Simon Williams – Tutor
Susan Taylor – Tutor
Guest Reader
30th April – 5th May 2018
Course Date

In its earliest form a poem was any ‘thing made or created’ and it’s the making of new work and its presentation that we’ll concentrate on in this course. Through the study of surprising poems and writing from prompts of all kinds – including the beautiful surroundings of Garsdale – we’ll share our new work on the page and out loud. In individual tutorials and group workshops, we’ll focus on sharpening our techniques, liberating our voices and enjoying the buzz of creating new poems.

Simon Williams - The Garsdale Retreat

Tutor: Simon Williams – Poet

Simon Williams has written poetry since university days, when he was mentored by Roger McGough and Pete Morgan. For the last 30 years he has made a living from writing about technology, in tandem with his poetry.

He has seven published collections. He latest pamphlet, Spotting Capybaras in the Work of Marc Chagall, and his latest full collection,

Inti were both published in 2016.

He had a new co-authored pamphlet with Susan Taylor, The Weather House, published this year by Indigo Dreams as the basis of a poetry performance show. Simon was elected The Bard of Exeter in 2013 and founded the large-format magazine, The Broadsheet.

Photo: Dark Star Photography

Susan Taylor - The Garsdale Retreat

Tutor: Susan Taylor – Poet

Susan Taylor is a life-long poet, with seven collections and a number of pamphlets, as well as being published widely in anthologies and magazines. Her two most recent publications are a collection, Temporal Bones, from Oversteps Books in 2016 and a pamphlet from Indigo Dreams; The Weather House, co-written with Simon Williams. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she led poetry workshops on the Undergraduate programme and has also run many workshops and courses at other venues.

Originally a farmer in the Lincolnshire Wolds, she enjoys exploring the landscape, with a mind towards its ecology and human history, linking these journeys into resonant local myths and legends in her poems. She is currently developing a new performance piece, La Loba, Sketches and Enchantments.

Photo: Beccy Strong

PRICES Fee includes all day and evening tutored workshop sessions, readings, accommodation and full board (not including alcohol).

Single – En-suite room £760
Single – Shared bathroom £710
Shared Room (2 Beds) £660
Non-residential (inc. lunch and evening meal) £500

TO BOOK £150 deposit payable on booking by PayPal, bank transfer or cheque, to secure place, balance due six weeks before start of course.
Please see Terms and Conditions.
Accommodation Professional Tutor
Meals Sheets & Towels
Boots/outdoor shoes/trainers suitable for walking on rough paths.
A waterproof jacket or coat.
Warm Clothes
Writing materials: your personal writing preference – laptop, paper, pens etc.
USB memory stick: for printing your work. (We do have air printing)
Musical instruments and drawing/painting materials – sketchbook, pens, pencils, watercolours etc. (optional!)
Drawing/painting materials – sketchbook, pens, pencils, watercolours etc.
Cash: for books written by the tutors, alcohol, taxis or sundries. The nearest cash machine is in Hawes, seven miles away.
START TIME Please arrive between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm on Monday 30th April 2018.
END TIME After breakfast, 10:00 am on Saturday 5th May 2018.
LOCATION The Garsdale Retreat, Clough View, Garsdale Head, Sedbergh, Cumbria LA10 5PW

Nearest station: Garsdale – direct line from Leeds.


The Garsdale Retreat provides an inspiring place to develop as a writer. Our courses offer opportunities for new, emerging and experienced writers. The tutors, all professional writers, lead workshops and also give one-to-one tutorials to help the individual student. In the remote and beautiful setting of The Yorkshire Dales, The Garsdale Retreat gives a wonderful opportunity to escape from the daily stresses of life and to draw inspiration from fellow students, tutors and the landscape itself.
All courses start on Monday afternoon, arrival time 4.00 – 6.00pm and finish after breakfast on Saturday, 10.00am

Course Structure

Although there will be slight variations, according to the type of course, students can generally expect the following outline:

Each day begins with a morning workshop at 9.30am where students explore particular aspects of the chosen genre and take part in writing exercises to further their understanding and expertise. Tutors also write alongside the students, sharing and developing work with participants. The immediacy of hearing or reading an expert’s emerging work gives invaluable insight and inspiration into the art of writing. All students have opportunities to share their work with the tutor and fellow writers in a safe, supportive and nurturing environment in which individual work is respected and confidence developed.
There is a mid-morning coffee break and the session finishes at lunchtime (1.00pm)
After lunch, participants are free to do whatever they like, such as: relax, go for walks, enjoy The Dales, draw, paint, read or work on individual writing projects.
All students have at least one individual tutorial which usually takes place in the early evening after tea and homemade cake.
Each evening there is an after-dinner event. The precise nature of this varies according to the type of course but participants can typically expect a tutor reading on Tuesday followed by a reading from a guest writer on the Wednesday evening. There is an informal activity on Thursday such as a student ‘open-mic’ night, or a tutor devised activity. On Friday, students and tutor take part in a reading of their work from the course-produced anthology.

All courses end after breakfast on Saturday.

Poetry Course Anthology

An integral part of poetry courses is the production of an anthology of writing produced in the week. It is, of course, accepted that work may not be completely polished and there is an element of work-in-progress about it. However, the aim of the anthology is to reflect a flavour of the work accomplished on the course by both tutor and participants and to provide them with an attractive record of their time at Garsdale. The Retreat stores copies of anthologies in the library, providing pleasure and inspiration for future students.