Paul Henry – Tutor
Stephen Knight – Guest Reader
Guest Reader
14th – 19th October 2024
Course Date

Welcoming new and experienced poets, this popular course will appeal to those keen to develop their poetry within a supportive, homely environment.

A combination of writing workshops, readings and tutorials will focus on the creative choices we make as poets. As we write, we’ll consider the craft and mystery of poetry: the intuitive melding of form and subject; full- and half-rhyme, how traditional metres can enrichen free verse, the power of image and refrain ….

Using a broad range of poetic voices and themes as stimulus, we’ll write out of memory and also from close observation. And as the week generates new work, one-to-one tutorials will include advice on drafting your poems. Most of all, ‘Writing Poetry’ offers precious time and space to enjoy extending the range of your work in a relaxed atmosphere, and in the company of fellow poets.

Bring along some favourite poems, to share during the week.

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 eight 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 recent 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 latest collection, As if to Sing, was published by Seren in 2022 and in 2023 won the Wales Book of the Year Poetry Award.

“One of the best lyric poets currently writing.” – Hugo Williams

“Henry is working at the core of lyric poetry, with love and loss and the ‘deeper river’.” – The Poetry Review

Photo: Zed Nelson

Stephen Knight

Guest, Thursday evening: Stephen Knight – Poet/Writer

Stephen Knight has published two pamphlets and five books of poetry, the first two of which were shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize in 1993 and 1996. His latest, Drizzle Mizzle Downpour Deluge (CB editions) was a Spectator Book of the Year in 2020. He received a Gregory Award in 1987, won the 1992 National Poetry Competition, and his novel Mr Schnitzel was the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year in 2001.

He is a Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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

Single – En-suite room £990
Single – Shared bathrooms £940
Shared Room (2 Beds) £890pp – single supplement £50

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.
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. We do now have a card reader!

Please arrive between 3:00pm and 4:30pm on Monday 14th October 2024

Tea, cake and housekeeping notes 4.30pm

Introductory Workshop 5.30 – 6.30pm

Dinner 7.00pm


After breakfast, 10:00am on Saturday 19th October 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).

Course Structure

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

7.00pm: Dinner

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.

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 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, 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.