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New Year’s Poetry Resolutions

Dear CAMPUS poets,

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a restful holiday break. Sadly, my glacier glasses have been packed away, the reading specs are on, and I am now safely ensconced back in our pleasingly overheated offices. It’s not all grey skies and back-to-work, however – we’ve got lots of terribly exciting things happening at the Poetry School this year to keep our spirits buoyant.

I’m not much of a writer or a poet, but this year I’m going to give it a real go. That’s my resolution, and an achievable one at that. Extreme motorcycling or survival treks are not for me; I am the Bear Grylls of duvet-forts, leftover pizza and minimising calorie expenditure (perfect climatic conditions for writing). I write rarely, a bad, lazy habit I think I can break, and even doing this blog post is a small step in shifting towards a greater self-awareness. And if I get dispirited in achieving my goals? Well, it’s incredibly lucky that I do that work that I do. My willpower is a very limited resource, so having both the School and CAMPUS at my disposal is a great support to have, and I hope you find it as useful as I have. May I wish you all the best in your own writing resolutions and endeavours for 2015.

And now, a quick e-bulletin of our latest doings and happenings…



The Poetry School runs CAMPUS, but we’re also the UK’s largest provider of poetry education. For the last 17 years we’ve been offering some of the best and most affordable poetry courses, classes and workshops in the world. It’s what we do best.

We run face-to-face courses in London and regionally across the UK, but also offer many online courses that are available to anyone in the world. All our courses are designed to be accessible, and highly adaptable to the needs of individual students, be they based in the UK, Indonesia, New Zealand, Mexico, or the North Pole. You just need an internet connection and a love of poetry.

If you’ve never done an online course with the Poetry School before, they’re an effective way to improve your writing and daily routine, as well as a great opportunity to be part of a community of poets that will help motivate you when you feel stuck. But don’t take it from us – read some of the many nice things that have been said about our teaching.

All our online courses take place on CAMPUS, and are designed to be fully accessible and approachable to all levels of poets. You can see what’s on offer this Spring 2015 by skimming on this handy list here. Highlights include: YOU, The Movie – Horror, Western, Romance, Noir and Disaster Poetry (your poems re-imagined as film genres), New Definitions and Neologisms – the Poetry of Dictionaries (poetic praxis for word nerds and language lovers), and Poetry and the Brain (where poetry meets neuroscience).

Each online course will have you reading fantastic poems, writing your own poems in response to assignments set by your tutor, and taking part in live discussions with your whole group via our unique chat rooms. The really great thing about online courses is that people who would otherwise struggle to attend a poetry course (because they live a long way from a town, care issues, busy personal schedule) can be part of an inclusive and respectful group of developing poets, working in your own time, at your own distance.

If you’d like to know more about how our online courses work, please feel free to email me on [email protected] and I will personally answer any questions you might have, and show you some example assignments and chat transcripts.



If you are based outside the UK, and want to know more about how our courses work for international students – please email me and I will happily tell you about what we offer. Almost a fifth of all our online students are now based overseas, and we’d love to grow this further.

We’ve begun to offer International Courses, however, I should stress that ALL our online courses are designed to be adaptable to the needs of all students based overseas. If any course catches your eye, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to discuss how we can accommodate you.



Have you have ever wanted to write poetry but were not sure how to start?

We’re very delighted to announce our first ever poetry foundation course. We had a lot of demand from new students who loved writing poetry but constantly felt stuck in one style, or found it hard to find the creative spark to write enough new poems. So we developed our new course Where It Begins with the fantastic Nii Ayikwei Parkes. If you regard yourself as a beginner but want to build confidence in what you do, and learn the real fundamentals of poetic craft, this is where it begins…



Our next online reading group starts in a couple of weeks. This Enchanted Isle: reading Auden’s ‘The Sea And The Mirror’ with A B Jackson explores W H Auden’s long poem ‘commentary’ on The Tempest. As well as the normal reading notes, writing prompts and online discussion, there will be a chance to refresh your knowledge of Shakespeare’s text, as well as enjoy some of the many pieces of TV, film, theatre, music and visual art that have been inspired by the play.

Our Online Reading Groups have become an incredibly popular new part of our programme, perfect for those looking for an add-on to a course, or those who simply want to take a break from writing, and instead to do some in-depth, critical reading. They’re a very reasonably priced £15, too, so it’s immensely affordable.

You can read a blog post from A B about the course here:

Finally – here’s just a handful of many positive comments our students have made about our online reading groups:

“This was a brilliant course … I would definitely do another”

“The information and attention to detail in the Mercian Hymns course was excellent’ 

“This was incredible value for money … [our tutor] gave above and beyond”

“Academic and rigorous … it gives me access to ideas, articles and tutoring that I can’t get anywhere else”



And finally… we were at the Tea House Theatre in Vauxhall last night to launch our Spring 2015 term, packed full of poetry and music and platters of cake. We’ll be sharing photos very soon…


Best wishes to you all!



  • Claire Cox

    Happy New Year Will! Happy blogging and happy will-power channeling to you – thanks for showing us hibernating tortoises the way! Off to wipe my eyes out with cotton wool, shove a giant lettuce leaf into my own face….and sign up for Poetry School – yay!!!

  • Martin Pallot

    From the Ray Mears of couch-survival to the Bear Grylls of duvet-forts … Happy New Year and thanks for the info.

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Image: Some light exercise. With bear.