Against English: Dialects, Distortions and New Vocabularies

Against English: Dialects, Distortions and New Vocabularies

Write against English, take it apart, and explode language altogether

What happens when poets hit the limits of a language, and decide to break out? On this course we’ll look at how English-speaking poets have written ‘against English’, using techniques that take English apart, writing in languages which have been formed against English dominance, or writing in opposition to the idea of English writing. We’ll begin by looking at transformation and restriction from Oulipian constraint to disability poetics. We’ll then examine creating new vocabularies, working in dialects and minority languages from Linton Kwesi Johnson to Christine De Luca, with a dip into ‘conlangs’ like Esperanto and Elvish. We’ll finish up by exploding language entirely into visual and sound poetry. Students will finish armed with multiple new techniques for writing poetry, a new understanding of the possibilities of poetry beyond English, and thus a better idea of what it means to write in English in the first place.

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats on Thursdays, 7-9pm GMT, first live chat starting 18 October.

More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.

(Image credit: ‘Kiran Foster’)

About Harry Giles View Profile

Harry Josephine Giles is a writer and performer from Orkney, based in Edinburgh. Their latest publication is Tonguit from Freight Books, shortlisted for the 2014 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and the 2016 Forward Prize for Best First Collection, and they were the 2009 BBC Scotland slam champion. Harry Josephine founded Inky Fingers Spoken Word and co-directs the performance platform ANATOMY; their participatory theatre has toured festivals across Europe, including Forest Fringe (UK), NTI (Latvia) and CrisisArt (Italy); and their performance What We Owe was picked by the Guardian’s best-of-the-Fringe 2013 roundup – in the “But Is It Art?” category.

‘For me, the fact that Poetry School is about writing practice and process is incredibly valuable. So much else is focused on the finished product and publication, that a space which is so much about learning, craft, sharing and development is vital & unique.’

Spring 2018 survey response

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