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Face to Face courses

Learn new skills from professional poets

Our face-to-face programme aims to offer a breadth of approach to learning poetry, with some courses focusing on form and technique, whilst others look to provide inspiration for generating new writing or offer close readings of certain poets or movements.

All our face-to-face courses take place regularly in our London classrooms – where we have tea and coffee freely available (with a donation box to help keep them topped up), and fridges to store food – or one of a number of regional centres across the UK.

HOW FACE-TO-FACE WORKS

Tutor and students sit round a large table for a typical Poetry School course session or workshop and the meetings are friendly and relatively informal.

In each session, you might be given Exercises (specific writing tasks to inspire your own poems or ideas) or Feedback (comments on your work by tutors and / or other students); you might be Reading (close attention to published poems, looking for examples of technique, style, theme or form), Writing (working towards creating new poems throughout the duration of the course or workshop) or a combination of all these. Some courses will include tasks for you to complete at home.

Content will vary course to course, but on all our face-to-face courses you can expect the following:

  • reading, writing and thinking about poetry in different ways
  • exposure to new writers, voices, forms and styles
  • the confidence to write more and devote more time to writing
  • generating new work
  • discovery of new areas and subjects for research
  • better understanding of how to make choices (length, theme, tone, etc)
  • enhanced critical skills
  • practical advice on further development

We pride ourselves on the standard of our teaching and the poetry produced on every one of our courses. Many of our students have gone on to successfully submit their course work for publication in magazines and journals, and had success in competitions. But don’t take it from us: read some of our many student testimonials.

WHAT COURSES DO YOU OFFER?

You can search through all our current courses via our Find A Course page.

Our face to face courses are designed to suit all levels of experience: some activities are open to all, and others are structured with beginner, intermediate or advanced poets specifically in mind. Similarly, our activities aim to offer a breadth of approach to learning poetry, with some focusing on form and technique, whilst others look to provide inspiration for your writing.

Generally speaking we offer 3 main types of face-to-face course:

LONG COURSES are more than 10 weeks and run over several terms. All our long courses start in the Autumn, but can be joined mid-way (subject to availability). Long courses are quite general and will encompass a large variety of ideas and techniques suitable for particular skill levels.

SHORT COURSES are commonly 10 weeks or less, once a term, with regular sessions running weekly or fortnightly. Short courses tend to focus on a particular subject, theme, form or technical aspect of poetry, often open to all levels.

WORKSHOPS are weekend, one or half day sessions. One day workshops are intensive writing and learning experiences that last 5 hours (with an additional 1 hour lunch break).

If you’re unsure which class, level, or style of course might be best for you, you can contact our administration team on [email protected] for help with any course queries you might have.

OUR TUTORS

Biographical information about our tutors can be found on our course pages and CAMPUS.

We have one of the largest faculties of freelance poets in the world. Because we do not use standardised curricula, every tutor is different and allows us to offer a huge diversity of teaching and expertise.

Many of our tutors are professional poets, who as well as working for The Poetry School teach privately (one to one mentoring); write reviews and articles; edit magazines, books, pamphlets, publications; work for publishing houses; organising poetry events; and produce touring shows.

Each term our roster of tutors changes, but we always ensure a balanced mix of our most experienced favourites, exciting new talent and the odd special guest.

FAQ

Can I put my name down for a course before booking opens?

There is a lot of demand for our courses and workshops, and we want to keep the booking process as fair as possible for everyone who wants to enrol. When booking opens, everyone has an equal chance of booking popular activities by post, phone or online on a first-come, first-served basis; and we don’t take any bookings before the advertised date.

Why are some courses ‘by application’?

For some courses, we need to check that all participants are at the same level to ensure that it is equally productive for the whole group, and that the tutor can give the best possible guidance.

Can I pay in instalments?

We are happy to discuss instalments for all five and ten week courses and seminars. An initial payment will need to be made to secure your place and the level of instalments will be decided on a case by cases basis, but we are usually able to arrange up to three instalments.

Do you offer concessions for those on low incomes?

Our concession 2 rate reduces the cost of a course by up to 20% and is available for those in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, in full time education or under 25, with proof of status. We also run a hardships and bursary scheme for those who cannot afford the full price of a course. First time students can apply for a one-off discount of 15% on any course.

Can I apply a concession retrospectively?

Unfortunately not. Concessions must be applied at the time of booking. If the concessionary rate is not available online, please call us to book your place.

Why do you pick particular venues? Could we have fewer students in a class?

The most common issues raised in our feedback surveys are about venue choice and number of students in a group. Students obviously prefer comfortable, central venues; and fewer students in a group to allow for lots of individual attention from the tutor. It’s our constant task to find affordable, accessible venues in all the locations we operate, and the choices we make have to be within our budgets. Five star centrality is very expensive, and we don’t want to pass those costs on to students. Likewise, if we capped group numbers at 8-10 students, the cost-per-activity would double, and we don’t want to do this either. If you have local knowledge about suitable new venues, we will gratefully act on your recommendations.

There’s a particular poetic subject I want to study / particular tutor I want to work with – can you help?

Contact us and let us know what or who it is. If it’s a subject or tutor which would fit into our programmes, we will try and make it happen. Our programming ideas often come from student suggestions.

What happens if I decide I no longer want to do my course, even though it has started?

Please read our refunds and cancellations policy.

Can I do more than one course at the same time?

Certainly, but please be aware that the more courses you do, the more work you will take on, and you must be responsible for prioritising every lesson. Also – please be aware that some courses have teaching sessions which run at the same time and cannot be taken simultaneously.

Will I receive any one-on-one tuition?

Your tutor will provide you with some personalised feedback, but it will not be extensive. If you are interested in more 1-2-1 tutoring or mentoring, please go to our Tutorials page.

How do I choose a course that’s right for me?

Go with your instinct, or throw a dart if you’re feeling indecisive. If you’re really flummoxed, someone in the office will be happy to talk to you over the phone (0207 582 1679) and help you find a course that fits. Alternatively, email [email protected].

Will I receive a certificate at the end?

Unfortunately we don’t do those. If you’re interested in something fully accredited, and you’re based in the UK, we do offer a Writing Poetry MA.

How do I teach for the Poetry School?

Please send us details of your publication record and teaching experience and the ideas you have for courses and workshops you’d like to teach. If your ideas for the programme are a fit for ours, we will start to make joint plans. Download this ‘Teaching for the Poetry School for the First Time’ hand out which might be useful.