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All the groups in our Network.

The Voice in the Poem

Private Group with 1 member

Some poems seem to sing themselves boldly from the page while others whisper or ramble, speak in code, eventually decrypting their meaning in our gut, or our mind’s eye. Some poets choose the stage for their poems, and others prefer the silent telling of print upon a page. Sometimes, people make sense of their own story through writing poems, and some give voice to others through the narrative they write. This short course allows participants to consider their own poetic voice: what it is and what are its strengths or constraints? You will be able to come to a better awareness of these things through participating in a range of listening, writing, feedback and discussion exercises. We will look a selection of narrative poems that have influenced us or our culture; will consider what makes some poems better for text or for performance; and we will listen to and compare styles of spoken word, and practice these, as well as taking some time to examine how to make better use of our physical voices. There will also be, of course, many opportunities to draft new poems and develop some of them.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information:

The Poetry Archivist

Private Group with 1 member

Archives are a rich source of inspiration for poetry, and we have world class archives of so many different kinds in London. And yet, they are often untapped as resources for creating and developing poetry. In this course Nick, currently Artist in Residence at London Metropolitan Archive, will lead you through a journey of discovery of London’s diverse archives and how to draw on their collections, and indeed your own personal archives, to create new pieces of poetry that can illuminate both history and our contemporary experience. This practical course will help you develop your poetry writing skills, explore new sources of inspiration, and how to turn documentary materials and archival items into rounded and realised poems. The course will include a tutored day on site at London Metropolitan Archive as part of the Streetlife London project.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information:

Sounds and Sweet Airs

Private Group with 1 member

What effect do certain sounds have on us? What role does sound play in our significant memories? And what about music? Or silence? We’ll be exploring these questions through a series of listening and writing experiments spread over the 5 sessions. We’ll also be reading and discussing contemporary poems that respond to sounds and music both beautiful and ugly. There’ll be a chance to think about the silences and sounds inside your own poems and how they relate to rhyme in all its variety, and stanza and line break. You should come away with several poems-in-the-making and a plethora of ideas for approaching the subject, and there’ll be a chance in the later sessions to share your own work.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information:

Poetry Postbox

Private Group with 1 member

Writing by hand gets the pen moving and the creative brain working. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a way to get into poetry or a more experienced poet hoping to shake your style up, this course will enliven your writing through the delights of handwritten correspondence. Each session will lead you towards a new poem, with inspiration from poets old and new. You will also be paired with a fellow participant and begin a ‘creative correspondence’ via the Poetry School Postbox. You will receive in-depth feedback on at least one new poem, develop a small portfolio of work and have the chance to share writing and images with the CAMPUS community.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information:

Devouring and Creation

Private Group with 1 member

From Williams’ plums and Basho’s melons to Swift’s mutton and Bishop’s ‘coffee… on a certain balcony’, this class will tempt readers and writers of poetry with the most sensuous and satisfying poesy – the devouring and creation of food poetry. We will be guests at a C16 table as we articulate elegance in bitter olives, capers and lemons in Ben Johnson’s ‘wine sauce’. We will study and make poems with our favourite foods, stirring memories and quickening hearts. We will learn why food is the metaphor for poetry, revealing feeling in flavour and exploring the flavour of words. Are we soothed or ensnared by green herbs and saffron in Thackeray’s ‘Boiuillabaisse’? Can a meal capture aloneness? Grief? The red meat indulgence of a first date? Or a shyness of clear noodle soup? Come and savour!

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information:

16 Ways of Writing a Poem

Private Group with 2 members

This hands-on trawl of all the major pathways into poems is as comprehensive as it is unique. Yes, we really will cover, in one short course, virtually all of the ways in which a new poem can come into being. These include observation, the senses, personal memory, reflection, imagination, narrative, other people’s work – indeed, everything from the ‘found poem’ to Larkin’s pickles. Mario’s wide-ranging experience in the field fuels a class geared towards enjoyment, variety and the establishing of outcomes of enduring value for each individual writer. There will be a balance between teaching, process and composition, with chances for read-back and feedback on the pieces you compose. As a bonus, the course closes with an editing session exploring what kind of writer-editor you are, and offering insights into how to hone your freshly-made work.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information:

Putting A Poet In Your Pocket (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 12 members

Reading other people’s poetry is vital to keep our own poems alive and breathing. In this workshop, you are going to be carrying around a poet in your pocket, or more accurately a poem. You are going to carry this poem to work with you, or take it on the school run. You are going to sleep with it next to your bed. You should have it with you when you eat. If you are really keen, you’ll memorise it. You will then explore the different ways you can give your poem its own shadow poem that will keep it company.

