The Advanced Poetry Course

Price: NZ$ 995 / £ 495 / R 6 995


Advanced Poetry Course

Develop your literary voice with our Advanced Poetry Course

A way for intermediate and advanced poetry students to hone their skills and prepare poems for publication

The Advanced Poetry Course takes what students have learnt in an Introduction to Poetry and further develops the skills and knowledge of aspirant poets. You will be familiar with the tools and techniques used by poets, and you will be able to use these to greater effect.

Our advanced poetry course will take you a step further on your journey towards crafting poems that could conceivably be considered for publication by literary journals. However, if the poet’s aim is simply to produce work for family and friends, the course will cater for that outcome, too. 

With greater exposure to the work of poets through the centuries, you will complete entertaining tasks and grow in your understanding of the elements of poetry.

You will be required to submit six exercises for assessment. 

This Course Gives You...

Expert, Individual Feedback

Get prompt, honest, detailed feedback on every assignment from an award-winning writer. We focus on your unique writing strengths.

No Peer Reviews!

You will only be assessed by your tutor, a leader in their field. No more guessing and wondering how to write; you'll be guided line by line.

No Automated Marking

We use traditional methods of assessing work, as editors at publishing houses would. No generic feedback!

A Flexible Schedule

Work wherever and whenever you want. You can easily fit our courses around work and other commitments.

Relevant, Usable Content

Easy-to-digest course notes that capture a lifetime of writing experience, ready for you to apply to your own writing.

Ongoing Assessment

Your writing is assessed continuously as your course progresses.

Unleash Your Creativity on the Advanced Poetry Course

Becoming the best poet you can be

This course, developed primarily with intermediate and advanced learners in mind, follows on from An Introduction to Poetry but can also be taken as a standalone course for learners who are reasonably familiar with poetic craft. 

The course teaches you how to write more polished poetry that could be recited at poetry readings or published in literary journals. As you grow in confidence, working one-on-one with a much-anthologised poet, you will begin to develop your own poetic style and will be comfortable writing a number of drafts of a poem before finalising it.

You will understand the value of editing and the importance of mentorship in the poetic process. 

‘I had a great time on the course and produced the best writing I have ever done. My experience was profound and therapeutic. I learnt simple yet valuable ways to move from journaling to writing actual poetry.’

Cindy Jordaan, Poetry Course Graduate

Course Overview

Start your course at any time – applications open all year round.


Price includes GST/VAT

Other currencies will be converted at time of invoice



The assignments vary in length.



These modules include around 20 pages of course notes.



Work at your own pace – up to a maximum of six months.


Working with an individual tutor means you can start the course at any time.


Basic writing skills are essential. Computer skills, e-mail and Internet access required. No previous tertiary qualification required.

Our Graduate Students' Successes

We are proud of our graduates who have achieved success. Here are a few among dozens of our creative writing success stories.

Tutors for this course

Fiona Zerbst

Fiona Zerbst is the author of four poetry collections to date: Oleander (Modjaji Books, 2009), Time and Again (UCT Younger Poets Series No. 1/Snailpress, 2002), the small zone (Snailpress, 1995) and Parting Shots (Carrefour Press, 1991). She received a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Pretoria in 2018 under the supervision of David Medalie.

Her work has been published in literary magazines including The Common in the US (, Stanzas, New Contrast, Prufrock, Illuminations and The Johannesburg Review of Books. She has been published in an Amnesty International workbook. In addition, a few of her poems were set as a song cycle in Of Darkness and the Heart, composed by the acclaimed Hendrik Hofmeyr.

She consults as an editor for Modjaji Books and has edited volumes by Ingrid Andersen, Dawn Garisch and Wendy Woodward.

Advanced Poetry Course Tutor Arja Salafranca at The Writers College

Arja Salafranca

Arja Salafranca has been a writer and journalist for over 20 years. She was the lifestyle and arts editor on The Sunday Independent from 2003 to 2016.

She has published three collections of poetry, A Life Stripped of Illusions, which received the Sanlam Award for poetry and The Fire in which we Burn. Her third poetry collection is Beyond Touch (Modjaji Books/Dye Hard Press 2015), a co-winner in the poetry category of the South African Literary Awards in 2016. Her fiction has been published in local and international journals and anthologies, as well as online. Her debut collection of short fiction, The Thin Line, was published in 2010 (Modjaji Books) and short-listed for the Wole Soyinka Award. She has also edited two anthologies, Glass Jars Among Trees and The Edge of Things.

She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Wits University.

Course Curriculum

Module 1

Finding your Voice

  • What does it mean to develop your own poetic voice?
  • How does objectivity help?
  • Assignments


Module 2

Editing Poems

  • Why do you need to be able to edit your own poems?
  • What can learn from the revision process?
  • Assignments


Module 3

The Power of Form

  • Why learn the rules before breaking them?
  • Experimenting with different types of form
  • Assignments


