Arvon at Home Writing Week: Poetry

The Poetry of Sex and Desire

Monday November 15th - Friday November 19th 2021


“You came and I went mad about you.”

– Sappho, Fragment 48

“[W]on’t you put down your phone and tell me what’s really the matter.”

– Harmony Holiday, “Dear Babylon”

“Keats is dead so fuck me from behind.”

– Hera Lindsay Bird

What’s hot? What’s the hottest thing ever? Have you done it, imagined it? Have you put it in a poem? Maybe it never happened. Maybe it almost happened, but something or someone got in the way. Maybe it very much happened, but you think ‘I can’t write about that!’ Yes, you can! Since Sappho wrote about her queer, disabled, polyamorous life, we poets have followed, and written sex and desire all over our poems. Poetry can also be a way to access your desire, to find words for feelings, to say something, on the page, that would be impossible to say to your love, or your one-night stand, or your best friend, or your enemy in real life. Expect to read and dis-cuss poets who stoke our poetic fires, and to leave with plenty of your own hot new poems. All welcome in the church of desire.

We’ll help you to make ‘Arvon at Home’, turning your own place into a writing cocoon, capturing the transformative power of our acclaimed Arvon residential courses: two brilliant author-tutors at your service, a caring and sharing group, the time and space to devote to your writing, invaluable feedback, new writing pals, and the unique creative progress that happens in a dedicated week. 

You will be offered the best of a classic Arvon residential week, with a few virtual tweaks. Spot the difference: a carefully balanced combination of tips to help you focus, daily morning workshops, one-to-one tutorials with both tutors, three evening get-togethers to chat about the day’s work, a mid-week guest reading offer, the celebratory Friday-evening collective reading, and lots of time and encouragement for you to write every day. You will receive a free ticket to our Wednesday evening Live Guest Reading.

All gatherings, one-to-one or group, will be delivered via our own Arvon Zoom, so you’ll need to have a reliable internet connection. Your Arvon host will be on call to offer support as you need it, including any help you may need with your computer set-up. 

To participate, and to get the most out of the week, you’ll need to turn up online for all planned morning sessions, Monday to Friday. You should also set aside your afternoons for tutorials and independent writing time.  Last but not least, we urge you to read your tutors’ published work before the week starts.

As part of our wider effort to increase participation in the arts, there are a limited number of concessionary places available for this course.

Dates: Monday 15th November 16.30  — Friday 19th November 21:00
Cost: £400 (concession: £200)

This course is available for concession pricing


I had the chance to speak with two well respected tutors about my work. Being able to do this in one-to-one tutorials was excellent and not reduced in any way by being on Zoom. A good chance for some very good advice. I am now determined to set to work on my writing.

—Writing Week Participant

What a lovely week—worked so well. It’s not the Hurst, but something different and equally special.

—Writing Week Participant


16.30—17.15: Everyone gathers online in Arvon’s Zoom Writing House. Your Arvon Host Eliza Squire will welcome you and the tutors, giving you an overview of the week, technology support, and some ideas for making your writing ‘cocoon’. You’ll get to meet everyone, ask questions, and settle in.

17.15—17.30: Break

17.30—18.30: Jillian and Ella will ask you to start thinking about your writing, perhaps setting an exercise or two. There may be some homework for tomorrow morning.


10.00—10.45: ‘Meeting for coffee’ You are invited to meet with the rest of the group in the workshop room to share work and get to know each other a little better. (optional)

11.00—13.00: Everyone meets online for a workshop led by Ella, which includes writing exercises, discussion and comfort breaks.

14.30—18.00: One-to-one tutorials lasting about 20 minutes each. You have one tutorial with each tutor during the week; the rest of the afternoon is your time to think and write.

19.30—20.30: Both tutors read from their work and take questions, hosted by Eliza.


The timing are different from yesterday…

10.00—10.45: ‘Meeting for coffee’ (optional)

11.00—13.00: One-to-one tutorials

16.30—18.30: Workshop led by Jillian


19.15—20.15: The Arvon Wednesday Live Guest Reading with Isabelle Baafi—you get a free ticket to this.

20.30-21.00: One-to-one tutorials


10.00—10.45: ‘Meeting for coffee’ (optional)

11.00—13.00: Workshop led by Ella

16.30—18.00: One-to-one tutorials

18.30—20.30: Workshop led by Jillian


10.00—10.45: ‘Meeting for coffee’ (optional)

11.00—12.30: One-to-one tutorials

18.00—19.00: Final session with Ella and Jillian


19:30—21.00: Friday evening culminates with a celebratory reading where you have the chance to share some of your new writing. Expect laughter, tears and a huge sense of pride for all you have learned, written and achieved this week. There’ll be plenty of virtual hugs.

And then...

The week doesn’t stop here. You now have a writing community. Stay in touch. Share your work with each other, and take it forward.



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