Online Feedback Course with Steve Ely

Private Group with 1 member

Do you have a heap of discarded poems which just won’t work no matter how many revisions you make? The Poetry School’s Online Feedback Workshops provide a place for the general improvement of left-for-dead poems in need of resuscitation. Bring poems of any shape or size once a fortnight and receive detailed feedback from your tutor and general advice from fellow students. These courses are ideal for those looking to ready poems for magazine submission.

Please make sure you have paid for this course before requesting group membership. For more information:

Training the Poem

Private Group with 9 members

Terrance Hayes said ‘… a stork brings the poems. They are little creatures I have to train and send out into the world.’ If you already know the basics, have a few fledgling poems and are looking for ways to take your work to another level, this course is for you.

This is a three-term course but you can start at the beginning of any term. You will be encouraged to experiment and play and at the same time expand the knowledge of your craft through close readings of published poets and the work of other students.

There will be an emphasis your own writing process and how understanding this can help you develop a style and voice. You’ll explore ways in which you can free your unconscious mind to move towards the poem’s point of discovery. You’ll begin to develop your own methods of working on your poems using your conscious writerly mind to craft, revise and complete them.

Workshops will include writing exercises and feedback on your work and
each term will include the close reading of a complete published collection or pamphlet, as a way of examining in depth an individual poet’s style, voice and aesthetic.

’Written in Juice of Lemon’ (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 9 members

To apply for a free place on this workshop, please read our announcement here:

In this workshop you’ll be looking at poems which are designed to be published, broadcast or inscribed in unconventional ways, on unconventional surfaces or through unconventional media – on buildings, as graffiti, tapped out in morse code, recorded in binary or beamed into space. Examples include Sidney’s sonnet ‘Do not disdain, O straight upraised pine’ (which is carved into a tree by Pamela in the Old Arcadia, and uses tree-qualities as tropes to consider love, pain and virtue), and ‘Written in Juice of Lemon’ by Abraham Cowley (a fiery love poem written in invisible ink that must be heated over flames to be read, eventually causing it to catch fire). You’ll then be asked to think of an unusual way of sending a poem into the world and, more importantly, to write a poem which is fully aware of the uniqueness of its form and thoughtfully participates in it.

Make New & Mend (Open Workshop)

Private Group with 14 members

What makes a poetic image stay with you? It’s hard to remember an entire poem by heart, but often, a particular image will stick in the mind for days, months, even years after reading. In this Open Workshop, Claire Askew will challenge you to create imagery that is unforgettable. You’ll take a common poetic theme or idea and write a poem in which you make that idea new and striking once again. You’ll learn image-making techniques that you can use in the future to make your poems stand out and be remembered.

For more more info, please go here:

This Enchanted Isle – reading W H Auden’s ’The Sea and the Mirror’

Private Group with 19 members

W H Auden published his long poem ‘The Sea and the Mirror’ in 1944, five years after he left war-torn England to take up residence in America. It is billed as a ‘commentary’ on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and includes a number of individual pieces in a wide variety of forms (terza rima, sestina, sonnet, villanelle, blank verse, prose) voiced by the play’s characters. This reading course will offer an excellent opportunity to enter Auden’s mysterious, multi-layered world and explore these virtuoso poems in their own right as well as in relation to Shakespeare’s text, or Peter Greenaway’s film, or any other incarnation which takes your interest. The course will take place over ten weeks, with reading notes provided every week in order to generate discussion and your own poems.

To book your place on this course, please go to:

Is There a Doctor in the House: The Poetry School’s PhD Festival

Public Group with 28 members

It’s a boom time for the poetry PhD. We put out a call for news of current PhD candidates’ studies and interests and have compiled a choice selection into a one day festival of ideas and inspiration. A programme of mini-lectures and micro-workshops will give you a brief introduction to our tutor-poets’ PhD concerns. You’ll come away with dozens of new ideas for future reading, writing, performing and publishing projects.

Sessions will be led by Tara Bergin, John Challis, Kathy D’Arcy, Alireza Hassani, A B Jackson, Lisa Matthews, Janet Rogerson, Helen Taylor. A full programme of lectures and workshops can be found here:–the-poetry-school-s-phd-festival.php

Love, Death, Art, Time and Nature: A Short Course in Creativity and Criticism

Private Group with 1 member

Over five sessions you will explore these five great poetic themes: love, death, art, time and nature. Why have these themes remained so central to poetry throughout the centuries, and how might we as poets approach them in our own writing? Focussing on a different theme each week, you’ll carry out close readings of related poems, guided writing exercises and group feedback on your writing.

