New News! Announcing a “En Plein Aire” Ten Day Poetry Retreat in Italy, October 4 to 14th, 2018

An Evening Poetry Reading at La Romita.



The Second Recovering Words
Generative Poetry Retreat
La Romita School of Art
Terni, Umbria, Italy

10 Days in Residence

October 4th to Oct. 14th, 2018

La Romita


After the poetry-packed wonder of the 2017 Recovering Words poetry retreat at La Romita, what a pleasure it is to introduce Poetry En Plein Air –  the 2018 La Romita Recovering Words poetry retreat! It seems impossible it was only seven months ago that nine of us spent ten days exploring outer landscapes in Umbria through daily out trips and inner and outer landscapes through the poems we wrote almost every day.  And now, it is only eight months before the next retreat. Please consider joining me for this unique writing and travel adventure! To see a summary of last year’s retreat please click here.

Plein Air Poetry – Umbria, La Romita Poetry Retreat 2017!

One of the unexpected delights of last year’s retreat was the discovery of writing-in-place, or what painters call en plein air, at many of the extraordinary places we visited on an almost-daily basis. Following the example of the painters from La Romita, the poets opened their notebooks and with the help of  hand-outs – selected poems with commentary –  began to write first drafts in an open-air museum, small town churches and courtyards and a two thousand year-old archeological site.

In 2018 Poetry En Plain Air will take advantage of our experience last year and make the in-place writing experience a structured part of the retreat.  In addition, there will quieter days of writing on-site inside the welcoming grounds of La Romita. But no matter where you write your first drafts or revisions, in this ten-day poetry writing retreat you will be inspired in structured writing sessions, through the poems of master poets and other creative prompts, to write unexpected poems that stretch you as a writer. And what better place to be stretched than Italy – its sights, sounds, smells and tastes which are on full view here at the La Romita website.

Lunch in Assisi

And what better place, provoked as you will be by Umbria’s beauty and history in numerous out trips, to be further surprised by the mystery at the heart of poetry; the way, as Canadian poet Susan Musgrave says: Poems always seem to know more than I do and to be wiser than I am, as far as I can see. That’s also what’s magical about writing. Where do these things come from?  I remember so clearly the surprised look on so many faces last year during the La Romita retreat as poems were read that were as much a surprise to the writer as to the listeners! The gift of poetry.


Open to writers of all levels of experience this retreat will take care to maintain a constructive balance between facilitated writing sessions, lots of quiet times for writing and our out trips to some of the remarkable places where we will write en plein air near and far-near from La Romita including Assisi, Perugia, Spoleto and some of the many towns that dot the hilltops of Umbria, each with their own special features and histories.


To help prepare you for the poetry retreat you will receive a four to six page introduction in early September 2018 with poems and thoughts on poetics which will include 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 a sheaf of new poems quite unlike any others they have written before. And poems that are keepers!

La Romita Poetry 2017 – Nancy in situ at Carsulae writing her poem!


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


For Double Occupancy including, room, all meals at La Romita and out trips:  $2500.00 U.S. Single Supplement $200.00 U.S. To see if you qualify for further discounts please contact Richard Osler at

A non-refundable deposit of US$500.00 is required to register. However, the deposit is refundable if the retreat’s minimum of eight participants is not met by May 1st, 2018. Final balance, non-refundable, will be due August 15th, 2018.


Richard Osler

Richard Osler (66) is an experienced poetry writing facilitator and workshop leader who leads more than one hundred writing retreats and workshops a year in the U.S. and Canada. His poems have been published in the U.S. and Canada. His chapbook, Where the Water Lives, was published by Leaf Press in 2012 and 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 forty times a year, can be seen at


To register please contact Tracy at or 1 202 337 3120


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. I was excited when I heard that he had been invited to Italy in 2017 to lead a poetry retreat, and immediately signed up!  La Romita is a wonderful venue in the hills of Umbria, near the center of “the boot”. It is sacred space, having once served as a Capuchin monastery. 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. Time and time again, I’ve watched him pull complete strangers in, and make them feel at home with each other. It happened again in Italy. Strangers came together, bonded, wrote together, then shared poetry and stories for 10 days. We lived together, saw wonderful little hilltop hamlets, played in the sunflowers like children, 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




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