Writing Poems Writing Poems Writing Poems

Writing Poems

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


Starting out

What do these levels mean?




5-12 weeks
  • Time
  • Mondays, 19.00–21.00

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Discover the craft of poetry

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

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 an evening designed to help you navigate the next steps too.

Is this the right course for me?

This course is suitable for writers who are just starting out, and for those who wish to continue developing their work. 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 – and this course is the place to do it.



Maurice Riordan

Maurice Riordan

Richard Scott

Richard Scott

Course Programme

Session 1

Monday 24 January, 19.00–21.00

Improvising the Poem

Session 2

31 January, 19.00–21.00

Alibis and Excuses with Maurice

Session 3

7 February, 19.00–21.00

Introduction to the Lyric (and Anti-Lyric) with Richard

See remaining sessions

Course Programme

Writing Poems

Session 1

Monday 24 January, 19.00–21.00

Improvising the Poem

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

Session 2

31 January, 19.00–21.00

Alibis and Excuses with Maurice

Using ‘voice’ and poems that ‘do another job’ – give recipes, make seductions, offer excuses.

Session 3

7 February, 19.00–21.00

Introduction to the Lyric (and Anti-Lyric) with Richard

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?

Session 4

14 February, 19.00–21.00

Editing and Drafting with Richard

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?

Session 5

21 February, 19.00–21.00

Trivial Pursuits with Maurice

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

Session 6

28 February, 19.00–21.00

Time Travel with Maurice

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

Session 7

7 March, 19.00–21.00

Line Breaks and a Prose Poem with Richard

​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?​

Session 8

14 March, 19.00–21.00

Your First Workshop with Richard

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.

Session 9

21 March, 19.00–21.00

Mixing Registers with Maurice

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

Session 10

28 March, 19.00–21.00

Mixing Genres with Maurice

Prose and Poetry, and some principles of lineation, with examples from Louise Glück, Claudia Rankine and 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'.

Session 11

4 April, 19.00–21.00

The Sonnet and Some Uses for Form with Richard

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?

Session 12

11 April, 19.00–21.00

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.