Reading Poetry
…for Spiritual Growth

NEW!! Online poetry retreat
Start whenever you want; go at your own pace. A personalized poetry-retreat experience.

Poetry as a Spiritual Practice 

In this course we’ll explore why and how great poetry can be a special entry to the spiritual core of our lives. Adapting the age-old practice of “lectio divina” (sacred reading), we will meditate on assigned contemporary poems, experiencing how they can engage, delight, and challenge our souls. Poets we’ll draw on include Denise Levertov, Richard Wilbur, Kathleen Norris, Edward Hirsch, Lucille Clifton, Scott Cairns, Jorie Graham, and Yehuda Amichai. Whatever your level of familiarity or comfort with poetry, and whatever your level of experience with writing, you can discover poetry’s gifts for spiritual opening and companionship. Your writing assignments, which will be reflections on a choice of assigned poems, can be in prose or poetry or any format that you are moved to create.



The Content of our traditional Poetry Retreats


We draw on the work of major, mostly contemporary

poets, because they speak with particular relevance

for our current day: poets like Denise Levertov, Wendell

Berry, Kathleen Norris, Lucille Clifton, R.S. Thomas,

Naomi Shihab Nye, Mark Jarman, Scott Cairns.


After an opening talk on poetry's unique value as a

resource for discernment and spiritual growth, we

introduce the classic meditative method of "lectio

divina" as a way to settle into a poem and engage

with it personally.


The rest of the retreat alternates between times for

your private meditation on poems we'll distribute,

and times when the group comes together to share

the fruits of individual reflection.




Our Participants


Some are already avid readers of poetry; others struggle to read it but would like to become more comfortable with it; some write poetry themselves.


Retreatants come from a range of religious traditions; some worship regularly with a faith community, some don't; but all are spiritual seekers.

Scroll to the bottom of this page to see what some of our participants have said about their experience of Poetry Retreats.

 The Spiritual Grounding of Poetry Retreats


Peggy's religious practice is Roman Catholic. From this grounding,

she enjoys working with retreatants from a wide range of backgrounds

and religious traditions. Similarly, most of the poets we spend time with

write out of Christian roots, but in a way that invites all spiritual seekers

into the poem. 


Click on the "Bio & Books" tab for more biographical details.  For information on how to contact me, click or the "Reach Me" tab.

Click  on the "Events" tab for a sampling of past sites and programs.



From  participants, in their own words. . . .


"Poetry Retreats changed my life."


"By learning to use lectio divina with the poetry, my prayer life has really been expanded."


"Not having read poetry before, I found a new way of experiencing life and faith."


"I came here afraid of poetry, but now I want to start a praying-with-poetry group

 with my friends."


"I came in loving words and how they are woven together, but I had forgotten

how much I loved them."


"Keep doing this great work. I feel really blessed to have been a part of it."


"I feel I've been baptized by poetry."



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