Poetry Writing Course

 Structure  –  Tutor  –  Enrolement/Fees   –  Testimonials

Poetry Writing Course Online. The French poet Paul Valéry defined poetry as ‘a language within a language.’ American poet Kenneth Koch spoke of poetry as ‘a language in which the sound of the words is raised to an importance equal to that of their meaning.’

Each word has a little music of its own, which poetry rearranges so it can be heard. In Adam’s comprehensive workshops you will delve deep into these arrangements, exploring the full arsenal of poetic tools– such as symbolism, repetition, figurative speech and persona – you need to become fluent in poetry.

Adam will combine reading poems with writing them and encourage both beginners and more experienced poets to listen for words that help a poem hang together.

The course will also introduce many poetic forms such as the sonnet, haiku and villanelle, and you will discover how contemporary poets continue to push the envelope of these age-old forms.

Taking its approach from Paul Muldoon’s advice to, ‘lose your voice and write about what you don’t know’, the course will take you deeper into your unique poetic style where you will be encouraged to first learn the rules and then break them.

All this and lots more …

Each week you will receive a module with several exercises constructed by Adam and then receive personal feedback to encourage and help you move forward. This one-to-one workshop is individually tailored for each poet – beginners, intermediate and advanced level.



Structure: Poetry Writing Course

Week 1: Writing from experience. 

  • Using your own life to find and strengthen your writing  voice.
  • Showing not Telling.
  • How avoiding abstract nouns and using concrete language makes your work more evocative.

Week 2: Keep it Symbol

  • Using symbols in your work.
  • Writing about objects.
  • Exploring anthropomorphic or personification poetry.
  • Sensory perception; using the senses to enhance your work.

Week 3: Transforming Tradition

  • Recognising cliches.
  • Subverting and re-enlivening clichés.
  • Learning about stereotypes in writing.

Week 4: Making more with less

  • Mastering the art of brevity
  • and learning Haiku from the old masters
  • using haiku in the 21st century.

Week 5: The Sonnet

  • learning different aspects of the sonnet
  • Rhyme scheme and iambic pentameter. Using the contemporary slant sonnet.
  • Creating a rhyme well to form a sonnet.

Week 6 Module 6: Found in Translation (for monoglots)

  • How to become a translator even if you speak only one language.
  • translating fragments of classical poetry.
  • Translating from cribs.
  • Homophonic translation.

Week 7: Mythology in poetry

  • Putting ancient myths into a contemporary context
  • Demythologizing the myth
  • Adapting and reinterpreting mythology for the modern age.
  • Apotheosis: bringing the gods back down to earth.

Module 8: Man and Beast

  • Stepping into the skin of animals
  • Abstract animals – having fun juxtaposing animals with abstract nouns, such as love and hate.
  • Animal as muse. Finding animals for inspiration.
  • Sound poetry, creating your own language through mythical beasts.

Module 9: Editing and Redrafting

  • The next stage.
  • Tips and exercise to help edit and re-draft your work.
  • Writing pastiches.

Module 10: The end is just the Beginning

  • Writing about home
  • The Guide exercise.
  • Ars poetica: writing your own poem about poetry.
  • Writing tips from writers and advice on how to get published.



Course Tutor: Adam Wyeth

Adam Wyeth was born in Sussex, England, in 1978 and has lived in County Cork, Ireland, since 2000. His critically acclaimed debut collection of poetry, Silent Music (Salmon Poetry, 2011) was highly commended by the Forward Poetry Prize. His collection of essays, The Hidden World of Poetry: Unravelling Celtic mythology in Contemporary Irish Poetry, which includes many poems by leading Irish poets, was published by Salmon in 2013.

Adam was a runner-up in the 2006 Arvon International Poetry Competition, a prize-winner in the 2009 Fish International Poetry Competition, commended in the 2012 Ballymaloe International Poetry Competition, and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, 2013. His work appears in The Forward Book of Poetry 2012 (Faber, 2011), The Best of Irish Poetry 2010 (Southword, 2010), Landing Places: Immigrant Poets in Ireland(Dedalus Press, 2010) and Something Beginning with P (2004).

