Mentoring with Ralph Dartford

Ralph Dartford is an awarding winning poet who hails from Basildon in Essex, and now lives in West Yorkshire, having got there via Australia, Barcelona, and Los Angeles. He was a founding member of influential spoken word collective ‘A Firm of Poets’, and his first collection of poetry, Cigarettes, Beer and Love was published by Ossett Observer Presents in 2013. His next collection, Recovery Songs, was published by Valley Press in 2019, and Hidden Music followed in October 2021. Ralph is the poetry editor at Northern Gravy and is currently studying for a Creative Writing PhD at the University of Huddersfield. 

How Ralph will work with you:

Ralph Dartford will work collaboratively online with poets to receive regular feedback and development on their poems, pamphlets and collections. Regardless of what stage you are in your career as a poet, Ralph will help guide you to authoring new poems, editing already existing work and submitting completed work to suitable publishers. Ralph will also introduce you to writing exercises, how to read your poems with influential and appropriate reading suggestions from other poets that are bespoke to your ambitions.

Together, we will share routes to plan, comprehend, map poetic language and thought on to the blank page and look and listen to how a poem visually affects a page and how it sounds when read aloud. We will look at poems by others that are unique in their language and form to find meaning and narrative. Each month, poets will be asked to submit up to 6 pieces of work for scrutiny and feedback. The poems will then be returned with comments and suggestions on how the work can be improved through editing, redrafting and reading other poets’ work. This will be followed by a one hour Zoom or Teams meeting whereby these comments can be discussed, poems read aloud, and decisions can be made for final drafts and submission (if appropriate).


'I began working with Ralph in December 2021. Ralph has been patient with the gaps in my poetry knowledge. He has guided my writing rawness with form and technique. Within 9 months I have gone from a hesitant poet to one who has had poems accepted for print by Dreich magazine.’

Debi Knight

Timelines and Fees

Three programmes available

5-month programme at £150 per month

7-month programme at £130 per month

10-month programme at £100 per month

Payments can be flexible and can be made monthly or in single lump sum. For general enquiries please email -

How to apply

If you’re interested in the programme, please send a sample of 3 poems in PDF format along with a cover letter outlining what you’d want to achieve from the course to:

In association with Northern Gravy