Conscious Tracks: British Modernism (Masterclass, Spring 2020)

Conscious Tracks: British Modernism (Masterclass, Spring 2020)

Excavate from the language hoard of radical, underground and late modernist British poetry

Over the last 60 years or so there have been many innovations in English poetry, not all of them sufficiently well-known or acknowledged. The groundbreaking poetry of the 60s and 70s wasn’t always easy to track down but the search was worth the effort. As Gavin Selerie pointed out over 30 years ago, there had been ‘an explosion of poetic activity,…a reaction against the full commonsense politeness of the ‘Movement’ poets of the 1950s. After a period dominated by such figures as Philip Larkin, qualities of inventiveness, passion, intelligence, entered once again into British verse.’ This course examines different strands of this transformative range of poetry and poetics. We look at visions of place and perception through the work of Roy Fisher and Peter Riley. We engage with the more radically transformed texts of Tom Raworth, one thought metamorphosing immediately into another. We explore Denise Riley’s investigations of personhood. And we attend to Maggie O’Sullivan’s performative, embodied ‘Earloads’ of sound. We will be learning from poems, performances and critical thinking by key figures including the above-named poets, Andrew Crozier, Robert Sheppard and others. Above all, we will be writing poetry which has absorbed these new approaches and techniques, but which then moves forward via innovations and perspectives of our own.

Masterclasses are a new course format, an expanded version of our Interactive and International courses, with a much deeper consideration of technical craft and critical theory. These 12 week courses (maximum 10 places) are for advanced students only, and fluency with poetic language and ideas will be assumed. There are no regular live chats and they are suitable for UK and International students.

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

Image credit: ‘Jane Garratt’

About Peter Hughes View Profile

Peter Hughes is a poet and the founding editor of Oystercatcher Press. He’s based in Cambridge where he was recently the Judith E. Wilson Visiting Fellow in Poetry. His many books include a Selected Poems (Shearsman) , innovative versions of all Petrarch’s sonnets (Quite Frankly, Reality Street Editions, 2015), Cavalcanty (Carcanet, 2017) and via Leopardi 21 (Equipage, 2018).

‘The Poetry School is a remarkable resource of knowledge, guidance and new friendships formed around the desire to learn more and write better. The range of workshops and their leaders is, I think, unparalleled.’

Spring 2018 survey response

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