Developing a Style: A Conversation with the Past

Private Group with 1 member

This is the third of a trio of student-centred courses designed both for experienced writers looking to widen their repertoire and for beginners looking for a more structured approach to their writing. You will have the opportunity to consider how much of today’s poetry has its roots in the work of innovative poets from the nineteenth and twentieth century. Drawing on the work of key Romantic, Victorian and Modernist poets and their successors, you will continue to develop your individual approach to writing and start to build up a body of creative work with a definite individual identity. Through exercises, reading, writing, group feedback and small group planning sessions, you will be encouraged to construct an independent voice, while maintaining a dialogue with poetic traditions. While students who have completed the courses ‘Choosing a Style’ or ‘Defining a Style’ will be given priority when booking, ‘Developing a Style’ is also suitable for those seeking a one-term standalone course. As this course contains completely new material it may also be of interest to students who have attended Tim’s courses in previous years.

The Tao of Poetry

Private Group with 1 member

The Tao of Poetry – An Introduction to the Great Poets of the T’ang and Sung Dynasties (c. 700-1225) Discover the masterpieces of the great flowering of Classical Chinese poetry – and all that contributes to making it feel so contemporary: from its empiricism to the way it combines the secular and the spiritual, from its affinities with modern science and ecology to its radical feminism. We will use our study of these powerfully delicate poems as a jumping off point for learning the Tao (the way) into our own poems, helping us both to generate new poems and to revitalise our own poetic practice. Liane has been returning to these poems since she first came across Kenneth Rexroth’s translations One Hundred Poems from the Chinese and Women Poets of China as a graduate student. They are her temporary refuge from the Metaphysicals who were among her first, biggest influences, as well as from her sometimes overly full, overly busy, overly complicated days.

Alien vs Predator – Poetry & Pop Culture

Private Group with 1 member

Is Kim Kardashian a fit subject for great poetry? Can 4chan fire a poet’s imagination? What can Don Draper tell us about the way we live now? This lively fortnightly course will explore what happens when the two apparently hostile worlds of poetry and pop culture meet – and what strange and beautiful music can result. We’ll be reading poets from both the UK and the US who have engaged with mass media, icons, fandom and hype, in ways both explicit and subtle, in order to tell their own story – and the story of an age. We’ll use their example as a stimulus to write our own poems and to discover, along the way, a little more about what it means to be a poet – and human – in the relentlessly shifting twenty-first century.

The Anti-Poetic

Private Group with 1 member

Hugo Williams talks about writing poetry ‘without the safety net of the poetical.’ Cultivating the Anti-Poetic would seem like a chimera, a contradiction. Ultimately we want a poem to make its mark, to change our sense of things. These sessions will consider how we might escape the straitjacket of the ‘well-behaved’ (mainstream? orthodox?) poem – the poem, albeit crafted, which seems like so many others. A poetry course which seeks to break the poetry course mould!

Chemical Poetry – The Periodic Table & Poetry

Private Group with 1 member

Come and use the famous ‘periodic table of elements’ as a springboard and playground for new writing. We all know about the periodic table from our schooldays and the opening titles to ‘Breaking Bad’ but how have artists and writers reinvented and rearranged it over the years? Write from the point of view of a randomly chosen element. Compose a ‘Self-portrait as Einsteinium’. Invent your own elements and see what happens when you plunge them into poetry (a previous student of Simon’s chemistry class discovered ‘Philandrium’ in the test tube of their imagination). Learn about some of the unsung heroes and heroines who devoted their lives to completing this elegant chart. As we fizz around the table, we will learn about the elements that combine to make good poetry and develop new work through workshops and discussions. Noble, inert, explosive, reactive, unstable,toxic, sublime: who knows what this poetic chemistry set will produce? No scientific background necessary.

Sound Poetry and Performance Technique

Private Group with 3 members

This course will look at how you can make your poetry performance creative and dramatic. Great performers use not only words but also silences, changes in volume, tone of voice and sometimes even sound effects to enhance their performance. You will study recordings of storytellers and poets from all over the world to see how they use their voice to create atmosphere and musicality, looking at early pioneers of sound poetry such as the Futurists and Dadaists and modern performers such as Bob Cobbing. You will then write a series of poems using techniques that will make your ‘page voice’ come alive in an authentic and considered way. It would be useful if you have the facilities to record your own voice, but not essential.