Poetry Salon Poetry Salon Poetry Salon

Poetry Salon

Join Richard Scott and Maurice Riordan for this twelve-week intermediate course – find new paths for your work, broaden your understanding of the craft and meet a group of supportive, like-minded poets.



What do these levels mean?




5-12 weeks
  • Start Date
  • Time
  • Thursdays, 19.00–21.00

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£150 / month for 2 months and a £295.00 deposit


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Deepen your knowledge and create new work

At the heart of this lively and energetic course is the writing and sharing of new work. In weekly two-hour sessions, you’ll be creatively challenged to break free of your comfort zones.

You will be writing new poems each week with the expectation that you will broaden your techniques and intensify your poetic ambitions. Through the close reading and discussion of key texts, you’ll also be pushed towards a more rewarding way of reading and engaging with classic modern poetry.

Is this the right course for me?

This is an intermediate poetry course, which will work best for students who have already begun writing poetry, or who work professionally in another writing field and are looking to turn their hand to poetry.

During workshop sessions, you'll be discussing a range of contemporary poems and learning how to apply their techniques in your own writing, bringing out the areas you want to concentrate on and developing those areas that need improvement.

The course will consist of nine two-hour workshops held via Zoom, supported by a dedicated virtual classroom. Each class will include fifteen/twenty minutes of guided writing time with prompts or, alternatively, a take-home writing exercise.

As part of the course, you’ll also receive two thirty-minute tutorials, and there will be a set text, Look We Have Coming to Dover!, which will be discussed during classes and culminate in a reading and Q&A with the author, Daljit Nagra.

    This course takes place on Thursday evenings via Zoom, running from 19.00 until 21.00.

Course Programme

Session 1

Thursday 27 January, 19.00–21.00

Introductions with Maurice & Richard, then Rapidity and Concision with Maurice

Session 2

3 February, 19.00–21.00

Trivial Pursuits with Maurice

Session 3

10 February, 19.00–21.00

Self-portraiture and Objects with Richard

See remaining sessions

Course Programme

Poetry Salon

Session 1

Thursday 27 January, 19.00–21.00

Introductions with Maurice & Richard, then Rapidity and Concision with Maurice

How to use language on a higher plane than in prose, thereby achieving a vigorous lyric style. We analyse examples of imaginative language in Sylvia Plath, Stevie Smith, Les Murray, and more. An exercise on riddling and metaphor.

Session 2

3 February, 19.00–21.00

Trivial Pursuits with Maurice

We look at poems where the intimate world of the poet intersects with the public sphere of history or celebrity, in poems by Paul Muldoon, Kathryn Maris and Emily Berry. An exercise on how to write a poem ‘on the spot’ or appear to!

Session 3

10 February, 19.00–21.00

Self-portraiture with Richard

'No ideas but in things,’ but what ideas and which objects? Starting with William Carlos Williams, this session will examine the art of writing about oneself through the prism of a concrete object

Session 4

17 February, 19.00–21.00

Drafting and Editing with Richard

Is a poem ever finished? And how do we know when it's ready? By examining first and last drafts together, we will explore our own process and tap into the possibilities hidden within our work.

Session 5

24 February, 19.00–21.00

Liquid Engineering with Maurice

How can syntax and lineation give a poem impetus and momentum? We look at how poets, such as Michael Longley and Emily Berry, use sentences variously to powerful effect. Exercise on writing a one-sentence poem.

Session 6

3 March, 19.00–21.00

The Art of Description with Richard

Fine-tune your descriptive writing by channelling your inner scientist! Using poems by George Herbert, Elizabeth Bishop and Mark Doty as models, this session will guide you through the careful and detailed art of describing in a poem.

Session 7

10 March, 19.00–21.00

One-to-ones with Maurice & Richard

Session 8

17 March, 19.00–21.00

Contemporary Edge with Maurice

What styles and techniques have achieved success in recent years? And how do they relate to older models? We look at centos, pastiche, ‘golden shovels’, glosas. Exercise on interacting with a ‘classic’ poem.

Session 9

24 March, 19.00–21.00

Confessionalism and Masks with Richard

Exactly what is confessional poetry? And how might this paradoxical term and group of notorious poets guide us today? Looking at the masks we might wear when writing poetry, this session will explore our confessional lineage and our post-confessional future.

Session 10

31 March, 19.00–21.00

One-to-ones with Maurice & Richard

Session 11

7 April, 19.00–21.00

Guest Evening with Daljit Nagra, focusing on Look We Have Coming to Dover

An evening with the author of your set text. Throughout the course you will have been reading his work – and we will have been examining it together in class. Now you will have an opportunity to hear the poet read and even ask them your own questions.

Session 12

14 April, 19.00–21.00

Consolidation, Next Steps and final reading with Maurice & Richard

You’ve spent twelve weeks studying poetry, so what next? This session will look at routes into publication and examine how to perform your own poetry; and it will culminate with an online group reading!



Maurice Riordan

Maurice Riordan

Richard Scott

Richard Scott

Browse the Reading Room

From author interviews and writing tips to creative writing exercises and reading lists, we've got everything you need to get started – and to keep going.

For more information, message us or call 0207 927 3827