Eternal Sunshine: The Elements of Poetic Language (Masterclass)

Eternal Sunshine: The Elements of Poetic Language (Masterclass)

A lyrical look at feeling, forgetting, intuition, image, and seeing the world in a totally new way

Poems are often associated with remembering. Epics record a culture’s memory; In Memoria recall the dead to mind; individual memories of childhood and lost love fuel much lyric poetry. But we can also see a poem as a form of beautiful forgetting, the transformative moment when a new discovery shrugs off an old way of being in, or looking at, the world. On this course we consider poems as process driven by an urge to understand and express something in a totally new way. Our writing and redrafting will take place in the context of a conversation about the dynamic nature of our sources (both wellspring and raw materials) and how theme evolves to become subject; subject, feeling; feeling, intuition; intuition, image; image, gesture; and gesture, line. Themes will include: memory (remembering and forgetting), change (process) and freedom v. constraint. On the technical side, students will receive exercises aimed at helping them to develop their facility and finesse with metaphor, simile, and discovering the image that cracks a poem open. We will change what we find into what we make, thereby achieving — in the writing and in the reader — that momentary feeling of freedom that feeds on forgetting and is at the heart of all creative endeavour.

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.

(Image credit: ‘NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’)

About Liane Strauss View Profile

Dr Liane Strauss is the author of Frankie, Alfredo, (Donut Press. 2009), Leaving Eden (Salt Publishing, 2010), All the Ways You Still Remind Me of the Moon (Paekakariki Press, 2015). Her poems have won 2nd Prize in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition, 1st Prize in the Lullwater Prize for Poetry, and been finalists in the Strokestown International Poetry Competition, the National Poetry Competition the Robert Penn Warren Poetry Prize, and have appeared in many magazines on both sides of the Atlantic, including Poetry, Columbia Magazine, The Hudson Review, The Iowa Review, The Georgia Review, Cimarron, Boulevard, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Review, The Salzburg Review and Salmagundi. Poetry Daily commissioned and published her Poet’s Pick commentary on John Gower’s version of Pygmalion as part of their annual fund-raising drive. Selections of her poems have been included in a number of anthologies, including, most recently, The Golden Shovel Anthology. She is a guest poet on She has taught English, Comparative Literature and Creative Writing for many years, at the Poetry School, The City Lit and London University’s Birkbeck College. She was part of the team that founded the BA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck and was Head of Poetry in Creative Writing on both the BA and the MA there. Liane currently lives in New York City where she teaches at NYU and on the Hudson Review’s Writers in the Schools Program and works as a freelance writer.

‘I have found them [Poetry School courses] invaluable and extraordinary for the access they have given me to contemporary poets, from Tim Dooley and Melissa Lee Houghton to Ahren Warner, Wayne Holloway Smith to Sarah Howe, Kate Potts, Andrew McMillan, Kathryn Maris and Alice Lyons. These poets have all encouraged me to continue with the work I am making, and helped me find ways in which to develop it’

Alice Hiller, Jerwood / Arvon Mentee, 2017/18

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