Masterclass: Poetry with Nick Laird

Masterclass: Poetry with Nick Laird

Watch Your Tone!
  • Black and white photo of Nick Laird
    Nick Laird
Date Friday October 6th 2023, 11:00-13:00 BST
Location Online

The poetic term ‘tone’ is borrowed from the expression ‘tone of voice’: it implies something spoken aloud. In written poetry, intonations are established by the writer through a variety of techniques. Award-winning poet Nick Laird leads a masterclass on how poets establish a range of intonations in the written word. You’ll look at how the reader infers the writer’s tone, and by that tries to discern the speaker’s many attitudes towards a subject, and to themselves.

The tonal range is vast, nuanced and sometimes difficult to determine – is the poem aggrieved, beseeching, curious, determined, elevated, furious, grim, happy, ironic, or many of these things at once? A poem often shifts and develops a variety of shadings in its movement from beginning to end. Combining a close reading of poems with generative writing exercises, this masterclass will explore one of the most elusive and important poetic topics. As Robert Frost says, “It’s tone I’m in love with; that’s what poetry is, tone.”

The Masterclass will be delivered via Zoom webinar, so you can take the session at your own pace, without the pressure of having your video or camera on. Sessions are also recorded so if you are unable to attend live, you will have access to the recording for a month afterwards.

Online: £35

Concessions: £17.50

As part of our effort to increase participation in the arts, a limited number of half-price concessions are available for this course at checkout. There are a limited number of free subsidised places for those who cannot afford the concession price.

We are committed to making our Arvon at Home programme accessible to as many people as possible.

Across all of Arvon at Home

Masterclasses and Online Writing Day

How I Write

Online Writing Weeks / Weekends

Subject to funding/permissions (please contact us for more details)

If you have any access issues that we have not covered here, please contact us on

See here for more access information.

"These zoom opportunities are really helping to open my world and keep me inspired to write."
— Masterclass participant
"Arvon at Home creates a model to participate in inspirational tutoring for writers, at a distance. The feeling of attending to my writing life in an excellent fashion, and still having a half-day for my work and caring responsibilities at home, felt like a good balance."
— Masterclass participant
"It was an absolutely brilliant session and very very useful. And it made me realise how much I’ve missed this kind of workshop because of having children and family that I can’t leave. Now we’re all in the same boat the online stuff is truly transformative."
— Masterclass participant



See all Courses & Retreats