How it works
The Poetry School’s teaching year runs over three ‘terms’ – Autumn, Spring and Summer. Each term we offer around 40-50 courses and workshops that cater to a variety of levels, varying in length and subject matter. The course programme changes every term with more new courses, workshops and tutors, but often includes courses that run over three terms and popular repeats.
We offer both ‘classroom’ teaching (UK) and ‘virtual’ teaching (international). You can visit our In-Person Courses, Video Courses and Online Courses pages for more detailed information about course structures, process and what to expect.
Finding the right Course
Most of our courses and workshops accommodate writers with a wide range of experience, but some are specifically designed for beginners or more practicised poets.
Here are our definitions:
- Beginner – Learning the ropes: beginning to write poetry.
- Intermediate – Starting to develop your voice, generate more work and grow confident on the page.
- Advanced – Able to confidently edit, hone, discuss and critique your poetry.
Our programme is developed around these three teaching levels, although we also offer many courses that are Open to all – courses aimed at all levels, often focusing on a specific theme or inspirational subject matter.
What is poetry?
There is no one answer, and many, many people have their own ideas.
Here are some definitions we like:
‘Literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm’ – OED
‘Poetry is a heightened imagistic use of language that does things to the heart and head’ – Grace Nichols
‘A made thing, a verbal construct, an event in language’ – Edward Hirsch
‘Poetry is memorable speech’ – W H Auden
‘Poetry does not explain life. It gives life to feeling and seeing’ – Sarah Stetie
‘Why, Sir, it is much easier to say what it is not’ – Samuel Johnson
I’m already publishing and performing poetry – what can you do to help me?
We have an expanding programme of projects and activities which seek to address the continuing professional development needs of practising poets, from residencies to enhanced publishing, editing and performance opportunities and beyond. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest details.
Will the Poetry School help me become a poet?
Since 1997, when the Poetry School was founded, our students have gone on to publish in magazines and online; they've produced pamphlets and books as poets and editors with publishers from the smallest independents to the largest commercial houses; they've won multiple prizes and awards; they've become poetry tutors themselves; they've moved on to take poetry MAs and PhDs.; they’ve set up performance nights, magazines, shows and events. While we can't guarantee that all students will go on to get published; serious engagement with the art and craft of poetry in the company of tutors and fellow students who are as passionate about the form as you are can only ever improve your chances of getting your work out to a wider audience.