For Writers: To Discover a Wider Eye

with Richard Osler  

Oh, the world, the world,
What eye is wide enough?
What pupil sufficiently diligent.

— Greg Orr

Oh, Italy – Umbria – La Romita – What better places to discover how poetry can bust open your eyes, widen them and help you bring something home you couldn’t imagine before you left. It is one thing to travel in a country, it is quite another to see it the way a poet does – with unmixed attention.

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.

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? This is where wide-eyed seeing moves into an even wider dimension of being, remembering and knowing. It is this “wider-eye” that will be encouraged and stimulated during our time together.

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 near and far-near from La Romita including, Rome, Assisi, Perugia, Spoleto and some of the many towns that dot the hilltops of Umbria, each with their own special features and histories.

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!


Facilitator Profile

Richard Smallest 2016 (427x640) (334x500) (334x500)Richard Osler lives in Duncan, on Vancouver Island, Canada, where he leads more than 100 poetry writing workshops/retreats a year as a poetry facilitator at an addiction recovery centre and in other locations with writers in Canada and the U.S. Since November 2010 he has written a poetry blog ( on average twice a month. Born in Toronto, he has lived in Calgary and points West, including Vancouver, Victoria, and Bowen Island. B.C. Previously, he was a business reporter with the Financial Post, an on-air business commentator for Canada’s national radio broadcaster, CBC, on its nation-wide Morningside radio program, an oil and gas financial analyst and corporate finance specialist and for more than twenty years a specialty money manager through his company Aequanimitas Inc. His poems have appeared in numerous journals in the U.S. and Canada and his chapbook Where the Water Lives was published by Leaf Press in 2012. His first full-length collection, Hyaena Season, was published by Quattro Books, Toronto, in the Fall of 2016. Richard has travelled extensively, including numerous trips to Italy, but especially in Africa where his trips to the Gwembe Valley in Zambia and later, to war affected areas of Africa, especially in Rwanda and Goma, DR Congo inspired many poems and have led to his support of development projects in these areas. In 2008 he co-founded Act with Africa (formerly known as Heal Canada) which funds medical interventions and projects for women and children in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

Hyaena Season Background

Get Enrolled!

If you'd like to enroll in this program, please contact us via the form below or call us at 1-855-4ROMITA (476-6482).

Your Name (required)
Phone # (required)
Your Email (required)
Your Message
anti-spam control:
(just click in the box!)

Workshop At-A-Glance

Richard Osler
Jun 23 - Jul 3
Important Trip Info
(including travel arrangements, enrollment, costs)
For more information: