Finding the Form; Breaking the Mould [Spring 2024]

Finding the Form; Breaking the Mould [Spring 2024]

Hone your craft, explore poetry’s inner workings, and look at techniques to help your poems achieve lift-off.

* This course will take place on the video-conferencing platform ZOOM * 

‘What are the ideals of form for? What are line and breath and music and stanza and every which way you move on the page… and every turn for, except to get you deeper and deeper into a confrontation with the thing you know not. It’s an intercourse with the unknown, which will manifest itself eventually into the subject of your poem.’
– Jorie Graham 

It requires rigour for a poem to engage the reader’s eye and ear, their thoughts and feelings; without applying the right tools and techniques, a poem is not its best self.  

In this practical course for intermediate poets, we will investigate the outer and inner workings of poems through discussion, writing, and wide readings. Taking inspiration from poets past and present, we will explore what we can control and what we need to pay attention to; what we know and what we have to discover in a poem’s writing process. 

As you generate new poems and work on existing poems struggling to achieve lift-off, you will be encouraged to hone your critical skills and enquire into your own poetics. Each term will include workshop sessions where we’ll look at the new material you’ve produced along the way. 

Term 1: Free Verse – how free is it and where is the control?  We will consider the possibilities of the line break and the silence of white space; sound and sense; how to express the inexpressible. 

Term 2: Traditional Forms – This term we will explore how they can free our writing, and how to employ them in a way that speaks to us today? We will focus on the sonnet and sestina, haiku and syllabics, ghazal and villanelle. 

Term 3: Experimenting with form – we focus on lesser-known, experimental and invented forms. In the playground of poetic form, this is the slide. 

10 weekly Zoom sessions on Wednesdays, 6.45–8.45pm (GMT), starts 17 January 2024. 

To apply for a concession rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to administ[email protected]. Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. More information about how our Video Courses work can be found on the Video Courses page. If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected]. 

Image credit: Anne Nygård

About Shazea Quraishi View Profile

Shazea Quraishi is a Pakistani-born Canadian poet and translator based in London.  Her poems have appeared in UK and US publications including The Guardian, Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation & The Hudson Review, and anthologised in Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology, Mapping the Future: the Complete Works Poets, and The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, among others. Her books include The Glimmer (Bloodaxe Books, 2022), The Taxidermist (Verve Poetry Press, 2020), The Art of Scratching (Bloodaxe Books, 2015) and The Courtesans Reply (flipped eye publishing, 2012).  

Shazea is a trustee on the board of English PEN, and on the committee of the Poetry and Spoken Word Group of the Society of Authors. A Complete Works I alumna, she runs workshops with Poetry Studio, and is a tutor with the Poetry School and RHACC School of Ideas.  She is also an ongoing artist in residence with Living Words, an arts and literature organisation that works with marginalised people impacted by a dementia or ongoing mental health concerns, 

‘Poetry School offers the most-innovative and creative poetry workshops I've had the pleasure to attend. The tutors are world-class and the themes and topics varied and interesting. I have gained more confidence in myself as a result of the courses I’ve taken.’

- Summer 2023 survey response

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