Saying what you mean in writing feels good. Maybe even better is the way we can surprise ourselves in poetry. This is one of the good paradoxes we will explore together – how writing in a tight form can give us unexpected freedom, how playfulness can touch on deepest feelings, how looking at small immediate things can open vistas, how writing in fragments can put us on the track of major projects, and how listening to, even writing in direct conversation with, each other’s work can lead each of us closer to our individual voice.
Whether you’re new to writing poetry or in need of some refreshment, come and explore how we can surprise ourselves and spark each other’s thinking in a small supportive group.
Tutor: Philip Gross – Poet
Philip Gross, born in Cornwall, son of an Estonian wartime refugee, has lived in South Wales since 2004. The Water Table (Bloodaxe) won the T.S.Eliot Prize 2009; he received a Cholmondeley Award in 2017. He is a keen collaborator – with artist Valerie Coffin Price on A Fold in The River (Seren, 2015), with poet Lesley Saunders on A Part of the Main (Mulfran, 2018), with scientists on Dark Sky Park (Otter-Barry, 2018) and, most recently, in Troeon/Turnings (Seren, 2021) a ‘translaboration’ – mutual translations/responses – with Welsh language poet Cyril Jones. The Thirteenth Angel (2022) is his 12th collection from Bloodaxe.
Guest, Wednesday evening: Katharine Towers – Poet
Katharine Towers was born in London and now lives in the Peak District. She has published three collections with Picador. Oak (2021) is a book-length poem about the life of an oak tree and was a Poetry Book of the Month in The Guardian. The Remedies (2016) was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize and The Floating Man (2010) won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize. Her most recent publication is Let him bring a shrubbe, a pamphlet exploring the life and music of the composer Gerald Finzi (The Maker’s Press, 2023). A further pamphlet, The Violin Forest, was published by HappenStance in 2019.
|PRICES||Fee includes all day and evening tutored workshop sessions, readings, accommodation and full board (not including alcohol).
Single – En-suite room £990
|TO BOOK||£150 deposit payable on booking by bank transfer, PayPal or cheque, to secure place. Balance due six weeks before the start of the course/tutored retreat/untutored retreat.
Please see Terms and Conditions.
|WHAT TO BRING||
Please arrive between 3:00pm and 4:30pm on Monday 15th April 2024
Tea, cake and housekeeping notes 4.30pm
Introductory Workshop 5.30 – 6.30pm
After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 20th April 2024
|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.
Courses (Tutored and Untutored Retreats – see below)
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 participants, tutors and the landscape itself.
All courses start on Monday afternoon, arrival time 3.00 – 4.30pm.
4.30pm – Housekeeping information, tea and cake
5.30 – 6.30pm – Introductory workshop
6.30pm – Complimentary welcome drink
7.00pm – Dinner
All courses end after breakfast on Saturday (10.00am).
Although there will be slight variations, according to the type of course (see below), participants can generally expect the following outline:
8.00 – 9.00am: Breakfast
9.30 – 11.00am: First workshop – Participants explore particular aspects of the chosen genre and take part in writing exercises to further their understanding and expertise. All participants 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, read or work on individual writing projects.
4.30pm: Tea and cake
5.30 – 6.30pm: Third workshop
All participants on a course have one individual tutorial of 30 minutes with the tutor in the course of the week. These will take place in the afternoons.
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 writing game or a poetry/music performance from Hamish and Rebecca. On Friday, there is a shared reading of ‘work-in-progress’ 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 participants.
These follow the same basic structure as above except there is only one workshop in the morning and participants will have a daily 30 minute tutorial, four 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, there are optional events such as writing games and poetry/music performances from Hamish and Rebecca. Participation in such events is entirely voluntary and people are free to continue with their writing in the evenings if they prefer. However, we do like to end the week on Friday evening with a shared reading of work-in-progress as a celebration of the week’s writing.