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Poetry in Practice

Course Times & Enrolment

Thursdays from 27th September 2018 (Code CW031-114) Thursdays from
27th September 2018 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (10 classes)
M1 Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Jim C Wilson MA (Hons)
This course is now closed for enrolments
Thursdays from 17th January 2019 (Code CW031-214) Thursdays from
17th January 2019 6:30pm - 8:20pm • (10 classes)
G36B Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Jim C Wilson MA (Hons)
This course is now closed for enrolments
Wednesdays from 17th April 2019 (Code CW031-314) Add to Basket Wednesdays from
17th April 2019 2:10pm - 4:00pm • (10 classes)
Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Jim C Wilson MA (Hons)
£127.00 Concessions and discounts

Course Summary

Learn how to write poems that people want to read and publish. Have your work assessed constructively by a lively group of fellow poets. Our aim: the best words in the best order. Find out about readings, magazines, competitions. Some knowledge of poetry would be an advantage. New students very welcome in January and April.

Course Details

Content of Course

Week 1

Covers poetry magazines, chances of getting published, the Scottish Poetry Library, poetry readings in Edinburgh and on the radio and recommended reading

Weeks 2 - 10

Guided discussion of, usually, three students' poems per week.

Students' poems are the core, but the work of established poets and songwriters is also debated. We cover topics such as sonnets, haiku, musicality, truth and fiction in poetry - and anything relevant that arises! A considerable number of students have achieved publication, and success in competitions.

Each week about ten minutes is devoted to the ongoing composition of a class renga (Japanese chain poem). Previous efforts have been published in Poetry Scotland.

Towards the end of each term, we examine the lyrics of a song, and their relationship to the music.

Teaching method(s)

Each meeting will concentrate on two or three poems written by students. These will have been given to the tutor in advance of each meeting, and photocopied.

Each writer will read out and talk about his or her piece of work. It is hoped that a relaxed and amicable discussion will lead to improvements in form, rhythm, assonance, etc.

Learning outcomes

Students will be expected to be able to:

  • express themselves in forms that they have not previously used
  • discuss the work of selected writers/poets
  • write their own poems



Core Readings


Sansom, P., 1993. Writing Poems. UK: Bloodaxe Books.
Stillman, F., 1972. The Poets Manual & Rhyming Dictionary. New edition. UK: Thames and Hudson.

Also recommended

Higginson, W. J., 1989. The Haiku Handbook. Japan: Kodansha International Press.
Paterson, D., ed., 2002. 101 Sonnets. New edition. Faber & Faber.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.