Courses

Poetry that Travels

One of my favorite things to remember are trains. Somewhere in India, top bunk, spying on my fellow passengers from above: the Chaiwala with his tiers of silver tea pots, an Assamese gamer who’d gotten on three days before me, an older couple tucking their shoes between their suitcases. Like a quick inhale, I feel…

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Caledonia Dreamin’: Exploring Scotland’s Poetry

On the cut-glass if of the day,this chancer then, already in deep,headfirst among the holly leaves – Fiona Wilson, from “A Magpie, by chance” in A Clearance (2015) The feathered creatures have a talismanic presence across the work of the contemporary Scottish poet Fiona Wilson. Birds are marvels in themselves in her poetry but there…

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Poetry and Syntax: An Emergency Toothpick in an Imaginary Landscape

There is the anecdote of the painter Edgar Degas, observing to Mallarmé that, ‘yours is a hellish craft. I can’t manage to say what I want, and yet I’m full of ideas.’ To which Mallarmé allegedly, allegedly, replied, ‘My dear Degas, one does not make poetry with ideas, but with words.’ Poems are not ideas….

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A Crimson Bush Amidst Silence: Transreading Ukrainian Poetry

Going stir crazy during the pandemic? Why not take a poetic tour to Ukraine and be inspired by some of Europe’s greatest and least known writers? Some of the greatest English poetry has been inspired by other poetic traditions. T.S. Eliot powerfully imported French symbolism into English and the English sonneteers were influenced by Petrarch….

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Summer 2021 – Quick Course Guide

It may be cold outside, but we have our eyes set on warm and sunny Summer! Our Summer 2021 Term is now live and we’ve got a whole host of brilliant tutors and courses lined up, so be sure to book promptly to avoid disappointment. Below is our handy Quick Course Guide, where you’ll find…

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Spring 2021 – Quick Course Guide

As you wrap yourself in your warmest scarf and woolliest sweater, you can look forward to our Spring 2021 Term here at the Poetry School! Our Spring Term is now live and we’ve got a whole host of brilliant tutors and courses lined up, so be sure to book promptly to avoid disappointment. Below is…

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Smears & Caresses: The Poetry of Abstract Art

How can abstract art help poets? It makes us look and it makes us think, and it makes us think about our thoughts. It helps to steer us away from pre-existing categories. We cannot glance at it and then say ‘Nice goat’, or ‘Evocative seascape’, or ‘What a lovely cottage!’. Instead, we interact with the…

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Autumn 2020 – Quick Course Guide

The leaves are green and the sun is still shining, but we’re already looking forward to the Autumn Term here at the Poetry School! Our Autumn Term is now live and we’ve got a whole host of brilliant tutors and courses lined up, so be sure to book promptly to avoid disappointment. Below is our…

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Where Words Meet Music

Put a spring in your step with our latest Easter Extra programme: Where Words Meet Music – a brand new 6-week course where you will think about what poems and songs can learn from each other and get creative to inspire new ways of approaching your writing. The course will be steered by singer and…

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Claiming the Margin as Centre

‘To be in the margin is to be part of the whole but outside the main body’ says bell hooks in the preface to Feminist Theory: from Margin to Centre. hooks’ statement elucidates the duality that comes with a position at the margin. You are looking both out and in at the same time. Looking…

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Poetry as Oral Storytelling

It’s always interested me what the essence is, of what gets performed when a poem gets performed. It doesn’t seem good enough to say it’s play: I wouldn’t watch just anyone playing. I might share a specialist interest with the person who’s playing. But how would watching them playing give me satisfaction? Wouldn’t I want…

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In the Same House: Poetry of Caregiving

“In illness words seem to possess a mystic quality. We grasp what is beyond their surface meaning, gather instinctively this, that, and the other – a sound, a colour, here a stress, there a pause – which the poet, knowing words to be meagre in comparison with ideas, has strewn about his page to evoke,…

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Hell and Back: Writing Addiction and Recovery

I am anxious to not use the term confessional poetry when talking about my upcoming course, because it seems to me a loaded term which some poets delight in and others shy away from. I don’t want this course to be an exercise in naval-gazing or self-indulgence – there already seems to be enough of…

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The Poetics of Space after Bachelard

“A house that has been experienced is not an inert box. Inhabited space transcends geometrical space.” My house is sometimes a chair I sit on in a different country, a tent, a beach, the woods I return to in photographs. My grandmother’s hand as it stirred her black tea. My children’s skin on my lips…

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Measure a Circle, Beginning Anywhere: Poetry Through a Fortean Lens

The Fortean Times has been my holiday treat for quite some time now. What could be better than spending a journey engaged in the peculiar, peripheral and puzzling? Let’s get some of the stereotypes out of the way: tinfoil hats; incessant alien abductions; a willingness to believe any madcap conspiracy on offer; an obsession with The X-Files. (That…

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Written With a Wet Rock

When writing is hard and the poems are turning stony-faced and slow, I tell myself there are so many things harder and slower to hold onto than a poem: first, a breath, and second, a stone. I take one good, deep breath and let it go. Then I take one good, deep lump of time…

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The Personable Political

So you’re in a writing workshop, one of those all day affairs where you do some exercises in the morning and have a communal critique in the afternoon. You’ve written 3 bad poems, 1 seed of something, and poem that flew from your pen or fingertips so naturally that you have no idea where it…

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How Poetry Burns

I had just turned 18 when I moved out of my childhood home and into an apartment with my boyfriend. Although I hoped my young relationship would last, there was something in me that said my treasured objects would be safer at home. Built by my grandfather for my grandmother after World War II, it…

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A Far-Off Land: Finding More Folklore

In the west, epic myths, remnants of religions past, are revered, re-translated and researched, but folktales and fairy tales are often written off as children’s stories. Scrappy, grisly, lowbrow and deceptively simple, many of them do indeed serve as warnings to children: don’t wander alone in the woods, boast or steal. But these stories, passed…

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Twisted Love

In one of his Lunch Poems, Frank O’Hara describes reading the poetry of a new friend. Is this love? he asks, sounding uncertain. He feels held in the hands of the poem, experiencing poetry as a form of intimacy or attempted intimacy. This course came about because I realised, simply, that the love poem –…

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A Song for Occupations: In Praise of Work

What shall we do with work? Curse it, hate it, make escape plans from it, call in sick to it, write apologetic e-mails to it, still we find, every morning, we have to do it. And more than that, work does things to us: decides what time we’ll rise, how well we sleep, the folk…

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General Impression of Size and Shape: Poetry & Birds

I grew up with birds. And what I really mean there is, I grew up with a birdwatcher father who liked to tell us what every bird was, and how you might distinguish it from any other bird. From an early age I was watching birds on the bird feeder in the garden, delighting in…

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Psycho Gastro Studio

When I told a friend of mine I was going to be tutoring a course titled Psycho Gastro Studio, they asked me what that actually meant. In response I started telling the following story from my life: Many years ago I was on a bus from Leeds, where I had been visiting family, down to…

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Narrow Road, Deep North

The first time I felt Northern was at the Students’ Union bar of the University of Chester. I’d recently moved there from South Shields and was taken aback when the barman couldn’t understand my order. ‘Do you mean Coors?’ ‘Aye, pint of Coors, please.’ There are two syllables in that particular brand of lager: coo-aaz….

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Queereading

Robin Morgan started her Lesbian Poem with a dedication to everyone who had turned to that poem first in the Contents page of her Monster chapbook. I’d done exactly that, of course. I was hungry. Hungry for anything I could get my hands on to read with a hint of a non-heteronormative narrative or some…

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