Accidents of Gain: Reading C20th American Poetry

Accidents of Gain: Reading C20th American Poetry

A reading course looking at the breadth of 20th century American poetry.

Please note: This is a reading course and there will be no in-class writing exercises or workshopping of your own poems.

This course is aimed at new and experienced readers of poetry and will steer you through the innovations, experiments and diversions of 20th century American poetry. Under the guidance of  poet and National Poetry Librarian Chris McCabe you will cover Dickinson and Whitman’s breakthroughs in defining the American lyric voice, Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, and the personas and fragmentations of American Modernism, including Pound, Eliot, H.D., and Stein. You’ll find out about the mid-century ‘anthology wars’, which attempted to present either confessional or experimental poetry as the defining work of the period, with particular focus on poets such as Sylvia Plath, Charles Olson and John Berryman. You’ll then take a look at the avant-garde writing of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets and the New Formalists’ exploration of traditional forms, before reading the radical feminist work of Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde. Finally the course will progress into postmodernism, including a focus on John Ashbery, before taking you right into the present day, looking at contemporary poets including Claudia Rankine, Danez Smith, and Ocean Vuong.

10 weekly sessions on Tuesdays 6.45pm – 8.45pm, starts 2nd October.

All classes will be in our new offices at 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. The venue is a 2-minute walk from Canada Water Station. Take the ‘Lower Road’ exit from the station onto Surrey Quays Road, then walk straight ahead, crossing over Deal Porters Way, and the Dock Offices come up on the left. The door for the school is at the far end of the building.

More information about how all our face-to-face courses work can be found on the Face-to-Face courses page.

Image credit: ‘Surian Soosay’

About Chris McCabe View Profile

Chris McCabe’s poetry collections are The Hutton Inquiry, Zeppelins, THE RESTRUCTURE (all Salt Publishing), Speculatrix and The Triumph of Cancer which will be published by Penned in the Margins in October 2018. He has recorded with the Poetry Archive and was shortlisted for The Ted Hughes Award in 2013 for his collaborative book with Maria Vlotides, Pharmapoetica. His plays Shad Thames, Broken Wharf and Mudflats, which won a Northern Arts Award, have been performed in London and Liverpool.

He is writing a series of creative non-fiction books that aim to discover a great lost poet in one of London’s Magnificent Seven cemeteries. This began in 2014 with In the Catacombs: a Summer Among the Dead Poets of West Norwood Cemetery (which was selected as an LRB Bookshop book of the year) and was followed in 2016 with Cenotaph South: Mapping the Lost Poets of Nunhead Cemetery. He is also the author of Real South Bank (Seren, 2016) and with Victoria Bean he is the co-editor of The New Concrete: Visual Poetry in the 21st Century (Hayward Publishing, 2015). His first novel, Dedalus, will be published by Henningham Family Press in June 2018. He works as the National Poetry Librarian at Southbank Centre’s National Poetry Library.

‘The Poetry School and its tutors has restored my confidence in my poetry and process, given me new avenues of reading and thought, along with connecting me to like-minded, but still different, practitioners.’

Spring 2018 Survey response

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