Steven Ross Smith


Steven Ross Smith is a poet, fiction and non-fiction writer, journalist, and a sound and performance poet. He has been publishing books since the 1970s, and was a member of the legendary sound poetry group, Owen Sound. He has published thirteen books, and is published in journals, audio recordings and videos, in Canada, USA, and abroad. Smith has served as Director of Sage Hill Writing Experience and Director of Literary Arts at The Banff Centre. He currently lives and writes in Banff and on Galiano Island, B.C. Find him at:;; & on Twitter @SonnyBoySmith

What was the most unexpected part of your stay?

It was all a pleasant surprise - the fine accommodation, the friendly staff at the Winery, the great view.

What was the most enjoyable aspect of your retreat?

The time for focused writing away from domestic and work distractions was important and enjoyable. The surroundings - the Okanagan Valley & the onsite amenities were great. Also learning a bit more about wines and winemaking was fun.

In what ways did the vineyard setting inspire you and/or your writing?

The quietness and views were conducive to reflection and writing. I was working on a specific poetry project that did not necessarily draw inspiration from the setting, but benefitted from the focused time to work there. From focus can come inspiration.

What did you work on during the retreat?

I was developing a new work - the seventh book in a serial poetic collection

No one can write 24 hours a day! What other activities did you do during the retreat—any napping, hiking, or exploring the local area?

I hiked part of the Stamp Mill Golden Mile Trail; I cycled along the riverside and on one of the winery tour routes. I visited a physiotherapist for my cramping back! I ate at the wonderful Miradoro restaurant on the Tinhorn site. I visited the tasting room at Tinhorn to sample and purchase.

Any tips or advice you think might be helpful for future residency applicants?

Sitting is hard on the back and oxygen is good for the brain. Make sure to get out for some exercise - walk or bike or roller skate ... whatever ... to explore the area (It will be a lot farther away once you're back home) as well as doing the writing. If inclined, take an afternoon or evening wine break.

writersMarcy Gordon