Explore what we as poets can borrow and learn from film’s often lucid, surreal yet recognizable language.
Poetry and film are deeply connected: both engage in the art of persuasion and aim to challenge the way we view the world, both converge through shared aesthetic techniques (i.e. the deployment of a rhythmic montage of images), and both frequently possess existential concerns over the nature and plight of humanity. Inspired by this overlap, and by the way in which narrative film coerces us into re-imagining our lives behind the lens, this course will explore what we as poets can borrow and learn from film’s often lucid, surreal yet recognizable language. Focusing on five main genres – westerns, action/disaster movies, film noir, romantic comedies, and horror – each session will take an in-depth look at the way in which a particular film from each genre works stylistically and structurally, and consider what underlying themes, societal or political, a film may also be trying to communicate. Alongside, we’ll examine how certain poems by poets such as Deryn Rees-Jones, David Harsent, and Kona Macphee aspire to a ‘cinematic’ label as scenes or as on-page films that play-off each cinematic genre. From this – via a reading and a ‘watching’ list – you will develop new poems that utilise the unique grammar of film, incorporate cinematic stylistics, and look for ways to intelligently employ film genres to enrich, redirect or even to cloak a poem’s focus.
5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. Live chats on Mondays, 7 – 9pm GMT, first live chat starting 29th May.
More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.
About John Challis View Profile
John Challis holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Newcastle University for a thesis on the Poem Noir, a mode within contemporary poetry that exhibits thematic and visual echoes from the body of films known as film noir. He is the recipient of a Northern Writers’ Award and a Pushcart Prize. Poems have appeared on BBC Radio 4, and are published or forthcoming in magazines including Butcher’s Dog, Clinic, Iota, Magma, Poetry London, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Rialto and Under the Radar. In 2015 he was selected as one of the Poetry Trust’s Aldeburgh Eight. He lives in the North East and works as a Research Associate at Newcastle University.
I've really enjoyed my online course and I hope to become a regular part of the Poetry School Community. The course prompted me to look critically at my own work and most importantly, got me reading and writing poetry again. Fantastic experience!