Writing after and against the new dystopian
We live in a time of pervasive pessimism: our consumption of dystopian art and fiction has never been greater and megalithic pop culture franchises such as The Hunger Games, Black Mirror, Westworld and Blade Runner play upon our most catastrophic premonitions about the predominance of capitalism and the fate of our planet. In the midst of actual global existential crises, such pessimism seems plausible, truthful, even inevitable. But can an obsession with inhumanity become, in fact, de-humanising? On this course, we’ll look at poems that are dystopian in nature, whether they challenge the state of the future, veil the everyday and ordinary lives with dread, or merely urge us further and deeper in our quest for hope, in what often feels like a dark and distant world. We will read poets who give a voice to the despair often felt when the future looks bleak and poets who use hope as a springboard for writing, and together we will heed these voices in our struggle to help sustain us in the now. The saying goes, ‘One man’s treasure is another man’s gold.’ Is the same true for dystopia? Is one’s dystopia another’s utopia? We all view these dark days differently. Some see ‘the darkest dark’ and some see the dark as just ‘poorly lit.’ In sharing these poems, we’ll develop our own radical approach to using poetry to hold onto the good that is still left, somewhere. These poems will aim to shape a brighter tomorrow. Take your anguish, your rage and your pessimism, channel it into your poetry. This is a course for anyone who believes writing could be the way out.
5 fortnightly sessions over 10 weeks. No live chats. Suitable for UK & International students.
More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.
(Image credit: ‘M.’)
About Leah Umansky View Profile
Leah Umansky is the author of The Barbarous Century, out now with London’s Eyewear Publishing, Domestic Uncertainties, and two chapbooks, the dystopian themed Straight Away the Emptied World and the Mad Men inspired Don Dreams and I Dream. She earned her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College and is the curator and host of The COUPLET Reading Series in New York City. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as Poetry, Magma, Guernica, Bennington Review, Salamander, Pleiades, and Plume, among others. Some of her Game of Thrones inspired poems have been translated into Norwegian and Bengali. More at: www.LeahUmansky.com and @Lady_Bronte.
‘I have a community of poets to work with, who help me improve my work, and provide me with great warmth and helpful challenge.’