The Poetry Business Writing School

'The best poetry teachers in the world' — The Guardian


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 practice. 

This will be the fifth in a series of extremely successful courses, and the second in our Sheffield offices.


How to apply 

Applicants will normally have published at least one collection, but exceptions may be made, eg where work has appeared widely in magazines. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss this.

> There will be seven Writing School days, beginning in Autumn 2012 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.

> 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.

> An optional Writing School Weekend is expected to take place early in 2014 in the Lake District, closing with a course-members’ reading at The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere.


Course fee: £790. This can be paid in instalments. Please do not let shortage of funds prevent you from applying.


Closing date for applications: 30 June 2012


Please include: 

> a sample of 8 poems (published or unpublished)

> a short covering letter stating why you want to come on the course

> a short cv with publication details


Applications can be sent by post — to The Writing School, The Poetry Business, 32-40 Bank Street, Sheffield S1 2DS — or by email, to


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

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