Burning Gaze: Revisiting the Romantics During Global Heating

Burning Gaze: Revisiting the Romantics During Global Heating

Romancing the poem for the anthropocene.

The Romantic era was revolutionary; whether its ancestry was The French Revolution, The American Revolution or the Industrial Revolution, Romanticism was born out of revolution and the epoch charted a period of radical social change in the (re)forms of expanded suffrage, atheism, and abolitionism. 

The innovative structures and new ideals crucial to questioning poetry’s conventions became tools to interrogate wider institutional authorities. Ever since, English-language poets have furthered the revolution of Romanticism, or conceived reactions against it. The Romantic gaze still influences modern interactions with the natural world and two centuries later, the sublime can be bought, filtered, cropped, uploaded, stored in a cloud.   

This course will revisit the poets central to The Romantic Era and work to ally themes in their writing with contemporary poets in order to investigate the most pervading threat of the modern age: climate breakdown. 

Each session will seek to explore an issue pertaining to the climate crisis, such as the political persecution of refugees, the holiday as an act of consumerism, fossil fuel investment in the arts, and green and sports-washing. By utilising ecological research and scientific papers, alongside everyday and mundane discourses – from political mail and climate scepticism on social media, to news footage and brand advertising – we will transpose modern concerns onto the Romantic canon. 

We’ll take inspiration from contemporary writers on ecological themes, including Alice Oswald, Mary Oliver, and Seán Hewitt, alongside less-celebrated writers from the Romantic era, such as Mary Lamb and Hannah More. We’ll also read from writers in other languages, such as Leopardi and Baudelaire, situated alongside Blake, Wordsworth, and Keats, ‘allowing each poem to retain its singular appeal, transmit its own signals and take its chances in a big, voluble world’ (Heaney). 

5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students. 

To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected]. Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected]. For more information visit our Online Courses page. 

Image credit: a combination of @and_her_eyes_were_wild & @esuvita 

About Glyn Edwards View Profile

Glyn Edwards’s new collection of poetry, In Orbit, was published by Seren early this year. His first collection, Vertebrae, was published by the Lonely Press. Glyn is the Writer-in-Residence at the North Wales Wildlife Trust and edits the feature Wild Words for the Trust’s quarterly magazine. He is also co-editor of Modron, an online magazine of ecological and environmental writing. Glyn is a PhD researcher in Ecopoetry at Bangor University, and has an MA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from MMU. He is a former winner of Wales’ Teacher of the Year and has made educational resources for the Welsh Government and Poetry Wales. He works as a teacher in North Wales. (Twitter: @glynfedwards / Instagram: @glynfedwards / www.glynedwardspoet.co.uk). 

"Continuous development for poets at any level is essential and Poetry School courses provide invaluable opportunities to do this."

– Summer 2023 survey response

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