Poetry in the Foothills

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Poetry in the Foothills

The deadline for this opportunity has passed.

Do you love language? Do you want to turn your prose into poetry? Then come join us around the fire for a day of wordsmithing with top Canadian western poet Doris Daley in the beautiful Turner Valley, the heartland of Alberta.

Registration Includes:

  • A full day poetry workshop with top Canadian western poet Doris Daley.
  • A catered lunch.
  • Pen and notebook.
  • 10 to 15 maximum in the group.

Alone time to scribble a few lines, ponder the universe, go for a walk, drink tea, hurl your thesaurus into the Sheep River, write an ekphrastic poem… lots of choices.


  • 9.30am: Arrive at Diamond Willow Retreat.
  • 10:00am: Workshop begins.
  • 12.30pm: Break for a catered lunch.
  • 2:00pm: Workshop continues.
  • 4.30pm: Workshop ends.

The Workshop

This is a workshop for people who love language, are eager to share and learn, who find inspiration in the unplugged outdoors of the west, who promise to cheer for one another and who hope to drive home with a few more tools in their poetry writing toolbox. If you write in a traditional rhymed-and-metered style, this is the workshop for you. If you write in any style, this is also the workshop for you.

In one day we will tackle:

Story. Pacing. Originality. Revision. Technique. Sparkle. Doris will explore all styles of poetry including rhyming, haiku, free verse, sonnets, experimental, even limericks.

Doris promises a fun experience that blends the graceful and gritty components of poetry (pattern, meter, figures of speech, much more) with the inspirational. With over twenty years of experience, Doris will share tips/stories on creativity, craft and how to perform a poem in public.

The Location

The workshop is going to be held at the Diamond Willow Artisan Retreat nestled in the heartland of Alberta. Diamond Willow is a large country home set on 11 forested acres less than one hour from Calgary along the Cowboy Trail. The surrounding countryside is where CBC’s Heartland is filmed, drawing visitors from around the world!

The property is secluded and peaceful, just west of Turner Valley. There are lovely walking trails throughout the land featuring moss-covered shady trails, aspen groves, creeks and brooks. Occasionally a moose or deer may wander past.

For more information on Diamond Willow Artisan Retreat, visit diamondwillowbandb.com.

About Turner Valley

Snuggled against the base of the Rocky Mountains, Turner Valley is one of the gateways to the Kananaskis and a town rich with history. Known as being the birthplace of Alberta’s petroleum industry, this cool little town offers a variety of exciting experiences.

From eclectic food and artisans, to agritourism, brewing and distilling, the backdrop of Kananaskis and the Rocky Mountains inspires artists, cottage industry, and farm-to-table entrepreneurs to set up in town.

The town slogan is Back to Nature, so it’s a great place to bring your bike, kayak, horse, fishing rod, hiking boots or cross-country skis. Unparalleled scenery and friendly locals make this an ideal location to make part of your foothills story.

Doris Daley

Twice named best female cowboy poet in North America, Doris has published two books of her own poetry and has contributed poems to other anthologies, most recently Vista’s of the West, a collection of poetry and visual art that celebrates the beauty and spirit of the Rocky Mountains, Western foothills, prairie landscapes, and the natural inhabitants of these beautiful environments, for which she also wrote the foreword.

Doris was also recently the subject of a documentary film called I Found My Tribe… a look at the origins of the creative process, where poetry DNA comes from, what makes a poet and storyteller in the 21st century.

Doris has been an emcee and featured performer at every cowboy festival in Canada as well as many in the United States, including Texas, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Montana and Oregon. Previous performances have been with the Saskatchewan Opera company in Regina, the Philharmonic Orchestra in Reno and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC.

Born and raised in Southern Alberta ranch country, Doris Daley writes cowboy poetry that celebrates the humour, history and way of life of the west. Her great grandfather came west with the North-West Mounted Police in the 1870s; her family has been ranching in the Alberta foothills for five generations.

When she’s not on the road, Doris hangs her hat in a small western town in Southern Alberta.

More Details

Optional Extras:

  • Accommodation from $145 at the Diamond Willow Retreat if you would like to arrive the night before or stay the night after the workshop.
  • If you are staying around town then on Sunday, November 10, 2019, there will be a poetry reading at the Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond.

What should I bring to the event?

  • The workshop will be indoors however you might want to venture outside for some fresh air at lunchtime so please bring warm clothes and walking shoes.

What are my transportation options for getting to and from the location?

Diamond Willow is located in Turner Valley, an hour south of Calgary. The exact address is 224133 Highway 546. You can use your GPS to get to Turner Valley (the prettiest way is south on Highway 22). From the four-way stop proceed west on Sunset Blvd. It becomes Highway 546 as it winds up and out of town. The retreat is five kilometres from the four-way stop, on the left. There is a tipi in the front yard. Come around to the main house, the entrance is on the left.

What is not included in the event?

  • Transportation to and from the event.
  • Travel and medical insurance.

Register at trueelk.com.

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