Ten years ago, as I was becoming serious about my writing, I attended my first Arvon residential course - Writing Poetry for Children tutored by Carol Ann Duffy. It was a wonderful week and it marked a turning point in my writing career. I left with a handful of new writing friends and an enthusiasm and determination to continue and improve. I was beginning to take myself seriously as a potential poet and was encouraged that others thought so, too. It was such an affirming experience that I attended two more Arvon courses in the following years.
So it was an honour to be asked back this August as a tutor at Lumb Bank on a Poetry for Children writing course with the lovely Roger McGough. It was a diverse cross section of students with a wide range of experience between them. Some were very focussed on their writing careers while others came to explore their interest in children's poetry in a more generalized way.
At the beginning, we were all a little nervous and reserved but as usual, a week at Arvon worked its magic. By Saturday- after several days spent sharing our writing, our space and our confidences we were all invigorated and connected as a group and none of us wanted to leave. Arvon residential writing courses can offer so much both professionally and personally. While my experience this year was slightly different to previous courses I'd attended as a student, I still came away knowing I had been part of something magical and transformative.