Finding the Form; Breaking the Mould (Spring 2023)

Finding the Form; Breaking the Mould (Spring 2023)

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 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 – how can they free our writing, and how do we 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 – in the playground of poetic form, this is the slide. 

10 weekly Zoom sessions on Thursdays, 6.45–8.45pm (GMT); Term 2 starts 19 January 2023. 

Please note: places on this course are currently reserved for continuing students. Places will be opened up to new applicants on 28 November 2022.

To apply for a concession rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [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 whose poems have appeared in UK and US anthologies and publications including The Guardian, The Financial Times, Poetry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, New England Review & The Hudson Review. A Complete Works alumna, she is an artist in residence with Living Words, an arts and literature charity working with people living with dementia, and other isolated groups. 

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. 

Her publications include: The Glimmer (Bloodaxe Books, 2022), The Taxidermist (Verve Poetry Press, 2020), The Art of Scratching (Bloodaxe Books, 2015), The Courtesans Reply (flipped eye publishing, 2012). 

'The course I took really reinvigorated my writing and got my creative juices flowing.'

- Spring 2022 survey response

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