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December Poetry Carousel
Rydal Hall, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9LX

6th-9th December 2019

Bookings: 015394 32050

Tutors: Kim Moore, Clare Shaw, David Tait and Malika Booker
Guest Poet: Roy McFarlane

£400 Standard Room/£415 Superior Room/£385 to share with a friend
£50 non-refundable deposit at time of booking and balance to be paid four weeks before arrival

The Poetry Carousel is a residential course with a difference – four very different workshops with four very different tutors, all crammed into one weekend.  Each participant will be put into a group of between 8 and 10 to take part in a morning workshop with one of four tutors.  Afternoons are free for reading and writing, and in the evening, there are poetry readings in the Great Hall at the hotel.

Course starts at 3.30pm on 6th December and finishes at 12 on the 9th December.

2019 Workshops

The Personable Political – David Tait

To quote the famous Chinese curse, we live in interesting times. We live and write in times of human rights abuses, mass shootings, increasing air pollution and climate change, and are generally overseen by billionaire autocrats or members of a detached and bumbling elite. And when we write, we are often encouraged not to speak of this, to ensure our poems are not too ranty or too didactic, to ensure our poems are not standing on a soapbox. Surely, living in such times, it’s time for a change?

Our aim in this workshop is to write poetry that reflects our politics and our personal and personable beliefs. Poems that insist on being heard and have something they want to say. In this workshop the refined rant will be encouraged – and we will look at a variety of poems from poets such as Karen Solie, John Kinsella, Jen Hadfield, Jameson Fitzpatrick and Danez Smith to help guide our own work.


Other Lives, Intertwined – Kim Moore

Adriana Cavarero wrote that our existence ‘from beginning to end, is intertwined with other lives – with reciprocal exposures and innumerable gazes – and needs the other’s tale’. In this workshop we will look at how contemporary poets write about people, other lives and the path between the self and the other. We will experiment with writing our own poems about people and what is communicated, misunderstood, translated or silenced between them.


Crafting our Poetry for performance – Malika Booker

Readings and performances are daunting spaces for poets who have been involved in the solitary act of writing. Yet as book launches, tours and readings become a staple part of the poet’s work it is important to develop their performance craft. This workshop aims to provide the necessary skills needed for engaging performances. We will find strategies for dealing with the scripting of our poems, nerves, projecting our voices, making eye contact and putting together a performance set. Please bring two printed copies of two poems, 14 font, and double-spaced (lines)


LOVE POETRY? – Clare Shaw

Of all the terrains explored (and over-explored) by poetry, love tops the list. But – familial, platonic, romantic and erotic – the appeal of the love poem endures. In this workshop, we’ll look to traditional and contemporary poetry to explore how song and form; image and metaphor; and the fracturing and remaking of words allow us to return again and again to the same territory with fresh power.  Referring to the philosophy and science of love from Plato to Harry Harlow, we’ll draw on poetry’s potential to enable us not just to express, but also to understand this most complex, painful, joyful of experiences.



David Tait lives in Shanghai, where he works in education.  His first collection Self-Portrait with the Happiness received an Eric Gregory Award and was shortlisted for The Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.  His second collection, The AQI, is currently shortlisted for The Forte Prize for second collections and the Polari Prize.

Clare Shaw has three poetry collections from Bloodaxe: Straight Ahead (2006), which attracted a Forward Prize Highly Commended for Best Single Poem; and Head On (2012), which is, according to the Times Literary Supplement “fierce … memorable and visceral”. Her third collection, Flood, was published in June 2018. Clare won a Northern Writer’s Award 2018 for her fourth collection, which is currently in progress.

Often addressing political and personal conflict, her poetry is fuelled by a strong conviction in the transformative and redemptive power of language. Clare is an Associate Fellow with the Royal Literary Fund, and a regular tutor for the Poetry School, the Wordsworth Trust and the Arvon Foundation.

Malika Booker is a British poet and multi-disciplinary artist of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage. Her writing collective Malika’s Poetry Kitchen has had a major impact on the British Poetic landscape. Booker is currently Creative Writing Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, and the recipient of a Slate award to research and develop her new play. Breadfruit (pamphlet), (flippedeye, 2007) was recommended by the Poetry Society and her poetry collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) was longlisted for the OCM Bocas prize and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre prize for first full collection (2014). She is published with the Poets Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire in The Penguin Modern Poet Series 3:Your Family: Your Body (2017). Booker has been Chair of Judges for The Forward Prize in 2016, her poem ‘Nine nights’ was shortlisted on the Forward Prize for Best Single poem in 2017. She has an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths University, was the Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow in Creative Writing at University of Leeds and an LHRI Fellow and Creative Writing Fellow at that same university. She has also been the recipient of residencies from Millay Colony, Cove Park, The India International Centre and Kocevje through The Centre for Slovenian Literature. She is a Fellow of both The Complete Works and Cave Canem and was inaugural Poet in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Kim Moore’s first collection The Art of Falling was published by Seren in 2015 and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.  Her poem ‘In That Year’ was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Published Poem.  Her pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the 2011 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition.  She has appeared on Radio 3 as a guest on ‘Private Passions’ and recently made a programme for BBC Radio 4 ‘A Psalm for the Scaffolders’.

Guest Poet

Roy McFarlane was born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage and spent most of his years living in Wolverhampton and the surrounding Black Country. He has held the role of Birmingham’s Poet Laureate and presently the Birmingham & Midland Institute Poet in Residence.

His previous publications includes Celebrate Wha? (Smokestack Books 2011) and Beginning With Your Last Breath (Nine Arches Press 2016). Roy’s latest collection The Healing Next Time is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for Winter 2018, one of the Guardians best poetry titles of 2018, shortlisted for Ted Hughes award and longlisted for the Jhalak Prize. He’s also a graduate of the MA in Writing Poetry with Poetry School/ Newcastle University.