Writing poetry – memory and imagination with Maggie Sawkins

Creative writing and publishing

Ref: SWE10930

Suitable for all

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Places available

About this course

Explore ways to transform our memories into imaginative poems using different voices, personification, play and humour.

Course Description

On this course you will learn how to shape and transform personal material into poetry. You will look at techniques such as personification, metaphor and the adoption of different voices – the tools poets use to tell the truth slant. A willingness to share and reflect in a non-judgemental manner will help you on this course.

On the first evening there will be an introduction to the course and we will get to know each other.

A series of activities including flow writing, patterning and guided imagery will be used to stimulate the imagination, enabling you to tap into the inner life of memory, emotion and personal experience. We will also discuss the work of contemporary poets using this as a springboard for your own writing. You will be encouraged to get into the mood by taking inspiration from the flora and fauna of West Dean Gardens. Finally there will be an opportunity to develop your individual drafts through one-to-one and group feedback.

By the end of the course you will have:

• Gained an understanding of the different techniques to help you to get closer to what you want to convey;

• Generated ideas and drafts that can be developed into polished pieces of writing;

• Learnt some creative journaling techniques to help foster the writing muscle once the course has finished.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • The title of your unwritten autobiography.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Notebook
  • Writing materials


Maggie Sawkins

Maggie has over 25 years' experience of teaching in community and health care settings. She holds an MA with distinction in Creative Writing and is a professional member of the National Association of Writers in Education. She's the recipient of the 2013 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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