Develop Your Poetry: Challenge & Experiment (Intermediate)

Monday 12 February
£ 950.00

This next-level poetry course is designed for poets to push themselves further through experimentation, challenge and feedback.

Do you want to take your poetry to the next level?


This next-level poetry course is designed for poets keen to push themselves further. Through experimentation, challenge and feedback, you will produce new work and have a better sense of how to assess your poetry objectively. Over 18 weeks, you will be guided through the landscape of contemporary poetry.

This course is ideal for people who have already started their poetry writing journey. You will be someone who writes regularly, and you’ll likely be working on a longer project. You might have completed a long-form course more recently, or you might be returning to writing after a period of absence and be looking for renewed structure and support.

Start date

Monday 12 February 2024





18 weeks (please see course schedule below)




By the end of the course you will have…

  • Developed your poetic voice
  • Challenged yourself to write your best work yet through experimentation and feedback
  • Understood the editing process and learned how to objectively judge your own work
  • Thought about the reader and how to help them engage with your poetry
  • Received constructive and supportive feedback on a minimum of 12 poems
  • Developed an understanding of the scope of contemporary poetry
  • Explored avenues for where next to take your poetry
  • Engaged with a group of fellow poets keen to take their work to the next level.
Online course

Why study with National Centre for Writing?

National Centre for Writing has been supporting writers to develop their craft for over 25 years. Our online tutored courses are developed in partnership with University of East Anglia, home to the prestigious School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, which boasts award-winning alumni including Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan and Anne Enright. Our course tutors are all published writers, many of whom have studied or taught at UEA themselves.


While there are many online courses available to you across the world, ours are unique in offering:

  • One-to-one feedback on up to six assignments, directly from your course tutor
  • A tailored learning experience with 15 students maximum
  • Flexibility to progress through the course anywhere, any time
  • Support and structure to develop a writing routine
  • Skills and knowledge to improve the craft of writing
  • Confidence in your ability as a writer
  • Opportunity to join our NCW Alumni, an international network of like-minded writers and translators.

Courses like this encourage good writing habits which is half the battle. It was also confidence-building and challenging in equal measure. Sharing writing can be daunting and these courses help that process in a very positive way.

Clare Mackavoy

Course programme

Module one – What is a poem?

In this module, we shall place very different poems side-by-side. We’ll consider how sound, visual, page, and performance elements work with memory, and in different traditions, to produce the kinds of shaped language we appreciate as poetry.

Module two – Voice in poetry

This module will help you find your voice as a poet, while being attentive to ways that ‘voice’ plays a part in poetry. Here, we’ll begin to ‘listen’ for ‘voice’ and musical elements in the imagination vs. recitation out loud; singular voices vs. many-voiced poems; and look at authenticity, slang, nonsense, and special uses of language, for example in science/arts collaborations.

Module three – Poetry and place

In this module, we’ll encounter local traditions and global conversations. We’ll consider themes such as home, exile, nostalgia, ecopoetics, deep time, hauntings, and building the future. This will lead into ‘bridge’ exercises for the next module, where you’ll work with objects and souvenirs.

Module four – Poetry and things

Can words be ‘things’? What ‘things’ belong in poems, and how? From Old English riddles through Gertrude Stein and more, we’ll work with the weight of words, the mystery and familiarity of objects, lost and found, and everyday treasures.

Module five – Writing the body

Poetry can bring us close to both absence and presence; it plays with both intimacy and distance. We’ll read and write our way between ordinary, monstrous, gorgeous, and marginalized bodiliness, silence, and the invisible.

Module six – Narrative in poetry

What modes of storytelling can poetry offer? How many characters can populate one poem? How do myth and legend, the long ago and far away, belong in poetry – and how does poetry relate to news? Drawing on previous modules, we’ll read, and construct, simple and interwoven narrative poems.

Live sessions

There will be two live sessions for this course, which will take place over Zoom.

Timings for these live sessions will be confirmed shortly.

How does this course work?

We have partnered with digital learning platform Teachable to host our self-paced courses. The platform is accessible across a range of devices, simple to use, and does not require any specialist equipment.

We want to make sure that you get the most out of our tutored online courses and feel confident that you’re choosing the right course. Each course contains a mixture of teaching content, reading to prompt discussion, writing exercises for you to hone your skills, and group and one-to-one feedback.

Click to read more about how they are structured and what equipment you may need.

Find out more

How to apply

Apply this course today — places are on a first come first served basis and limited to a maximum of 15 students to ensure a tailored experience. To apply, we ask that you submit:

1. Three to five poems that you’ve written

2. A one-paragraph introduction to yourself.

Email [email protected] to apply. Please format your email’s subject line: ‘[your name] application for Poetry Next Steps’. Applications are assessed and places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Application deadline is 5pm GMT on Monday 5 February 2024.

You can pay for the full course upfront today, or by instalments. For details of our instalment plan, please email [email protected].

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Helen Ivory


Helen Ivory is a poet and visual artist. She edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears, and teaches for NCW Academy online. She has published five collections with Bloodaxe Books: The Double Life of Clocks (2002), The Dog in the Sky (2006), The Breakfast Machine (2010), Waiting for Bluebeard (2013) and The Anatomical Venus (2019), with a sixth, Constructing a Witch, out in 2024. Fool’s World, a collaborative Tarot with artist Tom de Freston (Gatehouse Press), won the 2016 Saboteur Best Collaborative Work award. A book of collage/mixed media poems, Hear What the Moon Told Me, was published KFS in 2017, a chapbook, Maps of the Abandoned City, by SurVision in 2019, and Wunderkammer: New and Selected Poems was published by MadHat in the US in 2023. The Anatomical Venus was shortlisted for the poetry category of the East Anglian Book Awards 2019.

The forum, as a shared space for the participants, worked really well. It allowed me to give and receive feedback on poems, and also built a team spirit with others on the course.

Jim McElroy

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Got a question?

If you still have questions, get in touch with the learning team by email [email protected] or phone (+44) 01603 877177 between our working hours of 9am – 5pm BST, Monday to Friday. We’re here to help!

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