Paul Henry – Tutor
Rebecca Watts – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
4th – 9th July 2022
Course Date

This course welcomes both new and experienced poets who are keen to develop their work within a friendly, supportive environment.

During morning workshops we’ll consider the craft and mystery of poetry, along with the creative choices we make: between formal and free verse, full- and half-rhyme, traditional metre and intuitive rhythm…. Using a broad range of poetic voices and themes as stimulus, we’ll look at how writing ‘after’ existing poems can influence our style, lending authority to our work. Writing out of memory and close observation, we’ll also explore the fine line between poetry and song, and how a single image or refrain-line can sustain a lyric poem.

As the week generates the beginnings of much new work, one-to-one tutorials will offer specific advice on stylistic and technical approaches to your writing.

Most of all, ‘Writing Poetry’ will offer precious time and space to enjoy refining your work in a relaxed atmosphere and in the company of fellow poets. Bring along your favourite poems, to share.

Paul Henry - The Garsdale Retreat

Tutor: Paul Henry – Poet/Songwriter

Paul Henry is a poet and songwriter. Since receiving an Eric Gregory Award he’s published seven collections of poetry, all with Seren. The Brittle Sea: New & Selected Poems, from the same publisher, appeared in India as The Black Guitar. His work has been widely anthologised and translated.

A popular Creative Writing tutor, Paul has worked with many poets who’ve progressed to publication. Described by U.A. Fanthorpe as “a poet’s poet”, he’s read and performed his work at festivals in Europe, the USA and Asia. He’s also presented programmes for BBC Radio Wales, Radio 3 and Radio 4.

His last collection, The Glass Aisle, led to a musical collaboration with Stornoway’s Brian Briggs which toured UK festivals. Originally from Aberystwyth, Paul has guest-edited Poetry Wales. His new collection, As if to Sing, will be published by Seren in 2022.
“His poetry deepens our perception of the world.” – Hugo Williams

Photo: Zed Nelson

Rebecca Watts - The Garsdale Retreat

Guest, Wednesday evening: Rebecca Watts – Poet

Rebecca Watts’s debut poetry collection, The Met Office Advises Caution, was published by Carcanet in 2016 and was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. It also featured in the Guardian and Financial Times ‘Best Books of 2016’ lists and was shortlisted for the 2017 Seamus Heaney Centre Prize.

Her second collection, Red Gloves, was published by Carcanet in 2020. Rebecca lives in Cambridge, where alongside writing she works for a museum and as a freelance editor.


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

Single – En-suite room £860
Single – Shared bathroom £810
Shared Room (2 Beds) £760pp
Non-residential (inc. lunch and evening meal) £620

TO BOOK £150 deposit payable on booking by bank transfer, PayPal or cheque, to secure place. Balance due four weeks before the start of the course/tutored retreat/untutored retreat.
Please see Terms and Conditions.
Accommodation Professional tutor and mid-week guest
All Meals Sheets & Towels
Boots/outdoor shoes/trainers suitable for walking on rough/wet 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)
Cash: for books on sale (written by tutors, guest readers etc.), alcohol, sundries. The nearest cash machine is in Hawes, six miles away!

Please arrive between 3:00pm and 4:30pm on Monday 4th July 2022

Tea, cake and housekeeping notes 4.30pm

Introductory Workshop 5.30 – 6.30pm

Dinner 7.00pm


After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 9th July 2022

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 – 4.30pm. On this first day, tea, cake and housekeeping notes are at 4.30pm followed by an introductory/ice-breaking workshop 5.30 – 6.30pm. 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 9.30 – 11.00am and participants will have a daily 30 minute 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.

Poetry- Writing Poetry