Constraints & Play

Constraints & Play

Get playful with Tim Atkins and learn how ludic games and constraints can enrich your writing.

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation – Richard Lingard.

This workshop will play with ways of generating, writing, and editing poems through a variety of games and rule-based activities. Creativity – paradoxically – often develops most interestingly when an author works under tight or unusual creative rules and constraints rather than creating out of complete freedom. We will look at historical games by the Surrealists, playing with collaboration and questions; we’ll read the poets of the New York School, particularly focusing on writing experiments devised by Bernadette Mayer; finally, we will discover how much the internet has expanded the way that we are able to explore our creativity, using text-generators, interactive games, and creating FLARF-based mashups. We will write individual pieces and also explore ways of writing collaboratively. Prepare to be surprised!

Wednesday 17th July, 10.30am–1.00pm.

All classes will be in our offices at 1 Dock Offices, Surrey Quays Road, Canada Water, SE16 2XU. The venue is a 2-minute walk from Canada Water Station. Take the ‘Lower Road’ exit from the station onto Surrey Quays Road, then walk straight ahead, crossing over Deal Porters Way, and the Dock Offices come up on the left. The door for the school is at the far end of the building.

More information about how all our face-to-face courses work can be found on the Face-to-Face courses page.

Image credit: nancy waldman

About Tim Atkins View Profile

Tim Atkins has been a member of the summer faculty at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, and a member of Carla Harryman’s Poets’ Theatre in San Francisco. He is the author of many books, including Atkins Collected Petrarch (a Times Literary Supplement & book of the year), Koto Y Yo and Deep Osaka (a photobook) (Crater Press), 25 Sonnets (The Figures), Petrarch (Book Thug), On Fathers < On Daughtyrs (Boiler House Press), and Horace (O Books). His work has been anthologised in collections published by Penguin, Faber, and Reality Street. He leads The University of Roehampton’s Creative Writing: Imaginative Practice MFA (online) and is the editior of the long-running online poetry journal onedit.

'For twenty years I have been a novelist. Now all I can think about is writing poems. It’s wonderfully liberating and I’m so glad I took that first step of making the call. Thank you!'

– Spring 2019 survey response

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