two weeks ago I was at the Arvon retreat, the old farmhouse at Totleigh Barton in Devon, for the excitingly named Poetry as a Controlled Explosion creative writing course with Jane Draycott and Jack Underwood
this was different from the Ann and Peter Sansom course, in which we wrote in eight exercises each morning and generated masses of material.
instead we looked at how to make our poems more explosive and then how to control them (to some extent) and the exercises were two or three a morning with more time to work the poems out.
I have at least six good ones, I think.
we were luckier with the weather than in May. early mornings were misty, and developed into days of sun and cloud
which allowed sitting outside to write and eat lunch by the end of the week.
I think I have more idea about how to push my poems in different directions
the Devon landscape is inspiring, but so were the people on the course.
there were a couple of young mentees of the Poetry Business, both at Oxbridge, and three other youngsters, and three published poets.
some spectacular writing was done
and some bonding
a lot of walking, along the banks of the Torridge
into Sheepwash, the nearest village
I think this is an addictive experience and I am very likely to visit Totleigh Barton again next year.