Poems Alive

Writing poetry and reflecting together in the French countryside

September 24-27 2021

Workshop Leaders: Charles Worth and Bob Whorton

Course details

This workshop is for those who write poetry all the time, for those who used to write some time ago and would like to start again, and for those who are complete beginners. In rural France you can let your imagination run free and see what is “given” to you as you write, as well as hearing poems written by others who are at the workshop. There will be opportunities to reflect on what you have written and on the fascinating and sometimes frustrating process of writing a poem, either in a one to one setting or in the group. Each day there will be a time of silence out of which your creative work can grow, and an important stimulus will be walking in the countryside to listen and to notice. There will be the opportunity to increase your skill as a poet through exploring metre and rhyme and playing with some traditional poetic forms, as well as comparing the virtues of structured forms with free verse.

Charles and Bob are not poetry teachers, although they are both experienced group leaders. They come to this workshop as people fascinated by poetry and with their own experience of writing poems. Above all, they desire to help others find and develop their own inner poet.

Charles has enjoyed reading poetry from an early age but only started writing poems relatively recently. He studied literature at university and has taught English at Secondary Schools. He is grateful to the Bridgnorth Writers Group in Shropshire for what he has learned about putting words on the page. He has poems published through the Wenlock Poetry Festival and other Shropshire-based collections. He now lives in Oxford.

Bob has written poetry on and off throughout his life. When he was a hospice chaplain in Oxford, free verse became a means of expressing some of the challenges and joys of that work. When he moved to France, he rediscovered Steven Fry’s excellent book The Ode Less Travelled (Hutchinson, 2005) which is an appeal to recover traditional forms in the poetry of today. He systematically completed the 20 exercises and discovered a great love for the sonnet. Charles has been Bob’s critical poetry friend over the last 2 years as he has put the experience of living in France into poetic form.


Accomodation for the workshop will either be at Les Jardins des Arts or in a nearby gite. All meals (home-cooked) and constant hot drinks available. Transfer by minibus or car will be provided to and from the airport or railway station in Poitiers. If you wish to travel by train, search for journeys from London St. Pancras via Lille to Poitiers. If you wish to fly, we will post details here in due course. Of course, coming in your own car is another option. If you are planning to come by car and are willing to take passengers, please let us know.

If you live in the area and wish to attend non-residentially you are very welcome. The workshop starts on 19 September at 9.30 am and finishes with lunch on 21st September. Lunch and evening meal are provided on 19 and 20 Sept and lunch on 21st.


The cost of the workshop is £160 or non-residential €60 (some bursaries are available – don’t hesitate to contact us)

If you wish to stay residentially, please fill in the online booking form below and send a £50 deposit via the payment button. Alternatively, please send a cheque payable to R & SE Whorton to our address: 7 Rue des Anciennes Ecoles, 79110, Valdelaume, FRANCE. The balance will be payable during your stay.

If you are coming non-residentially, please fill in the on-line booking form and pay during the workshop.



Poems Alive

Deposit – Workshop 18th-21st Sptember 2020