Oct 24, 2018

The Poetry Business Writing School 2019/20

The Poetry Business is offering an intensive course of study, workshops and peer-led discussion, over 18 months for up to 12 selected poets.


The Writing School is an Arts Council initiative open to more experienced poets.  A customised form of the MA that Peter Sansom taught for ten years, it is a highly-structured advanced course, which depends upon the seriousness, experience and commitment of the writers who take part.  The main tutors are Ann and Peter Sansom.

The course will be useful to any poet who needs direction and well-informed peer support, and particularly to those who have reached a stage where they wish to reassess their own practice.

This will be the eighth in a series of extremely successful courses.

How to apply

- Applicants will normally have published at least one collection, but exceptions may be made, e.g. where work has appeared widely in magazines.

- There will be eight Writing School days, beginning in March 2019 and covering an 18 month period. Each day will comprise writing exercises, a study session and critical workshop, and will take place in our offices in Sheffield, usually every second month (usually a Saturday 10.15am to 4pm). Dates of all the workshops will be agreed in advance.

- Between sessions, you will work both independently and in small groups: to comment on each other’s work and to discuss poems and aspects of poetry. This can be done by email or by meeting together.

- A reading list will cover all periods, but with an emphasis on contemporary poetry.

- Assignments will be demanding but enjoyable and poem-centred.  Areas the course is likely to cover include form, translation, sequence and editing.

- You will contribute to the construction of the course (with your own reading list and by swapping favourite collections to discuss with other writers); and you will lead a discussion of a poet or some aspect of contemporary poetry.

- By the end of the course you will have produced a draft manuscript of poems. We also ask for a self-appraisal of your writing development over the period.

- There is no formal assessment, but mentoring and a final editorial session will be available.

- A Writing School Weekend is expected to take place in Spring 2020 in the Lake District, closing with a course-members’ reading at The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere.

Course fee: £850. This can be paid in two instalments. Please do not let shortage of funds prevent you from applying.

Closing date for applications: 30th November 2018

Please include:

- Eight poems (published or unpublished).

- A short covering letter stating why you want to come on the course.

- A short cv with publication detail.

-The titles of three individual poetry collections which are important to you.

Send your application by post to:

The Writing School, The Poetry Business, Campo House, 54 Campo Lane, Sheffield, S1 2EG

or by e-mail to:


For more details or to discuss the course informally, please email, or ring 0114 438 4074.


The Writing School gave me space and a detailed structure to focus on my own practice as a poet -- and although I didn't know it at the time, I finished the manuscript that became my first full-length collection while on the course. There was a brilliant reading list as long as your arm and really imaginative ways of working with poems and poetry.  The other participants were highly skilled and experienced poets and I felt very lucky to be part of the group.  Ann and Peter were amazing throughout - professional, supportive and genuinely interested in helping us as writers. It was a wonderful experience. – Kim Moore

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