Poetry and Publishing Collective 2021.

— Applications Now Closed – 1st July 2021 —
If you have not completed this form already, please note that the spots are now filled. If you’d like to be considered in case a vacancy occurs, please continue reading and filling the form out via the link at the bottom.

Details, FAQs and Application

Thank you for expressing interest in being part of the poetry writing and publishing project with me. 

When I put the idea out there, I didn’t know so many people would be interested.  Now that I know that people are genuinely interested, I can nail down some of the finer details of the course and project.  Because you completed the interest form, I wanted you to be among the first to get these details.  If the 14 spots I’m making available to those I’ve selected to receive this offer (which is you) are not filled, I will release the details and opportunity to others.

One of the largest logistical challenges in running online projects across time-zones is hosting ZOOM gatherings at a suitable time of the day.  For that reason, I’m making two times available on the same day.  This means you’ll get to choose to be part of a session that suits you (hopefully).  These ZOOM sessions will not be a ‘sit down and listen’ affair. You’ll be asked to participate in writing, reading and reflection around poetry.  You’ll be given homework throughout the course because I want you to be stretched. I want you to explore different genres and reasons for writing poetry.  I want you to discover things you love to write about and open your views to styles and methods. For this reason, if you can’t make a majority of the sessions and participate, then this is not for you.  Having said that, I’ll be recording and sharing sessions in case you miss one.


The course commences Thursday July 22nd AEST and will be most Thursdays for the next few months.  There will be 10am AEST session and a 7pm AEST session.  The 10am sessions will translate to a Wednesday night for those in the northern hemisphere (US & CAN), but may suit Australians too. You may like to jump in both sessions if you like. Please make allowances for daylight savings if you are planning ahead. Note: AEST is BRISBANE time.

These are the proposed dates we’ll be meeting:
July 22, 29
August 5, 12, 19, 26
Sept 9, 16, 23, 30

– SESSIONS will go for an estimated 90-120 min. –

Convert to your own timezone using: www.worldtimebuddy.com


I have several goals for our time together. Firstly, to gather and share our collective life experiences using poetry as a common language. Secondly, to show you how to self-publish a book.  Thirdly, to give you the opportunity to have several your poems featured in a collection which we’ll print and release in time for Christmas.  I’ll elaborate some more and hopefully answer some questions along the way.

Gathering and Stretching:
Poetry can move us in ways that prose and instruction cannot.  One of my highest priorities will be to foster psychological safety, which is why I will be selecting participants as best possible and modelling vulnerability and inclusion.  This is not a Uni course or lecture on poetry, but we will certainly discuss some of the practical aspects of writing poetry for private and public spaces. You will receive constructive feedback on your poems, but there are no marks or grading. It will be an immersive and diverse experience aimed towards healing and discovery of the genius in you.  As mentioned earlier, you’ll be given homework most weeks which may include things like writing poems for others or writing from prompts.  I hope to be a coach or mentor for you in this space.

Self-publishing know-how:
Throughout the course, I’ll be sharing the tools, services, and methods I used to release my two last books.  My hope is, by the time we’ve finished, you’ll be empowered to perhaps publish books of your own.  No, you don’t need a big-name publisher to endorse and promote you anymore. You don’t need thousands of dollars and room under your bed for boxes of unsold books. Print-on-demand has disrupted the book market and you’ll be given insight into the whole process as we write and publish a book together.

Creating a collection together:
I envisage a collection of around 70 poems available in soft-cover and eBook on the market before Christmas. The first half of the book will be poems I have written, the second half will be a collection of poems from participants. This will mean, for example, you’ll have a single author profile page with a little about you (socials, other books, background) followed by 2-4 poems you have written during or before the course.   I’ll be vetting these poems for suitability and quality to make sure they suit the feel, length and genre of the collection.  Here is where you may have several questions so I’ll answer what I can below in the FAQs


$700 Australian Dollars (AUD)
which is currently $530 US Dollars (USD). 

This amount will be payable up-front to secure your place PayPal, Direct Debit (AU and US) or Stripe Credit Card payment is available. If need be, payments can be spread over 30 days – please let me know.