He has made two films on poetry, A Life in the Day of Desmond O’Grady, first screened at The Cork Film Festival, 2004; and a full length feature, Soundeye: Cork International Poetry Festival, 2005. Wyeth’s debut play Hang Up, produced by Broken Crow, has been staged at many festivals, including the Electric Picnic and the Galway Theatre festival. A member of Poetry Ireland’s Writers in Schools Scheme, Wyeth has been a creative writing workshop facilitator for ten years and has held workshops at many literary festivals all over Ireland.



Enrolment/Fees: Poetry Writing Course

The course costs £245, payable in advance to Fish Publishing through PayPal. To check how much that is in your currency  – Currency Converter –

Use the button below to make the payment.
Payment secures your place on the course.
Confirmation of payment from PayPal will be by email.
You will shortly receive an introductory email from your course tutor (normally within 3 working days). We hope that you find the course useful, constructive and enjoyable. Please fill out the Feedback form after the last module.
Enrolment Conditions





Testimonials: Poetry Writing Course


The whole course has been an adventure. An eye opener too. It has given me lots of exercises I can use to stimulate ideas. Mostly it has given me insight into where my strengths might lie, and of course where I need to concentrate my efforts to improve.

Maureen Cullen


What an enjoyable course it has been, thank you.

Avril Leigh


The course has been fun but challenging, always nudging me beyond my comfort zone and giving me plenty of new ideas and new ways of thinking about poetry. Above all, the personalised feedback has been incredibly useful, like having your own mentor, encouraging but also very honest. A great learning experience.

Marina Sofia


Working with Adam Wyeth has been like pulling up a chair next to a master craftsman, as he patiently explained the tools of his craft. Adam has allowed me to experiment without embarrassment, which I truly needed. 
      I teach my university students how to analyze poetry and literature, but with Adam I learned how to try to enter the world of poetry with beginner’s eyes, inhabit the role of the poet, allow myself to have fun with words, fall off the poet’s stool and get back on again. Working with Adam has also given me courage to go back to my prose, which I keep on dropping and sticking in a drawer, like a scalding pot of words.

Peggy Preciado



Enrolment Conditions: Poetry Writing Course

Once the Poetry Writing Course has commenced, there are no transfers or refunds in the event you are unable to continue. In exceptional circumstances, a time extension may be granted if the student is unable to complete the course in the allotted time limit. You understand the course materials are copyright and agree never to sell, rent or otherwise distribute your course materials in any way. Enrolment on the Poetry Writing Course is taken as acceptance of conditions.

Fish Books


Fish Anthology 2016

The practitioners of the art of brevity and super-brevity whose work is in this book have mastered the skills and distilled and double-distilled their work like the finest whiskey.

Sunrise Sunset by Tina Pisco

Sunrise Sunset

€12  (incl. p&p)   Sunrise Sunset by Tina Pisco Surreal, sad, zany, funny, Tina Pisco’s stories are drawn from gritty experience as much as the swirling clouds of the imagination.  An astute, empathetic, sometimes savage observer, she brings her characters to life. They dance themselves onto the pages, and waltz around your mind long after […]

Fish Anthology 2015

Fish Anthology 2015

How do we transform personal experience of pain into literature? How do we create and then chisel away at those images of others, of loss, of suffering, of unspeakable helplessness so that they become works of art that aim for a shared humanity? The pieces selected here seem to prompt all these questions and the best of them offer some great answers.
– Carmen Bugan.

Fish Anthology 2014

Fish Anthology 2014

What a high standard all round – of craft, imagination and originality: and what a wide range of feeling and vision.
Ruth Padel

I was struck by how funny many of the stories are, several of them joyously so – they are madcap and eccentric and great fun. Others – despite restrained and elegant prose – managed to be devastating. All of them are the work of writers with talent.
Claire Kilroy

Fish Anthology 2013

Fish Anthology 2013

The writing comes first, the bottom line comes last. And sandwiched between is an eye for the innovative, the inventive and the extraordinary.


