Poetry Business News

Nov 8, 2016
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, with guest tutor Michael Laskey.

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 seventh 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 February 2017 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 Autumn 2018 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 2016

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, 32-40 Bank Street, Sheffield S1 2DS

or by e-mail to:


For more details or to discuss the course informally, please email, or ring 0114 3463037.

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


Oct 18, 2016

Mark Pajak, one of our 2016 Laureate's Choice Poets, has won the 2016 Bridport Prize with his poem 'Spitting Distance'. 

Oct 12, 2016

The Yorkshire Poetry Prize with guest poets John Foggin and Stuart Pickford

Friday 4th November | 7.30pm | The Art House, Sheffield


The Yorkshire Poetry Prize category honours the best single poem from a collection submitted to the Book & Pamphlet Competition by an entrant with a Yorkshire post code.


Oct 12, 2016

Yvonne Green will be reading on 30th November 2016 as part of Torriano Meeting House's Poetry Series. 

Oct 7, 2016

We'd like to let you know about some festival events featuring Poetry Business poets which are coming up over the next few months in Ilkley, Sheffield, Kendal and Nottingham. Details of all four festivals are available below. We hope you enjoy the festival season! 

Sep 29, 2016

NOTTINGHAM FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE – Voices of Jewish & Muslim Writers

November 9 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Mercure Hotel – The George Suite

2 George Street 

Nottingham, NG1 3BP



Aug 25, 2016

Nigel Pantling's poem 'Striking the Deal' from his debut collection Kingdom Power Glory has been highly commended and included in the Forward Book of Poetry 2017.

You can read the full shortlist and buy the anthology on the Forward Prizes website

Read More +

Aug 12, 2016

We are very sorry to announce the death of the poet, publisher and musician, David Attwooll. David made many friends, which we know very well from our Writing School, where he was admired as an outstanding poet and was loved for his kindness, generosity and insight.  


David's pamphlet, Surfacing, won the Poetry Business Competition in 2012, judged by Simon Armitage, and the following year his poems were featured in Carcanet's Oxford Poets anthology.  Two Rivers Press brought out his first full-length collection, The Sound Ladder in 2015 (reviewed in the North by Noel Williams [link ?]).  Two Rivers had planned to publish a new collection for 2017, and the work on this will continue with the help of David's family and colleagues.  David was at the height of his powers, and his death is a great loss.  


Our heartfelt condolences to David's family.   




The drum also waltzes

 I.m. David Attwooll

With flam and paradiddle,

with words that jive,

he planted firm

the ladder to Port Meadow.

A welcome

that more than tolerated,

he Mingused and Maxed

into our caring,

left a beat for us to feel.


By Rod Whitworth

Jul 12, 2016

Wendy Klein enjoys a side-by-side look at two compelling but entirely different smith|doorstop books - 'Swimming with Jellyfish' by Stuart Pickford and 'Kingdom Power Glory' by Nigel Pantling. 

Read the review on the London Grip website here.


Jun 17, 2016

Poetry Reading & Performance

Friday 24 June, 6pm (free event, with refreshments)

York St John University, Quad West, Theatre 1 (QW007)


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