This price includes:

  • Access to all ZOOM sessions.
  • 5 softcover books shipped to you.
  • Cost price + shipping + 15% on further book buys (min order 5) for 12 months.

If you decide to sign-up, you’ll be issued an invoice for payment.


1.  Will I get any books at the end?
As part of the course, you’ll be shipped 5 copies of the book for free.  Do with them as you please.

2. Will I get royalties from the book sale?
No book sale royalties will be given to those who offer their poems for the collection. You will retain copyright to the poems you put in the collection, but you’ll be given a rights release form to sign – giving me the right to publish them in the book with no monetary recourse.  If you ever have a poem published in a book or magazine, you will understand this is common practice. My poems appear throughout around 10 books, of which the value is in the exposure and collective influence of the other authors.  If you do not want a poem in the book, you’ll be under no pressure to do so. It’s a ‘get too’ not a ‘have too’.

3. What if I want more book copies?  And can I sell them?
What I can offer those who want more than the 5 copies included, is an opportunity to order more to be printed and shipped at a price of cost (which you’ll discover) plus 15% admin.  This means for example you may want to buy 20 copies as Christmas gifts. Let’s say they cost $5each wholesale plus $20 shipping. The cost will be $120 plus 15% ($18) admin fee for me to arrange the print and ship.  Selling the books in person (at your church or among friends) is OK but you will not be allowed to sell them online via a website etc.  That will be reserved for myself and the retailers the book goes out too. This wholesale cost will be available to you for 12 months after the publication date.

4.  Where will the book be available to buy?
Wherever you can find my books, The Wrestle and So I Wrote You A Poem is a great indication. Basically, all over the world via Amazon etc.   Bookshops are another story. E.g  Even though I have sold several thousand copies of The Wrestle, in the past 9 months, bookshops usually only sell books distributed by the big labels. I’ll explain more about this in the course, including ways to get around it.

5.  Will my name appear on the book cover?
Yes, you’ll be listed as a contributor to the collection with your name appearing on the back cover and in the description of the book sold by online retailers.  David Tensen will remain as the main author and will be featured on the spine. ( If you want to remain anonymous, you may use a suitable pseudonym. )

6.  What sort of poems will be excluded from the book?
For no other reason than personal preference, conviction, and the readership I’ve been establishing over the past 4 years of releasing poems I will not be including poems which read more like a church worship song or lengthy rhyming poems.  I’m not against extensive rule-based rhyming in poem and it’s often all we have been taught or given permission in school to write, but this is not the main style I’ll be stretching you to write throughout the course. Having said that, if you are the next William Blake or Wordsworth exceptions can be made.

 Also, this will not be a book of impersonal or generic praise to God.  We’ll be leaning into your personal capacity for lament, love, empathy, and the human experience together.  I came from a church song writing background and had to learn to dig deeper into my own honest experience when it came to writing poetry. People buy my poetry collections for their personal points of resonance and candor. The poems vetted for the inclusion in the publication will need to carry this same feel.  I must also mention that the collection will most likely include language that may offend some readers or participants. If it goes against personal ethic or moral standards to participate in this kind of expression, this course may not be for you.  In other words, there will likely be some swear words in the collection (like in my previous books).

7.  What will the book be called?
No idea. Title and theme generally emerge during the writing and collating phase.  Doing this together will be a journey of discovery for us all.  Collective consciousness is a fascinating thing.

8. Do I get a say in the artwork etc?
I hope to include you in the cover artwork process, but the final decision will lie with me. I can’t see 14 creatives all agreeing on a single cover.  Plus, there is a cover style on my previous books I hope to keep some continuity with.

9. Do I need to identify as a Christian or religious person to participate?
No.  Certainly, many of my poems contain elements of divinity and reference to Christ, but not all of them do… and neither do yours need to be. In fact, I hope you discover a new sense of sacredness and spirituality outside of religious reference and rhetoric.

10.  Do I have to publish a poem in the book?
As mentioned under the royalties FAQ, if you do not want a poem in the book, you’ll be under no pressure to do so.  I hope most participants do, though. By the way, there is no change in price for those choosing not to have poems published in the book.


If you’ve read everything and this sounds like something you’d love to be part of, this is the details form to fill out. Once completed and reviewed, an invoice will be issued via email after July 1st.