Poetry: Towards a Collection

Putting Your Poems Through Their Paces

Monday February 28th - Saturday March 5th 2022

The Hurst

You’re ready to pull together a first collection – an exciting moment, and a daunting one. How do you proceed? What will the book be: a rattle bag, containing poems on disparate themes? A concept album that tells a story? A calling card or shop window, showcasing all your very best work to date? Or should it be mostly newer work? Who will publish it?

Here, on this writing week led by experienced tutors Mona Arshi and Martha Sprackland, you will look to ask and answer these questions and others. Through dynamic exercises, group work and individual feedback, you will put your existing poems through their paces, helping them to find their place in the book as it comes together. The two tutors will lead the group in focused redrafting work, helping you to encounter your poems anew and fine-tune them with a sharp editorial eye.

Together we will also galvanise new material, and encourage you to question assumptions about the collection that you may have been hanging onto for years. This lively, practical course will find the kernel of your first collection and give it conviction, direction and propulsion as it comes together.

*We have worked hard to ensure our courses and retreats are as Covid-compliant as possible and can’t wait to welcome you. To learn more about the measures we have taken please click here

Single room price: £850

Grants are available to help with the course fee


The Hurst front

The Hurst

The Hurst is a place you can write, far away from daily distractions. The house and gardens, surrounded by the forest-covered Shropshire Hills, were the former home of playwright John Osborne.


Writing course tutor delivering a workshop at Lumb Bank


Arrive late afternoon, settle in, enjoy dinner and the tutors’ introduction to the week in the evening.

one-to-one tutorial at Lumb Bank


Morning workshops led by tutors. Afternoons are your time for writing and one-to-one tutorials. Tutors read from their work in the evening.

Course participants writing at the workshop table at The Hurst


Morning workshops led by tutors. Afternoons are your time for writing and one-to-one tutorials. In the evening a guest speaker joins the group.

Course participant writing on a sofa in the barn at Lumb Bank


Morning workshops led by tutors. Afternoons are your time for writing and one-to-one tutorials. You are free to spend this evening as you wish.

A woman smiling and listening to a writing tutor speak at Lumb Bank


Tutors lead the final workshops in the morning. In the evening everyone gets together to share and celebrate their work.

Course participants eating at The Hurst


The week comes to a close after breakfast. Have a tissue handy to say your farewells to the group.

“I arrived at the beginning of the week wondering whether I might be a writer or even if I could write. But when I left, not only did I feel I could write, I knew that’s what I was going to do next.”

—Piers Torday

“It is invaluable to writers at an early stage to have this feedback on their work. Many people on my course said that they wished that they had received this type of input earlier in their career – that it might have borne fruit and improved their success. It also provides time to think – in an over complicated world it is hard to carve time for yourself against the requirements of work, family, and daily chores. Arvon was a breath of fresh creative air.”

—Penny Clark

“Both courses I attended have had a massive impact on my writing, and been part of the motivation and encouragement I needed to begin working professionally as a writer.”

—Course participant



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