Thrill River Studio for The Poetry School

Posted on 19 February 2018

In June I’ll be facilitating a 3 week long online poetry workshop for The Poetry School called 'Thrill River Studio'. Rivers keep coming up in my current collection - you can see some recent examples here. I’ve been fascinated by what they’ve come to represent as I write, and the confluence of ideas they bring.

For the Studio, I’ve enjoyed researching how other writers approach rivers and use them in their work. I’ve unearthed some wonderful poems by writers I wasn’t aware of having extraordinary river poems, as well as some old favourites.

Here's the course description:

A moving body, the veins of nature, the flow of life - a river runs through all of us


‘It’s brother and sister to me, and aunts, and company, and food and drink, and (naturally) washing. It’s my world, and I don’t want any other. What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing.’ – Ratty, The Wind in the Willows


A river runs through all our lives, as physical facts of a landscape, but also as part of our collective memories. Rivers have shaped and engaged cultures everywhere in the world, and been profoundly intrinsic to the development of civilisation. Rivers also inhabit our mythologies and occupy our dreams (rivers now lost, rivers newly re-discovered, rivers separated, and re-incorporated). Enduringly allegorical, rivers represent time passing, power, boundaries, freedom, fertility, crossings, a moving body, the veins of nature, the flow of life, our changing relationship with nature. We have been obsessed with finding their legendary sources and trekking their deepest reaches in treacherous climes of extreme heat or cold. On this Studio we will cross over into the river realm, reading some well-known (and some unusual) poems to inspire our own river writings, including work by Alice Oswald, Emily Dickinson, Marianne Burton, Stevie Smith, John Burnside, WS Merwin, H D, Wallace Stevens, George Seferis, Sean O’Brien, Mark Strand, Philip Gross, Jane Clarke, Sharon Olds, Pascale Petit, Lorna Goodison and more. Whether your interest in rivers is more Three Men in a Boat, Huckleberry Finn, Dart, or Heart of Darkness, you’ll find something to get your ideas rushing in this three week online Studio.


Studios are three week intensive courses. Reading material will be distributed before the course begins. There are no live chats so they are suitable for both UK & International students. 


It’d be lovely to see you by the riverside if you feel like diving in.

Spaces are limited and already filling up. You can book online here