What’s been your experience of writers’ residential courses? I’ve heard many good things from friends who’ve done an Arvon course or similar. The idea of a few days holed up in seclusion with time and space to focus on writing does seem like a wonderful luxury.
I created my own ‘retreat’ a couple of years ago and rented a tiny beach house at Camber Sands for a few days in March. I was lucky with the weather – cold but bright and breezy days – but the place lacked a comfortable chair in which to write. I got a fair bit done, writing, reading and walking/thinking about writing. But I was a tad lonely, and it’s hard to stay motivated on your own.
Anyway I’ve finally booked onto a course and I’m feeling quite excited about it. It’s billed as a poetry ‘masterclass’ with Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke and it’s at Ty Newydd in October. (Photo above from their website). What attracted me was the fact that we had to send some poems before we got definitely accepted. I’ve no idea if that was a token gesture – maybe there were only 16 applicants anyway – but it feels like some sort of quality control, and that really appeals to me. Hopefully we won’t have the kinds of problems described by Isabel Rogers on her blog recently. If you’re going to shell out 500 quid you kind of want to know that everyone else is at least as serious and willing to participate as you are (maybe that sounds a bit pompous but hey.)
PLUS… news of poet friends – Brighton Stanza organiser Jo Grigg has tried to keep quiet about the fact that she had two poems on the National Poetry Competition long list this year (come on Jo, could you try bragging a bit more, you’re making me look bad!) and Tess Jolly hit the jackpot in a US competition – there’s gold in them thar hills! Not only that, but Hastings roving writer Antony Mair is now sending out his poems and has had work accepted by Ink, Sweat & Tears and Acumen – nice one.
PS can anyone tell me how on earth to pronounce ‘Ty Newydd’? – thanks