Formulate a new poetic language that transcends the merely human
‘The very fact that we have a word for ‘nature’ is evidence that we do not regard ourselves as part of it. Indeed, our separation from it is a myth integral to the triumph of our civilisation’ – Dougald Hine / Paul Kingsnorth, ‘Dark Mountain Manifesto’
What would a poem written by a landscape sound like, and how do we communicate this? Can we can take on the point of view of animals, inanimate objects or even robots, or are we so tied up by language and identity that we’ll always fall short of the task? Can language itself be imaginatively stretched beyond the anthropocentric? If so, poetry is probably the place to try and do so. On this course we will explore how we might do these things, taking apart the conventions of human expression and working towards writing that is unexpected and unfamiliar. We will investigate the possibilities of writing from non-human perspectives; not just the natural but the inanimate, the alien, the robotic and the post-human. And we will work with ideas from ecocritical theory and non-antropocentricity and see whether we can successfully put aside our human identities as writers, reading poems by poets who taken different and interesting takes on what humanity means in poetry and to us as writers, including Jorie Graham, Katharine Towers, Robinson Jeffers and Harriet Tarlo.
5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats on Tuesdays, 7-9pm GMT, first live chat starting 21 May.
More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.
(Image credit: ‘Stefan Gara’)
About Suzannah Evans View Profile
Suzannah Evans lives in Sheffield and her pamphlet Confusion Species was a winner in the 2012 Poetry Business book and pamphlet competition, judged by Carol Ann Duffy. She has had poems published in The Rialto, The North, Magma and The Poetry Review and her poem ‘Helpline’ has been ‘Poem of the Week’ on the Guardian website. She has been a Hawthornden fellow and was one of the 2015 Aldeburgh Eight. Suzannah works as a teacher of creative writing and a poetry editor. Her first collection, which has a strong apocalyptic theme, is forthcoming in late 2018.
‘I am a poet with a disabling health condition and coming to the Poetry School has helped me grab back my identity (which illnesses can try to steal away) and prioritise what is meaningful in my life. It has brought learning, confidence, courage and friendship.’