Staying in the Poem

Mon 20 July 2020 - Sat 25 July 2020
Tutors / Fiona Benson & Andrew McMillan
Guest Reader / Hanan Issa
Course Fee / From £550 per person
Genre / Poetry
Language / English

We are currently still accepting bookings for courses planned for May and onwards, but we are keeping an eye on the situation and following official advice. Should we need to cancel any courses, we will let you know as soon as possible and all fees will be returned in full. Please note that Literature Wales’ offices are currently closed due to the COVID-19 situation. All Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre courses until the end of April 2020 have been postponed, but we hope to re-open in May. You can contact us through this page.


On this course we will explore the poems of past and contemporary greats who have pushed the boundaries of both form and subject. Following their lead, we will try to find ways to enter our poems with a kind of beginner’s mind, resisting our own learned patterns of economy and exit, trusting the poem enough to follow where it leads. We will test our own taboos, and resisting the easy get-out, we will push through discomfort into a new kind of fierce, poetic reckoning.


Fiona Benson

Fiona Benson’s pamphlet was the first in Faber’s New Poets series and published in 2009. Her debut collection Bright Travellers (Cape, 2014) received the Seamus Heaney Prize for First Full Collection, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and was shortlisted for both the 2015 T. S. Eliot Prize and the 2014 Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Her second collection, Vertigo & Ghost (Cape) was published in 2019, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, won the Forward Poetry Prize for best collection, and was awarded the Roehampton Poetry Prize. Her poem ‘Ruins’, included in the collection, was shortlisted for the 2018 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. She lives in Devon with her husband and their two daughters.

Innes Morrison

Andrew McMillan

Andrew McMillan’s debut collection physical (Jonathan Cape, 2015) was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award. The collection also won the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, a Somerset Maugham Award, an Eric Gregory Award and a Northern Writers’ award. It was shortlisted for several prizes including the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Costa Poetry Award, The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year 2016 and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2015. Most recently, physical has been translated into Norwegian, French and Galician.

Andrew's second collection, playtime, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2018; it was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Autumn 2018, a Poetry Book of the Month in both The Observer and The Telegraph , a Poetry Book of the Year in The Sunday Times, and was the winner of the 2019 Polari Prize. He is senior lecturer at the Manchester Writing School at MMU and lives in Manchester.

Guest Reader

Hanan Issa

Hanan Issa is a Welsh-Iraqi poet and writer. Her debut poetry pamphlet My Body Can House Two Hearts was published by Burning Eye Books in 2019. Her monologue, With Her Back Straight, was performed as part of at Bush Theatre’s Hijabi Monologues London in 2017, and her work has been published in several publications including Banat Collective, Wales Arts Review, Sukoon Magazine, Poetry Wales, Y Stamp, sister-hood magazine and She is the co-founder of Wales’ first BAME open mic series Where I'm Coming From, and in 2018-2019 she was selected as one of the Hay Festival’s Writers at Work.

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