Paul Henry – Tutor
Sarah Hymas – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
30th March – 4th April 2020
Course Date

This course aims to help you develop your poetry by exploring how new poems can emerge from existing ones. Daily writing workshops will interpret “afterness” in its broadest sense, from encouraging you to write acknowledged, recognisable  ‘versions’ of poems, to simply writing out of a single image, form, metre or theme. In addition to morning workshops, individual tutorials will offer technical guidance in redrafting your work.

We’ll write from a wide range of source poems, sharing new reading and reflecting on how writing “after” can enrich and lend authority to our art. 

Poems ‘after’ Poems welcomes both new and experienced poets to develop their craft within a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Please bring along some of your favourite poems.

Tutor: Paul Henry – Poet/Songwriter

Paul Henry came to poetry through songwriting and is the author of eleven books. A popular Creative Writing tutor, his latest collection is ‘The Glass Aisle’.

Described by U.A. Fanthorpe as “a poet’s poet” who combines “a sense of the music of words with an endlessly inventive imagination”, he has read and performed his work at festivals in Europe , the USA and Asia. His previous collection, ‘Boy Running’, was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year. Songs from his collaboration with Stornoway’s Brian Briggs were recently played on Radios 2, 4 and 6. Paul has also presented programmes for BBC Radio Wales, Radio 3 and Radio 4.     @theglassaisle

“One of the most important Welsh poets now writing.” – Carol Ann Duffy

“His poetry deepens our perception of the world.” – Hugo Williams

Photo: Zed Nelson

Guest, Wednesday evening: Sarah Hymas – Poet/Writer

Sarah Hymas lives by Morecambe Bay, England, working as a poet and collaborator with musicians, visual artists, other writers and marine scientists. Her writing appears in print, multimedia exhibits, as lyrics, installations, short films and on stage. She also makes artistbooks and immersive walks. Wave Motion featured in the TLS and Recovery, an oversized artistbook exploring marine plastic pollution, is held in the National Poetry Library London.

Site-specific pieces told through geocaching, augmented reality, micro print, performance and audio in England and Scotland have been commissioned by The National Oceanography Centre, Manchester Literature Festival, Aberdeen Performing Arts, Lancaster Arts City and Kirklees Council.

In 2017 she was shortlisted for the Ivan Juritz award for Creative Experiment, and in 2019 a poem was highly commended in the UK Forward Prize for Poetry and a piece of creative nonfiction, this wall, was shortlisted for the Hinterland Prize.  

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

Single – En-suite room £805

Single – Shared bathroom £755

Shared Room (2 Beds) £705pp

Non-residential (inc. lunch and evening meal) £565

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 and mid-week guests
All Meals Sheets & Towels
Boots/outdoor shoes/trainers suitable for walking on rough paths.
A waterproof jacket or coat.
Warm Clothes
Toiletries – we do have one hair dryer available
Writing materials: your personal writing preference – laptop, paper, pens etc.
USB memory stick: for printing your work. (We do have air printing so may not be necessary)
Musical instruments and drawing/painting materials – sketchbook, pens, pencils, watercolours etc. (optional!)
Cash: for books written by the tutors, alcohol or sundries. The nearest cash machine is in Hawes, six miles away.

Please arrive between 3:00pm and 5:00pm on Monday 30th March 2020

Tea and cake 4.30pm

Introductory Workshop 5.45 – 6.45pm


After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 4th April 2020

LOCATION The Garsdale Retreat, Clough View, Garsdale Head, Sedbergh, Cumbria LA10 5PW
Nearest railway station: Garsdale, on the Leeds – Carlisle line.
For directions, see Find Us section on the Contact page.


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 3.00 – 5.00pm. On this first day, tea and cake are at 4.30pm followed by an introductory/ice-breaking workshop 5.45 – 6.45pm. Dinner is at 7.00pm. All courses end after breakfast on Saturday (10.00am).

Course Structure

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

8.00 – 9.00am: Breakfast

9.30 – 11.00am: First workshop – Students explore particular aspects of the chosen genre and take part in writing exercises to further their understanding and expertise. 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.

11.00 – 11.30am: Coffee break

11.30am – 1.00pm: Second workshop

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.

4.30pm: Tea and cake

5.30 – 6.30pm: Third workshop

7.00pm: Dinner

All students have one individual tutorial of 30 minutes with the tutor in the course of the week which usually takes place at a mutually agreed time, usually in the afternoon.

Each evening, at about 8.30pm, 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 word/literary game. On Friday, there is a reading of work produced during the week.

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 the writing is essentially work-in-progress. However, the aim of the anthology is to reflect a flavour of the work accomplished on the course and to provide participants 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.

Tutored Retreats

These follow the same basic structure as above except there is only one workshop in the morning and participants will have a daily tutorial, four per week.

Untutored Retreats

The only formal structure of the week is determined by meal-times (see above), allowing participants to concentrate totally on their own writing. After dinner, participants in conjunction with the course director sometimes organise evening read-rounds of their work /open mics/music /word games. However, participation in such events is entirely voluntary and people are free to continue with their writing in the evenings if they prefer.