Godzilla vs The Poetry School

Godzilla vs The Poetry School

“Monsters are tragic beings… they are not evil by choice.” – Ishirō Honda, director of Godzilla (1954)

Japan’s favourite iconic, allegorical monster has wrestled with many adversaries over the last 70 years – King Ghidorah, Anguirus, Destroyah, Biollante, Rodan, Hedorah, Mothra and Mechagodzilla. Which other creature has mutated from the profoundly serious to the giddily silly and all the way back again? In its 70th anniversary year, it is time for Godzilla to tussle with the creativity of Poetry School students! 

In a fun-packed day we will study the mighty kaiju (怪獣 — ‘strange beast’) in both broad sweeps and close detail, dipping into films like Godzilla (1954), Godzilla vs Hedorah, Shin Godzilla and Godzilla Minus One. Our weapons will be our own imaginations plus the poetry of Beowulf, Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Glyn Maxwell, and Elisabeth Bishop.  

We will create new work, individually and collaboratively, in response to Godzilla — What does it mean? What does it want? Is it friend or foe? Is it a political animal? What does it mean to be ‘monstrous’ anyway? And if Godzilla is King of the Monsters, then Mothra must be Queen and she will also grace us with a fly-by. 

There will be discussions, film clips and exercises throughout the day, interrupted by random kaiju attacks from the new anthology from Broken Sleep Books, Devastation Songs: An Anthology of Kaiju Writing (sign up for access to discounted, pre-publication copies). Godzilla has never attacked London but perhaps we should map out that story in verse before it happens? And what kind of poem is an Oxygen Destroyer? 

Find out in Godzilla vs The Poetry School with Simon Barraclough. 

1 x full day session, running 10.30am–4.30pm (GMT), on 26 Oct 2024. This course will take place at Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA. 

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 In-Person Courses work can be found on the In-Person 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: @dcejoshe

About Simon Barraclough View Profile

Simon Barraclough has taught many classes at The Poetry School and is the author of several poetry collections and pamphlets, including his Forward-debut, Los Alamos Mon Amour, Bonjour Tetris, Neptune Blue, Sunspots, Iarnród Éireann, and his brand new book, Divine Hours (Broken Sleep Books, 2024). He devised the multi-poet, multimedia events Psycho Poetica and Vertiginous and toured Sunspots as a one-man show with songs and films in 2015/2016. In 2014 he was writer in residence at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and is one of three editors behind the new humanity-in-space website Project Aboena. A cinema addict from a very early age, Simon often writes about film and loves to investigate the fruitful similarities and differences between poetry and cinema. He has spent much of 2024 thinking about Godzilla, Mothra and the rest of the gang, and is looking forward to exploring their world with you. 

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