West Tisbury Poet Laureate Justen Ahren leads this week long writing workshop and retreat in the ancient hill town of Orvieto, Italy.  Cultivate a daily writing practice, learn to access and utilize your creative abundance, and devote yourself to the language and images that are waiting within to infuse your writing with vitality and beauty.

Where: Orvieto, Italy

Orvieto_Italy_Writing Workshop and Retreat

The workshop takes place in Hotel Duomo, a beautiful, family-run hotel off the main Piazza.  Weather permitting, we also write at different venues around Orvieto. Orvieto is only one hour and fifteen minutes north of Rome on the A1 or by train on the Orte line and is easily reached by train or car or private car hire.

The town has many Etruscan, Roman and Medieval cultural sites, churches, even underground caves.  Loaded with fine restaurants serving Umbrian cuisine, markets with local goods, and shops selling everything from ceramics to Orvieto’s famous white wine, this ancient hill town is sure to inspire and please.

Immerse yourself in Italian village and culture life in the creative heart of Italy, and join nurturing writing community that will tdake your writing to a new level.

Instructor: Justen Ahren

Justin Ahren | Devotion to writing workshop | Noepe Centre | Martha's Vineyard

Justen Ahren is West Tisbury Emeritus Poet Laureate and author of the poetry collection, A Strange Catechism. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals including, most recently, Cafe Review, Comstock Review and BorderSenses. A graduate of Emerson College with an MFA in Creative Writing, Justen teaches writing in Italy, Mexico, and Martha’s Vineyard, where he lives with his family. He is the founder and Director of Noepe Martha’s Vineyard Center for Literary Arts, and Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency.


Justen, what can I say? Thank you for believing in us.

Rose C., NYC


10 spaces available

Establishing A Writing Practice Based on Devotion, Gratitude, and Abundance
Nov 13th – 19th, 2016
All Genres/All Levels
$1495.00 with 6 nights accommodations in Orvieto.
Fees do not include transportation to and from Orvieto or meals. Please plan to arrive on Sunday and depart Saturday.  For an additional fee, it is possible to arrange a longer stay at Hotel Duomo.

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I make a list for Thanksgiving of things I am grateful for, and the Italy Retreat was one of the things on it. I got so much out of it both for my writing and for deepening my life, it was certainly worth it.

Kate M., Los Angeles

Course description

Each day we meet as a group from 10-1 in the Hotel Duomo, just a few steps from Orvieto’s famous Cathedral.  The workshop itself consists of impromptu writing exercises, and discussions on specific principles as they relate to our writing. For example, the first day we may talk and write about gratitude and how this concept can free us and our writing. During the afternoon, participants are free to write, visit nearby attractions, and cultural sites, shop or relax.  We reconvene in the evening for dinner and, afterwards, share our work with one another.


This workshop is for writers who would like to establish a deeper connection to their interior and exterior worlds through writing, who want to access and handle the beautiful and abundant images and memories which supply our work with dimension and surprise.  It is for those who fear writing and who experience writer’s block.  It is also for writers who just want to get some momentum behind their work.

How do spiritual devotees (monks) nurture their connection to the divine?  What can we learn from their adherence to ritual practices and concepts such as gratitude, surrender of individual will, trust, and devotion? How, as writers, can we develop practices along similar lines that will bring us to abundance and connection with the creative energy of the universe that is waiting to assist us?

This is not a workshop which requires or promotes a set religious beliefs or adherence.  Participants do not need to believe in God, or belong to any religious denomination. We will talk generally about principles found across all belief systems, as well as practices that other writers and artists have found useful. We will discuss how these principles assist us in our work as writers and creators.

You provided such a safe place in which to share my writing. I am forever grateful.Christina V., Toronto

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