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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

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this was different from the Ann and Peter Sansom course, in which we wrote in eight exercises each morning and generated masses of material.

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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.

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I have at least six good ones, I think.

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we were luckier with the weather than in May. early mornings were misty, and developed into days of sun and cloud

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which allowed sitting outside to write and eat lunch by the end of the week.

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I think I have more idea about how to push my poems in different directions

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the Devon landscape is inspiring, but so were the people on the course.

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there were a couple of young mentees of the Poetry Business, both at Oxbridge, and three other youngsters, and three published poets.

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some spectacular writing was done

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and some bonding

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a lot of walking, along the banks of the Torridge

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into Sheepwash, the nearest village

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I think this is an addictive experience and I am very likely to visit Totleigh Barton again next year.