Fish Anthology 2012

A new collection from around the globe: innovative, exciting, invigorating work from the writers and poets who will be making waves for some time to come. David Mitchell, Michael Collins, David Shields and Billy Collins selected the stories, flash fiction, memoirs and poems in this anthology.


Fish Anthology 2011

Reading the one page stories I was a little dazzled, and disappointed that I couldn’t give the prize to everybody. It’s such a tight format, every word must count, every punctuation mark. ‘The Long Wet Grass’ is a masterly bit of story telling … I still can’t get it out of my mind.
– Chris Stewart


Fish Anthology 2010

The perfectly achieved story transcends the limitations of space with profundity and insight. What I look for in fiction, of whatever length, is authenticity and intensity of feeling. I demand to be moved, to be transported, to be introduced into other lives. The stories I have selected for this anthology have managed this. – Ronan Bennett, Short Story Judge.

Fish Anthology 2009

Fish Anthology 2009 – Ten Pint Ted

I sing those who are published here – they have done a very fine job. It is difficult to create from dust, which is what writers do. It is an honour to have read your work. – Colum McCann


Fish Anthology 2008 – Harlem River Blues

The entries into this year’s Fish Short Story Prize were universally strong. From these the judges have selected winners, we believe, of exceptional virtue. – Carlo Gebler

Fish Anthology 2007

Fish Anthology 2007

I was amazed and delighted at the range and quality of these stories. Every one of them was interesting, well-written, beautifully crafted and, as a short-story must, every one of them focused my attention on that very curtailed tableau which a short-story necessarily sets before us. – Michael Collins


Fish Anthology 2006 – Grandmother, Girl, Wolf and Other Stories

These stories voice all that is vibrant about the form. – Gerard Donovan. Very short stories pack a poetic punch. Each of these holds its own surprise, or two. Dive into these seemingly small worlds. You’ll come up anew. – Angela Jane Fountas


All the King’s Horses – Anthology of Historical Short Stories

Each of the pieces here has been chosen for its excellence. They are a delightfully varied assortment. More than usual for an anthology, this is a compendium of all the different ways that fiction can succeed. I invite you to turn to ‘All the King’s Horses’. The past is here. Begin.
– Michel Faber


Fish Anthology 2005 – The Mountains of Mars and Other Stories

Literary anthologies, especially of new work, act as a kind of indicator to a society’s concerns. This Short Story collection, such a sharp and useful enterprise, goes beyond that. Its internationality demonstrates how our concerns are held in common across the globe. – Frank Delaney


Fish Anthology 2004 – Spoonface and Other Stories

From the daily routine of a career in ‘Spoonface’, to the powerful, recurring image of a freezer in ‘Shadow Lives’. It was the remarkable focus on the ordinary that made these Fish short stories such a pleasure to read. – Hugo Hamilton


Feathers & Cigarettes

In a world where twenty screens of bullshit seem to be revolving without respite … there is nothing that can surpass the ‘explosion of art’ and its obstinate insistence on making sense of things. These dedicated scribes, as though some secret society, heroically, humbly, are espousing a noble cause.
– Pat McCabe


Franklin’s Grace

It’s supposed to be a short form, the good story, but it has about it a largeness I love. There is something to admire in all these tales, these strange, insistent invention. They take place in a rich and satisfying mixture of places, countries of the mind and heart. – Christopher Hope


Asylum 1928

There are fine stories in this new anthology, some small and intimate, some reaching out through the personal for a wider, more universal perspective, wishing to tell a story – grand, simple, complex or everyday, wishing to engage you the reader. – Kate O’Riodan

Five O'Clock Shadow and Other Stories

Five O’Clock Shadow

I feel like issuing a health warning with this Fish Anthology ­ these stories may seriously damage your outlook – Here the writers view the world in their unique way, and have the imagination, talent, and the courage to refine it into that most surprising of all art forms ­ the short story. – Clem Cairns.


