Poetry as Prayer Retreat with Richard Osler

Friday, November 30, 2018, 7:00 PM - Saturday, December 01, 2018, 4:30 PM

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Come, then, Flame of Love — a word from the Poetry-as-Prayer Retreat Facilitator Richard Osler

This year’s title for the Palmer poetry-as-prayer retreat comes from a striking poem written by Vittoria Colonna, dear friend of Michelangelo and celebrated as the first widely-acknowledged woman poet during the 15th century Italian Renaissance. I first read the poem from her book Rime Spirituali, and these lines from it, last winter in Tuscany: …I write/ from habit, not because I am on fire./…Come, then flame of love: sear me from within/ again. Make me make my song /from silence and hoarse cries./ God listens only for my heart. 

Please consider this invitation to be seared from within by your own words this November/December at Palmer, to experience the mysterious alchemy of words of poetry that transform into words of prayer from your heart. And discover a truth claimed by Christian Wiman, celebrated poet, essayist, former editor of Poetry and teacher at Yale Divinity School: 

I do think,… that poetry is how religious feeling has survived in me. Partly this is because I have at times experienced in the writing of a poem some access to a power that feels greater than I am…

Richard Osler, 67, is a Canadian poet whose full-length poetry collection – Hyaena Season – was released in 2016 by Quattro Books, Toronto. He is delighted to be returning to Palmer where he has worked with students at Archway Academy, led poetry workshops and spoken at the Faith Forum. Richard has conducted numerous poetry-as-prayer retreats in Canada and the U.S. during the past ten years and works as a poetry therapist at a residential addiction recovery center near where he lives in Duncan, on Vancouver Island.  Please visit his website at