Respond to ancient languages, folk culture and myth
‘Listen, hark, attend… as they used to say, in the ancient tongue of literacy’
– Barry MacSweeney, Pearl
This course will uncover the creative possibilities offered by radically expanding our writing between voices and across centuries. We will explore how modernist and contemporary poetry responds to ancient languages, folk culture and myth to create new intertextual, multilingual and ‘hybrid’ work. Through innovative methods for sounding and translating unfamiliar languages like Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse and Gaelic, we will engage creatively with a range of ancient poetry, from the Exeter Book and Poetic Edda to Middle English poems and lyrics. We will experiment with radical wordplay, editing found text and adapting the early poetic forms of charms, spells and riddles. Reading and discussion of modern poets and performers such as Caroline Bergvall, Jos Charles, Barry MacSweeney and Maggie O’Sullivan will broaden our own responses. You will have the freedom to experiment with writing text for the page or performance and the opportunity to research and develop your own material. Each session will aim to reveal the turbulent histories embedded in our language and to enrich our sense of critical topics including queer and feminist poetics, ecopoetry and writing transhistorical place.
5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats on Wednesdays, 7-9pm GMT, first live chat starting 22 May 2019.
More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.
Image credit: Kevin-Fillips
About Rowan Evans View Profile
Rowan Evans is a poet, composer and sound artist who studied at Cambridge University. He is the author of The Last Verses of Beccán (Guillemot Press, 2019), cante jondo mixtape (If a Leaf Falls Press, 2017), ODE RHIZOME MOUNTAIN SONG (Moot Press, 2016), freak red (Projective Industries, 2015) and returnsongs (Wide Range, 2012). He received an Eric Gregory Award in 2015 and a selection of his work appears in Penguin Modern Poets 7: These Hard and Shining Things (Penguin, 2018). Rowan is editor of Moot Press, where he co-curates the Anathema reading series, and artistic co-director of the interdisciplinary performance company Fen. He is currently undertaking practice-based PhD research in modern poetry and early medieval language at Royal Holloway, University of London.
‘This has been one of the best courses I have done at Poetry School, which is saying a lot because they have all been good. Ela’s commitment to the course and to students via feedback and interaction was outstanding.’