From the Bering Strait

Every story in this book makes its own original way in the world. knowing which are the telling moments, and showing them to us. And as the narrator of the winning story casually remarks, ‘Sometimes its the small things that amaze me’ – Molly McCloskey


Scrap Magic

The stories here possess the difference, the quirkiness and the spark. They follow their own road and their own ideas their own way. It is a valuable quality which makes this collection a varied one. Read it, I hope you say to yourself like I did on many occasions, ‘That’s deadly. How did they think of that?’ – Eamonn Sweeney


Dog Day

Really good short stories like these, don’t read like they were written. They read like they simply grew on the page. – Joseph O’Connor


The Stranger

The writers in this collection can write short stories . . . their quality is the only thing they have in common. – Roddy Doyle


The Fish Garden

This is the first volume of short stories from Ireland’s newest publishing house. We are proud that fish has enabled 15 budding new writers be published in this anthology, and I look forward to seeing many of them in print again.


12 Miles Out – a novel by Nick Wright

12 Miles Out was selected by David Mitchell as the winner of the Fish Unpublished Novel Award.
A love story, thriller and historical novel; funny and sad, uplifting and enlightening.


Altergeist – a novel by Tim Booth

You only know who you can’t trust. You can’t trust the law, because there’s none in New Ireland. You can’t trust the Church, because they think they’re the law. And you can’t trust the State, because they think they’re the Church And most of all, you can’t trust your friends, because you can’t remember who they were anymore.


Small City Blues numbers 1 to 51 – a novel by Martin Kelleher

A memoir of urban life, chronicled through its central character, Mackey. From momentary reflections to stories about his break with childhood and adolescence, the early introduction to the Big World, the discovery of romance and then love, the powerlessness of ordinary people, the weaknesses that end in disappointment and the strengths that help them seek redemption and belonging.


The Woman Who Swallowed the Book of Kells – Collection of Short Stories by Ian Wild

Ian Wild’s stories mix Monty Python with Hammer Horror, and the Beatles with Shakespeare, but his anarchic style and sense of humour remain very much his own in this collection of tall tales from another planet. Where else would you find vengeful organs, the inside story of Eleanor Rigby, mobile moustaches, and Vikings looting a Cork City branch of Abracababra?


News & Articles

Change of Judge for Short Memoir Contest

21st March 2017
I regret to announce that judge Horatio Clare has, for personal reasons, had to withdraw as the judge of the 2017 Fish Short Memoir Contest.  I am delighted to announce that Welsh author Vanessa Gebbie has agreed to step in and judge the contest. I am very grateful to Vanessa for doing this at the […]

Results Short Story Contest 2016/17

17th March 2017
Here are the results of the 2016/17 Fish Short Story Contest, judged by Neel Mukherjee. Neel’s comments on each story are included. The eleven stories will be published in the 2017 Fish Anthology. It will be launched at the West Cork Literary Festival in July ’17. First prize is €3,000 and a place at the […]

Short & Long Lists, Short Story Contest 2016/17

9th March 2017
Short Story Contest 2016/17 Short-list Long-list Congratulations to all those on the short and long lists. There were 1,300 stories entered. The winners, as selected by Neel Mukherjee, will be announced on the 17th March.   – Short Story Contest 2016/17: Short-list of 40 stories In The Dark​ Title First Name Last Name     […]

Leonard Cohen Dies. Donald Trump Ascends.

16th November 2016
Last week was a week that will stick in the memory like a speed-bump that didn’t just rattle the frame and bang your head on the roof, but banjaxed the suspension and threw the car off the road. Leonard Cohen, the most authentic man on the planet, died and Donald Trump, cartoon figure, swept to […]

Launch of 2016 Fish Anthology

16th October 2016
FISH ANTHOLOGY 2016 LAUNCH The Fish Anthology was launched at the West Cork Literary Festival on 20 July by Dave Lordan, who judged the Fish Poetry Prize. Dave’s exhuborent, off-the-cuff and upbeat speech kept us on our toes as his words raced to keep up with his thoughts. Despite his general scepticism about competitions, he […]

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