The Art of Poetry with Ella Frears

Flex your writing and enhance your poetry


Monday 14 – Friday 18 October 2024 


Ella Frears


Dartington Trust, South Devon


Unless otherwise stated, our Short Courses are for adults 18+ years


Includes all lunches, suppers, field trips, materials and all teaching from supper on the day of your arrival through until the lunchtime before your departure.


(Or secure your place with a £150 deposit)


All the perks included in your course fee, PLUS breakfast and accommodation from the day your course starts to check-out on the morning of the day the course ends. (More info about accommodation can be found below.)


(Or secure your place with a £150 deposit)

About this course

Join one of the most exciting contemporary writers and performers for a deep dive into poetry and how to develop your ideas and write your own.

What makes a poem a poem? It’s about so much more than words on a page. The structure of a line, the length of a stanza and even the blank space can hold and reveal meaning, themes and possibilities beyond the confines of ink. Learn the key aspects of shape, tone, language and poetic form, and create work that excites you, with the T. S. Eliot Prize nominated poet Ella Frears.

Through a series of low-pressure exercises, this course will encourage you to explore the self, drawing on real experiences while also feeling the joy of letting go of our ideas of ‘truth’ within a poem. You will be invited to use the authority of the body to centre the writing experience and get to the heart of your voice. Using contemporary art and the natural world as a starting point, we will explore voice and the process of writing radically that are textual, honest and truly get to the centre of your idea.


Tutor profile

Showing all the control of voice one would expect from a poet of her rare skill, Ella Frears has created Good Lord (2024), a book that is as funny as it is harrowing, and beautifully skewers the contemporary housing crisis while questioning the fundamental desires, drivers and disappointments that lie at the heart of our obsession with ‘property’.

Taking the form of one long email addressed to an estate agent, Goodlord is a fictional memoir of habitation, a genre-defying novelistic text that beautifully evokes the people and places of our lives——the spaces of work, those that may or may not be ‘home’, sites of trauma and ecstasy.

Ella Frears’s previous collection Shine, Darling (Offord Road Books, 2020) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry.

Ella works at the intersection of poetry and visual art; mentoring visual artists who use text, as well as working across media herself.
She was recently named the first poet in residence for the Dartington Trust Gardens and is a Royal Literary Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

She hosts Tears for Frears, a quarterly show on Soho Radio about the moments – big, small and unexpected – that move us to tears.

Will Burns, editor at Rough Trade Books, said: “Ella is one of the most exciting young writers out there, but beyond that, this was work of the very highest order from the off – hilariously funny, profound, sad, angry, timely – just everything that makes a truly great book, and we feel enormously lucky that she has trusted us with it.”

on this course you will

Get into your writing flow and feel completely involved in your own creativity. The course content includes:

  • the fundamental building blocks of form – line breaks, structure, voice and language
  • in-depth analysis of form
  • in-class writing and discussion in a highly supportive setting

Who is this course for?

  • Beginners to intermediate poets who want to build confidence in their voice and creative process
  • Anyone interested in learning more about poetic form to help enrich their experience in engaging with poetry
  • Anyone looking for a creative jumpstart to their own writing 

what participants said about this course

“Ella Frears without a doubt is a gifted teacher/facilitator. I have participated on many writing courses and truly hand on heart this one was the best ever. Ella was able to hold energy, creative engenders, time management.”
“Instinctively Ella seemed to know when to rest, when to move, when to energise, when to lean, when to direct. A very special tutor.”

typical schedule for short courses

  • Check-in to the room is between 3-3.45pm on the day of arrival. Check-out is 11am on the day of departure, although if travelling by public transport, luggage can be left at the Welcome Centre until the course has completed.
  • Teaching generally begins at 4pm on the first day and ends at 2pm Fridays or 4pm Sunday (whichever is the last day of the course).
  • The daily timetable can start at 9.30am and end around 9.15pm, with free time available at set times throughout the day.
  • For residential participants breakfast is included, followed by a morning gathering and community work groups on weekdays, which are open to all participants and the college community. Non-residential participants can pay extra if they wish to have breakfast on one or more of the days.
  • Lunch for all participants is between 1-2pm and supper is 6.30-7.30pm (both meals are included in the residential and non-residential course fee).

If you have any questions about your course schedule please contact

what to bring

  • Water bottle
  • Outdoor coat
  • Walking shoes/trainers
  • Laptop
  • Notebook


Ella Frears

ella frears

Ella Frears was Dartington Gardens’ first poet-in-residence as well as a trustee and editor for Magma poetry magazine. Her collection Shine, Darling (Offord Road Books, 2020) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. Read More


Our courses are part of the wider Learning programme at Dartington, and you will join a community of students on site studying at Schumacher College and Dartington Arts School as well as other short course participants, volunteers and visitors.

While you are here we invite you to take part in our learning community life by attending morning meetings, taking part in activities such as meal preparation and clearing, and evening social events. This is entirely voluntary, but participants tell us that taking part adds to their experience at Dartington.

short course community lunch


We recommend that if possible, you stay on-site during your course. All our courses are best experienced holistically: through studying, relaxing, eating and staying with other course participants, volunteers, staff and tutors.

When you book your course with accommodation this includes one of our hostel-style single rooms with shared facilities and easy access to your main learning space. They are the perfect base to rest your head, relax and recharge. You can find out more about the rooms here.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included throughout the duration of the course, each made with fresh, locally-sourced produce by our award-winning team.

Accommodation is available at a discounted rate for course attendees, and on a first come, first served basis only. Choose this option by selecting ‘Course Fee Plus Accommodation’ at checkout.

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optional: upgrade to a courtyard room

It is also possible, subject to availability, to upgrade your accommodation to a single or double en-suite bedroom in our beautiful and historic courtyard. Upgrade pricing is as follows:

For courses starting before 1/9/2023

  • Single room with en-suite bathroom: additional £27.25 per night
  • Double room with en-suite bathroom is an additional £43.60 per night

For courses starting on or after 1/9/2023

  • Single room with en-suite bathroom: additional £31.07 per night
  • Double room with en-suite bathroom is an additional £49.70 per night

If you would like to upgrade, please first book with residential option included, and then contact our Guest Services team on 01803 847150 or email to check availability. Our Guest Services department is open daily, 8am–8pm.

Should you decide to upgrade to our en-suite accommodation, please be aware that this is 20 min walk, or 3 min drive, to the Old Postern site, where some of our courses are held. There is car parking available near to all venues on the estate.


You may like to stay on our beautiful and relaxing campsite, amidst the stunning rolling hills and ancient woodlands of Dartington. Find out more about the campsite here.

Should you decide to stay on the campsite, please be aware that this is 10 min walk, to either Schumacher College or Dartington Hall, where our courses are held. There is car parking available near to all venues on the estate.

Book now

Begin your online booking below. You will receive an e-ticket for this event. You are welcome to email us at or call us at 01803 847008 with any queries you have. Full Short Course T&Cs can be found here >

If you place a deposit, you will be contacted by us four weeks before the course start date to pay the outstanding balance. You will also be contacted with full details about the course before you arrive.

Please note that in most cases bookings for all our Short Courses close at midday on the Thursday before the course begins. This enables us to give you the best possible course experience and ensures all bookers receive the relevant course materials before they arrive.

Offer: Special rate for Dartington Members

Dartington Members will receive a 10% discount, applied when they log in during the checkout process. For more information about Membership, click here (opens in new tab).

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