, supports and nourishes the opening of inner channels of communication with the people we’ve been missing in ourselves, who all have so much to say. Richard gives poetry and while we received it and worked hard to learn to hear it, we also had an incredibly good time.

– Tonya L., Calgary, July 2017

I first met Richard when he began coming here to the Gulf Coast, near Surfside, Texas about 8 years ago to lead an annual weekend poetry retreat. He’s a gifted facilitator who somehow manages to pull wonderful poems even from those who don’t write often. When I heard that he had been invited to Italy in 2017 I immediately signed up. And if you’ve ever written poetry, you know that just by writing, you’ve entered sacred space. So, our whole Italian adventure was “sacred”. Richard has the gift of hospitality and community-making. We experienced the flavors of Italy, toyed with the language, laughed, and feasted together. I’ll forever be grateful for our Italian experience.

– Sheila C., Lake Jackson, Texas, August 2017



Richard facilitating in Houston, 2017

Richard Osler makes poetry an integral part of his life. He is exceptionally well-read and brings to a retreat a vast reservoir of poetic knowledge regarding modern and classical poets, their poetry and their craft. These hip-pocket skills from years of practice and reading will make your experience working with him inspirational and productive. From the very first afternoon at a Richard Osler retreat, you will be brought together as a community of poets who through his guidance and your own writing practice will find pathways to possibilities that are rich and valuable.”

– David Fraser, Canadian poet and founder and editor of on-line Ascent Aspirations Magazine.


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