Sometimes a poem stops short of where it could actually go – or rambles around, never arriving at the point. Sometimes we let the poem fall flat because we’re trying too hard to say something important.
This week, you will concentrate on honing and shaping your work so that it is memorable, true and has a real impact on the reader. We’ll look at poems which draw you in immediately, poems with explosive booby traps, poems that stay with you for years – and write new work which hopefully does the same.
|Tutor: Jo Bell – Poet/Pundit/Broadcaster
Jo Bell is a poet, pundit and broadcaster. Her work addresses human relationships, deep time and her life on the UK canals.
Known for her charismatic performances, she is a veteran of festivals from Stromstad to Glastonbury, where she was poet in residence in 2010. She writes for BBC radio and her prizes include the Charles Causley Prize and Manchester Cathedral Prize.
Jo is the author of best-selling poetry workbook 52: Write a Poem a Week and co-author of How to Be a Poet. Carol Ann Duffy calls her ‘one of the most exciting poets writing today’
Photo: Lee Allen
|Guest, Wednesday evening: Clare Shaw – Poet
Clare Shaw has three poetry collections from Bloodaxe: Straight Ahead (2006), which attracted a Forward Prize Highly Commended for Best Single Poem; and Head On (2012), which is, according to the Times Literary Supplement “fierce … memorable and visceral”. Her third collection, Flood, was published in June 2018. Clare won a Northern Writer’s Award 2018 for her fourth collection, which she is currently working on.
Often addressing political and personal conflict, her poetry is fuelled by a strong conviction in the transformative and redemptive power of language. Clare is a Royal Literary Fellow, and a regular tutor for the Poetry School, the Wordsworth Trust and the Arvon Foundation. She is also a mental health trainer, activist and author: her publications include “Otis Doesn’t Scratch: talking to young children about self-injury” (PCCS Books, 2015); and “Our Encounters with Self-Harm” (2013). She is passionate about the meeting ground between poetry and mental wellbeing, and is the facilitator of the Poetry School’s international online course, “Poetry as Survival”.
Clare’s most recent collection – Flood – offers an eye-witness account of the floods of 2013 and 2015. Acting as a powerful metaphor for wider experiences, flood runs through the book in different forms – bereavement and trauma, the Savile scandal, life in an asylum. Ultimately, this is a story of one life as it is unravelled and rebuilt, written from the heart and from the North, in a language as dangerous and sustaining as water.
“‘As a reader you cannot expect an easy time with Clare Shaw. She deals with the big subjects, war and conflict, violence and violation but also the subtler themes of language as a means of expression, identity and the difficulties of motherhood. She takes us to places we may be reluctant to go but more importantly she fixes her gaze on us and demands our attention and our involvement” (James Carruth, The North).
|PRICES||Fee includes all day and evening tutored workshop sessions, readings, accommodation and full board (not including alcohol).
Single – En-suite room £790
|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.
|WHAT TO BRING||
|START TIME||Please arrive between 3:00pm and 5:00pm on Monday 24th June 2019.
Tea and Cake 4.30pm
Introductory Workshop 5.45 – 6.45pm
|END TIME||After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 29th June 2019.|
|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).
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
5.00 – 6.00pm: Third workshop
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 student ‘open-mic’ night or 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.
These follow the same basic structure as above except there is only one workshop in the morning and, depending on the size of the group, participants will have between two and four tutorials per week.
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.