Grieving the Animal Other in the Age of Extinction

Grieving the Animal Other in the Age of Extinction

Ask how poetry can meaningfully attend to, and grieve, vanished animal subjects in this age of extinction and environmental crisis?

At a time when the environmental crisis that besets our world is so entirely overwhelming, when species disappear daily, and our complicity in the destruction of the ecosystem is assured by our mere existence, how can poetry meaningfully attend to and grieve the vanished animal subject?

Over the course of twelve weeks, we will critically explore various poetic strategies for grieving the extinct animal other, and examine the thorny ethical implications of that grief. We will delve into work by a number of diverse contemporary poets including Caspar Heinemann, Juliana Spahr, Eleni Sikelianos, Joy Harjo, Jackie Kay, Corall Hull, and Valzhyna Mort. We will think about how the extinction of species if echoed and reflected in the extinction of languages and cultures, and reflect on poetry as an ecosystem of its own. We will use these reflections to generate our own poetic grief-works.

Masterclasses are an expanded version of our International courses, with a much deeper consideration of technical craft and critical theory. These 12 week courses (maximum 10 places) are for advanced students only, and fluency with poetic language and ideas will be assumed. There are no live chats and they are suitable for UK and International students.

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.

If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email

More information about how all our online courses work can be found on the Online Courses page.

Image credit: Tandem X Visuals

About Dr Fran Lock View Profile

Fran Lock is a some-time itinerant dog whisperer, the author of numerous chapbooks and seven poetry collections, most recently Raptures and Captures, the last in a trilogy of works with collage artist Steev Burgess (Culture Matters, 2019), and Contains Mild Peril (Out Spoken Press, 2019). Her latest collection Hyena! is out from Poetry Bus Press. Fran is an Associate Editor at Culture Matters, and she edits the Soul Food column for Communist Review. Fran has recently gained her practice-based Ph.D. at Birkbeck College, University of London, titled, ‘Impossible Telling and the Epistolary Form: Contemporary Poetry, Mourning and Trauma’.

‘Fran is an absolutely outstanding tutor! So eloquent, incisive and thoughtful about poetry and ideas, totally dedicated, genuinely interested in each and every student, very generous with her time, positive, rigorous and nuanced in her feedback. She has this way of explaining things so you feel you are really getting to the heart of the matter, but she is always open to debate and indeed really encourages it. Just wonderful. The course material was brilliant - the lectures, poems, supplementary reading and assignments were all beautifully thought-through. It was a really stimulating, and rewarding experience. I've come away feeling stretched, supported, challenged and inspired! And I'm still thinking about issues and poems that we discussed. Fran is terrific, please do ask her to run more master classes!! Everyone else in the course seemed similarly exhilarated and impressed by it, so I think you might have a mini riot on your hands if there are no more Fran courses :0) Huge thanks to Fran and to the Poetry School!’

– Spring 2021 survey response

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