Forms of Family

Forms of Family

Consider what it means to write about family, as we experiment with different ways to approach this sometimes-thorny topic.

What is family? How can we begin to approach this broad, even vague, concept in our poetry? What are the ethical considerations involved in writing about, from, or to our families? Are we travelling through questions that (should) remain unanswered? 

We come from an understanding that family is a contested and freighted term, as well as that the families we construct are as significant as the families we inherit. This course will offer participants the chance to develop their ideas around what it means to write poetry about family, what we are doing with our family stories in poetry, and what problems and liberations might be encountered when these stories are lyricised. 

We will explore and discuss a variety of poems which confront such issues – including work from Kayo Chingonyi, Mary Jean Chan, Eileen Myles, and more – looking at the ways in which their particular poetics address, or problematise, the family. Using these poems and discussions as springboards, participants will start developing their own related work, with plenty of opportunities to share, discuss, and identify ways forward for their poems. 


5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.  

To apply for a concessionary rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected] Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. 

If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected] For more information visit our Online Courses page. 

Image credit: Bee Felten-Leidel 

About Gboyega Odubanjo & Cai Draper View Profile

Gboyega Odubanjo was born and raised in east London. He is the author of two poetry pamphlets, While I Yet Live and Aunty Uncle Poems, and in 2021 was a recipient of the Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. Odubanjo is an editor of the online poetry magazine bath magg and a co-editor of Magma 82: Obsidian, which will be published in Spring 2022. He is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Hertfordshire. 

Cai Draper is a poet from South London living in Norwich, whose recent work appears in AmberFlora, PERVERSE, and Anthropocene. His first title SPRUNG is published in January with Broken Sleep Books, with others forthcoming from OrangeApple and Bad Betty Press in 2022. He hosts poetry events and organises free workshops at the Book Hive. 

‘Poetry School courses help to keep me on my toes as a poet and up to date with developments in poetry and ways of approaching it. A number of poems written as a result of attending courses have been published (so have others not written as a direct result but benefiting from ideas suggested by courses). I look on the courses as a way of keeping in touch with contemporary poetry’

— Spring 2021 survey

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