A Conversation with the Past: From Sappho to Basho

A Conversation with the Past: From Sappho to Basho

Construct your own independent poetic voice while maintaining a dialogue with poetic traditions.

This is one of a trio of student-centred courses designed both for experienced writers looking to widen their repertoire and for beginners looking for a more structured approach to their writing. You will have the opportunity to consider how much of today’s poetry has its roots in the work of innovative poets from the past and to workshop new poems in the context of this discussion. Drawing on the work of poets from a wide range of cultures and traditions (from Medieval Ireland to the Tang dynasty and from ancient Sumeria to Renaissance Italy) you will continue to develop your individual approach to writing and start to build up a body of creative work with a definite individual identity. Through exercises, reading, writing, group feedback and small group planning sessions, you will be encouraged to construct an independent voice, while maintaining a dialogue with poetic traditions.

Starts 19 September. 10 weekly sessions, 6:45pm – 8:45pm on Tuesdays. This course will skip week 7, meaning the final session will be 28 November.

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


About Tim Dooley View Profile

Tim Dooley is a tutor for The Poetry School and a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster.  He was a teacher for many years – a head of department in two comprehensive schools and a senior tutor in a tertiary college. He has also taught poetry at Goldsmiths College and been an arts mentor for the Koestler Trust – as well as reviewing for the TLS and writing obituaries for the Times. From 2008 to 2017 he was reviews and features editor of Poetry London. He is co-editor (with Martha Kapos) of The Best of Poetry London (Carcanet, 2014). His first collection of poems, The Interrupted Dream, was published by Anvil in 1985. This was followed by the pamphlets The Secret Ministry (2001) and Tenderness (2004), both winners in the Smith/Doorstop–Poetry Business pamphlet competition. Tenderness was also a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice. Keeping Time (Salt, 2008) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was followed by Imagined Rooms (Salt, 2010). The Sound We Make Ourselves: Poems 1971-2015 was published by Eyewear in 2016.

Tim Dooley was a great teacher in his laid-back way and everyone in the class adored him.

- Autumn 2015 online survey response

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