Writing Poems (Online)

Starting out | Poetry
A playful, supportive three-month online poetry course for beginners and aspiring amateur poets, with two of the best practitioners and teachers in the country – at the home of British poetry, Faber & Faber.

You may have been writing poetry for years – squirreling away fragments or working by yourself; or perhaps you’ve always wondered about how to turn your ideas into poems, but don’t know where to begin. Either way, you want to take your craft to the next level – but how?

Over the course of three months, join Faber poets Maurice Riordan and Richard Scott for weekly supportive classes, where you will share your work with like-minded fellow writers, develop your reading and appreciation of poetry, and learn new skills.

Together, our experienced tutors have put together a course aimed at inspiring beginner writers so that they create new poems, learn to make more discerning judgements about their own work, and are inspired afresh by poetry. The course aims to be positive, supportive and fun, so that by the end of the twelve weeks, each poet will come away invigorated by a desire to write the best work they can, and in possession of new poems to set them on their way. We'll end the course with a day designed to help you navigate the next steps too.

This course is suitable for writers who are just starting out, and for those who wish to continue developing their work.

28th April 2021 - 14th July 2021

Availability: In stock

8 Places

Classes take place via Zoom on Wednesday evenings between 7 and 9pm.

Session 1 – Wednesday 28 April 2021, 7pm–9pm: Improvising the Poem

An introduction to the course with Maurice & Richard and then Anaphora: examples by Christopher Smart, Wendy Cope, Kenneth Koch, Kim Moore. (With Maurice and Richard)

Session 2 – 5 May: Introduction to the Lyric (and Anti-Lyric)

Thinking through the tropes of lyric poetry – via Sappho, Rilke and Louise Glück – and what they might have to offer you as a poet. Also, what is anti-lyric? (With Richard Scott)

Session 3 – 12 May: Alibis and Excuses

Using ‘voice’ and poems that ‘do another job’ – give recipes, make seductions, offer excuses. (With Maurice Riordan)

Session 4 – 19 May: Editing and Drafting

By examining the drafts of various poems, including one of Richard’s own, we will explore the importance of sensibility, editing and drafting. Which choices might improve our work? And is a poem ever finished? (With Richard Scott)

Session 5 – 26 May: Trivial Pursuits

Writing poems on the spot – or seeming to, e.g. Norman MacCaig, ‘Ten Summer Minutes’; Frank O'Hara's 'lunch' poems. (With Maurice Riordan)

Session 6 – 2 June: Line Breaks and a Prose Poem

When and how might you break the line in poetry? And what constitutes a line for that matter anyway? Just how has the history of poetry treated the line break and what does the future hold? (With Richard Scott)

Session 7 – 9 June: Time Travel

Manipulating time and memory, as Louis MacNeice, ‘Soap Suds’; Colette Bryce, 'The Full Indian Rope Trick'. (With Maurice Riordan)

Session 8 – 16 June: Your First Workshop

What are the rules of the poetry workshop? How do you interact with someone else’s poem and give constructive feedback? And how might you learn and grow from someone else’s feedback? Welcome to your first poetry workshop. (With Richard Scott)

Session 9 – 23 June: Mixing Registers.

Using different registers of the language, such as the religious, scientific, legal; or specialized vocabulary, such as dental terms in Paul Farley’s ‘Relic’. (With Maurice Riordan)

Session 10 – 30 June: The Sonnet and Some Uses for Form

Just what is so durable about the sonnet and its volta? And what might it offer you as a poet writing today? Indeed, just how might the many historic forms – including sonnet, haiku, villanelle etc. – be useful? (With Richard Scott)

Session 11 – 7 July: Mixing Genres

Prose and Poetry, and some principles of lineation. (With Maurice Riordan)

Session 12 – 14 July: Consolidation, Next Steps & Group Reading

In this session we’ll be thinking about the next steps on your poetic journey – including publishing & how to perform your own poetry – and there’ll be a celebratory group reading. (With Maurice Riordan & Richard Scott)

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Maurice Riordan was born in Co. Cork. His first book, A Word from the Loki (1995), was nominated...


Richard Scott was born in London in 1981. His pamphlet Wound (Rialto) won the Michael Marks...

"There's no point staring at a blank page waiting for inspiration to strike - to get your creative muscles working you need to start writing, reviewing and sharing your work."

Helen Shipman