I teach regularly for The Poetry School in London – running courses, one-day workshops, and giving email or face-to-face tutorials. I am also available for private tuition and mentoring. I have worked in schools – often taking classes on inspirational trips as a means to fire the imagination – and I have also given one-off workshops and discussions for the South Bank on subjects as diverse as William Blake's 'London', the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, and how to write about grief.

As one of the official readers for The Literary Consultancy, I also offer critiques, reports, and offer guidance on poetry pamphlets, collections, and fiction. Recently, I edited and assessed a new comic novel for a new novelist.

I have also taught at Morley College, City Lit, and I've run seminars on poetry and cinema for the BFI, the University of the Arts, and York University, and I regularly visit writing groups for evening or full-day workshops. If you would like to know more about my work, my rates and availability, please drop me a line here.

Courses coming up

I'm currently cooking up a new course for the Poetry School about the Thames (and some other rivers) in literature. The working title is 'Downriver' and I hope to look at Dickens, Conrad, Oswald, McCabe, among others, with at least one 'field trip'. More details to follow.

Past courses

'Deconstructing Patterns' Art + Poetry workshop at the Francis Crick Institute (June 2018)

In June I ran three workshops as part of the 'Deconstructing Patterns' exhibition at the Crick Institute. Over the course of three Wednesday evenings at the Crick Institute we raided the exhibition for words and phrases from which to write new pieces; we discussed and created new visual poems (VizPo) and we had great fun writing poems together using the Surrealists' 'Exquisite Corpse' technique. In these ways we combined genetics, patterns, language, images and our imaginations. The workshops were sponsored by Poet in the City.

'New Ways In' at the Poetry School, London (May 9 – July 18 2016)

Ten sessions to get you writing new work, with new ideas, and discussing old, new, and formally eclectic work. Details via The Poetry School (phone them on 020 7582 1679 while they're revamping their website).  

'Paradise Lost: An Express Elevator to Hell!' at the Poetry School, London (February to March 2016)

In five sessions over ten weeks we explored the vast world of Milton's Paradise Lost. Our whistle-stop tour will called at all the key sights: the original context; Satan as hero; Adam and Eve; the anxiety of influence (Dante, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, Bloom, ourselves); Eisenstein, Paradise Lost and cinema; rebellion & repression; controversies old and new; Samson Agonistes and Paradise Regained. As we went, we will also wrote new work in response to the poem.

'The Poetry of the Periodic Table' at City Lit (weekly from Monday 21st July for 4 sessions)

A four-week course inspired by the elements that make up the universe. Re-imagine these diverse and fascinating chemical elements and learn more about the elements that make up good poetry.

'Samuel Beckett & Poetry' (Poetry School, 10 weeks from Thursday 18th September)

"Simon Barraclough is a life-long devotee of the works of Samuel Beckett: he once directed ‘Endgame’ at a theatre in Nottingham, and became unhealthily obsessed with the radio play, ‘Embers’. Now he would like to explore the ‘poetry’ of Beckett’s writing, with a view to inspiring new work from the class. The course will cover Beckett’s poetry, plays, novels, short prose, radio plays and film work, and will examine his themes, imagery, comedy, style, and innovations. The class will involve reading, viewing, listening, discussing, and writing. An anthology of work produced during the course will be published on the Poetry School’s Campus website." Book here.

A Matter of Line and Breath at the Royal Festival Hall (Sunday 20th July)

An interactive journey through the classic films of Powell and Pressburger, with discussions and writing exercises.

'Killer Serials: Sequences, series and multi-part poems' at The Poetry School (January 2014)

Join Simon Barraclough on a reading and writing course about the slippery notion of the ‘sequence poem’ and related forms. Start a brand new sequence, or work on an existing project, while reading writers as diverse as Sir Philip Sidney, John Berryman, Anne Carson, Roland Barthes, Kathryn Maris and more. How tight should a sequence be? How loose can it be before it falls apart? Should you condense it into one poem or expand one poem into many? Is it only as strong as its weakest link? Does it need to be linear, narrative, fragmented, circular, implosive? Sign up to get entangled.

'Poetry and Cinema: Playing with Genre' at The Poetry School (Summer 2013)

What can poets bring to the understanding of Film Noir, the Western, Horror, the Avant-Garde, Science Fiction, or the 'European Art Film'? And how can these genres inspire and inform your poetry? Join poet and film buff Simon Barraclough on a playful journey through the genres, unpicking classic scenes, mashing up cinema and literature and creating new work. AlienSolarisDon't Look NowThe SearchersOnce Upon a Time in the WestThe Five ObstructionsL'Eclisse, the seminal work of Maya Deren: these are the kinds of films we will analyse and exploit for their poetic content. Where possible, the films will be matched with already published poems for discussion. Students will also be encouraged to explore the BFI's wonderful Mediatheque archive in search of inspiration. Essential tools: eyes, ears, imagination.

'The Poetry of the Periodic Table' at City Lit (weekly from Monday 15th July for 4 sessions)

A four-week course inspired by the elements that make up the universe. Re-imagine these diverse and fascinating chemical elements and learn more about the elements that make up good poetry.

Full details of the course can now be found on the City Lit website.  

'The Solar System' at The Poetry School (summer 2012)

 "Knowledge of the universe is expanding so rapidly that our ‘local neighbourhood’ can sometimes seem almost quaint. But it’s still teeming with wonder, potential and new discoveries. Join Simon on an exciting tour of the Solar System, from our nearby star out to the distant and mysterious Kuiper Belt and discover new approaches, orbits and trajectories for your poetry. The course combines research, discussion, experimentation and, of course, lots of new writing and workshopping. As well as the Sun, planets, demoted planets, moons, asteroids and space junk, you’ll encounter work by Edwin Morgan and others from the fascinating anthology Dark Matter (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation). Students will be able to contribute to the course blog and there’s a chance of a public reading to follow the course."

'Work Those Lats: Themed Writing, Lateral Thinking' at The Poetry School (summer 2011)

 "Themes come and go: some tried and trusted, some tired and distrusted. Simon focuses on coming at themes from unexpected angles, toning the vital 'lateral thinking muscle'. Each session will discuss a particular theme and homework exercises will be workshopped with a view to producing fresh and lively new work. You'll also have the chance to publish some of your work on a Poetry School website. Topics to include, among others: self portraits, minor film characters, radio waves."