What Our Students Say

Brady HeslopIntroduction to Poetry Course
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It forces you out of your comfort zone, which doesn’t just make you a better poet, it makes you a more honest person as well. Fiona Zerbst is truly great. She’s inspirational. I doubt the course would’ve been as fun without her. We all know the only way to become a better writer is to write – that’s what The Writers College does: it provides you with the opportunity to write your heart out.
Ashleigh JamesIntroduction to Poetry Course
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I loved the course! It was simple enough for beginners such as myself to understand and follow, but also challenging and stimulating. Fiona was an absolute joy to work with. I have so enjoyed exploring the world of poetry, and The Writers College afforded me that opportunity in ways that went far beyond my expectations.
Michelle SmithIntroduction to Poetry Course
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I thoroughly enjoyed the course and am very pleased with the poems that I produced. At times, I was challenged to write beyond my comfort zone, and I am grateful for this. My tutor was excellent and very kind. My original objective was simply to write more and be a better writer, and the course has definitely achieved that. So yes, it met my objectives. It has also inspired me to broaden my reading, writing and publishing horizons. I had a wonderful experience. The course challenged and inspired me.
Grace GoedhartIntroduction to Poetry Course
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I was very tentative and nervous when I started this course. Now I leave pleased at having endeavoured it but also determined to return to do another course in prose. My tutor was instrumental in not only giving excellent guidance but motivating me in a confident way. Overall I loved it; I learnt more than I expected and I challenged myself and was challenged in turn.
Laura-May RandellIntroduction to Poetry
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My experience on the course was great. The constructive criticism by my tutor helped me hone my skills. Her comments on my work motivated and inspired me greatly; any criticism she had was fair and always right. The course was awesome, I would seriously consider doing another.
Susan GreenIntroduction to Poetry
Read More

I have felt extremely encouraged by doing this course. The feedback was good in that it was a mix of support and encouragement around the areas that need development. I found my tutor Owen Bullock to be helpful and available, supportive and encouraging and also able to give feedback about things that I need to develop.

Get These Additional Benefits

Lifetime Course Access

Benefit from free lifetime access to future course updates and access to our writing resources.

Join a Community of Writers

You will have access to our friendly Facebook community, daily writing tips and writing inspiration.

500+ Bonus Articles on Our Blog

A superb, constantly updated resource with articles on writing and interviews with writers.

Work at Your Own Pace

Our courses work around you. You can pace your course around your busy life.

Work Opportunities

Top students are invited to join our writers and editors for hire service.

Be the First to Know About Writing Competitions

We'll help you keep up to date with the latest competition announcements

Risk-Free 100% Money-Back Guarantee

We are so confident that you will love your course that if you’re not 100% satisfied with the quality of our training, simply ask for a refund within 30 days.

Complete the Application Form to Enrol on the Advanced Poetry Course

You will receive an approval email and invoice within one working day.

Questions? We've Got Answers

The course consists of three modules. Detailed course notes covering the content of each module will be emailed to you. 

At the end of each section, you will be required to complete several writing exercises. 

Absolutely. You have direct communication with your tutor for the duration of the course. The more questions you ask, the more you will get out of the course.

You will get lifetime access to the course. You will also benefit from future updates and improvements to the course!

For the majority of our courses, only your tutor will see your work. It will remain completely private unless you get it published, a decision that is yours to make.

You will receive a Writers College Certificate upon successful completion of the course, provided you meet the following conditions: 

  • You must have completed all 6 assignments. 
  • The course must have been completed within six months of registration.
  • A minimum average of 50% for the course must be achieved.
  • Students must be graduates of the Introduction to Poetry Course.
  • Students must have achieved at least 75% on the foundation course.
  • Applicants who haven’t previously studied with The Writers College, but who can provide evidence of prior learning, or publication, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Because you will work with an individual tutor, you can start your course as soon as your application has been approved. There are no specific start dates as would be the case with a traditional college.

An application is usually approved within one working day. Once we receive proof of payment, your can start your course.

You could be starting your course today!

This course requires ongoing informal research. You will read poetry and journals to discover what moves your poetic spirit. Hopefully, this ‘research’ will become an ongoing pleasure that nourishes your writing for life. 

Additionally, there is the discipline of writing and reflection on the process of writing. A poet cannot wait for the muse. The muse waits for the poet. When you write, the muse shows up. Inspiration can be sought and achieved even when you are feeling uninspired. Because regular writing and rewriting is integral to the process of writing poetry, the course is designed in such a way that one module takes one month to complete. 

After studying each module, the exercises should take an hour or two per week to complete. Ideally, you should spend ten minutes a day writing in a poetry journal, a portion of which will be submitted in your final portfolio.

Once your application has been approved, you will receive notification of approval and an invoice via email. As soon as we receive proof of payment, your first module will be sent to you, as well as your tutor’s email address and your login details. Your tutor will also be in touch to welcome you.

Any work created on our course is owned by you. We will never make a claim to anything you produce. We follow the rule that copyright subsists with the creator (you).

‘I found the course to be very satisfying. I believe I learnt some very valuable things.’

Anthony Eschner, Introduction To Poetry

Got More Questions?

We would love to help you choose the best course for you. Tell us what style of writing you want to develop and we'll give you some options.

Our Refund Policy

If within seven days of starting your course you are not happy on your course, we can either transfer you to a different course or provide a full refund.

If you request a refund after seven days and before 30 days we will charge a 5% administrative fee, as well as any bank fees and tutor fees already incurred.

We do not offer a refund after 30 days on the course.

How can we help?

We would love to chat to you if you have any questions about our courses. If you need advice about the best course for you, drop us a line below or email us at

We look forward to hearing from you.