Confessional Poetry: Catharsis, Compassion, & Care

Confessional Poetry: Catharsis, Compassion, & Care

Explore the beautiful, ugly, messy world of emotion as inspiration for important new poems.

How do we write poems out of, and into, our subjective experiences and emotions, that will resonate? How do we write the truth about our lives, relationships, joys, and even traumas whilst reaching outwards to readers and also keeping ourselves safe? Can we use processes of catharsis and self-care in our writing to radically transform the empathetic possibilities of language and create striking, original poems? 

Deeply personal writing is not straight-forward and calls for poetic nerve; this workshop will bring the raw, wounded, private, electric parts of ourselves into the open, helping us to shape them into vital new poems. Drawing on work by classic ‘confessional poets’ – such as Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Robert Lowell – alongside contemporary writing reconfiguring the confessional legacy – such as poets Warsan Shire, Sophie Robinson, Rachel Long, Sharon Olds, Nuar Alsadir, Wayne Holloway Smith, and Dorothea Lasky – we’ll explore the raw, beautiful, ugly, and messy world of emotion to craft powerful poems that speak our complicated lives into being and sing clearly on the page.

1 full-day session, running 10.30am–4.30pm (BST), on 20 May 2023. This course will take place at Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA.

To apply for a concession rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected] Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. More information about how our In-Person Courses work can be found on the In-Person Courses page. If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected]. 

Image Credit: Laura Rivera

About Rebecca Tamás View Profile

Rebecca Tamás is the author of the poetry collection WITCH (Penned in the Margins, 2019), which was a Poetry Society Choice and a Paris Review Staff Pick, and the essay collection Strangers: Essays on the Human and Nonhuman (Makina Books, 2020), which was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize. She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at City, University of London. 

‘I learnt so much about contemporary poetry, a new world opened up to me. The tutor offered us a very wide panorama of contemporary poetry during the lessons and shared his knowledge about writing poetry with us with great generosity.’

– Autumn 2022 survey response

Related Courses