Arvon at Home Writing Week: Poetry Towards a Collection

Developing the character of your own poetry

Monday October 12th - Friday October 16th 2020


Are you at “that” stage, wondering whether the poems you’ve been working on have the makings of a book? The move from thinking one poem at a time to visualising series and sequences can be scary as well as exciting. This course is designed to support you through that transition, and to help you think big, whether you’re working on your first collection, or your second, or beyond. Working in the comfort of your own home, ideally placed, with access to all your old drafts, we’ll spend the week looking at strategies for harnessing your existing poems so that they work with each other, and also creating new work that speaks to what you’ve already written. We can’t guarantee that you’ll come away with a finished manuscript. But we can promise to stimulate your ideas, stretch your writing, and help you gain new insights into the character of your own poetry.

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 Centre 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.

Dates: Monday 12 October  — Friday 16 October
Cost: £375

If you have any questions about how the week works, or are on a low income and would like to apply for a grant to reduce the course fee please contact (grants are limited to three places).

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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


4:30pm—6:30pm: Everyone gathers online in Arvon’s Zoom Writing House. Arvon Centre Director, 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. Your tutors, Fiona Sampson and Sean O’Brien, will ask you to start thinking about your writing, perhaps setting an exercise. There’s likely to be some homework for tomorrow morning.


10am—1pm: Everyone meets online for the morning workshop, which includes writing exercises, discussion and comfort breaks.

2.00pm—4.00pm: 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.

5.30-6pm: Informal catch up (optional) – This is a chance to discuss the day’s work, any writing issues, what you’re drinking/eating, and anything else that springs to mind.

6pm—7pm: Readings and Q&A with Fiona and Sean, hosted by Eliza.


The timing is just like yesterday…

10am—1pm: Morning workshop

2.00pm—4.00pm: Afternoon one-to-one tutorials

5.30pm—6pm: Informal catch-up (optional)


7.15pm: The Arvon Wednesday Live Guest Reading with Michael Symmons Roberts—you have a free ticket to this in your Joining Instructions email.


10am—1pm: Morning workshop

2.00pm—4.30pm: Afternoon one-to-one tutorials

5.30-6pm: Informal catch up (optional)

6pm—7pm: A poem and a question night – Each of you choose a poem you admire to read to the group, as well as bringing along a question for Fiona and Sean about the poetry industry.


10am—1pm: Morning workshop

2.00pm—4.30pm: Afternoon tutorials

5.30-6pm: Informal catch up (optional)


6pm—8pm: 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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